12 Ways to Rock Your Speech, Your Audience and Your Event


This is not a picture of Tony Robbins. This is a post about how to be a rock star speaker – inspired by Tony Robbins. Disclosure and thanks to Krupp Kommunications for the complimentary event admission to Tony Robbins’ Unleash The Power Within®.

Although I’ve covered many events, this is the first time I’m sharing insights from a world-renowned speaker, author and peak performance strategist that I’ve admired for years. Because of a prescheduled speaking engagement, I missed the Friday afternoon and Saturday sessions. Here are a dozen ways to rock your speech, your audience and your event. What would you add?

12 Ways to Rock Your Speech, Your Audience and Your Event

1. Start out dancing

Before Tony hit the stage we danced for 30 minutes, which is more than I’ve danced since I was at a national conference [I won’t say which one] or my ballet lessons.

Two lead dancers led a group of back ups, and everyone in the audience, in warm up dance moves. Do you think we were exhausted or excited? What would happen if you asked your audience to dance?

2. Spotlight the speaker and highlight the stage

Standard event procedure: dim the lights in front where the speaker presents. After all, you have to see the screen, right? When this happens I ask to turn the lights up. People get drowsy in dark rooms. And, we can’t see each other.

With a well-lit stage, everyone could clearly see Tony – whether you were watching on one of the jumbotrons or the IRL stage. How do direct your lighting?

3. Sell seats in sections

A gold wristband admitted me to the VIP section. But when the doors opened, I sat too far back.

Thinking I was in the VIP section, I asked my neighbor why I was the only one with the gold band. When I found out I was in the general admission seats, I wrote “saved” on a piece of notebook paper and set it on my chair, just in case I had to come back, and moved on up.

I sat between two foreigners: a Swede and a Londoner who flew in just for this event.

Even in a small room, giving VIPs preferred seating makes them stand out as the ones who invest more in the experience. Plus, the people might be cooler.

By the way don’t ever say spend, only use the word invest.

4. Have plenty of volunteers who can high five

Being part of a crowd of 4,000 can feel kind of lonely, but not for long.

UPW crew members greeted attendees at every entrance and exit and in the halls with high fives. Some said “You freakin’ rock!” others said “God bless you!”

Sounds kind of corny, but warm and friendly just the same. How could people get people excited about your event?

5. Stand and Shake

A call from the stage to “Stand up!” commanded us to spring out of our seats.

Shake, not hands, your shega [as my Hungarian grandmother used to say and apparently there is no translation for this word]. Every 30 minutes or so we stood up and then  massaged neighbors, danced like monsters, mimicked partner’s moves, celebrated or rebounded. How do you get people off their shegas?

6. Play music, lots of music

Music adds energy. Plus, you can dance. Here’s Tony Robbins play list.

7. Celebrate!

Not just with a weak round of applause.

Get up and yell! about how happy you are, how great life is, how you will change. You get the idea.

Louder! I can’t hear you.

8. Work book

Like everyone else, I got a 180-page spiral bound work book that outlines content with places for fill in the blank answers, resources and a catalog in the back. Although I like having them, I never write in my work books. I always take notes in a note book. What kind of a work book do give your attendees? Do you write in your work books?

9. Make people wait until the doors open

There’s something about hearing a crowd chant “let us in” over and over that makes you anticipate the excitement waiting on the other side of the door. Admitting VIPs and those with higher priced tickets earlier rewards them for the price. When do you let the crowd build up?

10. Ditch the slides, get a flipchart

When he wanted to illustrate a point, Tony used a flipchart and markers.

So what did we see on the big screen? It wasn’t all Tony all the time. Video production engineers changed out images of Tony with audience pans and a few slides sprinkled here and there.

Monitors set into the stage displayed what I guess was a set list. The only screen shot I saw was at the end. It said: Tony Robbins Facebook reminder. How cool to end on a social media note. What do you do to invite your audience to follow you?

11. Don’t Allow Video or Audio Recording or Photos

The reason I have no pictures of this event, except for after the firewalk, is because photos and videos were not allowed. As a speaker it can be distracting to be photographed while you’re presenting. You can offer to have a photo session before or after. And, recordings can be offered as products. Do you agree or disagree?

12. Keep selling the process

At first glance, you might think this is offensive and not recommended.

After all, speakers are not supposed to sell from the stage – right? What if you are offering your audience ways to enrich their life, their business or their relationships? Is that selling?

Speakers do have to have something to offer for two reasons: you can’t possibly cover everything in your presentation and if people like you, they’ll want more. When do you make an offer to continue the experience out of the room?

Here’s a video about the Unleash the Power Within event . The next one is November 3 – 6, 2011 in Los Angeles, CA. Feel free to fill out the contact form or leave a comment if you have questions about my event experience. Yes, I did the firewalk. That’s another story for another post.

Photo credit and thanks to shutterstock for being WiredPRWorks’ stock photo sponsor.

How do you know when you’re a rock star speaker?


Leave a comment

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

One thought on “12 Ways to Rock Your Speech, Your Audience and Your Event”