Speaker’s Training 101

I attended my first speaker’s conference recently.  Rumor has it that as an author, you need to do speaking engagements, so I was trying to learn what I’m getting myself into : )

The conference is entitled, “James Malinchak’s Big Money Speaker Boot Camp.”  You might know him from the show the Secret Millionaire.  O.K., where do I sign up?  Who wouldn’t want to make big money?  At this stage, any money from my hard work would be an improvement : )  I noticed that it’s a rather flashy title and not one that I completely felt comfortable with, but it made me curious enough to want to check it out.  I’m sure that’s the point.  James is nothing if not an expert marketer and he’s honed his craft very well.  It was recommended to me by a new writing friend.  Sue suggested it, I did some research and off I went to learn and who knows, maybe get some great Karma and earn some big money : )

John Assaraf

John Assaraf

The guest speakers were all top notch:  Leeza Gibbons, a first quality celebrity and the winner of Celebrity Apprentice.  Most impressively, she won by holding her moral and civil ground.

John Assaraf is most readily known for the famous book and film, “The Secret”.   Who knew – he’s even a nice Jewish boy : )

Kevin Harrington is from Shark Tank fame.

Forbes Riley is known as the “Queen of Selling on TV.”

Julie Carrier is the #1 speaker for teen girls and

E. Brian Rose grew his company, JVZoo to earn $150,000,000 in three years.  How many of you would like a fraction of that success?  I know I would.

Finally, Brian Tracy was the first personal development coach that I ever purchased a product from.  Let’s just say they were on cassette tapes – yes, that long ago. O.K., it’s better than wooden tablets : )

Each speaker provided their insights and unique stories that increased the value of my attendance, day by day.  Of course, they all seem to have attended James’ workshops and have ready at hand books or cds to purchase – but in my opinion, that’s a good thing.  More opportunities to learn.  You have the added benefit to listen as often as you like.  I confess that I succumbed to a few of them for myself, and even bought one of my Hanukah presents for my husband courtesy of James Malinchak’s cd packages : )

Sue is a member who James personally coaches.  The current price for that is almost $15K – unfortunately, out of my price range.  There are even coaching clients that pay $100K. That feels like a price from another solar system.   She kindly introduced me to James at the end of the 4-day conference. I thanked him for all of the great advice he had given, but admitted that I just didn’t think that I could spring for that kind of money from my family, at this time.

Luckily, there is even a free option to attend the conference – and I had paid for the $97 version which got me the manual, great advice and the best conference lunches I have ever tasted : )   Then there’s the hotel expenses, breakfasts, dinners and the time away from home for 4 days!  It’s not cheap, no matter what level of ticket you buy.  I am very thankful for my husband who was willing to not only financially support my attendance, but who solely took care of our son for the time I was gone.  Admittedly, I’m sure they had a great time together, spraying their testosterone throughout the house for the whole weekend : )

James remained polite, but I could just imagine him thinking that I didn’t get it.  Throughout the conference he advised that spending your money for this type of thing is an investment.  He told many stories about how when he didn’t have the money to do something that he felt would propel his career further in his younger days, he rolled up his sleeves and set about to earn it.  I just knew he was thinking, “Didn’t you listen to what I said during this whole conference?   Yes, actually I had.  I was very intent on learning and appreciative of the opportunity.  It was extremely informative and I could see that he truly cares about helping people.  It’s just now isn’t the right time to make that decision.  I could just see me coming home and telling my husband how I plopped down $15K because it was an investment without speaking with him.  I even cringe at just imagining his reaction.  Would your spouse just say, Great honey, I look forward to the big bucks rolling in?  For most of us married folks, I don’t think it works that way.  But then again James isn’t married, so he lives in a different reality in so many ways.

James Malinchak, is a terrific speaker and has great ideas.  I loved his tip about seeking advice when you want to do something that you’ve never done before.  His recommendation, isn’t rocket science, but it’s surprising how often people, including myself don’t do this.  Go out and find someone who is really good at it and get their help.  Since doing new things seems to be my entire life right now, I think it’s very sound advice.  I’ve also personally experienced doing new things without seeking mentors and have the financial scars to prove it : (  Time for a new approach.  At his level of financial success, he can just go out and pay for coaching, but he advises there are other less expensive ways such as reading articles, buying books and taking classes.  The whole idea of getting out and meeting people is another tip he stressed because you never know who knows who – anywhere from the clerk at the grocery store to a celebrity.  Everyone knows people and you don’t have any idea what their connections are.

At times some of the promotions feel a bit too infomercial for my personal tastes, but here I was.  Obviously, they are effective : )  You don’t have to agree 100% with anyone, to learn from them and this conference had an incredible amount of helpful material.  I liked his perspective of having businesses provide freedom to do what you want, when you want.  He spoke often about how business owners weren’t in business to have a business. The purpose of owning your own business is to have your company buy you your freedom to make the choices that are important to you in your life – spend time with family, take those vacations – not prove to others how you can exhaust yourself working 23 out of 24 hours.  He was all about using your knowledge, sharing it with others and enjoying a nice lifestyle while doing it.  That all sounded great to me.

He’s a very dynamic speaker and uses the stage confidently and interestingly.  I particularly loved his use of interactions with the audience to keep them involved with what he was saying.  He teaches you how to be a great speaker by showing you.  It’s also a writing technique – “show, don’t tell.”  Let the audience figure it out.  They’ll be more involved with your speaking or writing.  He didn’t just stay on the stage, at times he moved amongst the audience.  I saw some of the other speakers, do the same.  It made sense to me as I straightened in my chair as they passed by – good point.

I know he emphasizes that books are tools to establish credibility and I believe that’s true.  However, a memoir takes on a much deeper purpose and reality.  He’s usually talking about the salesman or the plumber who writes about the top 10 reasons to flush your pipes or some similar topic.  Excuse me while I amuse myself with potty humor – sorry.  Once I finally get my book completed it will be a tool technically, but it’s so much more. My memoir – that’s my heart, my life.  It’s my desire to teach about important, life-changing lessons that I learned that amazed or disturbed me.   Every time he referred to writing books as tools, I bristled.

Going to network with the audience alone, is worth the investment.  You never know who you will meet.  I had to laugh.  Another synchronicity.  Out of the approximate 500 people at the conference, who sits next to me?  An orthodox Jew from Jerusalem!  Seriously, how do these things keep happening to me?  I really believe that I am in the flow that spiritual teachers speak of.   It means that when you are doing what you are meant to do, situations and people come to you like a magnet : )

As we spoke, Yosef, informed me that due to his religious beliefs, he wasn’t going to be able to do certain things during Shabbat like opening his hotel door.  No “work” is allowed on Shabbat.  He asked me if I wouldn’t mind helping him out at certain times during the conference.  I asked him, “You mean like a Shabbos Goy?”  (That’s a gentile who helps an orthodox Jew with issues like this during the Sabbbath). He was shocked.  “How do you know about that?” he asked incredulously.  I said, “I’m Jewish, and I’d be happy to help you out.”  Tee, my married name does not come across as Jewish – because it’s not.  It was changed at Ellis Island by a clerk that I’m totally convinced was wishing he was golfing.  Really, the real name Tilkin, it’s just not that hard to spell.  Anyway, back to Yoseph…“Oh no,” he replied.  “I can’t let you do that!” he said.  Apparently in my less than informed Jewishness, he would be leading me astray by allowing me to do so.  Yosef would have to get someone else to help him.

The next day, was Friday.  We attended the conference all day and learned so much.  Shabbat was quickly approaching.  Yosef very kindly asked me, if I would share his Shabbos meal with him after the conference concluded for the day.  I said, “Sure,” delighted that he asked.  He explained that it is a mitzvah (a good deed) to share your Shabbas meal with someone.  Who else goes to a speaker’s conference and gets to have Shabbat dinner with a new Orthodox friend from Israel?  It was a very warm experience.  Did I recognize that I was going to a male stranger’s room – yes, maybe I was meshuggana (crazy) – I didn’t know him – but I followed my instinct.  It felt right.  When I arrived, he opened the door and right away put me at ease by putting the door bar usually used to keep people in, to block the door open : ) We did a little service before the meal.  We lit the candles. He had little prayer books to use.  Some of the prayers I recognized and sang along with and others were new.  I tried to follow along  – not really reading and understanding the Hebrew, but trying to phonetically read along.  I noted that my Hebrew was getting a bit stale since my Bat Mitzvah a couple years before.

He had brought his food in ziplocks and had them waiting in the refrigerator.  We started with bagels and

Jerusalem

Jerusalem

onion rolls.  He had a plastic-lined crock pot where he first heated up the soup, and later the fish  He was the perfect host.  We talked about our families – he has 9 children and 5 grandchildren.  This is common for an Orthodox family.  They tend to be large.  I spoke of my family, with only one child, having given birth at the relatively old age of 44. I noted how very different we were, yet still with so many commonalities.  I think you can always find similarities that unite us as people – if you look for them.  He told me with great delight, that he looked forward to telling his wife about sharing Shabbas dinner with a fellow Jew.  He would probably note my roughness around my Jewish edges, but I’m sure he would be kind.  He is a real estate agent in Jerusalem!  I was surprised.  He was surprised that I was surprised.  I just never thought about people buying and selling property in this Holy city.  He explained that of course, people moved, sold houses – all the normal things of life – even in this sacred place.

I brought up my special heart-driven project of bringing Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger and Ali Abu Awwad to speak in Orange County.  Unfortunately, his reaction was like some other Israelis that I have met.  It was more hardened than I had hoped.  But it is not for me to judge – I don’t live with the circumstances of worrying about the dangers of daily life.  Stabbings, car rammings – it’s unfathomable to me.  Yet life goes on for Israelis. Kids go to school, realtors sale real estate, people get married.  They don’t stop living, in fact, that’s the point.  To move forward, live life to the fullest, because you never know when it can END, for you or your loved ones.  How does that change a person?

Headline_News_logo2We were so blessed to not have to deal with that.  Now that’s tragically becoming past tense.  Our cozy world is changing.  Those of us living in the United States are beginning to become aware of life with threats to our normalcy and potentially to our lives.  The shootings in San Bernardino.  The shutting down in Los Angeles of the second largest school district in the nation due to terror threats.  We as a nation are confused and scared.  We don’t know how to function in the dark side of life – nor do we want this new poison to permeate our existence.   Israelis have lived with this for years.  Myself, I was “broke open” by our experiences in Israel while on vacation when the war started.  Missiles being pointed at you has a unique way of waking you out of your comfy, slumber.  These people are living with this fear daily.  It gets pushed beneath the surface to do its dirty work in the dark recesses of people’s lives.  They want to move on, enjoy life and perhaps forget.  But we all know that shoving down pain and fear does bad things to your body.  I wonder what the prevalence of cancer, PTSD and other maladies is in Israel?  But back to our dinner…

We finished dinner and said the concluding prayers.  We wished each other good night and I went back to my room to get ready for the next day of the conference and a long well-earned slumber.  Conferences are well worth the time, but exhausting.

Later in the conference, another new friendship developed.  I came back to my seat after a break and someone was using my chair as she spoke to a guy at the next table.  I waited patiently as she was engrossed with her conversation.  After a while standing there, I began to pay attention to the conversation.  She was speaking to an African American gentleman and he had a quiet presence.  As I waited for my seat to be vacated, I heard him describing that in certain situations, he would be mobbed instead of enjoying his current anonymity.  He had on jeans and a shirt and if you didn’t know who he was, he was wearing the perfect camouflage : )  Although, I didn’t have a clue who he was.  After getting a bit annoyed at this point having waited for a number of minutes, I interjected something like feeling like I was the bastard child of the conversation since I was there, but not really.  With that, less than subtle comment, I won my chair back, but more importantly, I eventually gained a special, unexpected friend.  The lady apologized and we all chatted for a while.  I had the opportunity to speak about my book and my passion for bringing the Peace makers to Orange County.  He spoke about his life.  At the end of the conversation, he gave me his number (which he wrote on a piece of paper since he didn’t have a card on him) and he told me to keep in touch. He said that he meant it and wasn’t just saying it.   When I saw him the next day – the last day of the conference, he was dressed up in a fine grey suit.  I commented to him that, “You sure clean up nicely!” and he smiled and we both went to our next meeting.  Once I got home I texted him to say Hi and that it was a pleasure getting to meet him.  That I didn’t know why, but we seemed to have this deep connection, even though we just met.  That’s been happening to me lately too.  It’s about the fourth time in recent months.  I don’t understand it, but I remain curious and open.  To my delight he answered me back and we have had short texting conversations every few days ever since.

When I finally looked up who he was on the internet, to my astonishment he is an internationally known record mogul!  His record label has won Grammies and he’s into lots of things including fashion…admittedly, in retrospect, I shook my head at my comment to him : )  My favorite part that I read was how he looked to bring together all races and types of music.  Ding, ding, ding.  We are kindred spirits even though our worlds couldn’t be more different.

This reminded me of one of James’ mantras that he repeated throughout the conference – be kind to everyone, because you never know who they are and how they might help you.  As a person, I think that’s just the way to function anyway – not because of potential benefit, but it’s the right way to conduct yourself.  It doesn’t ever hurt in my opinion to get a reminder for those days that we just are tired and overworked and well, not in the mood to go that extra step.  Time to take a deep breath and change your attitude.

So by the end of the boot camp, I was armed with new knowledge and new friends.  The next step will be the telling factor – doing something with what I’d learned.  For those of you celebrating today, have a very Merry Christmas and I hope Santa brought you what you wanted : )  As for me, I hope you Join Me On My Journey…