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Tips to Customize a Great Speech: Part II

Customizing a speech ensures your content is relevant for each audience you’re speaking. And if your speech isn’t relevant to their unique needs and issues, then it is not providing value for those listening.

As a result of positive feedback because you took the time to customize and maximize value, referrals and future business should surely result.

Customization = Repeat Business

The good news is that regardless of where you are in your speaking business, one of the best ways to impact your speaking referrals and spin-off business is by customizing a great speech.

So how do you customize? How long should it take?

There are several ingredients to baking this “cake of customization” ...

Tip #1: Have a Pre-event Questionnaire

Tip #2: Have an Organized Speaker Notebook

Speakers need a lot of great content to customize. I call each nugget of content a “puzzle piece.”

Puzzle pieces can be a story, a quote, an activity, a question, a video, music, etc.

By writing down all the various pieces of information into an organized notebook, it allows you to identify and keep track of all the great stories and experiences you desire to share through your presentation.

Do NOT do what I did early on in my floundering speaking career and try to keep track of all your great information inside your head. It doesn’t work. Or if you do this, at least know that you won’t be as effective as you could be in your speaking business. Instead, write down and organize your Speaker Notebook. It'll take a few hours upfront, but then all you need to do is add to it!

I’ll be hosting a webinar in the future on what exactly a Speaker Notebook should look like, both in print and electronically, because it can be complicated. But in the meantime, just go to a quiet place for a few hours and start writing or typing down anything and everything that you feel is valuable to potentially include in your speech.

Once you have your Speaker Notebook complete, only then can you start creating your outline for each speech – I call this a Speaker Storyboard. It’s a one page document that outlines your entire speech … and there’s nothing wrong with having your Speaker Storyboard on stage with you (on the floor of course so no one can see it) or on your lectern that you can occasionally glance at as you walk by (like Joel Osteen does). Note: an example of a Speaker Storyboard is in my book here.

The beauty of having your Speaker Storyboard and your Speaker Notebook is that you can quickly move your puzzle pieces of content around, add new content in, or take out content ... all depending on the time you have allotted for your speech, your audience and your speech objectives. The result is an efficiently customized speech that awesomely awes an audience!

True Story … recently I was speaking for a large group of financial professionals at their regional conference. One person in the audience had seen me speak twice before at two completely different events outside the financial industry. During Q & A at the end of my speech and in front of over 500 people, they approached the microphone and stated they had seen me speak three total times and each time they felt the speech was unique for the audience … talk about a testimonial!

We spoke afterwards and I learned where they had seen me before – the first (1) was at their son’s college orientation, the second (2) was at their previous company’s professional development training day, and the third (3) was obviously at that state conference event for their financial association.

When I got home, out of curiosity, I looked at each of my presentations from those events mentioned. Although ~80% of all my Power Point slides were identical, the ~20% I did customize was enough to make the entire speech seem unique.

So how long should customization take? Well, it depends … if you follow the process in my book, I think it should only take a few hours. But that is assuming you have a Speaker Notebook, a Speaker Storyboard, and a Pre-event Questionnaire.

A speaking business is a business in speaking. If even one spoke on the business wheel is missing or too long or too short, the whole business wheel suffers.

What I’ve shared with you about customization should serve you well on your customization spokes!!

To your success!! Contact me for any questions about your speaking business. As a teacher at heart, I am happy to answer any questions.

For those who read my book, PAID to SPEAK, I offer a complimentary coaching call after you complete reading it. I also offer private and group coaching that works you through my book with my review of your work along the way!

Let me know how I can help.


Desire to become a professional speaker?

Not getting the speaking business you had hoped for?

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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