So you want to be a speaker?

A young woman, Karen, recently asked how she might begin a speaking career. While she had, through her own personal experiences, become an expert on the Feldenkrais Method—a movement based somatic educational system—questions such as what to speak about and how to market herself remained. Ultimately, she wondered what she would say.

I offered the following from my own experience...

Karen, congratulations! I wish you the best in your new (ad)venture. Your years of experience working with children and the Feldenkrais Method clearly offer you a valuable, unique perspective. While I’m unfamiliar with the Feldenkrais Method, its reminds me of the Alexander Technique.

Years ago, I worked with a young mother as she prepared to reenter academia as a medical student. Unable to afford the support she needed, she offered to barter—one hour of tutoring for one hour of Alexander Technique. Needless to say (at least to those who know me), knowing nothing whatsoever of the Alexander Technique, I jumped at the opportunity. I’m glad you’ve jumped at yours.

With so many professional and, no doubt, master speakers offering such valuable guidance throughout myriad online communities, I hesitate to speak up—then, speaking up is what I’ve always done...

So, what do YOU want to say?

While this question may seem a logical place to begin, I began speaking by asking, “What do I want to know?”

As a child, I used to love going to magic shows. I would try to sit as far as I could to one side of the stage in the hope that I just might catch a peek of the magician’s hidden secrets. I’ll always remember that feeling—wanting so badly to learn the secrets of that magic. Growing up, I discovered I was not alone. Have you ever wanted to know a secret?

You, my friend, hold many.

Years later, working as a consultant, I had a revelation. After so many years trying to unriddle carefully hidden secrets, my job was now to share them. I was a freshman at Yale when invited to give my first major keynote to a group of educators and parents at the University of Connecticut. It was titled, “There Are No Secrets.”

Today, I still spend a great deal of time peeking behind the “magic” to discover the best-kept secrets. The rest of my life is spent sharing them.

So, Karen, what are YOUR secrets? When you choose to share them, I’m willing to bet people will line up to listen.

I believe great speakers actually relive their own feelings of discovery every time they speak—every time they share their secrets.

I’ve spent my life speaking, though I do not consider myself a professional speaker. While, having shared hundreds of lectures and keynotes with audiences large and small, speaking has never been included in any business plan. Instead, speaking was and remains an opportunity to share all those “secrets” I am so passionate to have learned and discovered, with little concern for the more mundane considerations of everyday business.

In the end, I think that has made all the difference.

To all your adventures yet to come!


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