My Favorite Audience

Speaking to 22,000 teens in DC

One of the questions asked of me all the time is “What was your favorite audience?”  People wonder if it was the 85,000 men I spoke to at a Promise Keepers event, or perhaps the 22,000 teenagers gathered in Washington DC, or maybe it was speaking to introduce the President of the United States.  All those people are wrong.

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I love doing my comedy shows and bringing laughter and hope to all kinds of audiences, but my favorite audience is some tiny little grandchildren that I love very much.

They think I am the funniest guy alive. When they were very small all I had to do was shake a set of car keys and they would laugh convulsively.  Shake car keys at one of my shows?……….silent stares.  If I make a face and whoop like a monkey they laugh until they can’t breath.  I did that in a restaurant once………..hand cuffs.

One of my raving fans!

In my new DVD, “Under the Influence,” I proclaim without shame how the power of love impacts our lives.  One of our biggest concerns in the recent Tennessee flood was the safety of our little ones. I moved a thousand miles to be near them.  I will spend the rest of my life letting them know about the greatest love of all!

Lions and Tigers and Bears…Oh my!

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As we were driving to our beautiful mountain getaway in Colorado. My three year old Granddaughter, Jadyn asked where the cabin was located. I pointed to the mountains in this picture and said, ” Our place is located right where those five lines come down the mountain.” She stared intently at the mountains for several minutes. Then the following conversation took place.

Jadyn: “Can we play outside at the cabin?”

Me: “Of course.”

Jadyn: “Will the tigers get us?”

Me: “Jadyn, there are no tigers in the mountains!”

Jadyn: “When do they come down?”

Me: “Who?”

Jadyn: “The tigers!”

Me: “Jadyn, there are no tigers!”

Jadyn: “But you said the cabin was right where five lions come down!”

So much for my communication skills. Don’t waste time worrying about imagined fears. There are no lions.

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What am I worth?

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Every year we hold a limited attendance conference called The Summit. This very personalized conference is designed to give speakers, comedians, and other gifted artists information that will help them develop a career using their gifts or enable them to take an existing career to a new level. Two frequently asked questions are what should I charge and what am I worth? Those are two different questions. Let me answer them one at a time.

What should I charge? It often comes as a shock to discover that the value of a presentation or talent is not determined by the performer and it is not determined by a booking agency. It is not even determined by how talented the performer is or how good their show is.

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The buying market determines the value. It is the market that dictates what you can charge. If the buying audience knows about you and wants to see the show, the value they place on that show will be reflected in a higher honorarium or ticket price. If the market doesn’t know you exist or has no desire to see what you have to offer, no matter how good the show is, they will place little or no value on the ticket. The Summit helps talented young people learn how to build a program that appeals to the market, and build a market that wants what they have to offer.

BUT HERE’S THE PROBLEM.

Many artists confuse the market value of their talent with their personal value. It is true that a sometimes brutal and picky market determines what a particular talent package is worth, but the artists personal worth is determined by a different source altogether. The creator of the universe determined your personal value a long time ago when he sent His son to die on a crudely assembled cross. So whether no one is interested in seeing your performance or the tickets to your show are being scalped on the streets the most important truth remains unchanged.

A 30 minute presentation by a talented young speaker with a growing market might be worth $700
A 2 hour show by a well known television comedian could bring $20,000 or more.
A successful show business career is often worth millions.
A sinner saved by God’s Amazing Grace is PRICELESS.

Leave your guns at the door!

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As I post this we are just finishing our Dynamic Communicators Workshop at Glenn Eyrie in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Three days ago I asked over 90 students to keep four resolutions during the four days we were together. These are resolutions that keep the mind and heart open to learn.

1. Relax.
The five days of DCW are designed to enable and encourage and equip communicators to speak with power and clarity. That requires critique. We are terrified of critique. But we are being critiqued all the time……behind our backs. What an opportunity to have someone, in a spirit of love and encouragement, point out areas that need improvement so that we can move forward. Relax enjoy the process. They did it.

2. Commit.
Change is always difficult and without the commitment to give something a chance to work, change is impossible. I asked our students to give themselves to the process for the few days they were with us. After that they were free to toss the whole thing overboard and ask for a refund…..BUT ONLY if they would commit while they were learning. They did it.

3. Disarm. Leave your guns at the door. It is too easy to hang on to all the little tricks and gimmicks

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we lean on in order to avoid the work that is associated with growth. I asked the students to resolve to leave those guns at the door to the castle as they started the workshop. I promised they would be able to pick them up when they left empowered to use them more powerfully than ever before. They did it.

4. Connect.
So often when in a new and challenging environment, it is easy to sit in the back, not engage with the people around you or those who are trying to teach. The result is a loss of synergy. A missed opportunity to learn from those who have walked the same road. A lost chance at a friendship that might last a lifetime. They did it.

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These amazing people made the resolutions and stuck to them. As a result the improvement in their communications skills is dramatic. As we prepare to leave tomorrow, I am listening to laughter and jubilant celebration all round me. I am ecstatic that these courageous people who were not satisfied with mediocrity were willing to make resolutions that opened their minds to learn. As a result the corporate leaders will be more effective than ever before, and the ministry leaders will multiply themselves a hundred times over as they return home to communicate with confidence the greatest message on the face of the earth.

How does one speak in a Castle?

glen_eyrieHow does one speak in a Castle? The same way one should speak from any platform. “CLEARLY” Almost one hundred years ago, J. H. Jowett, a professor at Yale university, put it this way.

“I have a conviction that no sermon is ready for preaching, not ready for writing out, until we can express its theme in a short, pregnant sentence as clear as a crystal.”

That conviction should apply for any speaker that opens his or her mouth. This week, in this castle at Glen Eyrie, Colorado we are conducting our Dynamic Communicators Workshop.

Men and women from all over the United States are coming to learn the unique characteristics that mark every successful communicator. Some of our students are business leaders, some are in ministry, some are beginners and some are professionals who want to sharpen their skills. All of them will learn that the most important characteristic of an affective communicator is knowing how to communicate with crystal clear focus.

Aim at nothing and you will hit it every time. Know where you are going and you can take anyone with you.