May: Do You Have a Unique Story?

Create from a boxLife lessons from a recently homeless , aspiring public speaker.

Larry Gassin and I just got back from a 4-day “Big Money Speaker” event near LAX. With Larry’s connections, we got in on free tickets. Yes, there were product and service pitches, but it was still worth it.

Free was not totally free, however.  With gas, parking, meals, coffee and accounting for two days off work, it was still $500 – and 4 days off our lives. Some people flew in from out of state!

The Homeless Lesson Story:

I started up a conversation with Monti, a tall, young, good looking guy. We exchanged our stories which brought us to the topic of public speaking. He told me of the drugs and violence he and his brother had to deal with growing up. And the homelessness. This only pushed him more to share.

Part of his story is what it took just get to the seminar. (underlying story: how bad do you want to be a paid speaker). He had been searching “paid speaking” on his sister’s computer at the coffee shop (no Internet at home) and found James Malinchak. An acquaintance of Monti’s says he can get free tickets to the seminar. Monti’s boss, at a low paying job, says if he goes to the seminar, he won’t have his job when he returns. Just-above-homeless Monti makes a life decision – he goes to the seminar. How many of us want it that bad???

One of Monti’s stories: When he got kicked out of a homeless hangout, he and his brother took down their cardboard “home.” Someone offered to buy it. They sold it to him and found a dumpster with plenty of cardboard and built a few more homes – and sold them. A homeless entrepreneur.

You may not have unique stories like that, but you’d better find one that stands out. “I’m a motivational speaker” or “I help people become their best” makes people eyes glaze over. What makes you or your topic distinctive? A twist on a familiar topic. Connect two distinct parts of your life to make a fresh topic.

(Oh, and go to seminars. You can’t learn paid speaking by yourself. You will probably be able to keep your job.)

What world can you create if you only open up the panels of your cardboard box and look out for an opportunity worth pursuing?

To your Speaking Success,



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