employees to leave their jobs and travel the world,
so I came up with a hybrid solution for this third
phase of my speaking career
I speak less than I used to, and when I do, I
inject my passion topic into my payoff topic. I
continue to deliver my “tested and proven” mate-
rial with laugh lines that always work. I continue
to “sell” the fundamental wisdom of making
positive word choices when engaging with clients
And I pander to my passion by aiming for 50
percent new content, which in my case means
What did I learn about positive communication while visiting Antarctica on a Russian
What insights did I gain by observing body
language in Argentina?
What communication shortfalls did I stumble
upon in Malaysia?
THE WORD IS ADVENTURE
My new message about positive life choices reinforces my original message about positive word
Audiences love entertaining stories, and clients
appreciate the points they make. In my case, that
message is: Consciously choosing positive words
projects a corporate image that enhances salespeople’s persuasive abilities, keeps customers
coming back, builds staff cohesion, and produces
profitable outcomes. And isn’t telling positive
stories a logical extension of choosing positive words?
My topic update produces that adrenaline
rush I remember from my early days as a speaker,
more than 30 years ago. I’m thrilled to feel nervous before my talks again, and I rehearse them
to be sure I land my new, humorous story segments. I’m balanced on the edge all over again,
and it’s exciting!
I love speaking, and I can’t imagine ever
hanging up my microphone and retiring in the
traditional sense. These days, when I’m boarding
a plane, I’m likely heading off to some place I’ve
never visited before instead of fighting my way
to the next meeting hall. I’m using those airline
miles I accumulated serving my audiences to
serve myself. And as I do, I find new adventure
stories to inspire and educate with.
TIME FOR AN OVERHAUL
Phase III can be a rebirth of sorts. Remember back
in the beginning when you were trying to “pick
your lane,” develop your signature story, and hone
your message? With all that speaking behind you
and all that adventure ahead of you (and hopefully
GEORGE WALTHER, MBA,
CSP, CPAE, now combines
his two great passions: He
relishes every opportunity to
show audiences how they can
communicate more positively,
and he thrives on “rough” global
adventures, especially when he’s
hiking in the Himalayas or visiting
indigenous Ecuadorians whose
communication styles are radically different
than what Americans are used to.
some accumulated savings in your suitcase),
why not refresh, redefine, and re-create the way
you live and what you speak about?
And no excuses! I stay in youth hostels,
tents, and the huts of native tribesmen for
a lot less than it costs to stay home. It’s less
expensive to rejuvenate and rebound than you
Ask yourself what you’re most passionate
about now. Overhaul your topic. I don’t mean
tweak it a little. Aim for 50 percent new content that reinforces your core message—or
your ne w core message. And aim for 50 percent
new lifestyle choices that feed that 50 percent
Welcome back that exciting nervousness.
Celebrate uncertainty. Feel the tingle of trepidation that engulfed you when you walked
onstage back in Phase I.