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The ultimate goal of being a speaker is not to be heard; it is to serve. If you are given the amazing privilege to stand before people, you owe it to them to give value to THEM. It is not about you. Yes, you prepare, and practice…and practice (and practice some more). However, your pre-occupation must not be about what you will look like and sound like.

Read this carefully: If you are to be consistently successful as a speaker,  your primary focus should be on exalting each person in the audience. As a speaker of close to 20 years, I can confidently tell you that quite a few speakers look to exalt themselves. What do I mean by “exalt”? I mean “lifted”. Your intent is to lift the person. Not physically, of course, but intellectually, emotionally (and even spiritually). After listening (and participating) in one of your talks, the audience should be more than “motivated”; they should feel compelled to DO something about what they just learned.

Before I speak, my personal prayer is for me to be reduced so that I can lift everyone else. I yearn to know the words and actions that will connect with EACH attendee so that EACH attendee can literally feel that I care about him/her.

I would love to say that this message that I’m sharing with you is second nature. I would love to declare that I’ve always sought to exalt. That, however, would be a complete lie.

For the first few years of speaking, I wanted to “put on a show” and dazzle the audience with my subject matter expertise and speaking skills. Then, one day, I was at a conference and sat through a keynote presentation. The speaker was all dazzle and rehearsed gestures. I (and other audience members) felt no connection to him, although he was technically a good speaker. Then it hit me. I was exactly like the speaker that I just saw! Right then, my perspective and heart shifted. It became: Reduce self. Exalt others. Period.

My measurement for success is not whether I am told how memorable of a speaker I was, it is when people tell me the precise take-aways from the session. Even more, is when I get messages weeks, months and years later about how my message stuck with them and the results they have seen as a result of applying what they learned.

Again, this is the key for you to focus on: How can I take what I’ve been privileged to know and to share  so that others might benefit?

If you focus on others. If you focus on adding value, then it will be very hard to not be successful. Trust me on that. Exalt others then watch your brand get exalted so that you will be in a position to exalt even more.

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