3 Lessons I Learned From Speaking at the 2014 SHRM Annual Conference

by Cam

shrm annualEarly in June I received a phone call from a friend asking if I would like to speak at SHRM’s Annual Conference in Orlando. Of course I said yes.

A few days ago I flew to Orlando for the speech, and although I was happy with how it went, the process leading up to the talk was challenging for me. I had a lot of trouble figuring out what I wanted to talk about, anxiety and self-doubt.

Here are 3 lessons I learned from the experience:

  1. Lean on your friends who believe in you.
  2. A few days before the speech I was really struggling to figure out what to say. I reached out to one friend who said I was in over my head. Ok, not what I needed. The next day I spent a few hours on the phone with three different friends who would help me in different ways, but each reminded me that I could do it. Reaching out for help was the best decision I could have made.

  3. Use the “Yes. Fuck!” technique.
  4. When I got the call asking me if I was interested in speaking in Orlando, I said yes immediately, then I hung up the phone. As soon as I hung up, I said fuck out loud. This is the Yes. Fuck! technique. How it works is you say yes to make the commitment, and then you get to say fuck when you realize you have to go through with it. Knowing I was 100% committed to showing up on stage forced me to push through, especially in times when I was anxious about it. If I would have waited for a few days to commit, I would have never made it.

  5. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Invest in your relationships.
  6. The opportunity for the speech came from Alexi Panos’ podcast I was interviewed on. A friend of mine had listened to the podcast and it so happened that she was also in charge of the stage at the event. Both the podcast interview and the speech came from relationships I’ve had the opportunity to invest in.

Special thanks to Jessica for inviting me to Orlando, Cara, Dan and Priscilla for their insights into the speech, and Ginger for dealing with my craziness beforehand.

About Cam
Cam Adair is a Motivational Speaker who dares you to live a life you're proud of. Watch his TEDx talks on Escaping Video Game Addiction and The Surprising Truth About Rejection. Follow him on Instagram. He is the Founder of Game Quitters, a support community for those who struggle with a gaming problem.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica July 8, 2014 at 8:11 am

And you really did an amazing job. You should know as the person asking about your interest in doing it – I had some of the same earnings 😉

Cam July 8, 2014 at 9:18 am

@ Jessica – Woot woot! 🙂

Nicholas August 15, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Good points. Taking charge and seizing opportunities is important, particularly when you would convince yourself that you weren’t capable of delivering if you put a lot of thought into it. Your points resonate quite a bit with me – particularly the “Yes. Fuck!” part. I had a similar experience a few years ago when I was asked to speak at the Academy of Management conference. Having never given a presentation before, I immediately said yes because I realized the opportunity was too important to pass up. As you might expect, the yes was closely followed by a “Fuck” after I was out of earshot of the person who presented me with the opportunity. I agree that forcing yourself to commit to things that are out of your comfort zone are absolutely key for personal development. Despite how uncomfortable it was along the way, I managed to push myself to succeed and grew personally and professionally. I am happy to hear that the same happened for you.

After all that I’m curious what you decided to speak about!

Cam August 15, 2014 at 3:20 pm

@ Nicholas – Thanks for commenting! I’m happy to hear yours went well! I decided to speak about building stronger relationships, where I shared 3 key lessons in connecting more with people (giving value, diving deeper and following up.)

Nicholas August 15, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Very cool – congratulations on what sounds like a very successful and informative talk. SHRM is an excellent conference!

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