Do you know that the number one fear that people face is the fear of public speaking? This is followed by death at number two. Oddly enough, you can therefore conclude that at a funeral, more people would rather be in the casket, than on the stage giving the eulogy – Jerry Seinfeld.
Public speaking is a skill that should be practiced by business professionals every chance they get. From a podcast or radio show to a workshop or large venue, this skill will advance one’s business when used effectively.
I have always believed that great speakers have a natural advantage over others in leadership. A powerful commanding voice and presence coupled with inflection and timing skills puts them ahead of the crowd in terms of influence and management of others. Those with weak, soft spoken voices oftentimes have difficulty controlling the masses and lose out on business deals and opportunities. You can invest in your voice and speaking skills just as you can invest in any other area of your business and everyone has room for improvement.
I began to learn how to speak in front of others in 2004. Strangely enough, it was through stand-up comedy and I became a regular open mic’er frequenting clubs such as The Tampa Improv and Sidesplitters among others to work on the skill. Stand-up comedy taught me many things about myself and instilled in me one trait that all comedians have . . . resiliency. There is no more awkward feeling in public speaking when you stand in front of a hundred people and attempt to make them laugh, only to hear crickets. Even the best still experience bad nights on stage but they remain resilient and unafraid to go back out there.
I was on stage around 60 times throughout that year and had some good nights, many bad nights and some so-so nights but no matter how I did, the results did not phase me, I was always willing to try again.
I considered leaving Tampa to travel to New York, Chicago, or L.A. where there is much more stage time available for a comedian to practice and grow but ultimately decided against it. I got to know many working comedians then and while they enjoyed their craft, the demanding travel schedule took a toll on many of them. And while I never made that commitment to the craft, the craft gave to me resiliency and an unabashed sense of self-worth in both life and in business. Just like in comedy, you will have good days and bad days in business but you cannot fear the stage.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of watching Harland Williams perform at the Tampa Improv. Harland is an improv specialist and has appeared in many films including Rocket Man, Half-Baked, and Employee of the Month among many others. The majority of his act hinged on audience responses to his simple question – “What Do You Do?” And he is able to come up with material on the spot that is brilliant.
Improv is another area that business professionals will benefit from taking classes in. It will improve your negotiation skills and will make you more comfortable on a stage or in front of others.
However you do, public speaking is a craft that all professionals should invest in!
In 1973, San Francisco gave rise to a band that would transcend generations. A band that would go on to produce 18 Top 40 hits, sell 90 million records worldwide and become inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of 2017. It would go on to see many members come and go, with only one of the original members having contributed to every album produced and still there today. This band is Journey and has developed a brand bigger than any of the members.
I was inspired to write this article after watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony which included lead singer Steve Perry, guitarist Neal Schon, keyboardists Jonathan Cain and Gregg Rolie, bassist Ross Valory, and drummers Aynsley Dunbar and Steve Smith. Lacking from the induction was their current lead singer, Arnel Pineda who is the band’s longest standing front man and 9 other members who at one time performed with the band.
The Hall of Fame had inducted the members who formed the core of the band at their strongest point which was between 1978 and 1987 and had given birth to hits such as “Don’t Stop Believin” and “Open Arms”. After their induction, Journey played a couple of their songs for the audience without front man Steve Perry as Arnel Pineda re-joined the group on stage.
I felt bad that the Hall had neglected Arnel Pineda in particular because of his years of service as lead singer for the brand and also because he was the current face of the band, but so many still credit Steve Perry as the face of the band. Steve Perry was not an original member either, having been hired in 1977.
All politics aside though, what fascinates me most about Journey has been the sustainability of the band. They are one of a few that has been able to transcend generations and who still remain together today. They have seen many members come and go including the legendary Steve Perry, but yet fans still love and adore their music.
Journey has seen many faces and many re-births but the brand has remained untarnished. They truly have established a brand bigger than any of the members.
It is ironic that their name is Journey, and so many entrepreneurs are on what we call “The Entrepreneurial Journey” It is the mission and vision of many entrepreneurs that they establish a brand bigger than themselves, a brand that can sustain itself in the absence of themselves, and a brand that will transcend generations.
I too found it ironic that their best known song and first hit single was an inspirational message to us all, “Don’t Stop Believin”
What lessons can we as entrepreneurs draw from this band?
Copyright Meloni Productions, LLC - 18012 Loretta Lane Lutz, FL 33548 - 813-760-8516