I was beyond grateful to be selected as a client speaker for the Chase "Built by You" event. When I found out I was going to talk in front of 1000 people my reaction was, "Wow my dream came true". When I sat in the audience at the Inc 5000 Conference listening to the guest speakers tell their story I thought to myself, "One day I want to be invited to share my story too". Thanks to Chase "Built by You" that dream came true.
Being a guest speaker taught me many things, one of them was how to prepare before the big day. I was happy to have been chosen but I was also nervous about what I should say. I wanted my story to impact the audience. While I have not realized the full extent of my aspirations, I felt like my entrepreneurial journey could inspire other up and coming entrepreneurs.
I brainstormed the main points I wanted to get across in every question because being a business owner for 20 years with ups and downs gave me a lot to talk about. However, answering the questions isn’t about memorization but about knowing the message and the main points you want to get across to your audience. I knew I had to make my answers relatable, using past experiences I was able to give genuine answers that I felt were interesting and memorable. For example, I was able to integrate the 3 WOW Factor from my wedding into a packaging question.
One should have a strong foundation of supportive people around who can give real feedback. My team made answering complex questions a lot easier. I would practice in front of them and they were very honest on which points needed elaboration to help the audience grasp my message. We agreed simple but impacting was the best way to answer the questions and now looking back I know that went a long way.
I have always been told that I am very passionate and energetic. That is something I wanted to bring to the stage as well. You should always be real especially when you have so many people listening. If people hear you speaking with passion they will be able to relate more because they know you truly mean what you are saying and your words will have a lasting impact. So be yourself on stage and don’t be afraid to talk with your hands to express yourself.
Engage with your audience, even though there is a moderator there he isn't the only one you should look at. The people in the audience matter and they should feel that whether it's by making eye contact with them or looking in their direction. Many traveled from far distances to listen to you so don't be afraid to have fun, joke, and make them smile. Having stage presence means being present in every sense, from your expressions, smiles, and the way you talk.
The most important part to remember when speaking on stage is that the audience should always be able to take a message home. They arrived to hear you with a purpose and as they leave they should remember that you didn't just "talk" but you also fulfilled their purpose to learn something new. My simple 4 P's system (Passion, Purpose, Persistence, and the right Partnership) has helped me get to where I am today and is a philosophy that I hope can help others in their business journey.
I learned a lot about being a guest speaker and about how my little voice could have such an impact on stage. I felt very proud to have many people come back and tell me they could feel my passion and energy in every answer I gave. I'd like to thank Chase for the opportunity of making my dream come true and to those that allowed my story to inspire them.