It seems many people look at New Year’s resolutions as big changes, and either try to go full blast and fail, or don’t do anything at all for risk of total failure. I learned that putting too much pressure on myself to force big change never seems to work for me. So, instead, I just set small, attainable goals that I know can be kept. Here’s a way you can add small changes as a speaker in 2017:

  • Speak more – Yes, I know this sounds simple, but it’s something every speak can do. Some of the best speakers I know speak a lot. They don’t wait to get paid to speak, they just take every opportunity possible to do it, even if they aren’t getting paid. Whether it’s practicing in your own living room, volunteering to be on a panel, or giving a toast at a wedding. Don’t want to speak for free? Find a free speaking gig, get your expenses paid for, and get a sponsor to pay your fee. Speak locally so you don’t have to travel. Use these opportunities to test out new material and new power points.
  • Become more knowledgable about your topic – You can never know too much about your area of expertise. You should know your subject matter like the back of your hand and be able to get up on stage and speak about it for an hour. If it’s a topic you enjoy speaking on, this should be something you’re doing all the time anyway. Keep up with the latest information in your industry and incorporate it into your material.
  • Study other speakers – Watch speakers live whenever you can. Watch TED Talks and speaker videos. How can you differentiate yourself from speakers in your topic? Never copy, but be inspired by the good ones, and learn from the mistakes of bad speakers. What do you have to offer that other speakers don’t have? What topic can you speak on that no one else can speak on?
  • Learn a new skill – Take an improv class or a stand-up comedy class to add some humor into your presentations. Take an acting class to improve your stage presence. Or a dancing class. Singing lessons and breath technique will help you vocally. What skill are you weak in that you need to brush up on?

The new year is a time to start fresh and hit the ground running. What are some of your New Year’s resolutions as a speaker?