Speakers are constantly bom- barded with different strategies for connecting with their audiences and making their
messages stick.How do you deliver
Sometimes there isn’t a simple answer
to that question. It is often necessary to
take a step back, recognize your talents
and opportunities, and go for it!
Here, three successful entertainers
share their stories and the unique ways
in which they connect with audiences
and deliver their messages through
song, humor and improv entertainment.
One became an “accidental” speaker
when he listened to the advice of his
colleagues and took a leap of faith.
Another found the key to connecting
with her audiences through a combination of music and humor. And last,
but not least, one struggling musician
discovered a way to blend his passions
to reach people and change lives. Each
has an inspiring story of success.
a speaker is Born
B Y KIER
I came into the speaking business kicking
and screaming. I’ve been an entertainer
for nearly 30 years, a speaker for about
five, and I only gave in to speaking when
I realized it could afford me the chance
to return to my first love—songwriting.
I started in clubs, where no one
listens. Then, I began touring colleges
and had attentive audiences almost every
night. Wow, they listened to every word!
This is a dream come true for any songwriter, except an odd thing happened:
I started getting a few laughs between
the music. And then a lot of laughs. And
eventually it took over the whole show.
Suddenly, Songwriter-guy was bound
and gagged in the back seat while
comedian-guy was speeding around the
countryside like a drunken frat boy on
spring break. Jackson Browne … meet
After 9/11, my business as an entertainer tanked. The phone stopped
ringing, no one was booking me, and
I went from professional management
to self-management. I use the term self-management loosely because about
the only thing that was being managed
was the decision to use the fancy swirl
pattern or a photograph of The Beatles
as my screensaver. Like a lot of folks
that fall, I was feeling discouraged. My
calendar hadn’t been slow in 10 years!
What I needed to do was chain
myself to the desk and make calls until
I generated some business. I actually
chained myself to my piano and started
writing songs. That’s all I did for weeks,
chastising myself all the while, knowing
this music would never see the light of