2012 TI Convention – Sam Davidson Education Session


I’m so glad I went to this session! Sam Davidson was very entertaining and presented a session relevant to any Toastmaster looking to make money speaking. Although some material was information I was familiar with, hearing it presented in a different way helped reinforce some great ideas and the session was a lot of fun as well.

His title: From Public Speaker to Professional Speaker – What’s Your Story?

Opened with his third worse speaking experience (insert joke about first two). He was once paid $100 to dress up as a pirate and work a 4-year olds birthday party. The story included a reference to a map to find a buried treasure, and not having the map for part of the time.

Destination determines direction – we need a map too. This talk would be the map to get from public speaker to professional speaker.

Public speaker – anyone who talks
Professional speaker – someone who earns money speaking

Find your story – what someone else might say about you

Former President Clinton commanded the largest speaking fees of his career in 2011, earning $13.4 Million (source: CNN)

Can’t make a living by speaking if we can’t make a life doing something else. In other words, being a great speaker isn’t the one thing. You need to have something to speak about.

Questions to get you started thinking about your story
What have you done successfully at work?
What is something you know more about than anyone you know?
What is something you are passionate about?

We want something easy, but finding your story won’t be easy. It will take some time.
If it were easy, this place would be crowded. <-- sign at the gym Pixar tips All of our stories follow this framework Once upon a time there was ______. Every day, _______. One day, _______. Because of that, ________. Because of that, ________. Until finally _______. Starts with 5 words - get your story down to 5 words (don't use passionate or authentic - those should be given) here are some you can use: Witty Positive Brash Upbeat Relevant Intelligent Challenging Engaging Compassionate Insightful Educational Fast paced Convincing Clever Cerebral Current Poetic Sam’s 5 words
Bespoke – customized message (ask what the most important thing is that they can hear)

You can do this exercise of finding your 5 words with others, and do it every year, every month, or whenever you feel like it.

Make it (your story) a good one
(marketable in moving from public to professional)

Finding your Niche
Your target market is a group of people that you serve, and your niche is the service you specialize in offering. – Michael Port Book Yourself Solid

Ask yourself, what is the “so what?” in your topic?

Focus let’s you showcase your passion.
“Passions are like pancakes, 2 or 3 are awesome, bit any more than 6 and you want to throw up.”

Finding your opportunities
“I’ll speak anywhere” – doesn’t work. Would you speak as a pirate at a four year old’s party?

Handout link will be added later Note: Here it is!
Center of circle are 5 words
Niche phrase (e.g. Helping people discover and do what matters)
Identify 6 opportunities (venues) we could work

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. – George Bernard Shaw

The most successful speakers are both finding and creating opportunities.

The life you live is the story you tell.
Don’t just tell a story, tell your story.
It’s up to you to find or create your story.

We don’t just tell our stories on stage. We also have to tell them online.

Your story is only as loud as your network.

You build a network before you need it.
– strategy isn’t preparation for the work, strategy is the work
If your story is authentic, timely and relevant, then your network will spread it.
– Your at a convention – meet people, trade business cards and listen to people’s stories
– Take time to say “eh?” – ask others for input. Remember, Walt Disney was going to go with “Mortimer Mouse” until he asked his wife what she thought.

Cool People Care – his business
Http://samdavidson.net/speak up
Facebook: samdavidson speaks
Twitter @samdavidson


  1. Hi Rob:

    Thanks for coming to my session, and thanks for the great recap! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Best of luck landing more paying gigs (if that’s your goal). Have a great week!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *