Why do some presentations bore you to death and leave you in agonizing pain while others take your breath away and amaze you?
It starts by approaching the task as a marketing challenge. What do your customers expect, and how can you deliver in a way that no one else does?
As a minimum, your audience wants to learn something new and they want to enjoy the learning experience. But if that’s all you do, you satisfy them and no more.
If you want to “take their breath away” you must give ’em what they DON’T expect; that you surprise them and make their experience unforgettable in a way that only you do.
There are 3 essential elements of a speech platform that will leave audiences breathless.
The content – what you say.
— Know your audience and give them compelling and relevant material that they CARE about. Personalize and make it intimate for THEM; if you are merely flogging your boilerplate stuff, you will put them to sleep.
— Lace your flow with surprises along the way; something they don’t expect to hear like your own concepts with language that is edgy and will be remembered. I use “cut the CRAP” as a call to eliminate the stuff that was no longer relevant in an organization as opposed to “eliminate non-strategic” activities, and “kill dumb rules” as a way to reduce the internal rules, policies and procedures in an organization that make no sense to customers.
— Make your material practical; give your audience ideas they can use when they leave your presentation. Avoid devoting all of your time to discussing high level helium-filled concepts that are anchored in theory and impossible to implement easily.
The delivery – how you say it.
— Be passionate and emotional about what you are sharing with them and keep it extremely informal. This is a performance so lose the platform and podium barricades that separate you from your customers. Design the area so you can get out and walk among the folks; get close to them as you engage with them.
— Tell stories to “breathe life” into your material, and make it personal to show that you are human, believable and that you can be trusted. Use visual aids; people can’t relate easily to words and numbers. Have fun; they will too. Avoid “techno-speak”; the experience can’t be memorable if they don’t understand you.
— When in doubt be simple; you may be impressed with your ability to speak in complex terms, but it will turn your audience off. Make a point at your own expense; they will love you for it.
Related: The Truth About Successful Leaders
The distinction – how you are different from any other speaker.
— Study other speakers; have a detailed understanding of how they perform in terms of their approach to content and style. Analyze what they do well and what they fall short on.
But remember, you are NOT evaluating their approaches with the objective of copying what works for them; your end game is to determine how you can separate yourself from them in some meaningful way.
— Create your ONLY Statement: “I am the only speaker that…” as the way to define how you are different from others in the speaker herd. Your only statement will define your speaker brand that you live by.
It is critical that you NOT be mesmerized by the “experts” on public speaking who all espouse a more academic approach to getting your message across. Following their route merely means that you and the thousands of other speakers will all look alike with little individuality.
Awe-inspiring performers who are memorable to their audiences are different than anyone else in some way and they constantly constantly hone their art.
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