How To Make The Best Use Of Your Time Between Speaking Engagements

4 inch heelsOne day I know I will be a motivational speaker on health and wellness who has to turn down speaking engagements right and left because my calendar is chock full but in the meantime…I’ve been working my business locally by speaking in my hometown for a nominal fee (or in one case, a Yankee Candle, seriously).

It’s these local gigs that have kept my speaker's blood flowing these past (mumble, mumble) weeks.  It’s given me the space to experiment with new ideas and discover fantastic ways to better my presentation and connect with my audience when I speak at those bigger venues.

Here are a few examples:

At an insurance company Lunch and Learn:

I tell a story about eating a bag of sunflower seeds-a-day back in college when I was clueless about their high fat content and how I put on the pounds without knowing why.  I describe the preppy hippy that I was and that corduroy Levi’s were my uniform and I mimic the sound that corduroy makes when your inner thighs rub together as you walk.  By the end of the “lesson” I had peppered in that word enough times that all I had to say was “corduroy” at random moments and everybody would laugh. One attendee came up to me laughing afterwards and said she would always think of swishing corduroy whenever she ate another nut or seed.  Word associations: Check!

At the local county’s 6 week Lifestyle Challenge Course:

1.  In my message of getting office workers to move more during their work day I suggested a few ideas.  One was getting up from their desk with a piece of blank paper and walking with purpose down the hallway waving the paper in the air stating, “I’ve got a piece of paper.”  No one will question you.  I also suggested doing a few walking lunges on your way back from the restroom, or moving from your desk to get a swig from the water cooler.  One attendee delighted her coworkers the next day by doing all three at the same time, awkwardly and loudly, creating quite a scene!  Putting all the tips to use at once, awkwardly: Check!

2.  The power of a Power Point slide.  One week the subject was SUGAR and I made the first page of the handout the Pros and Cons of sugar.  Under PRO was 1 item (instant energy).  Next to it under CON was a list that ran off the page listing every malady and disease you can think of (footnoted).  One attendee shared that the list of things under CON stunned her because it described her current state of health.  She cut out added sugars for a week and had lost 4 pounds and is committed to regaining her health by giving up added sugar.  HUGE!!!  Take your breath away PowerPoint visual: Check!

At the local Y:

Be outrageous!  I teach exercise classes when I’m not out speaking and that’s a comfortable, fun venue for me to entertain.  As we were all doing calf raises I told the story of trying on a pair of gorgeous 4” high heels and how my calf muscles cramped up as I was walking around the shoe department trying them out.  Ending with the line, “So of course I bought them!”  One class member called out for me to wear them to class the next I did.  I got through 2 simple moves of the warm up and then switched to my comfy kicks.  It was so much fun playing with my Lucille Ball face and physical comedy!  Physical comedy: Check!

So even though I haven’t raked in the big bucks between speaking gigs I have discovered nuggets of gold that I can bring to my next audience to entertain and add more value to their lives!

Keynote speaker  – $$$

The word “corduroy” …. priceless.

Why don't you consider practicing on someone other than your patient family?

Time to blow out my candle and get some sleep.



Motivational Speaker Polly Pitchford didn’t always know the phytochemical benefits of kale, in fact, those words weren’t even in her vocabulary 30 years ago. Neither did she see any reason to do jumping jacks on a cement surface for an hour. But all it took was a chance vegetarian cooking class and some high-energy music to open her eyes upon a whole new world of healthy living. For 30 years Polly has practiced, studied, taught, educated and lived a healthy lifestyle that makes her such a powerful speaker.

Polly’s down-to-Earth and humorous approach mirrors her own lifelong journey to lasting, positive changes. The audience walks away with tangible plans for improving their health and their lives through food, fitness and fun.
To book Motivational Speaker Polly Pitchford, call 941-685-7725 or visit her at

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  1. Hahahahahha! Polly this is fantastic! And you are not the ONLY motivational speaker who started out slowly in the business in terms of getting paid gigs (read: me too) but you are one of the FEW who put the time to this kind of great use. Good for you, missy! Good for you!

  2. Way to go Polly! Even motivational speakers who have been doing this for years will still take a job for a candle.  Glad to see you're letting nothing go to waste. Good for you!

  3. I once took a gig half in fee and half in fish-taco gift certificates!  Oh the things we do to move forward in this business.  The good news, look how far you've come!  Congrats!

  4. Polly, this blog is beautifully written, and athough I chuckled throughout, it also brought up tears. Why? So thrilled you are moving in the direction of your dream and finding so many nuggets along the way.

  5. YES Polly you are taking all the right steps in all the right directions in all the right shoes!

    I need to speak about once per week to stay happy and healthy – and that has lead to A LOT of Yankee Candle gigs – ask Linda about my recent stint in the back room of a NJ Restaurant!   These not only lead to laughs, but keep us growing!   Go Girl Go!

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