I travel a lot. Different cities. Different hotels. Different experiences. And most of them teach me something.
Last week, I had to make a work trip to Orlando. I was speaking at the Carnegie Dartlet Conference at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. Disney – the holy grail of excellence, customer service, and experience. I was getting ready to check-in when a woman in the lobby, in full Disney uniform, caught my attention. She was positioned right near the door to help assist everyone coming in and out, answering questions with a big smile on her face and wearing a badge on her shirt that read, Earning My Ears. Of course, I had to ask and soon learned what that badge meant. She got hired about a month ago from NY, she told me it was her dream to work at Disney and decided it was finally her time. She was proud to wear that badge and knew her position came with more than a title – it came with work. A lot of times we get a job, but we don’t always earn it. And once we are in it and given the role, we tend to get comfortable.
Something hit me.
I know that speaking is more than a job for me, it is my calling. I do not want to just have the title of a speaker, but I want to earn that title. I want to get hired by a company and never get too comfortable on the stage. I want to Earn My Audience’s Ears. After years of experience, I learned that earning my audience’s ears takes a few practical but pivotal steps and it’s something I think all event planners and motivational speakers should practice for their events and speaking engagements.
Here are some ways I like to work with the event planner to earn my audience’s ears for a successful event:
1. There has to be a Pre & Post Event Call with the Event Planner
Pre and post-event calls allow me to truly immerse myself in the vision and culture of the company hiring me. This is the moment where we understand what is needed from each other to make this the best experience for everyone involved. In the pre-call, we create customized topics specific to that organization. Every company, conference, and school has strong points and pain points that I can lean into and speak more directly with my audience both professionally and personally. The post-call is a way for me to improve from feedback and maintain my growth potential.
2. Read my Bio -It Establishes my Credibility with the Audience
I provide access to my bio before I ever step foot on the stage and I need the company to utilize the resources provided to introduce me with authority and confidence. How a speaker is introduced sets the tone for the remainder of the speech. The audience wants to learn from someone who has an engaging story, someone who is credible, someone who is worth listening to – the bio establishes all of that. If the MC does not introduce me with excellence, my chance of earning the audience’s ears has greatly diminished. I need them to know about me before I open my mouth, so they understand the heart of my message. I need our energies to match! We want the audience to have a level of expectation for the speaker – I promise to always do my best to meet them.
3. No Drinking Before The Speaker Gets On Stage
Many companies hire me for kick-off events and company celebrations – it is always a good time. But having your audience drink before the speaker gets on the stage ruins the magic of earning their ears. You know what Jamie Foxx says:
Blame it on the booze
Got you feeling loose
Blame it on ‘tron
Got you in the zone
Blame it on the a a a a a alcohol
Blame it on the a a a a a a alcohol
In all seriousness, it leads to disengagement, interruptions, and an overwhelming distraction for the audience to hone in. I want to make sure the hiring company gets the most out of the experience for their employees and not get the most out of the employees who ruin the experience. Drink up and party, just after the speaker leaves the stage. I am extremely passionate about the audience experience – no drinking before I hit the stage.
4. Use the Resources my Team has Provided
I have created resources to help make this experience one of excellence. My photos, my bio, my speaker-rider, and more take the guessing away from the event planner. Do you want a graphic for the big screen? I got it. Do you need to know my mic set-up? I have that. My resources allow a smooth day-of experience for both the organizer and audience. My goal is for the audience to lean in and leave feeling equipped and ready to thrive.
Earning Your Audience’s Ears takes some work, time, planning, and intention – but it is worth it. Yes, I get booked for engagements but I need to earn the audience’s ears to make the event next-level. I do not want to just speak, I want to earn and we can’t earn alone. It comes with collaboration and steps for success. Different cities. Different hotels. Different experiences – I can’t wait to see what I will learn next.
If you are an event planner looking for a motivational speaker near you, check out my speaker page here. Or if you are an aspiring speaker and want to get paid to speak check out my speaking program that teaches you everything you need to know to become a motivational speaker here.