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Connecting Speakers (The Beginning)

unsplash-logoMay Lawrence

“Speakers who talk about what life has taught them never fail to keep the attention of their listeners.” – Dale Carnegie

We’ve all heard the old adage, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”  If I haven’t already, today I’d like to introduce you to Speaker Connect. As a coach, I’d joined Toastmasters to hone my speaking skills and quickly fell in love with speaking. Before long, it became evident that speaking was a great way to share my expertise with an eager audience.

I started speaking on how accountability, daring to face life naked and unafraid, and networking with heart could help them live their lives to the fullest, grow their businesses and achieve their version of success.  It was part of the natural course of the business growth strategy to add keynote speaking to my list of offerings.

Speakers, does this sound familiar: you have a great lead and are invited to submit to present for an organization or an upcoming conference. Then, at the bottom of that ever-so-long submission application, you find a request to submit a video. We all have a video we’ve recorded or had recorded, but these speaking engagement decision makers are not  looking for amateur video and audio you captured on your smart phone. 

You need a video to get a speaking engagement, but you need a speaking engagement to get a great video. To a lot of speakers in the video era, this happens over and over again. If you’re going to get serious about building a speaking business, you’re going to have to invest in getting what you need.  That was my story.  I did what anyone in this situation might find themselves doing as well. 

I booked a theater, hired a videographer and photographer, set up an event where an audience could come for an afternoon of networking and learning.  I decided I would bite the bullet and put my money where my mouth was to launch my speaking career. The total cost was approximately $5,000.  I was okay with it and had the space on our card, knowing full well it’d be easier to ask for forgiveness of my husband later than for permission beforehand.

I figured I’d spend the entirety of the 6 hours performing my presentations in front of a live audience I was committed to adding value to.  The plan was to change outfits in between and get all of my presentations recorded in one day.

I mentioned it to a fellow emerging speaker who got excited and claimed she, too, needed video and would pay into what I was going to offset some of my costs. Then another speaker heard our conversation and asked me to sign him up. A quick conference call with our team to explain what was happening resulted in their suggestion to find 10 speakers and divide the costs among all of us.

That meant for a mere $500 we’d each get what we needed.  Knowing what a benefit this would be to all of us, given that something like this was hard to find and even what existed out there was upwards of $5,000, I knew the value was there.  Let’s also include headshots, presentation abstracts, a live audience (which is so important for speaking engagement decision makers) and headshot photography.

I was committed to making sure these speakers left the event with everything they needed to put together their media kits so they would be in business. Voila! Speaker Connect was born!

So now that you have the how, I’d like to give you a glimpse of the why. 

I know what it’s like to be in the tight budget stage of starting a business. I wanted to continue to provide this space for emerging and growing speakers.  It’s been a blessing to share the stage with so many of these amazing speakers. I’m a firm believer in leaving our world better than it was when we got here.  There are so many speakers out there with amazing stories of hope, defying the odds, positive messages and inviting people to their full potential.  From where I stand, the more people are out there able to share this message, the better the world will be for it.  As a grandmother of one of the very coolest, most adventurous 8-year-olds on the planet, I want to make sure I’m doing what I can to leave a more positive world for her to grow up in.

We’ve been blessed to host eighteen speaking presentations so far delivered by some of the most amazing speakers out there. We’ve all found a common denominator – they all speak from a place of generosity, a commitment to adding value, and being in service of everyone in attendance.

This past weekend was no exception.  Speaker Connect joined forces with the LiveKind Movement to present the Mindful Entrepreneur Forum & Networking Event in Colorado Springs, one of our favorite places on the planet.  We wanted to present speakers who were aligned with our message of adding value to a business audience while they also joined in on an excellent networking opportunity. As has been the case, the event was even better than we’d expected.

Justin Janowski of Faith2Influence shared his story of answering the call to jump out of the comfort of a great corporate job to pursue his dream and start his own company.  He shared great nuggets he’s learned along the way with an extremely receptive and engaged audience. Based on what we heard, it’s no surprise that he surpassed his revenue goals in his very first year in business. His generosity shines through in everything he does and his success is indeed reflective of that. 

Rich “Trigger” Bontrager blew the audience away with his story of defying the odds as well, from a place of answering the call to follow his heart and his passion to build a great business.  His generosity shines through every word of his presentation and his commitment to over-delivering value to everyone he meets is evident in everything he does.  What a powerful story!

Larry Hargrave opened our eyes to a new way of looking at multiplier mindsets and how important it is that we mind the culture of our organizations. He provided some great tools to be able to do just that.  He shared what he’s learned through his vast experience in the corporate world –both profit and non-profit – and really brought home some great points.

Dee Pluimer brought so much heart to her presentation, blessing us all with the story of how her first trip to Kenya brought about such tremendous passion to make an impact that Women’s Circle of Caring was born.  She shared how her passion to connect women in the states with the women and children of Kenya have been able to bring about tremendous change and hope to a group of women who now feel loved, seen and appreciated within their communities. 

The true blessing has been that this is what we’ve experienced since we began this crazy ride.  Out of what was a need came a concept that is now helping amazing speakers launch, grow and scale their businesses to new heights with a collaborative event that can help them do just that. 

What we’ve seen come from these events are not only great friendships but also great collaborations among the speakers.  Without exception there has always been and will likely always be a common denominator – speakers come from a place of adding value and tremendous generosity for the audience, as it should be.

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