How to Take Your Speaking to the Next Level

In today’s environment, to be an effective leader you must be an effective communicator. The two go hand-in-hand. Whether you are the CEO of a company, the director of a division, or the pastor of a church, you must be able to write and speak well if you are going to maximize your influence.

More than ten years ago, when I was a marketing executive, I attended a week-long, “Copywriters Bootcamp” in Del Ray, Florida. The experience was invaluable. We listened to lectures, wrote headlines and advertising copy, and then read our work aloud to the group.

The instructors both affirmed us and critiqued our work. I grew more as a writer in that week than at any other time before or since. It was one of the best investments I ever made in my career—something I use to this day.

Yet, surprisingly, I have never done this with my speaking. While I did attend the Professional Communicators Summit—twice!— that was more about the business of speaking than speaking itself. This year, for the first time, I will be attending the Dynamic Communicators Workshop (DCW), May 2–5, 2011 in Rome, GA at the beautiful WinShape Retreat Center owned by Chick-fil-A.

I am really excited about it. In fact, I plan to take Gail, my wife, with me.

As you can see in the embedded video above, Chick-fil-A was so positive on the seminar that they sent 50 of their operators to it last year. They even produced this video!

DCW is taught by Ken Davis. He is a dear friend, a neighbor, and an incredible speaker. More importantly, he is a student of speaking. He has become my speech coach. I am so grateful for his input.

During DCW, I will learn:

  1. How to become a focused, effective, and confident communicator
  2. The SCORRE™ method for shaping my message and making sure that I hit a home run—every time
  3. How to use stories and illustrations to connect emotionally with my audience

Similar to the writers’ bootcamp, I will be expected to give one speech a day and then have it evaluated by Ken’s team of all-star coaches. (While this sounds scary, nothing will make you grow faster than this!)

Why don’t you join me? You can register here. Here’s the good news: I got Ken to agree to give you a $100 discount if you enter the special code HYATT. How cool is that?

Are you serious about becoming a better speaker? Then, for goodness sake, make the investment. This may be the shortcut you have been praying for.

I hope to see you there. I can’t wait to take my own speaking to the next level.

Question: What are you willing to do to grow as a speaker? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Leah Adams

    Sounds wonderful! I have been speaking for many years in the secular world. When God called me into a speaking/teaching ministry a few years ago someone encouraged me to attend a speaker training class. I (pridefully) thought, “What a waste of time. I’ve been doing this for years. What can they teach me?” Boy, was I wrong!!! I attended a CLASS seminar (Florence Littauer’s organization) and found a wealth of information about speaking and writing. It was a wonderfully intense three days and sounds very similar to this seminar. It really took my speaking to the next level! I will definitely check into this…if not this year, then next! Thanks for the info.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I have heard good things about CLASS. I think that my friend, Patsy Clairmont, attended or, perhaps, used to be an instructor with them.

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    Unfortunately, we do not have such professional workshops, boot camps, summits on speaking in our country. But, to hone my speaking skills, I try to grab every arising opportunity and give a speech/presentation. As the old saying goes, ‘practice makes perfection’.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Books and recorded video or audio are other opportunities. I think Ken should eventually offer his seminar as an online Webinar.

      • Steven Cribbs

        An online resource like that would be awesome.

        • Jeff Randleman


      • Uma Maheswaran S

        Oh! I am not aware of this. Thanks for letting me know Mike! I will be looking for them.

  • John Richardson

    I am looking forward to meeting Ken on the Create Cruise. I’ve been speaking with Toastmasters for years and took a 9 month apprenticeship program with the National Speakers association a year ago. Ken’s program sounds like a focused way to put all the pieces together. The thing that makes conferences like this so powerful is the dynamics of the participants. It also looks like a great location. I will definitely keep this in mind. I also like the fact you can bring a spouse and they can attend and see the benefits without having to participate. Thanks for letting us know about this.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I am bringing Gail with me as well. She attended the Professional Communicators Summit. We both learned so much.

    • Josh Hood

      I’m looking forward to meeting Ken on the Create Cruise as well, John. Maybe we could convince him to give us a personal Communication Workshop on the trip… :)

      • John Richardson

        That sounds great! Maybe Mike can arrange for at least one session…

        • Michael Hyatt

          You will get to hear him speak on the cruise.

  • Kerry Palmer

    This looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

    In my job, connecting with my audience is a must. I am always looking for better ways to accomplish this. In fact, I’ll be speaking at our National Junior Honor Society induction ceremony just this morning. What a timely topic!

  • Daniel Decker

    Love the passion in Ken’s eyes in the video. You can see he is in his sweet spot. Do you recall which copywriters bootcamp you attended? AWAI’s?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, AWAI’s. I don’t know how it is now, but when I went, it was killer.

  • Dwright

    I have been a member of a wonderful Toastmasters group for the past 4 years. I have also attended training seminars conducted by Les Brown. This sounds like a wonderful opportunity to develop my skills. I believe very strongly in personal development. A dynamic speaker once said that she can tell what one’s priorities are by looking at our checkbooks. Thank you for challenging us to prioritize our development!

  • Chris MacKinnon

    Isn’t it interesting how we can’t wait to hear our children speak? We wait for DaDa or MaMa, or some signature word that the one child can never get out “right,” but gives us such joy to hear it. Now that my oldest is 10, when she gets around certain girls they play around and talk like two-year-olds. When those friends are gone and it still comes out, I have to remind her that she’s ten, not two.
    So many of us, writers as well as speakers, believe that we are fine, we’re interesting, and beyond that, it doesn’t matter if we grow. We have to grow. As a result I have dedicated a large portion of my reading this year to communicating. I cannot travel so far to a workshop or conference, but I still commit to grow through the tools available to me.
    My church doesn’t want to hear “goo-goo” talk on Sunday morning, so I’m going to do all I can to make sure they don’t have to worry about it.

    On a side note, I look forward to any notes you might be able to post when the Workshop comes around.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Great. I will plan to post those.

      • Jeff Randleman

        I’m looking forward to it as well!

    • Joe Lalonde

      Chris, that’s a great observation!

  • Carla

    That is a fantastic offer for anyone who can make the time to attend DCW! I attended many years ago and still have the video tape of my speeches and Ken’s commentaries on them! Yes, in those days we only had VHS and that was considered “cutting edge” technology!
    It is a very helpful and FUN experience. One part that was particularly meaningful was listening to others, critiquing one another and then watching each other apply what we had been learning as well as receiving that critique and having the opportunity to immediately implement the suggestions. I don’t know if that is still a part of the program, but it taught me to listen more carefully and I have so appreciated that.
    You will have a blast. That location looks wonderful too!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, my understanding is that this is still a huge part of the program.

  • Brett Vaden

    I am often intimidated standing in front of large groups of adults. Taking after a mentor of mine, I have decided never to give up a speaking opportunity out of fear. I am often asked to teach or preach, being a seminary student, so I have not a few opportunities.

    I want to grow more in this area, and I’m thankful for your tips and for pointing me towards the Dynamic conference.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I always feel fear. I have learned to embrace it. It is just my mind and body’s way of preparing me to function at peak-performance.

    • Jeff Randleman

      I just had a speaking engagement today, on sexual and relational purity. I’ve been speaking to various groups for over 20 years, and I still deal with fear. But once I get going, I “hit my groove” and I forget my fear.

      I guess I’ve learned to embrace it, as Michael said. It helps

  • Matthew

    Honestly speaking scares me. I had to do it yesterday and totally flopped. It’s all good though as it was something I need to do to make it further!

    • Michael Hyatt

      In surveys, people continue to say they are more afraid of public speaking than dying! That’s why a seminar like this is so valuable. It enables you to get your fear under control. I am still anxious before I speak, but it is a at a manageable level.

  • Theron Mathis

    I can’t wait to hear your comments when you return.

  • Karl Mealor

    Schedule conflict, or I would definitely try to do this. Thanks for the recommendation.

  • Ben Tune

    That looks so cool – wish I could go.

  • Rev. Russ

    Great and informative post always, one year I will have to make it to this speaking workshop, thanks again for sharing and have a great one, God Bless

  • Michael John Cusick

    I’ve been to DCW twice. The first time was so practical, encouraging, and insightful that I found myself wanting a second helping. When I went the second time I was less focused on “doing it right” or following the SCORRE method that I could actually be more creative. The feedback is honest but kind, and the staff are the best in the business. I can’t recommend it more highly. In fact, the Communicators Summit is next on my list but they won’t have one until 2012.

    • Michael Hyatt

      This is great to hear! Thanks. I can’t wait.

  • Jim Whitaker

    Michael, I could not agree with you more on this. I have always realized the importance of communication from a speaking perspective. As a matter of fact is was speaking (through speech and drama team) that paid my way through college. However, the important of writing was a little less than important for me. It was not until I got into Seminary that I revisited the important of written communication and how well a good written piece leads to a good spoken piece. I continue my speaking with the help of Toastmasters and teaching some classes at work. For my writing, I have been using two people, a friend of mine who has an advertising degree and my pastor who used to be an editor. Since I have been using them, I have started to see some of my tendencies that I need to address that make writing difficult to read. But I have also started to see how I can write things that become easier to say for speeches. The one thing I have started to really notice is that when I write quick (like answering these post) I tend to make more errors then when I take my time and think about it and sit on it. Sometimes when I write sermons, I will write the outline, then let it percolate for awhile then write some of the body and then let it sit and then finish it. The more time I can let it sit, the more seasoned it becomes and the more clearer it is. In a high paced world, that is often difficult to do, but I try to plan ahead as much as I can to give time to my writing.

  • Colleen Coble

    For just an instant I was back in my Sophomore speech class with my tongue sticking to the roof of my mouth and unable to say a word. LOL It’s a terrifying thought to think I’d have to give a speech and be critiqued. I think I have to wash my laundry that week. In fact I’m sure of it. :)

    Seriously, I’d love to do this sometime. The places we grow the most is when we step into areas that scare us. LOL I’d like to go just to hear you speak and to sit with Gail and see the pride on her face!

    • Michael Hyatt

      More speaking is definitely in your future, Colleen. Come on in: the water is warm!

      By the way, I got your card yesterday with the grinning card. It made me laugh out loud. Thanks so much!

  • Lisa Brouwer

    I attended the Professional Communicators Summit in October and highly recommend anything that Ken Davis and his team put together. It is a very intimate setting where you get real, hands-on experience from professionals who have “been in your shoes”. Ken brings in fantastic speakers, like yourself, who are upfront about what it takes to succeed. Too bad you weren’t able to hang around, Michael! Would have liked to visit with you! Thanks for your contribution!!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I wish I could have hung around, too. The previous year, I was there for the entire conference. I spoke, but I was also a participant. This year caught me at a time when I already had a number of previous commitments. Thanks.

  • Joe Lalonde

    Looks like it would be a great time! I wish it were closer though so we could attend. We speak in front of our youth group quite often and I could see this helping me. I have a lot of “ummms and uhhhs…” that come out while speaking. Anything that could help me grow would be awesome. I’ll keep this in mind for future years where we may have the opportunity to go.

  • JD Eddins

    What would you recommend for someone who is trying to find public speaking opportunities? I am a former minister and miss the opportunity to speak on a regular basis. I know that if I don’t continue to develop that skill then I could lose it. The problem is that I live a small town with a large Christian college. Speaking at the larger churches in town is typically filled by Bible professors who incredible experience and engagements at smaller churches are filled by students as a part of a class they are in so that they can gain experience. So how do you break in?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Personally, I think this is another reason why building a platform is so important. If you are not already blogging, I would start there. I would also make it clear on your site that you do speaking. You might take a look at my speaking page for an example. It’s not perfect, but it will give you a place to start.

    • Phil Kaufmann

      JD –

      With your background, I would start by initiating a conversation with faculty at the college. Either uncover an existing connectiong or create one. Very clearly communicate your desire to speak again, and be willing to do what it takes for the faculty to trust you.

      For example:

      – give a talk to just a professor or two so they can critique and see if they would feel comfortable recommending you;
      – offer to keep a message or two ready, so that you are available to fill a spot on very short notice;
      – offer to ride along with a faculty member when they give a talk;
      – be willing to co-present, maybe even in an informal session at the school.

      If a faculty member trusts you enough that s/he will recommend you to speak, you will be provided multiple opportunities.

      Good luck!

    • Gina Burgess

      You know, JD, since you have great experience you could design some kind of retreat that specifically focuses on filling a gap that the students and professors are not filling. It would take some work in analyzing where the gaps are. But, since God is tugging you back to speaking then He knows there is a niche you are to fill. Only He can point you to it. You wouldn’t necessarily have to speak to church groups on Sunday morning or evening because Christians have needs all through the week.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for this Mike. I’ll put it on my future wish list!

  • Becky Avella

    I will be speaking at a retreat that weekend, but this sounds like a great opportunity. I’m with Mary D. and have added it to my future wish list. I’m especially interested in learning more about the SCORRE method.

    The things I’m doing to grow as a speaker are-
    1. Speaking as often as I can for this season of my life
    2. Videotaping the speaking engagements to watch and learn from afterwards
    3. I’ve attended the “She Speaks” conference and learned a lot from that experience and hope to attend different conferences for writers and speakers in the future
    4. I’m not sure this is directly related, but I’m having a more professional website designed so I don’t have to rely on my homemade blog any longer. : )

    Have a great weekend!

  • Kyla

    I’ve been wanting to do more public speaking, so this post encouraged me on practical ways that I can start seeking that out. I can’t afford to attend the conference, but I can start strengthening my platform and take more initiative. Hopefully in a few years, I’ll be able to attend a conference like this one! Thanks for practical ideas and encouragement.

  • Marcus Brotherton

    I went to a Ken Davis seminar about 10 years ago, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. He’s developed solid, proven techniques to take a person’s speaking to the next level. Highly recommended!

  • Gina Burgess

    I took speech in college because I wanted to “get over” my shyness. It was hugely helpful. Since we do not have a Toastmaster’s in this small town, I could start one… Hmmm something to think about.

  • Jill Savage


    I’ve attended DCW and it was WONDERFUL! Ken was my coach and he had a great balance of affirmation and critique. I know I’m a better speaker because of DCW. You’ll love it!

  • Jeff Goins

    Loved hearing Ken at re:create and have enjoyed his friendship since then. I would love to be able to swing this. I used to do a lot of speaking and theater in college but have since grown rusty. I’m definitely willing to be a part of an accountability/sharing group, but I’m not sure when is the right time to make an investment like this. Should you already be doing speaking engagements when you do a workshop like this, or can this be a means to getting some of those gigs?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don’t know the answer to that. Maybe the place for you to start, Jeff, is to start advertising that you speak on your blog. For example, I have a separate speaking page. I also highlight my next event on the home page. This basically says. “I am a speaker!”

      • Jeff Goins

        Right. I think part of it, also, is having the confidence to say I’m a speaker (much like my struggle with saying I’m a writer). Without having a ton of experience in this area (at least, lately), it feels disingenuous, but part of it is probably just self-doubt. Thanks for the tip.

        • Michael Hyatt

          I think there is huge power in declaring yourself to be something. I remember when I started referring to myself as a runner, something shifted inside that was important.

          • Jeff Goins

            Okay, then, I’m a writer AND a — *GULP* — speaker.

          • Michael Hyatt

            Atta boy!

          • Michael Hyatt

            Now set up a speaking page on your blog and change your email signature to include this. Then let me know what happens. Sometimes you have to act like what you want to become.

          • Jeff Goins


  • Shonda

    This sounds like a fabulous opportunity. I’ve benefited from CLASSeminars Speakers training ( & am now part of the CLASS Communications team. Last night I registered for the Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference to learn & grow more. Perhaps next year I can broaden my training to include DCW. Thanks for sharing this info. Blessings!

  • Kristin F

    I would absolutely love to attend this conference. I am passionate about speaking both on marketing/web strategy and also parenting/creativity/inspiration for kids/families. But since I have 3 young sons, a week away for a conference can be challenging. I would love to know of other top notch speaking/learning opportunities that are over the weekend or only 1-3 day events. Kristin

  • Paula Whidden

    I wish I could attend, but finances and maternal responsibilities are limiting my access this year. Could you make any recommendations for those of us seeking to grow but unable to go that distance at this time?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Check out Ken’s web site. You can buy a CD version of the workshop.

      • Paula Whidden

        Thanks so much.

  • Jeremy@confessionsofalegalist

    Without your helpful suggestions I would never have known this existed.

  • Cyberquill

    Do not speak unless you can improve on the silence. (Buddhist proverb, I think)

    • Michael Hyatt

      Great quote. Thanks.

  • K.C. Pro

    This retreat looks incredible. Adding to my list of “some day” seminars.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Dan

    Thank you for sharing. I would go but cant due to finances.

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  • Digiwinne

    Check out this special from Mothlight Creative….a celebration of Jesus

  • Jeff Randleman

    This sounds like a great opportunity. I hope you are able to take away some incredible stuff. Because I know we’ll benefit from it here… :)


  • Joe Sheehan

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m considering attending, even though my main business is not actually in public speaking. A few years ago, I participated in a 12-week, 3 hours/week Dale Carnegie Course (via a local franchise). It focused on the DC principles of “How to win friends and influence people”, but did so through the art of 2-3 minute speeches. That course, and I imagine many others like it, truly realize just how empowering public speaking can be – and how that can translate into success in other areas of your life.

  • Anonymous

    What you say about offering your work for critique is crucial. Whenever I think I’ve done my best work, getting good HONEST feedback almost always makes it better. I give presentations about our school on a regular basis, and I know I can get better.

    I’ve read books and listened to lots of great presentations. Something like this conference would help me take the next step. Thanks!

  • Anonymous


    Thanks for providing a great blog to continue improving communication. I currently am part of a Toastmasters club but your blog is encouraging me to expand my comfort zone.


  • Free Online Calendar

    I find it funny when pastors think they need to yell or be over the top when preaching, like that makes it better! Knowing your audience is key to speaking in different types of arenas, you would speak differently to a group of highly educated people than you would to a group of individuals that are not very educated!

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