3 Tips to Set Better Goals & Uplevel Your Speaking Business From Jon Acuff

Having success in another field won’t automatically make your speaking career successful. 

Jon Acuff is a New York Times Best Selling Author and a Professional Speaker who joined us on the podcast with Grant to chat about his experience getting into speaking, how he goes about setting goals, how he grew his speaking business using books, and how you can apply all of his experiences to your own life.

Here are the top 3 takeaways from their conversation:

Set good, great, and best goals

There’s a balance between setting goals that push or challenge you and setting goals that you can achieve. Jon believes in developing good, great, and best goals. This way, you do the work, and it’s not a black-or-white achievement. Here’s what it looks like in practice:

  • Good goal: I’ll speak 4 times in the next quarter.
  • Great goal: I’ll speak 6 times in the next quarter.
  • Best goal: I’ll speak 8 times in the next quarter.

Now, 4 speaking gigs are achievable! If you speak 4 times, congrats, you met a goal that challenged you, but you can keep applying yourself for more because you have a great and best goal to chase down.

Using good, great, and best goals helps you break the perfectionist mindset. The idea is to celebrate progress instead of having a black-or-white goal that means success or failure.

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Embrace “away games”

Jon thinks there are two kinds of speaking gigs: home games (games you’re selling the tickets to) and away games (the games where 99% of the audience won’t know who you are), learning how to get hype about the away aways is a big piece of building a great talk and creating a great business.

When you walk into a room, you give your all and show up so wholly that even the sound guy is leaning in and wants to buy your book, you’ve mastered the art of serving your audience. Learning to love playing on the road can be hard, but embracing that challenge of “these people don’t know me, but I have something valuable for them” and engaging them is a powerful tool to help you grow.

Find ways to expand your message

When you are speaking regularly, it means you have a message that is really hitting home with an audience. It could be a great time to start thinking about how to expand the resources you have. Maybe even a book.

Before you write a book, it’s important to test 10, 15, and 20% of the content and concepts to the audiences you’re interacting with. If it lands, keep going! If it doesn’t? Well, head back to the drawing board and give it another go!

As you pursue this, focus on creating keystone pieces of content you can reference or refer to in talks for a while and think about how to provide lasting value to your audience.

Ready to hear more? Check out Episode 462 of The Speaker Lab podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts.


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