The Business of Professional Speaking: Harnessing the Power of Messaging

As a keynote speaker, you are on a mission to help your audience through the power of your words and your unique delivery. The greatest challenge you will face is having your message understood by you audience and inspiring them to convert to a new way of thinking. If you’re really good, the experience will be truly transformational.

There is a certain amount of sorcery in delivering a powerful message. Your objective is not just to motivate them, but also to inspire them to retell your message (thereby generating word-of-mouth). You want them to buy into your unique key ideas. Sounds pretty lofty, doesn’t it?

The reality is that every successful keynote speaker does exactly this – whether they are a thought leader, a product pitch, or a political platform. Successful keynoters who have mastered the business of professional speaking know how to get their audience to hum their tune long after the event is over. You might think it’s an art, but in reality it’s closer to science.

As a rule, fewer than 2% of consumers (and often less than 1%) will buy into an idea upon the first exposure to one they haven’t heard before. A bond of trust has to be achieved through the Creative Repetition of a clear, simple message.

It takes at least seven exposures to your message before it is engrained in the minds of your target audience. That is, if you want your prospect to respond to you with their heart as well as their head, you’re going to have to break through their conscious objections and seed the message deep down. One common tool which accomplished speakers use is the power of repetition.

Branding for Professional Speakers

Did you know that Australians spend more per capita on personal/professional development products than any other country in the world? In my world, speakers are regularly booking Business Class seats on Quantas, as this marketplace is robust. Tour promoters bring speakers into their audiences on a regular basis.

These high volume speaker bureaus in Australia have a couple criteria for the speakers they book; 1) Those who can change hearts and minds through the power of their words, and 2) People who can close product sales back-of-room. One method that is nestled deep within these top performing speakers’ material is something I call Creative Repetition.

The process of Creative Repetition is not new to the world of corporate branding. Successful companies spend heavily on keeping their brand front and center in the minds of their audience. The same can be said about internationally touring professional speakers, whose first impression carries a lot of weight. The way the consumer perceives you is typically through communications designed to promote a feeling. Are you seen as smart? Trustworthy? Caring? Forward thinking? The answer is the result of your Branding, whether you’ve done it intentionally or not.

How you are perceived by your audience has everything to do with the brand you put forward. Notice your own response when you think of brands like Toyota, Nike and Starbucks. Notice how you came to have those responses. It was almost certainly through repeated exposure to their message, their logo and their media.

What are the top speaker brands that come to your mind? Most people will say Anthony Robbins and Zig Ziglar. Some industry enthusiasts may reach for names like Brendon Burchard, Darren Hardy, Meg Robbins, Larry Winget or Jeffrey Gitomer. Have you ever heard of Dan Waldschmidt? Probably not, but he is someone who has built a remarkable brand.

Creative Repetition

Getting your message to stick in the minds your customers is not for dabblers. You can’t give it a half-hearted attempt or the once-over-lightly and expect to have powerful, earth-shattering success.

It takes an average of 7 to 14 repetitions to give your message the kind of gravitas that builds empires. That means you have to repeat yourself about 10 times before your listener actually hears you. This can be frustrating if you’re not aware of how the human brain responds to verbal cues. If you have kids, you may understand and sympathize with this paradigm more than most!

The successful keynoter has the responsibility to generate trust and consistency through Creative Repetition, planting their message firmly into the hearts and minds of the audience.

The good news is that these repetitions don’t have to occur all at once. They can be proffered through a variety of media, or they can even be used within the same message.

For example, as a speaker you are probably keenly aware of the old adage, “Tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em. Tell ’em. Then tell ’em what you told ’em.” This means summarizing your message, delivering it, and finally recapping it for your audience. This technique alone can yield three repetitions, and it makes for a cogent, compelling speech.

Even repeating certain weighty points within your speech can be highly effective in driving your point home. This kind of repetition is particularly popular among college professors, corporate trainers and politicians. That’s because it works!

When you’re trying to get your point across to an audience and capture their attention, consistent messaging can take several forms. For example, beyond your public address, you might send an email broadcast. Many speakers will offer to record a personalized video just for their client’s employees. Other methods include social media, a public seminar, or an invitation-only webinar.

The brand message is purely focused on creating a favorable image in the mind of the consumer. Reinforcing that image through repetition creates a permanent impression in the minds of your target audience. The speaker’s mentality is often oriented towards the long-term impact of the brand, while even moving the audience into a buying mood.

Creative Repetition is one of the most powerful tools you can use to infuse a bit of magic into your speaking business. Besides your keynote address, here are some effective formats. You can use them along with Creative Repetition to generate a response from your audience.

  • Email newsletter broadcasts with brand reinforcements
  • Offers to entice repeat visits to your website
  • A regular blog communication in the form of articles
  • Social media posts which are relevant to their lifestyle
  • Video posts to YouTube
  • A podcast show, which can be recorded from your home office

Creative Repetition is just one ingredient in the mixture that creates speaking success, but it is essential for lasting results. Deftly applied, the results compound all by themselves. How will you use the power of this treasured tool?

Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.