My Biggest Keynote Ever
Just this past November, I spoke in front of an audience of 3,000 people—the largest number ever for me—at Christy Wright's Business Boutique event. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Everything is amplified in a room with that many people—from the applause to the laughter and even the silence. When you’re on stage, by yourself, standing in front of an audience of that size, all the senses are heightened. It’s both electric and magical.
And guess what? I’m going to do it again. But this time . . . even bigger!
This coming March, on the final day of Social Media Marketing World (SMMW), I will be giving the closing keynote speech in front of an estimated 5,000 people!
I’m stoked, I’m nervous, and I’m ready for this. I’d also really love to see you there. I will also be having a meetup on the first day of Social Media Marketing World, and I’ll share more information about that later. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you’ll hear about it!
You should be attending Social Media Marketing World, even if I wasn’t going to be there. It’s an event that takes place each year in my hometown, San Diego, and it’s run by the awesome Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner. Michael puts on an amazing event with showcases, an opening-night party, sessions designed for networking with your peers, and the most thoughtful and helpful content you can find on the topics of social media marketing, content creation, video production, blogging, podcasting, and more.
This year I am especially grateful to Michael and the Social Media Marketing World team for having me give the closing keynote speech. You guys rock!
My Speaking Journey
I started doing speaking events in 2011, mostly as a favor to a friend. I knew it was something I should do eventually, but I honestly never thought I’d do it that soon—it really scared me.
I actually recorded a podcast episode about my speaking journey:
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The episode doesn't mention an audience size quite like the projected 5,000 at SMMW, but it does go through the journey and share a glimpse of some of the first presentations I've done, what went wrong, and why it was so bad—but also why I've kept at it, which is this:
The real reason why I kept speaking on stage, and continue to speak on stage, is not for the adrenaline rush of it while I’m on stage. It’s because, when I’m on stage sharing my story, sharing my knowledge about online business and podcasting and blogging, it’s the place where I feel like I can make the most direct impact on my audience.
That’s a feeling I never want to give up.
I know I can make an impact on people through my blog, podcast, and video channel on YouTube, but when you're on stage and people can see you in person, you have the capacity to affect them on an emotional level. There’s so much power in that face-to-face human interaction. I get to go on stage in front an audience full of people, right then and there, and teach them something of value they can use to move forward with to improve their lives. There’s really nothing like it.
And, to know that I’ll be speaking in front of potentially thousands of people in a couple of months at SMMW, makes me excited and grateful to think about all those people and the impact I can make on them.
Have I made it sound like speaking on stage is easy? It’s not. I struggled with it early on. I practice a ton. I have trained. I even hired a professional speaking coach once. And I’m always studying how to get better.
The process reminds me of marching band—when you work on a piece of music hard enough to have it memorized before you even head out onto the field in front of the football team and massive crowds. I'm at that point now when I'm speaking on stage, because I’ve rehearsed so much and because I practice and because it has become a honed art for me, it feels like I’m in another zone. Something takes over, and by the end of the presentation I kind of come back into my body and I’m suddenly meeting and greeting with the audience. It's just one of the coolest feelings ever.
Initially, when I first started, I spoke at events for free because I wanted (and needed) the practice. Now, because I’ve been doing it for a while, I get paid to do it. Since 2011, I've spoken at over a hundred events. It’s been so fun, and I hope to continue to do more. That being said, now that more people are asking for my time on stage, I can be a little bit more picky about where I want to speak. I can speak in front of bigger crowds. I can speak in front of different crowds.
It's sad for me to say no to potential speaking gigs, but lately I have been saying it a lot more because I don’t have the time. I'm fortunate that a lot of presentations and events are in San Diego, but for the ones that are outside of San Diego, it’s a big thing. It’s not just the day to speak. It’s the travel, the preparation. I have to weigh how much that time is worth versus what I might be able to get back—in terms of the connections that I can make, who will be there, who am I speaking in front of, how might that turn into a long-term relationship.
All of that plays a role in my business, obviously. I want to always grow and challenge myself, and I do that by being more strategic about when and where I speak. Speaking on stage definitely helps me grow my audience. I usually see noticeable upticks in my subscriber numbers and in my social media follows after speaking engagements.
As for the future, I don’t plan on stopping. I want to continue to make bigger and more meaningful impacts on my audience. As my name gets a little more reputation behind it, maybe someday I’ll speak in front of an audience of 10,000. That would be exciting! But the point is that speaking will continue to be an important part of my business strategy, as it allows me to grow, learn more, and be my authentic self.
Social Media Marketing World
So, about the audience of . . . wait for it . . . 5,000! I want to see you guys there, not just to benefit from my keynote, but to benefit from the event as a whole. In the past, the price point for SMMW has been an obstacle for some. I get that. But this year, they’ve done a great thing and created different pricing tiers for different levels of access to the event.
Just go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/smmw and click on the Register button at the top to learn more and buy your tickets!
[Full Disclosure: I’m an affiliate for Social Media Marketing World.]
I’d really love to see you there. I want to host a meetup too, so we can have more time with each other. Look out on social media for more details about that coming up!
And again, you can get your tickets to SMMW and be there in attendance for my closing keynote at: SmartPassiveIncome.com/smww.
See you there!