April 4, 2020

Do not go gentle into that good night good motivational speaker

Bronwyn Hesketh of Speakers Inc. and I were having a chat about these unprecedented times that we are facing as a profession, a country and a planet.

As a professional speaking industry we have a unique opportunity to serve our clients with sensitivity and care in these unprecedented times.

Our clients need to survive now and thrive later.

And, of course, so do we. As an industry we can play a part in helping them achieve this goal. 

This means that we have to pivot both personally and professionally so that we can all come out of this trial intact and ready to take on the new world with vim and vigour. 

We’re convinced that this is a pause and not a permanent condition. It is apparent to us that our clients think so as well Bronwyn’s agencies are getting around two to three enquiries every day for speakers to present after July 2020 at conferences.

Our clients haven’t given up on us and neither should we give upon them. Our clients are hopeful as we should be too. 

It’s tough for all of us financially and mentally, believe me we know.

But now is not the time for our profession to snuff out its light and go gentle into that good night. Now, more than ever, we have to shine. Now, more than ever, we have to be the lighthouse in this sea of turmoil and show the way.

Now, more than ever, we have to tough it out and show what we are made of.

What can we do right now to help our clients and ourselves?

In the short term we will have to embrace the world of online learning and ramp up our skills quickly so that we can still share our valuable information and teachings. By now you’ll have seen a plethora of “online specialists” crawling out of the woodwork and touting their product and training. There are so many options and viewpoints, it’s quite overwhelming, isn’t it?

There are many online webinar platforms out there. We use Zoom.

It doesn’t take much dexterity or skill to make it work for us and our clients.

Just get it done because perfect it never will be. As you get into it you can finesse it into something exceptional.

Good enough is good enough right now. If you’ve never done a Zoom call, your first one will probably be a comedy of errors.

You can find some great Zoom tips and tricks to become really proficient at handling the platform pretty much everywhere.

Rich Mulholland gives a great example of How To Rock At Desktop-Conferencing on a platform called Crowdcast.

Here’s the recording of it (1h46 (bring coffee)). It’s a great example of how online presentations can be done.

Bruce Wade has created four You Tube videos on how to use Zoom effectively and is great for Zoom beginners.

And, if you go to the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa’s community group on Facebook, there’s always someone posting on how to use online tools.

However, we would caution that selling online speaking/training may not be the panacea for all our problems right now.

Like with Covid-19, nobody can really predict what is in store for us, can they?

Who knows, perhaps our clients don’t want online training or can’t afford it or prefer to hold a live conference when this all

blows over? We don’t know.

There’s a wonderful opportunity for all of us who get to grips with the online training/speaking world. In the future, instead of only selling only a keynote, we can sell a process by adding online training to bed down the learnings from the keynote.

You can add it as an enticer so that the client goes with your fee (would you rather pay 25k for a 1-hour keynote or 25k for a three week process?). Or, you can add online training in so that you can get additional income. Either way, everyone benefits.

The 21 days (or more) that we’re in lockdown is also an amazing opportunity for us to spring clean our marketing collateral.

You’re probably already good at marketing, but it’s still a great time to undertake an audit and finesse how we portray ourselves to our prospective clients. It is a great time to learn more about marketing.

Now is a great time to figure out how to build your email list here or here. It is also a great time to spruce up your marketing copy so that it resonates, registers and builds rapport with your potential clients. And, now is a good time to find innovative ways to get yourself in front of speaker bookers.

In the next 21 days, if you would like to chat, ask questions or whatever (I think some of us are going to go quite mal with cabin fever), please reach out to me and I’ll make time for you. I also have a bunch of self-care coaches who can talk you through this.

P.S. Check out How Roedean Girl’s High has used online for its rendition of Hallelujah. (Bring tissues)

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

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