Speaking | Taking the Stage Like a Rock Star

Groupies, limos, spotlights, fan clubs, backstage passes, original songs, managers, agents, a band . . . being a rock star sounds oh so glamorous.

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Wait – did I mention speakers?

Not the kind you listen to, but the professional speaker maybe you, like me, want to be. One of my goals in 2008 is to make enough presentations [and money] to become eligible to join the National Speakers Association.

Here in Illinois, our local NSA chapter sponsors Fabulous Friday programs that feature the rock stars of the professional speaking world. Up today: Robin Creasman, presenting on “The Rock Star Speaker.”

During his presentation Robin referenced his real-life experiences as a rock star, television producer/director and keynote speaker.

Highlights from my takeaways:

– present like you’re beaming out to a stadium of 5,000 even if you’re only talking to 50 people in a classroom

– hire a local wedding videographer to shoot your speech [and then sell DVD orders – my suggestion]

– create one signature performance that never changes [at our table, speakers split on whether or not to change it up; one person always delivers a customize presentation, but that’s what differentiates her from other speakers]

– stick to 3-5 major points in a 52-minute speech, that’s about how much time you really get after announcements and introductions in a typical 60-minute program

– ditch the PowerPoint [cheers from the audience] – not surprisingly, Robin used lots of videos, rock star photos and audio clips

– produce an MTV Rock Star quality video – from $7,500-$10,000 – a must-have if you want to make the “maybe” pile

– act it out: entertain your audience and don’t be afraid to become a character-type, but be true to yourself

– think like a rock star: set yourself up to create a hit, cut CDs, do radio/TV interviews, get close to your fans and get out where they can see you

– cool=fun – do something different to be buzz-worthy

– over deliver, one of Robin’s four key points in his R-O-C-K acronym, to everyone: meeting planners, attendees

– take questions before you wrap up, not afterwards

– stay on stage during applause

– playing “Name that Tune” wakes up the audience and lets everyone know who really knows their music!

So, is becoming a rock star for you? Yes. That is, if you want to be a professional speaker or someone who wants to be known as the top performer in their game.

Need to hone your presenting skills? Study “Present Like a Pro: The Field Guide to Mastering the Art of Business, Professional and Public Speaking” by Cyndi Maxey, CSP and Kevin O’Connor, CSP. Click on the book image to order your copy.


The authors, Cyndi Maxey, CSP and Kevin E. O’Connor, CSP, both accomplished professional speakers and presentation experts.


One big benefit of any professional meeting is networking. That’s me with Ben Hollis, of Wild Chicago. Recognize Ben without his safari helmet? It’s always fun to see who you’ll be sitting with and talking to at a speaker’s meeting!



Robin with one of his clients – Bill Ester, a motivational/inspirational speaker who talks about how to live on purpose.

Thanks to Bill for taking this image of me with Rockin’ Robin.


When I mentioned PR and blogging, several people passed over their cards. If you’re reading this and you’re one of them – welcome! Here’s a link to a just-updated article, Celebrity PR: Sharing the Spotlight. Hope this helps get you on your way a little faster and further! Contact Barbara about a speaking engagement, creative project or sponsorship.

Your turn – leave a comment letting us all in on who you vote for as best celebrity speaker – or rock star!

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