Public Speaking-Speaking to Military-Huah! (Ft Hood, TX)


I just realized I’ve been making a huge mistake!


If you’ve been a faithful reader, you know about how glad I’ve been at times that I have a ‘standard presentation’ that I sometimes give. If I am delayed by weather, not feeling well, or if there are other challenges, it’s great to have a good talk that I can say while essentially on autopilot.


But what I’ve learned recently is that, with all the talent I have, with all the energy I have, with all the speaking techniques I have in my tool belt, there are times where it’s not enough.


This was one of them.



Shut up and listen!

I learned from my recent talk in Virginia that the military isn’t like civilian institutions. You can’t just “show up and blow up” with them. My previous belief system led me to believe that I could take one talk and insert the word “student’ if I’m speaking to that crowd, “employee” if I’m speaking to a corporate audience, and so on. I would change the stories and examples around to conveniently tailor my comments toward that audience. This called ‘tailoring your message.’ In most instances, it works just fine if you’re quick on your feet and are able to tap into the vibe of the audience. I’ve actually become pretty good at it.


I have just been taught that if you don’t want much out of your career and getting rebooked isn’t a priority, this strategy is more than acceptable. However, at my next bootcamp (HYPERLINK), I’m going to show you what I’ve learned about how to quickly get all the information you need to look like a freakin’ guru on stage!


I can’t say enough how glad I am for my contact who brought me in to speak. She saw me speak months ago and knew I would be great for her soldiers…but…she had to see me speak (and fail) a couple more times before she was able to coach me into thinking the way I needed to so I could be effective in a military setting.


I had it all wrong

I will never underestimate the power of giving someone what they want. I started off being very philosophical, asking them questions about the purpose of the program and their role in fulfilling the purpose. It was good, but not what they needed. The looks in their eyes showed that they were drawn in my energy, but that *connection* wasn’t there (and you know, CONNECTION IS KEY!). I quickly remembered what my training has taught me; soldiers don’t want motivation, they don’t want philosophy, they want instructions. They are trained to get their orders and follow them the letter. What would seem like an insult in the civilian world, “Do this, then this, then this” is how they are trained to received information. Fooling myself to believe that I could circumvent the system would be thinking much more highly of myself than I should.

I switched gears and got into a more detailed, tactic-oriented discussion, yet I never lost the element of engaging them.


TIP: They are soldiers, but they are still human. Everyone needs to feel valued if they are going to buy into your message.


Two hours flew by. Both they and I were wishing there was more time because we didn’t even finish half of what was discussed. It was a total transformation and a learning experience on both sides. I know everyone grew because of the experience.


I am convinced of two things:

  1. I am a very strong speaker. When I put in the work, I can elevate to any level I choose.
  2. I still have a lot to learn.



“The Connection Coach”


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One Response

  1. Is the standard presentation your bread and butter? Something you rely on to get you out of a bind? Something you fall back on if you don’t feel prepared?

    How do you keep it fresh…from sounding like a standard presentation?

    Watching the DNC the speakers that I have enjoyed most are the ones that I was able to connect to…I even found myself saying that such and such is not a good speaker…not at all engaging…you can have a powerful message, but it will fall upon deaf ears if you do not connect with the audience.

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