On the advice of my friend Sam Davidson, I recently picked up Paid To Speak, a book compiled by the National Speakers Association. It was a pretty decent read and for anyone looking to perfect their business and their story-telling abilities, I do recommend this book.
For me, the best part of the book was the detail behind what is called, The Hero’s Journey. What is it? We’ve all heard of it and Joseph Campbell made the concept famous but it is quite simple: The Hero’s Journey is something we can all connect with and believe in. The story itself requires a want, a goal or a desire. Then there must be an obstacle with a resolution. Finally, the journey ends with a piece of wisdom.
A lot of the lessons in this book I have already learned by my time on the road.
“Use your first two minutes wisely: your first words, your first story, your first slide should serve only one purpose: to help the audience confirm you are worth listening to. Throw something substantial to the audience for them to chow on rather than the mundane details of your flight, the city, a joke, or a thanking of this or that person.”
“When you finish a story, always extract the key point (the hook), and turn it back to your audience (the hinge) by asking a variation of a “you” question such as, “where have you encountered this?”
For me, therein lies the two most important pieces that I learned from the book.
Sure, there were tips of growing your network, elevator speeches, and the like. But to be a great speaker, you have to do those two things really well (in my opinion).
For the past three years, I have been a proud stock-holder of Southwest Airlines’ stock, better known as LUV. I don’t know of any other company that doesn’t use a part of their name as a part of their stock ticker symbol. But more importantly, uses an acronym that represents their company culture and values.
Obviously, it has been a tough decade for all the U.S. carriers, and Southwest has not been immune. When I lived in Kansas City, I flew with them quite a bit. In the past year, I have only been able to fly them once, but it was the best experience. They always are.
In Gary C. Kelly’s letter, the CEO of Southwest Airlines he ends with a clear statement on where the company is going.
As we prepare for our next 40 years, our financial goals remain unchanged:
Take good care of our People
Win more Customers
Boost operating revenues
Preserve our low cost position
Maintain a strong balance sheet
Achieve and sustain a 15 percent pre-tax return on invested capital
With this simple six-bullet list, Kelly brings everything together and a two things stand out.
The word “People” is capitalized. He means the team behind the LUV mission. That’s a great key to have in the list. You can’t succeed if you don’t care about the people behind the mission.
Likewise, the word “Customer” is capitalized too. Much like the staff, if you don’t LUV the customer (see “bags fly free”), then it doesn’t matter how much you LUV your staff.
This is why I love being a member of this team, and will continue to hold my few shares. It’s the power of LUV.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about … you haven’t had it yet. But you will. When you are faced with the choice to go after your dream or not, then will have faced your “get real” moment. Sometimes it comes in the form of a mentor calling you out, an empty bank account or a sudden realization that you are not doing what you are passionate about.
Greetings! My name is Richard Dedor and I am just like you. I have dreams and passions, but I am doing something about them. This is (and this blog) are all about sharing my journey with you and helping you in various ways to achieve your dreams too. Learn more about me >>
I Can Speak at Your Event
When I started this journey in 2007, I did it to speak. Since then, I have spoken to groups as small as 10 and as large as 200. I speak to schools, colleges, staff, business leaders and non-profits on leadership, stress management, networking, and focusing your life. I am also available for a keynote, “Anything is Possible,” or a custom tailored speech as well! Book me for your event >>
My philosophy is simple: find your passion and make it happen. It is not always that easy, but with hard work and getting out of your own way, you can make it happen. And I am here to help. Get a FREE consultation >>
“Richard engages the audience from start to finish. His workshop presentations for us brought both young and old on a learning adventure with personal style. Participants left armed with knowledge and a ‘can do’ attitude!”
-Mary Schissel, Director – Mason City Youth Task Force