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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Public Speaking

I spoke with Shawn Watkins, Bill Tan, and Kaaren Hall at a creative financing seminar yesterday. We had about 100 people turn out and there wasn't an empty seat in the room. Public speaking is a very difficult skill to master. I used to DJ before and during my college years and I learned very quickly that the music I played was directly related to the mood I was in or the energy level I was feeling and in turn it really affected the crowd.

During my first lecture at the seminar, I was extremely tired due to my excitement the night before and the relentless concern that I would either have too much material to cover and run out of time or not enough and not be able to fill my time slot. I should know better by now since I can talk for hours about real estate so any amount of time is not really enough. However, standing in front of a room and wanting to provide quality information takes a lot of effort. Even doing a dry run in my office, timing my prepared lecture didn't help; Trains of thought get derailed, the tracks get switched, questions arise from the audience and ideas suddenly pop into my head.

My first presentation covered some basic skill sets I use in my business every day and the expenses associated with owning rental property. I am very passionate about property management. It is the path I have chosen to financial independence. During my second lecture, which was scheduled to occur after lunch, I decided to speak freely about a few deals I have done and some strategies I like to use. During lunch Bill Tan pointed out that I wasn't my normal self during my first lecture and that I might want to snap out of it and be a little more animated. He said before he speaks, he always says to himself "It's showtime." He reminded me that people are paying money to be there and although it is for the information, it is important to provide some entertainment as well. I knew exactly what he was talking about and I realized what affect my energy level had on the audience.

I did not chose to be a public speaker. It just kind of happened over time. When I was a kid I worked at Kmart and part of my job was doing the Blue Light Special announcements live from the front desk. I guess I did them well because it wasn't long before a few of the other employees asked me to do theirs too. After high school I joined the Navy and being stationed on a ship, periodically I was required to make announcements over the 1-MC which is the ship wide intercom. You don't want to mess up on that because it is not just every crew member on board listening in, the Captain is hearing it too! After the Navy I worked as a DJ doing weddings. Part of my job involved introducing the wedding party and making other announcements during the event. I never had any issues regarding speaking in front of crowds so it was very easy for me to adapt to these situations.

As a real estate investor and (I guess?) public speaker, my first goal every day is to find another house to buy. If, during the course of the day I am asked to speak, I will typically accept. I have only refused on two occasions that I can remember and that was because I wasn't very found of the speaking situations I was asked to be a part of.

I will continue to study and implement creative real estate investing strategies. I currently don't really have any plans on being the next public speaker on the topic. Mostly because, as I mentioned earlier, I am very passionate about what I do and my aversion for certain aspects of this business comes out when I open my mouth. I am also aware that I can be quite abrasive at times. It is not that I think I am right and others are wrong. It is because what I do works for me. If I am asked to speak, I am going to talk about what I do with the same passion I have for what it is that I do. Hopefully, my lecture will be received well at least for the information I provide.

When it comes to studying, as the saying goes, I have enough on my plate already. I must continue learning investing strategies from those more successful than myself. I have stacks of books that I haven't even cracked. My Amazon wish list has 58 books on it. As much as I want to be a better public speaker, I think it is much more important for my business to continue studying the masters and the strategies they use. I'll do my best the next time I am in front of a room, which by the way is Feb 16th at NSDREI in Oceanside (shameless plug). If I come off as too boring or abrasive, I apologize in advance. Remember, you are there for the information and I am not a professional speaker.

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