Adapt or Die

Adapt or Die-What Does This Mean for Your Speaking Business?

I recently saw the movie Moneyball, the story about Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland As. He lost his top three players and had no budget with which to compete. He wanted to win badly but it seemed there was no possibility of that happening.They couldn't compete because the team couldn't attract top talent for little money. There was no budget. Period. Billy realized he was asking the wrong question. The question was not "How do we replace the top three players?" The question was "How do we get on base?"Contrary to what his staff believed, the issue was about scoring runs and not about replacing the best players. Billy meets a numbers cruncher and starts to realize that there is another way to approach baseball. Without giving away the entire movie, Billy Beane starts to look for solutions by asking a different question and decides to turn baseball on it's ear. He announces his new strategy-"We're counting cards and we're going to turn the tables on the casino." Amidst intense anger and resistance from his staff, Billy stands tough and says, "Adapt or Die!" What a lesson for the speaking industry. Many speakers who were very successful are now scratching their heads and saying "Who moved my market?" The old strategies aren't working. Yet, like Billy's old cronies, it's easy to keep doing what we know. The highly paid after dinner speaker is a relic. Obsolescence is a reality if we don't quickly adapt to the new market. With fewer meetings and conferences, speakers can still use their talents if they use their skills to solve problems and learn new technologies. It may mean fewer keynotes and more webinars. It may mean adding facilitation and coaching to your repertoire. Or packaging your expertise as internet marketing products and targeting emerging markets. I continue to tell audiences that speaking is the new competitive weapon. The need for outstanding public speaking and presentation skills will only increase as the stakes get higher for winning business. But speakers will need to be more creative and business savvy in the way they approach the market. One thing is certain. The speaking business as we knew has changed. Adapt or Die.