What Every Speaker Must Do (Part II)

What Every Speaker Must Do (Part II)

I wake up, get to work and receive a text that invites me to a resort for the day. Who is going to say no to that?

SPF 15 tanning oil is spread all over my body. The sun is hitting my back and the cool pool water cools me down.

The 20-something year old Czech waiter brings me frozen grapes and a refreshing drink to sip on. I am spending the afternoon with my successful sister and her friends while they all enjoy some well deserved relaxation time.

After my body tans and my fingers are wrinkled, they invite me to go out to a 5-star restaurant, their treat. Who is going to say no to that?

We pull up to the valet at Kirby’s Steakhouse in my hybrid. I pass $100K Mercedes, cars I can’t pronounce and walk through two double Mahogany doors to the restaurant.

Kirby's Steakhouse AppitizerThey order me a 10 year scotch, pour me a glass of crisp champagne and order three appetizers for the table, each making my mouth water by reading the ingredients. Fresh and raw Norwegian salmon with a foreign melon that only grows one month out of the year, Kobe beef sliders, light pizza made with naan bread… my taste buds are exploding!

They order us crab legs that are already cut for you, a 10 oz steak that you cut like butter and a crab cake that is presented so spectacularly you don’t want to cut into it.

During dinner the group asks me to go to the John Mayer concert with them. They will pay for my ticket and they are being picked up in a limo. Umm… who says no to that?

I did. I can’t tell you how bad I wanted to go, but I had to say no. It was unfortunate because the people we were hanging out with were wonderful. The limo was inciting and anytime someone offers me “free” anything it is hard to turn away, especially a concert.

How to Be a Speaker - Ryan Avery and Ashley Avery

My sister and me enjoying a drink… or two!

I realized the more successful you become the harder it is to say no. We can’t trick ourselves into thinking that “one day” we will learn to say no. No! It only gets harder because more opportunities arise and more opportunities come your way. But those opportunities are not necessarily in your plan to be successful.

We have to find balance in relaxation and working… I was relaxing all day long. The people I was with, they deserved every minute of that time but it was not the same time I was on. As I was eating my last bite of food off of my silver spoon I remembered “Don’t compare your chapter 12 to someone else’s chapter 12.” 

These people were successful. Some of them where on vacation. Plus, most of them had been working when I was learning to say “mama” and “dada”.


The concert venue where John Mayer played!

I still have a lot of work to do. I want to make my business successful and I am looking to build something substantial in the speaking world. I can’t do that if I borrow other people’s success and say yes to all the fun opportunities that come my way.

I came home and went to work. Sent out two major speaking proposals and cleaned up my email. I am up now at the crack of dawn typing this post because I need to remember that the more successful you want to be, the harder it will get to say no. The sun is just rising as I am typing this and it might be work, but it’s worth saying yes to.

How to Be a Speaker: Learn how to say no!

Question #1: What is the hardest thing you have had to say no to?
Question #2: What is the nicest restaurant you have eaten at?
Question #3: Would you rather have VIP access to your favorite concert OR eat at a fancy restaurant without having to pay the bill for you and two of your friends? 

This post was written by
At age 25, Ryan Avery became the youngest World Champion of Public Speaking in history; competing against more than 30,000 people from 116 countries to claim the 2012 Championship title. As an Emmy Award winning journalist and a proud member of the National Speakers Association, Ryan uses his background in multimedia and speaking to help reach the younger generation on the importance of improving their communication skills in order to advance in their professional and personal life.

3 Comments on "What Every Speaker Must Do (Part II)"

  • Robert Owens says

    #1: I am not certain . . . probably something insignificant to me but that was meaningful to my children. A broken-hearted child, even if the parent knows it is temporary, still bothers me.

    #2: Probably the Hotel DuPont’s Green Room. There’s a speech about that meal I could tell . . . Far more impressive than a restaurant, however, is the meal. I have had spectacular meals all over. Breaking bread is a constant in our life.

    #3: VIP access to a concert. What concert? Hmmm . . . Neil Young & Crazy Horse would certainly be a gig I would love that kind of access to.

    Learning to say “no” may or may not make one a better speaker; it will, however, permit one to remain more focused and have less stress. It is a maturation point.

  • GL McClendon says

    I think you did a good job on what you did. I like the good life as well as the next. Some things may seem great to one and another may just want to lay back and stay out of the rush.

    Looking forward to reading more of your work.

  • Rick Altman says

    I just have to wonder if the World Champion of Public Speaking can’t find a more compelling message than the value of deprivation. While this piece was well-written, I think its message is not worthy of the author’s time. Whatever marginal value might be gleaned from the focus derived from saying no to these particular treats would be more than offset by two more important qualities:

    1. Life experiences make people better storytellers, better writers, and better speakers.

    2. Life is too short and life deserves to be enjoyed.

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