Two Ways To Become a Better Speaker – a #Launchout recap

Two Ways To Become a Better Speaker – a #Launchout recap

I had the privilege of attending and speaking at the inaugural Launch Out conference this past weekend. It was my first time to present content from my book and it was an amazing experience. I was nervous because there were a lot of presenters at the conference. I was afraid I wouldn't measure up. And I was right. But not in the way I thought. From my experience I have 2 main points for myself and other speakers: 

1. Master Climbers climb in ALL areas of life. 
Think about when you peak in life - will you still be out of shape? Addicted to that vice? Constantly fatigued from poor time management? Stretched-thin? Or will you be healthy and whole in all areas of your life? My new friend Matt Habuda said in his presentation "I better be hustling to be a better father just like I'm hustling as an entrepreneur!" DANG. I am not hustling to be the best wife and mom I can be. Along those same lines, so many speakers shared about their walk with the Lord. I have been so focused on my entrepreneurial hustle that I have let my spiritual climb slip. The most important climb of all! No excuse for that. Zero. None. How can I expect to find success without focusing on what matters most, first? So focus on your speaking career, yes, but you can't forget the other parts of your life's climb. Bonus - you will have more to speak about!

2. Get Vulnerable. No, Like, Really. 
Just like some people have a knack for numbers, or are naturally good at tech stuff, I have a knack for being on stage, hence why I've chosen to be a public speaker and make crazy weekly youtube videos. On saturday morning my message was received well, the crowd laughed, I got a few really great tweets and shout outs. But you know what was lacking? Vulnerability. Sure, I shared my story of course corrections, made fun of myself like always, but the best presentations were the ones where the speaker was seriously exposed. Those were the most inspiring. Like, everyone was ugly crying and feeling totally moved, inspiring. My goal is not to get the crowd weeping, because I strive to be funny and uplifting, but I am going to have to start exposing myself, in a rated G sort of way, to truly connect with audiences. I'm going to have to share more failures - and not just the funny ones. There was an underlying theme at the conference about speaking out about our deep dark struggles because when we are silent the devil wins. Powerful stuff! But I'm trying to position myself - like all aspirers are - as an "emerging expert" in my field. Therein lies the rub:

How do we stay authentic and relatable while still positioning ourselves as "experts"? Everyone aspiring to be a master at anything tries to present his or her self as an expert, or almost an expert. It's why we write books and care about the number of twitter followers we have. But we are still aspiring, not mastering. Michael Hyatt wrote a post explaining how one can write from 3 voices; the sage, the sherpa, and the struggler. Most of us can only write from the sherpa or struggler voice - we don't have it all figured out. So what's an aspirer to do? Well, I think what I decided this past weekend is to embrace the fact that I am mostly a struggler, and in a few areas, a sherpa at best.

It's scary to share your struggles but I saw so clearly this weekend that people want to see the true you, they are cheering for you and want to relate to you - and that means you can't hide your struggle. So, I am going to prayerfully look at all my scary bits and try and share more from a place of vulnerability, starting with this post here today. Hi everyone, my name is Kelsey and I am just a struggler. Oh, what's that, you're a struggler too? Awesome! Let's cheer each other on as we climb our way to becoming sherpas, Okay?  

Do you have trouble showing your vulnerable side or is it just me? 

Image credit John Diew

About the Author


  • Jen Moff June 23, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Love this recap Kelsey! Great insight into how you processed the event.

    It was a pleasure meeting you and hearing you present.

    Love and Light,

    • Kelsey Author June 23, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      Thanks Jen! You are a natural on stage, I enjoyed your presentation!

  • Rick theule June 23, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Kelsey – I’m probably too vulnerable!
    Your presentation was one of the highlights of my weekend in Tulsa. As I was sitting with my wife on the couch last night, recapping the weekend, I came to your name in the list and told my wife how much you impressed me. In fact, I told her you probably felt out of place with the group of rookies you shared the stage with. I’ll be watching you, and learning from you. Can’t wait to read your book.

    • Kelsey Author June 23, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      Rick you are WAY to kind but thank you for the encouragement. I learned something from everyone, including you my friend!

  • Corie Clark June 23, 2014 at 3:09 pm


    Great post and lots of great insight! You were a joy to watch and I can’t wait to have that confidence. I already feel like I could do it again and be less nervous and know what things work for me, even though this was my first time. So great to meet you!

    • Kelsey Author June 23, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      Corie you will be amazed how much easier it gets each time, I assure you! Can’t wait to see what all lies ahead for you! Also I want to buy your book I didn’t get a chance, I will message you 😉

  • David June 25, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Holy smokes… I agree with Rick. I was blown away by your talk and thought Randy had brought in a ringer to give the conference more legitimacy. I took pages and pages of notes during your presentation and I’m looking forward to watching the video soon, so I can fill in some more details.

    I think authenticity is important. Relationships are the most important thing, and when you’re authentic people relate to you. When they relate, they listen and remember. But don’t confuse this with airing all your dirty laundry. I think there are quite a few examples of this… Jon Acuff being a great one. He’s authentic and vulnerable, but doesn’t really share much about his personal life. He gives just enough detail for us to know he’s human and has the same struggles as us, but he still keeps a healthy boundary around his personal life.

    People love to hear stories. That’s what I did… I told three stories. In my case, they were from personal experience. Matt Ham comes to mind as someone who presented with a ton of truth and information and did so through telling other people’s stories. In his case, his narrative was about the wisdom he learned from others. He was presenting from the “struggler” point of view (which is easy for the rest of us to relate to) but telling stories that were straight out of the mouths of sages. I was blown away.

    I love that the conference was so inspiring. Kelsey, you were incredible and what you’re doing works. Yes, learn from the others that are there, but don’t try to emulate them. You being you is pretty incredible, so continue to pursue that! I’m looking forward to seeing more of you. (in a rated G sort of way)

    • Kelsey Author June 25, 2014 at 9:09 am

      Thanks so much for your encouragement David! You’re right it’s a delicate balance, and every audience will be different, too. Launchout was a much more intimate setting than I was expecting. I look forward to getting to know all the launchers better!