Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Five Speaking Rules You Can Break

Joe Calloway, Guest Author

As with almost anything else you read about the speaking business, these ideas may or may not work for you. They work for me. As the old saying goes, “Sacred cows make the best burgers.” Here are, in my opinion, five rules of speaking that you can break:

5speakingrulesRule You Can Break Number 1: Memorize, rehearse, and make your speech perfect. ~ That’s one option. Or, you can be utterly in the moment with your audience. Not reciting a presentation “at” them, but being in the moment “with” them.

Of course, I quite naturally went the route of being very conversational and interactive with my audiences, since I can barely remember my own phone number, much less memorize a speech. In fact, on my website it clearly states that “Joe doesn’t do traditional ‘speeches.’”

I go off on tangents with the audience. I lose my place. I abandon 50% of my planned presentation if the CEO speaks before me and says something that inspires a totally different approach. Speakers who observe me are often horrified. So far, it’s working out okay.

Rule You Can Break Number 2: Develop multiple income streams. ~ Let me defer here to Peter Sheahan’s 2012 presentation at the NSA Convention. Peter pointed out that a blue tip flame has more power and effect than a flamethrower.


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You don’t have to feel like a slacker because you aren’t doing webinars, downloadable training programs, interactive web-based assessments, etc. As Peter said, “You can just do keynotes.” Or training, or coaching, or consulting.

Pick a lane. You can have fun and make a fortune.

Rule You Can Break Number 3: Never do anything on social media that doesn’t drive revenue. ~ Sometimes a speaker will say to me, “Joe, I don’t understand your social media strategy. Why did you post the ‘Thunderstruck’ video by AC/DC?”

I get more positive comments from clients when I post a good AC/DC video, than I do when I try to sell them something. Personally, I don’t want to hang out with anybody whose only relationship with me is that they want into my wallet.

Rule You Can Break Number 4: My speech (book, video, etc.) is wonderful. I need to spend my time selling it. ~ When I do a presentation for 500 people, in my mind I am making 500 sales calls. They are watching me work and, if I am amazing as what I do, they are likely to hire me or have influence on someone who can hire me.

I don’t have time to waste trying to reach people who have never heard of me. I’m too busy working on my next presentation in an effort to get hired by people who will perceive irresistible value in what I do.

Rule You Can Break Number 5: Just work. Take any job because you’re better off speaking than not speaking. ~ Good grief. Really? I mean REALLY? My career didn’t begin to take off until I got clarity on the work I shouldn’t do. The more I said “no” to bad jobs, the more I attracted the kind of work I wanted and did best.

Disclaimer: All of the above is what works for me. It might not work for you. (Which is true whenever any speaker tells you anything about what you “have” to do.)

Joe-CallowayCopyright © 2014 – Joe Calloway. Reprinted with permission. Joe Calloway, CSP, CPAE, is a leading performance expert who helps great companies get even better. He helps organizations focus on what is truly important, inspires constant improvement, and motivates people to immediate action. Joe has been a business author, coach, and speaker for 30 years and his client list reads like an international Who’s Who in business, ranging from companies like Coca Cola and IBM to Cadillac and American Express. Joe is a popular speaker for business meetings and events, and although he has been inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame, he doesn’t do traditional “speeches.” Instead, Joe actively engages people in highly interactive keynote sessions that challenge people to take action on what matters most in their businesses. His newest book is, “Be The Best At What Matters Most: The Only Strategy You’ll Ever Need.” Visit Joe’s Website @



Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact:, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at:

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Joe Calloway – 615-429-7600
CSP, CPAE, business author, speaker, coach at Joe Calloway
Joe Calloway, CSP, CPAE, is the author of “Be The Best At What Matters Most.”

For information email Joe Calloway or Kris Young:
Kris: 612-803-9190
Joe: 615-429-7600
PO Box 158309
Nashville, TN 37215


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