The following is an excerpt from “Coffee Cups, Pens And Other Things I’ve Picked Up Along the Way” by Keir Mathur (a booklet on getting started speaking to service clubs)
Developing a Speaker Mentality…
A lot of people ask me how it is that I develop material to speak about. Well the truth is, “it comes to me in a dream”… well in a way really it does. You see when you have a speaker mentality you see things all around you that make for great content. Kind of like a stand up comedian, when a comedian is working a lot and into their job, they see funny stuff everywhere that fits into their act. The same thing applies to speakers, so when good content pops into your head write it down ASAP! I have a notepad in my iPhone that works well for this very thing.
The truth is that there are stories happening all around you that make great speaking material. Additionally there are even more in your past. The trick is to recognize them and again to write them down immediately! Don’t over think them, these don’t have to be notes of wisdom from Socrates. Sometimes just a lighthearted and slightly funny, inspiring and or clever thing that you noticed about life. And many times one story can be adapted to fit many different speaking topics.
Two of my favorite places for inspiration are the library and thrift stores. I go to the library and grab documentaries on anything and everything. The other day I got one on “Keys to Mastering Life”, another on “forgiveness” and another one about a guy that was incredibly smart. The first video was pretty useless (but that’s ok, the price was right) the second one on forgiveness led me to some new points to add to my Conflict Resolution presentation. And the last one inspired a thought to put in my Memory Magic program. Not bad for FREE huh? And for a whopping $3 I walked out of a thrift store with an audio course on memory and how to improve it that has already triggered two unique ideas for my presentation. Notice I said unique, I am not taking other people’s material but allowing my mind to absorb what they are saying and go in a new direction with it. I love to read Chicken Soup for the Soul books (also available at both the library and many thrift stores btw) but I don’t use other people’s stories in my program. Instead I allow their stories to jar my memory of my past events and connect them to a message in my program. So don’t “Chicken Soup” it by trying to get on the platform and telling someone else’s story but do allow their stories to remind you of past events in your life. Keep in mind you may have to read dozens of stories before inspiration strikes, so don’t open a book with any expectations. Just enjoy the book and wait for inspiration to strike!
So there you have it… what are you waiting for? Go get inspired!