There is a fantastic article written in INC Magazine called “How to Deliver a Speech that Gets a Standing Ovation” It provided some great insight. The most important tip I can give is to Get Personal. All great speakers will tell personal stories. The way to tell if you have given a great personal speech is if you walk off the stage and you think to yourself “I can’t believe I told them that”
So what can you do to make a speech that spurs your audience to similar applause and admiration?
Get personal. Rebecca MacDonald told her life story—and didn’t spare the details. First, MacDonald credited her upbringing in a socialist system as fundamental to her mindset that “women can do anything men can do’. Then she shared that her husband’s initial skepticism about her launching a Canadian natural gas resale business was a catalyst that spurred her on. “If he didn’t say, ‘Are you insane?’ I wouldn’t be standing here,’ MacDonald said, smiling. When she landed her first customer and sought gas supply, but was thrown out of the Toronto Petroleum Club because she was a woman, MacDonald added: “I didn’t want to face my husband. I didn’t want him to say, ‘I told you so’.’ Once her business started to take off, MacDonald’s husband came to her to suggest, “Darlink, let’s merge,’ recalled MacDonald, with an accent. But MacDonald would only do so if he’d work for her. In 1992, after he helped expand her company into a new market, MacDonald’s husband was killed in a car crash. “That changed me forever,’ MacDonald confided.
Be honest. When asked about her upbringing, MacDonald admitted she had a very strict and dominant mother. “I ran away from my mother,’ she said. “I probably wouldn’t have survived her if I hadn’t moved to Canada,’ and then revealed that her sister committed suicide. “My mother prepared me for life.’
Tell jokes. Although she touched on such intimate and serious subjects, MacDonald managed to keep the overall tone of her talk light and humorous. “Sometimes we get bitchy and catty,’ she admitted, describing one drawback of women. She also spoke of a time her son told a friend visiting their home: “My mom’s actually nice and friendly—she just has cash flow problems.’ Early on, she mentioned that after her husband died she devoted her life to her work and two children. But before she wrapped up her speech last week MacDonald was sure to announce to anymen attending, “I’m single and I’m available.’
Talk to your audience. Whether it was the serendipitous drink that turned into her first supplier relationship, becoming the first woman to take a company public in Canada—or the bout of rheumatoid arthritis that nearly kept her bed-ridden while doing so—throughout her speech, MacDonald related her business and life experiences to the particular crowd she was speaking before: entrepreneurial women.
Act as if each attendee is the only one. She invited the conference-goers to call her any time. She offered up her phone number (it’s on the Just Energy website) and availability (after hours). “I always answer the phone for a woman,’ MacDonald said.
Forget notes, visuals or a PowerPoint presentation. MacDonald held our attention for more than an hour—just by being herself—and without relying on ancillary or distracting materials.
End on a high note. MacDonald wouldn’t get off the podium until she could respond to a question with an uplifting final answer—even if it meant risking missing her flight home to Toronto, where she was due at 5 a.m. the following morning to watch the royal wedding over champagne and biscuits with girlfriends.
When it comes to presentations often times we think more is better. This is not the case. By sticking to a simple outline you will have much greater success with your audience. May I suggest a few ideas that I found in a book called Made to Stick? This book contains a simple outline that keeps your ideas and presentations quick and to the point. Remember most audiences will forget what you presented to them within 10 minutes after especially if you bombard them with too much stuff, but the feeling can stay forever. Here is the outline
1. Simple: Strip the idea to its core and bring out the most important concept of your presentation. They call it “finding the core.”
2. Unexpected: Do something that the audience does not expect. Get creative and think of a special way you can get the audiences attention.
3. Emotional: Get their emotions involved any way possible. Tony Robbins is great at doing this. We all love to be inspired! Know what your audience is going through and cater to their needs. Put yourself in their shoes. Your audience has given you an open ear so you need to make it worth their time. (Let me add a quick note about swearing. Profanity is a huge turn off when presenting. I have seen a lot of great speakers use bad language to get the audience to laugh. Donald Trump does this, and it kills him.) A good smile and a great story will get you a lot farther.
4. Stories: A great way to get your audience’s emotions turning is to tell good stories. Unexpected stories. Stories that relate to your audience. I personally like to tell personal stories to let the audience know that I am human and relate to their circumstance.
There you have it. The next time you are writing, presenting, or selling use this simple outline and you will get the success you are looking for
Making an Impression that will Stick
Here is an email I received the other day from an old friend she said:
This picture was found in a camera during cleanup.
This is a fantastic photo!! Amazing that the film was still good – or memory stick.
Either one, this really tells the story. Look at how high that wall of water is!!
½ a second before tsunami
This picture was taken on the banks of Sumatra Island (the height of waves was of approx. 32 m = 105 ft).
It was found saved in a digital camera, after the disaster.
We cannot know for sure, but very likely the one who took the picture is not alive any more (it was just a matter of seconds).
Today we can see the last image he/she saw before ending life on Earth
When I first saw this picture I was stunned. That would be so crazy to see in real life. Then I looked at the picture closer and realized that it is fake. Come to find out this email has been traveling the globe for years and has been passed around to millions of people who have pass it on to their contacts. It has spread like social media fire.
The original photograph has a date stamp of “12.11.2002” (November 12, 2002). The prankster who launched this hoax apparently removed the date stamp because it would have immediately destroyed the illusion that the photograph was taken during the 2004 tsunami.
That is funny! How is it that something so ludicrous and fake can spread like wildfire yet something that is true and interesting can not seem to make it past the firewalls of your closest friends and family. Although this story is made up there is something about it that people want to spread. Some of you reading this blog might be tempted to copy this picture and post it all over Facebook. Try it and see the responses that pile in. Why stop a good urban legend when there are so many people out there that just want to believe? All joking aside, some ideas are inherently interesting and some are just flat out boring yet it doesn’t need to be that way. It is all in the way we present it. The words to the email above are not what sales. It is the picture! Its the emotions that trigger inside when one looks at this picture. A huge wave that is about to wipe out a city, very interesting. This story will stick and spread. It is our job to show you how your story, your presentation, your ideas can stick and spread. Making impressions with explainer videos is what we do! Your good ideas needs to be presented in a way that will make people spread it.