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280: How to be Memorable On Stage Series – Part 2: THE BEFORE

Hey, Movers!

The moment before you begin? It’s THE MOST IMPORTANT moment of your talk… so what do we do with it?

Today is all about the before because it makes the impression. In this episode, we talk about a technique for the before and how to drop into the moment from moment one.


Links & Resources


Inspiration Do not waste the before




Today, we are talking about the before, and this is really important because the moment before you begin is arguably the most important moment of your talk. So what do we do with the before?

I’m going to fix my light because I don’t like it. Hopefully I be it back. Let’s see better. Okay. It is part two of the, how to be memorable on stage series.

Isn’t that the secret desire that we have way deep down is for us to have one of those moments that people never forget.

They remember, they remember us, they remember a moment, they remember a story and most importantly, they’re like that person right there. This is the person that I want to step in closer to, Hey, we don’t want to be forgettable. Mm, no, no, no, no, no.

And today is all about the before. Because it is so, so important that moment before makes all of the impression.

Last week I was speaking at solo con and I know some of you were there. I was so thrilled to be a part of this conference. Harris , is a friend of mine and we’ve connected several years ago through his story conference, which is a beautiful, amazing experience. And he’s now developed solo con and tapped me on the shoulder and said, I would really love for you to come in and be the speaker coach.

I want you to be the go-to speaker coach for solo con as well as for story. And I was like, Whoa, that is so awesome. So excited to be sharing the virtual stage with some truly incredible people. One of whom was Seth Godin. Seth godin’s a hero of mine.

There are so many other amazing folks speaking up there as well.

And typically this is how the rhythm of that experience went to. Harris, the producer of the event would invite the speaker on screen because of course it was all virtual at this point.

And they would chat for a moment , connect about what they were talking about. Harris would talk often , like why they brought them in. So instead of Harris doing a more formal introduction. They would have a conversation and then there would be like this moment of.

Okay. Are you ready? Let’s dive in. And the speaker would be like, all right, I’m ready. Thanks, Harris. I’ll go ahead and dive in. And it was this very, very conversational sort of handoff to the speaker. When we think about before, this is the moment we’re talking about the handoff of what I call the con or the control.

How do we as speakers? How do we take the con and what do we do with the con once we have it? Now sometimes there would be this sort of awkwardness of like, do I have it? Do you have the con, are you handing it to me? Am I taking it? I don’t know. It was like this conversational sort of back and forth, which made the beginning sometimes a little bumpy, a little unsure.

And then once the speaker had the con, there was this often what I call chit-chat. Thanks so much Harris. I’m really excited to be here and to talk with all of you about , blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then they would go into it.

We are so used to the chit-chat. It’s standard, but you know what else it is? It’s boring, it’s predictable, it’s expected. And so importantly, it begs your audience to stop listening before you’ve even really begun.

It tells them blah, blah, blah. when we think about the, before, we’re going to do something different. Okay. If you take nothing from this whole series, I want you to take this instead of the chit-chat you are going to pause and then begin with a story. We are nixing the chit-chat, my friends . You’re going to jump right in, like right in into the story. No, thank you so much. No, I’m so happy to be here. No telling us about what you’re about to tell us. No, no, no. We start with the story.

And that before moment, the pause is what makes everybody go and lean in and wait, and wonder if you just kind of conversate your way. Is that a thing? I don’t think that’s a, that’s a thing. If you chit chat your way in, it is asking your audience to sit back and wait for you to say something that matters.

Cause they don’t care. They don’t care about the chit-chat.

Most of the time when I push my speakers to do this, there is resistance. And I get it. I get why they often approach it, like, really dubious. It’s like Sally, nobody else does it like this. And I don’t want to be rude and w want to be kind of awkward.

And it’s so bold. It’s like so bold. And I’m like, aha. That’s exactly right. It is bold . And, and what are we doing if we are not going to be bold with the moment that we have, you want to be memorable? Don’t do it like everybody else is doing it . It commands attention and the person who can comfortably sit in that moment and own that moment.

I look at that person. And I say, this person is a leader. This person is a thought leader. This person is shaping a new direction. I am intrigued. I am pulled in. It matters.

Seth Godin of all the speakers who were headlining and solo con, he was the only one who did exactly that.

Harris welcomed Seth. And then they had a bit of a conversation Harris , asked him a few questions. And then Harris queued seth that he was about to begin. Here’s what Seth did. He took that con and he never looked back.

Instead of chatting back and forth and saying, am I up, are we ready? Should I go?

He took the cue, and without hesitating, he paused and dove right into a story. No, chit-chat, no happy to be here. Nothing. He went right into the story.

Now, if you are concerned about not thanking the person who just invited you on stage, if you feel like it is so out of context and so out of character, that it will be more distracting than engaging.

If you feel like you have to. Okay. And I hate giving you an out on this- but if you feel like you have to do some kind of chit-chat, then I will allow you to say thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here. Pause, then start with your story.

So we need a moment where it is like, Oh, we’re starting. Oh, here we go.

Press reset on it and then begin.

It is so much more work for you to come back after the chitchat and really pull people back in rather than take. They’re waiting. They’re expecting. They’re wondering what’s going to happen. Don’t waste that moment.

So now if people are like, Sally, are you serious? Are you sure? Are you leading me astray on this? Am I going to look stupid? Is this. Crazy.

I’m going to say Seth Godin did it. You can too. You can do.

Movers, do not waste the before. If you want to be memorable, don’t do what everybody else is doing. Do the difficult and powerful thing of dropping right into your story from moment one. Not moment 12, or seven, not after some chit chat here, not because it’s what everybody else is doing so you just are going to follow along. No, no, no.

If you have to recreate your own starts, because sometimes the introduction is not what we expect. But you get to recreate the start.

Do not waste the before, hold their attention. Hold that moment. Stand confidently in that space. In those few seconds where you were pulling people into you before you begin.

I will say it takes some getting used to, so if you do it once and you’re like, that felt awkward.

That felt super weird, Sally, I can’t believe you made me do that

right? You might not sing it.

If you have that feeling, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t effective and powerful. It just means it’s new to you. Now I can say that because as a high school speech geek holding for two seconds, that was nothing.

In high school speech. We used to walk to the front of the room, stand there and make eye contact with literally the entire room before we came back to center to begin. I don’t want you to please don’t do that. Please. Don’t do that. I share that with you because I learned how to get comfortable with that.

How to seek connection from the audience before I began and to hold that space? Because if you can hold that space -two seconds, we’re talking. One, two. If you can hold that space, it is powerful and memorable. That’s what we are going for.

This is something you can learn to get comfortable with. Do not waste your before my movers. It is your moment and I want you to stand powerfully in it.


Sally Z

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