This is an article from my November newsletter…

The other evening I was watching a rerun of Frasier with my daughter Kelli when our one-year old Jack Russell suddenly discovered his tail.  You may remember hearing me speak or write about Captain Jack.  He’s one “wild and crazy” dog.  He found that tail and went berserk chasing it.  Occasionally he would catch it, chomp on it, let it go, and start chasing again.

What makes a dog incessantly chase its tail? 

Now, having never been a dog that actually chased his tail, I’m assuming there’s a certain level of dizziness that comes into play after seven and a half minutes of spinning in a circle.  Crazy.

What about you? Do you ever chase your tail in pursuit of excellence and find yourself with only dizziness to show for it?

If you’re like me, you’ve on occasion chased a dream as vigorously as Captain Jack chases his tail.  The only problem was, you were chasing something that only made you dizzy.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results may be insanity.  It certainly isn’t prudent as a business presenter.  As a consultant, I have many opportunities to speak publicly.  When I first started my practice, I thought I could go off my experience as a presenter, even though I hadn’t studied or practiced new skills in some time.  I gave several presentations with mixed reviews.  I kept trying harder and harder, but with the same results.  I was chasing my tail and only getting dizzy.

Finally, a good friend pointed me in the direction of Toastmasters.  I re-joined (after a 16 year absence) and immediately started learning why my presentations were falling flat.  I started gaining advice from people better than me at speaking.  They were what I wanted to become.  So I listened, learned, and eventually hired a couple to mentor me.  The results are all I could hope for from the experience.  Let’s just say I’m not dizzy anymore (at least in this area).

How do you know if you’re chasing your tail?  Here are a few signs:

          Do you give the same boring slide show over and over thinking that magically it will have a different effect on the next audience?

          Do you see your audience looking at their watch rather than sitting on the edge of their seat?

          Do you still get anxious preparing to be introduced, rather than anxiously awaiting your turn to speak?

          Do you get your desired response from the audience?  Do you know what you want them to think, say, or do when you’re done?

          Does anyone ever ask you back to speak?


Education is the only way to improve your skills.  But as my friend Craig Valentine (the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking) says, “If you’re learning the wrong thing, you’re only getting good at getting bad quicker!” 

The solution:  Find speakers who are better than you and learn from them.  Find presenters who are at the level you want to be.   Read their books, listen to their audio, follow their blogs, and/or hire them to mentor you.  It’s worth your investment.  The quickest way to grow your business is by being a dynamic speaker.  Are you committed to taking the right steps to building your skills, or are you just chasing your tail?


P.S. If you’d like to subscribe to my FREE monthly e-newsletter and continue to add to your speaking education, go to my website –

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