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PSU Insight

Getting Started Right

You Are NOT a Speaker!

  • Thinking of yourself as a "speaker" is setting yourself up for disaster.

Rev. Tina Dupree presented a popular workshop at a convention of the National Speakers Association. During her presentation, she credited me – twice – with opening her eyes early in her career to a fundamental truth….

“You are not a speaker,” I had told her. “You are a business owner!”

Over the years, I’ve told numerous groups of professional and aspiring speakers that same truth — “You are not speakers. You are business owners!” It may seem pretty obvious, but I’ve found that most serious blunders that professional speakers make in their careers can be traced back to their forgetting that one “obvious” fact — they’re business owners.

You see, there’s a fundamental problem with thinking like a speaker, rather than like a business owner. When you think like a speaker, you're filled with passion and purpose. And that's good... when you're on the platform.

But when you're working at your business, thinking like a speaker causes you to make emotional decisions from a personal perspective, rather than making calculated and logical decisions from the perspective of an owner of a successful business enterprise.

And that's a sure-fire formula for failure.

So when someone asks you "What do you do?", you can respond quite accurately "I am a professional speaker." (If you want to say "highly successful professional speaker" or "the world's best professional speaker", go for it.) But when you look in the mirror, do not say "I am a speaker", but rather "I am a business owner!" Again, if you want to put "soon-to-be-rich" or something else in front of "business owner", that's fine. Just make sure that you always think of yourself as a business owner, not as a speaker.

Believe me, that simple change in perspective will make a world of difference!

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