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If you were handed a mic and 5 minutes to share your message, could you do it? Would you be able to distill your story– the things that have made you, YOU, into those few precious moments?
That was the exact situation today’s guest was in when she was presented with the opportunity to compete at Speaker Slam. This was a shock even to her, as she has JUST made the decision to finally act on her long time goal of becoming a speaker!
In this conversation, she shares her personal journey on how she worked hard to hone her speaking skills and took action to own her dream. We dive into the importance of practicing and getting feedback from peers, how investing in yourself can push you forward to your goals, and most importantly how you can distill your story into one powerful core message that can move your audience.
- Penny’s journey from working on her speaking skills to becoming the winner of Speaker Slam
- How investing in yourself (AKA joining in a paid program) can be a real game changer for her
- Importance of getting feedback from others when you practice your talk
- Most importantly, how do you distill your talk down into a singular core message
Episode Show Notes
How long have you been in the coaching business?
Penny has been in the business for a couple of years now since 2020 helping women embracing their dreams to move forward with excitement and confidence to really go after and achieve their dreams.
“I actually hung out my virtual placard saying I was open in 2017 but then life threw me a little twist— I was diagnosed with breast cancer, dealt with that for two years, came back with a renewed energy in 2020. So yeah, I have been doing it for a couple years now and I’m just loving the growth and the journey that I am on.”
When did you really start exploring this idea that you want to take this whole speaking thing seriously and start working on this?
Penny has been very passionate about personal development for so long that she finally had a “talk” with herself, noticing that she’s kind of stagnating and no forward movement happening to her at all on the things she’d say she wanted to do.
“It was about a year ago. I was in a business container with a whole bunch of other entrepreneurial women, seeing them accomplish things and I know that if they can do it, I can do it too. I know that I kept putting in the effort but I think it was just a busy effort, not a “meaningful” effort.
I wasn’t doing anything to move my vision forward because I had in my mind that I needed to have decades of experience before I would be allowed. But I just finally said to myself, ‘Okay, you will stagnate forever unless you start owning that dream, that vision you have when you close your eyes to move forward.’”
Investing in myself– a real game changer!
One thing that Penny had recently fully embraced is to invest in herself and quickly realized that it’s a game changer for her.
“I had taken every free course and workshops–you name it! I thought that I’m smart, I went to college, I have an MBA so I can for sure figure this stuff out. Because when you’re first starting out, it’s scary.
It’s scary to admit that you don’t have all the skills right up front. It’s scary to invest money and it’s scary to bet on yourself. But I have gotten this far with what I know and what I’ve absorbed in a free version and it’s time for me to invest in myself.
“So in 2020, I started throwing money at real container programs where I was interacting with people and I was getting more personalized attention. It was a game changer in terms of stepping into what’s possible. And honestly, I’m at a point where I don’t want to keep digging into free. I decided that I will give someone money, really focus, do what they say and so, woohoo, here I am. It works!”
Penny’s journey: from a speaking program becoming the winner of Speaker Slam?
Speaker Slam is North America’s Largest Inspirational Speaking Competition where you share your personal story to inspire others.
“I have not spoken on a “real” stage with a podium in front of thousands of people. Someone that I knew just passed along an email about Speaker Slam and if anybody wants to hop over and give it a try.
I just did it and did not even think about what it would be required for me to participate in this. Honestly, if I had thought too much about it, I probably would not have done it because it’s a lot of work but once I threw my hat in the ring, there’s no holds barred. Let’s get focused and let’s leave it all on the table.
I felt really good going into it. I had practiced and practiced and practiced so I knew there was nothing that I was going to get tripped up over.”
Importance of getting feedback from others when you practice
When you do your practice, whether it’s live or you’re watching it back, it’s you critiquing yourself. There are things that you could not see or hear in practice unlike when you actually practice delivering your talk in front of others.
It’s truly powerful when somebody else gives their feedback and points out the important pieces, then you have something to look for because you have that reference point. Otherwise, that awareness is not there and also with that feedback, you now know to be conscious of those things as you move forward.
Taking such a big story and distilling it into something for your audience
Every piece of your story has meaning. Every piece of your story has a lesson, and has something that is valuable to someone in the world.
“I had to get pretty brutal with what I included in my talk because what I’ve realized now is there are pivotal moments in every story that you can distill down that provide the biggest impact.
And just when you’re faced with that time constraint, it really helped you get brutally honest with, okay, this really in the grand scheme of things is not something that adds a whole lot of value and be okay with taking this out so that you can focus on those key things that will inspire or impact or move someone listening.”
How instrumental was identifying your central core message in shaping any of your talks?
“It definitely helped keep me focused. Without having that laser vision, I feel like I’m just completely showering people with words when I finally deliver a speech. So it will help keep your talk tighter when it’s delivered because we have to talk quicker to keep people engaged and listening and attentive.”
How did you feel when you finished your talk?
“Calm — that I left everything on the table that I came with and that all of my practice paid off, that I didn’t forget words and it would have been okay if I did, because I know I would have picked it up really quickly because I was prepared. As soon as I finished, I knew I nailed it.
What last night taught me is if I practice, I can do it. If I put the work in and it’s something I want to do and I ask for help, I can do it because nothing gets done alone.”
About Penny Casselman:
Penny Casselman is a certified life coach and award-winning speaker. After navigating a breast cancer diagnosis, she’s passionate about empowering clients to evolve their thoughts and behaviors to create a life that excites them every day! She’s also the author of How To Get A Free Boob Job.
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