The Road Warrior’s Challenge: Steve Little

By Jane Atkinson

Steven LittleLearning how to deal with issues that come up on the road when you are speaking is key to becoming a successful road warrior.

Here’s a situation that occurred last week as told by the Business Growth Expert, Steven S. Little. See if you can relate:

I’m there for 700+ owners of small businesses at a Tech conference…everything working against me…last night of 3 day event…after dinner spot…tables were supposed to be cleared but somehow it didn’t happen…dinner had started late so the CEO cut my time from 60 mins to 40 mins, with no ability for me to change my PPT already loaded behind the stage…big football game on TV in lobby bar…two open bars in room…dessert stations on either side of the stage…high ceilings/echoed sound…plenty of drinks consumed at cocktail party before the dinner…beer and wine spilt on many tables…blah blah blah.

My point is, as a professional speaker I knew it was my job to make it work no matter what. I couldn’t control the uncontrollable, but I could control myself. I rewrote the presentation in my head while pretending to eat salad, hit the stage and after a few minutes of unplanned attention-grabbing techniques, I had their interest. After 10 mins I hit my stride and really started flowing. By the end, you could have heard a pin drop for my extemporaneous, heart-felt close and the positive reaction was over-the-top from both client and audience for the rest of the night into the next morning.

In my past, I have had way way way too many A-minus days that should have been A-plus days because I let the little stuff get in the way of that which truly matters: My connection and relevance to that audience.

When you frame potential problems as challenges that you are uniquely qualified to overcome, amazing things are possible. These onsite-issues aren’t barriers to success; they are simply obstacles a professional needs to understand how to navigate so you can impress your client (and maybe even yourself.)

Last week, I used that onslaught of last-second issues to stimulate me into action. When presented with circumstances that may have caused fear or anxiety in my past, this time I chose fight vs. flight. I took a calculated risk by throwing out much of what I had planned to say (but experienced experts can take that chance.) I was actually excited to get on stage so I could show the CEO and the rest of my table (who were already apologizing to me for the audience before I took stage) how a “pro” works a room. In the end, I had Joe Calloway whispering in my ear saying “make it about them and you’ll be fine Steve”…and I did…and it worked.

“No more BS. No more excuses. I am a lean, mean speaking machine that audiences like and listen to for valuable advice. I will never again allow myself to get distracted by those things that invariably go wrong. Instead, I will allow the uncontrollable and the unexpected to fuel my desire to challenge myself as a professional.”

Wow, Steve, thank you for sharing and inspiring other speakers to take the Road Warrior Challenge!

Will you take it?

Please share your own ‘war stories’ in the comments section below.