Do you think you have what it takes to be a motivational speaker and make a lot of money at it? Well Judy Carter does, and her new book The Message of You is a self-help book, of sorts, for those that want to self-help other people.
Judy Carter is a successful comedian and author with more than 100 TV show appearances under her belt, who I had to Google. She is the type of funny my grandmother likes. She makes jokes about being old, which old people always get a kick out of. In addition to her stand-up career, Carter is the author of two previous books that serve as instruction for comedians called The Comedy Bible and Stand-up Comedy: The Book. She had been doing stand-up and teaching comedy and decided that the real money was in public speaking. According to her book, there are hundreds of Fortune 500 companies that are just burning with the need to find people to speak at their conferences, and you could be one of those people.
Carter breaks down her theory behind why you should be a public speaker in what she has called "the message of you." Your message is compelling enough to warrant companies to pay you thousands of dollars for you to tell your tale. And you don't need to be a stand-up comedian with more than 100 TV show guest appearances and three published books to be able to do this.
According to Carter, everyone has a good message -- we are just not sure how to craft it. Once you understand that your story can change lives, you can make bank. But what if you don't have a life-changing story? What if you are just a regular old person and the most exciting thing going on in your life is that you accomplished watching the first two seasons of Game of Thrones in one weekend?
That's OK, says Carter, it's all about crafting the message that makes it sellable. Sitting through that much dwarf sex shows impressive perseverance, by the way.
Carter goes through the various types of people who are out there to make a buck off of their stories, from the "techie," the person that knows a lot about a particular subject, to the "novice," the person that doesn't know anything about anything really; she has the steps for you to turn what you do know into gold.
The problem with the message of you is that not everyone has a message of them, and the book glosses over this. Of course we all have great stories to tell and maybe we've even been through a lot of crap in our lives, motivational speakers this does not make us. Carter explains that we need to dig through and find the "aha" moment, that perfectly timed flash where we now "get it." The hitch is that most of us haven't had our ahas and that's why we are buying books called The Message of You. When you need a book to tell you that you need to get to a better place in your life so that you can share that place with other people that need to get to a better place in their lives, well, I imagine this isn't the first of such books you have purchased before.
What Carter does do well if give advice on how to market yourself, but again, a lot of this is easier said than done. "Get on NPR," Carter suggests as a way of getting yourself out there. Ummm... OK, how do you suggest doing that now? Get yourself published in magazines and newspapers. Again, that is very nice to suggest but they aren't handing out columns at the New York Times. Just as quickly as she suggests doing these things, she withdraws and says that these things aren't necessary to getting your name out there.
Carter does know the industry of public speaking rather well and she gives sound advice on how to book gigs for yourself, beginning with doing free speaking engagements. Carter gives advice on demos, personal videos, podcasts and other methods to show off your newfound message to the world.
Of course, since Carter is a comedian, much of her counsel includes infusing your message with lots of humor, which again is a problem because not every one is funny. In fact few people are funny at all. It is debatable if Carter herself is.
I am not knocking this book in all respects. I think if your dream in life is to get into public speaking, or you are an actor/comedian who is already very good at getting up on stage and could use this to subsidize your lifestyle, this is a good book for you and can lead the way to a profitable career in speaking. If you have never set foot on stage, yet feel you have a good story to tell, then I might suggest doing some open mikes first to get your feet wet. If you have never spoken to a large group, don't have anything prolific to share and are just in need of something to do with your life, I would advise keeping the $25 you are going to spend on this book and invest in something that will get you on track in your life, like a maybe a therapy session or another self-help book.
The Message of You by Judy Carter will hit stores on February 19.