When audiences watch a great keynote speaker, they are only aware of the time that speaker is on stage.
The time experienced with that speaker is a fraction of the amount of time the speaker actually invested in making that speech happen.
The audience isn't aware of the countless hours (and years) that went into developing that speech.
They have no clue about the details and customized preparation work that went into that specific speech.
They don't know all the administrative logistics that went into contracting the speaking gig.
They have no clue what travel nightmares that speaker had en route getting there.
They don't see the onsite management of set up, sound checks, handling issues gone awry, adapting to situations not predicted, etc.
They aren't aware of travel delays getting home. Missed time with family. Often missed special occasions.
By the time a speaker gets home, they are exhausted. If they are lucky, they have a day or two to regroup before they hit the road again. Or maybe not.
But as speakers who love what we do, it's all good isn't it? There are far more pros then cons. Being on stage for that short time frame makes everything getting there and home worth it.
So check this out ... after I was speaking in Denver last week, an audience member approached me during my post-keynote book signing. They said, "I want to do what you do. It's so awesome that you get paid to speak for just an hour and travel around the country."
< insert sigh of frustration >
I didn't take their comment as an insult. I've heard it many times before. Actually, I took it as a compliment, because ...
So I simply smiled in response to their unintentionally naive comment. What was really on my mind was, "If you only knew!"
But I responded, "You're right. I rolled out of bed just a few minutes ago from North Carolina" ... and then I winked right at them. I could tell by their reaction they were aware they had misspoken.
But seriously ... if they only knew my schedule for that day +1!
12:45am: Alarm wakes me up. (yes that's AM)
1:30am: In the car driving from Raleigh to Charlotte, NC.
(note: the only flight to get me there in enough time was a 5:30am direct flight out of Charlotte. Raleigh would have added a layover no matter where I flew. Ugh.)
3:55am: Arrive at Charlotte airport. Park.
4:20am: Get through airport security and am sitting at gate trying not to fall asleep.
5:30am: Flight leaves from Charlotte to Denver.
8:06am: Flight should have landed in Denver.
9:39am: Flight actually landed in Denver.
10:14am: Time I should have had my rental car.
10:55am: Time I actually got into my rental car. Start driving to conference hotel.
12:15pm: Arrival to conference hotel.
1:30pm: Sound check on keynote main stage.
1:45pm: All OK. Soundcheck complete.
2:00pm: Relax. Begin to get into my mental "zone" and focus. (I have a pre-keynote mental ritual - future blog post.)
2:50pm: Set up for keynote.
3:00pm: Keynote speech to audience.
4:15pm: Keynote speech concludes.
5:15pm: Book signing session during cocktail hour.
7:00pm: Cocktail hour concludes.
7:45pm: Drive back to airport.
9:00pm: Arrival back to rental car location at aiport.
9:20pm: Going through security at airport.
11:23pm: Time red-eye flight should have left Denver airport.
12:55am: Time red-eye flight actually left Denver airport.
6:35am: Flight lands in Charlotte, NC. (not home yet)
7:05am: Get to car at Charlotte airport. Drive to Raleigh.
9:30am: Arrive in Raleigh. Can't go home though. Presenting a noon workshop for a staff of 30 tech professionals at their Raleigh HQ.
12:00pm: Noon workshop.
1:30pm: Workshop concludes.
2:45pm: Arrive home. Call wife. Pet dog. Take a shower.
3:00pm: Lay in bed. Pass out.
So was that one speech worth it? Absolutely.
As Steve Jobs said, when you love what you do, it shows. And when you love what you do, you'll do crazy things. Watch this video below ... one of my favorites.
I used to think asking for help was a sign of weakness.
I discovered it was a sign of strength when the speaking advice I got from a mentor launched my speaking business into new heights.
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In addition to my own speaking business, I have a passion for helping and coaching speakers develop their own. Whether it's in crafting a speech, identifying target groups who can pay, and/or how to get the speaking gig itself, I can help. I've keynoted over 1,150 presentations in practically every industry you can imagine. My book, PAID to SPEAK, outlines a proven model for speakers. If you are serious about becoming a professional speaker, contact me for a free consultation. I don't want you to flounder like I did and be frustrated. If you're not a subscriber to these speaker articles, submit your email today!
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