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Succeeding in the Speaking Industry with Brian Tracy – Episode 163 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Speaking Industry

Brian Tracy is an Author, Keynote speaker and seminar leader. He addresses more than 250,000 people each year on the subjects of personal and professional development and has studied, researched, written and spoken for 30 years in the fields of economics, history, business, philosophy and psychology. He is the top selling author of over 70 books that have been translated into dozens of languages.He has written and produced more than 300 audio and video learning programs, including the worldwide, best-selling Psychology of Achievement, which has been translated into more than 28 languages.

Prior to founding his company, Brian Tracy International, Brian was the Chief Operating Officer of a $265 million dollar development company. He has had successful careers in sales and marketing, investments, real estate development and syndication, importation, distribution and management consulting. He has conducted high level consulting assignments with several billion-dollar plus corporations in strategic planning and organizational development. He has traveled and worked in over 107 countries on six continents, and speaks four languages. Brian is happily married to Barbara and has four children. Brian is active in community and national affairs, and is the President of three companies headquartered in Solana Beach, California.

Show Highlights:

  • Without self-discipline, hard work, and focus, you really can’t accomplish anything. @BrianTracy
  • “The Master key to riches is self-discipline” – Napoleon Hill
  • “Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.” – Albert Hubbard
  • Self-discipline is the catalyst or linchpin that makes all the other principles work. @BrianTracy
  • Manage your time, get organized, set priorities and determine most important thing and stay with it until it’s complete. @BrianTracy
  • I didn’t graduate high school so I thought washing dishes was my future. @BrianTracy
  • I had 3 major turning points in my life:    @BrianTracy
    1. Discovered I was responsible for my own life.
    2. Discovered the importance of written goals and plans.
    3. Discovery of personal development
  • Discipline yourself to do what you need to do to accomplish the goals that are important to you. @BrianTracy
  • Every high powered person is very responsible. @BrianTracy
  • I found the only way to be successful was to go back to basics. @BrianTracy
  •  My focus has been to teach people how to dramatically increase the rate at which they reach their goals. @BrianTracy
  • When speaking, romance your points. Give more stories and low it down so they can assimilate it. @BrianTracy
  • Rory shares his checklist for how to get started and to be successful as a professional speaker! @rory_vaden
  • The number one element for becoming a great speaker is: Be a student. @rory_vaden
  • It’s not about age time, it about stage time. @rory_vaden
  • Take charge of your own success. @rory_vaden
  • You can’t afford to wait to be discovered; your dream is too valuable. @rory_vaden
  • Don’t allow your pursuit of your dream to compromise your other targets. @rory_vaden

To connect with Brian and find materials on self confidence, goal setting and much more visit:

This is a special extended interview with Brian Tracy. The extended interview is all about wealth and successful habits of millionaires! To receive the extended bonus interview, send an email to with just your FIRST NAME in the subject line and it will be sent to you in an email format.

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

The #1 Greatest Secret Technique of World Championship Winning Speeches and Presenters

What if I told you there was one distinctive secret of world champion presentations that separates them from all others?

Well there most certainly is…

I don’t talk about it much anymore these days, but a big part of how I started my speaking career was by competing in the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking.

It’s a contest where 25,000 contestants compete over 9 months for the chance to be called the World Champion of Public Speaking.

I joined Toastmasters in October 2005 when I was 22 years old and I saw the World Championship as a way to establish some credibility for myself in the world of professional speaking.

Over the next 2 years, I did 304 speeches for free, received over 2,200 evaluations, watched over 3,000 hours of film, read dozens of books and took dozens of courses in the art of speaking.

In August of 2006, I made it to the World Championships: the top 10 speakers in the world. That year though, I lost.

But in August of 2007, however, I made it back to the World Championship and that was the year that I…well I lost again but I lost higher!

As Jerry Seinfeld would say, I was “the #1 loser.” Because in 2007 I became the Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking First Runner Up. In other words, I came in second place in the world just after my 24th birthday.

But after all of that relentless study, I realized that there was 1 primary secret between the winning speeches and everyone else.

To this day, I’ve noticed the same to be true on the professional speaking circuit and in all of the presentations we see at various companies.

Here’s the secret…

Most people take a 9-minute speech and try to cram it into 7 minutes (the maximum amount of allowable time in a Toastmasters competition).

The champions take a 4-minute speech and they deliver it in 6.

Champions realize that less is more.

They allow time for pauses.

They allow time for laughter.

They allow time for spontaneous connection with the audience.

And that is true for any presenter – whether it’s a CEO at a company meeting, an entrepreneur at a pitch meeting to investors, a salesperson trying to demonstrate the benefits of a product to a prospect, or a professional speaker speaking to an audience.

You have to allow time for space and margin and connection.

It is one of the most challenging but important disciplines of professional speaking.

Most people can’t do it.

Most people instead try to say everything they know in the short amount of time they have alloted.

Don’t do that.

Be concise.

As Mark Twain once said, “brevity is the essence of wisdom.”

And remember as James C. Humes wrote…

There are 66 words in the Lord’s Prayer…most people can recite it.

There are 179 words in the 10 Commandments…most people know a few.

There are 282 words in the Gettysburg Address…most people would at least recognize it.

And then there are 26,911 words in the United States Government’s regulation on the sale of cabbage!

And nobody cares!

Less is more.

5 Mistakes I made in my first 5 Years as a Professional Speaker

There are a whole lot of things that our team has done right in growing our different business lines at Southwestern Consulting. Looking back however, there are some mistakes that I made specifically in building my keynote speaking business. I now realize these are pretty common and wanted to share them with you to share with anyone you know who is trying to make it as a “speaker”.

1. I marketed to Speakers Bureaus too early: In my ambition to get my career off the ground quickly I thought in my mind that Speakers Bureaus were the key to success and the obvious way to go. I thought “hey they book speakers all day every day, why wouldn’t they want to book me?!” While I can’t fault my own initiative and enthusiasm I would not advise other young speakers to go that route.

You often only get 1 shot at getting your foot in the door with people like that and there are some that I wish would’ve heard about me from their clients rather than from me – and had I spent more of my time marketing to clients and prospects then they probably would have. Joe Calloway later shared with me that the way he started working with bureaus was he sent them 100 testimonial letters from clients (shrunk 4 to a page) along with a demo video of his full keynote that had been absolutely polished. I wish I would’ve taken that route. However, I didn’t make the same mistake of going to book publishers too early. For that I waited until I had a platform big enough to sell through enough books to create a successful launch.

2. I was too contrived and mechanical on stage: Having been to the World Championships of Public Speaking twice for Toastmasters at a young age, I had made a true science out of speaking. While that has served me tremendously well and it has enabled me now to get to a skill level on stage that few ever get to, I focused too much early on in my professional speaking career on speaking mechanics instead of audience connection. Today’s paying audiences want conversational and genuine, not methodical and trite. One thing I have learned is to never let the science get in the way of the art.

3. I didn’t understand the value and importance of “my list”: It makes me queasy thinking about how many more people I would be helping right now had I had the presence of mind and intention to capture and store contact information for all my early fans. Now with so many technological tools for staying in touch, I’m kicking myself for not having made it more of a focus to gather email addresses when I first began. This is building your own audience and putting yourself in control of your own destiny rather than having to rely on other people to decide if you are good enough to be in front of an audience. (I know a whole lot of speakers that after years are still not building their lists!)

4. I didn’t create content consistently: While following Larry Winget’s advice of having “one keynote speech” that is amazing was one of the true cornerstones of any success that I’ve had in this business (as opposed to trying to be all things to all people), unfortunately I over-applied that advice to not furthering my expertise. Creating content forces you to think intensely on whatever your topic is and the deeper you go the more valuable the insights are that you find. Getting into the discipline of blogging 3-5x a week has been one of the most valuable things I’ve done for my career, my positioning, my web traffic, but most of all for my thinking.

5. I focused too much on myself: Like most speakers, I got into the business largely for the dream and cache of being on stage in front of a huge audience. And while that has always been fun, it’s just so self-centered. When my career really started taking off was when I got relentlessly focused on helping businesses solve their problems. The moment I started trying to sell my solutions to companies rather than selling myself as a speaker was a key turning point both in my success and in my humility. You have to ask yourself “who are you doing all of this for?”

If it’s for you, then people can tell from a mile away and they’ll run the opposite direction. But if you are committed to finding real new and unique answers to today’s toughest problems then clients seem to come running after you.

Whether you’re a speaker or not, these are 5 mistakes you have to watch out for. The first one is about relying on someone else to sell you instead of you taking matters into your own hands. The second one is about letting the science of your profession get in the way of the art of serving people. The third one is about a commitment to building lasting, meaningful and value-added relationships. The fourth one is about challenging your thinking to get to a new level. And the last one is about being a true Servant Seller instead of a self-centered promoter. Hopefully you can apply these regardless of what business you’re in.

PS. I never thought I’d do this, but after lots and lots of requests and a need to train our own SWC speaker team, Amanda (wifey) and I have finally decided to teach a full course on building a Speaking business. We are calling it “Headliner Conference: Your Back-Stage Pass to Building a Multi-Million Dollar Speaking Business.” It will be very intimate over a couple days at our home office in Nashville, TN. We will be talking about both the art and science of building a speaking business including a big part on how to monetize the backend. If you’re interested, you can check out the first lesson called “7 Big Questions For Finding Your Perfect Brand” on our free training call I’m hosting this Tuesday September 3rd at 7 pm CST / 8 PM EST. If you miss the call we will send you the recording of it but to get instructions for the live call and/or the recording you must REGISTER IN ADVANCE FOR THAT BY CLICKING HERE.