Stories are the single most powerful tool in a leader’s toolkit.
— Howard Gardner

True story: my first-ever keynote (June, 2016) was a disaster. And I got a standing ovation.

To be honest, I believe the reaction was more out of sympathy - intractable connectivity problems caused my slide deck to go blank seven, eight, or nine times - I lost count. I just kept going.

I succeeded that day in the face of catastrophic failure because I spent an unbelievable amount of time preparing, thinking about the audience, the message I needed to deliver, why and how it would and should resonate. Technical issues aside, it all worked. Beautifully. Regardless of the problems.

Here's the thing: I'm not one of these people who have folders full of keynotes they've created and re-use, event after event. Every time I am invited to speak, the message is different - crafted painstakingly for that particular audience - and delivered passionately, emotionally and effectively.

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