How To Create An Inspiring Talk That You Actually Enjoy

You don't get to shout, "Cut! Take two" for a live performance.  That is what Michael Bay may have wished for when he panicked and walked off stage at a previous Consumer Electronics Show. Many watching thought it was ridiculous that this famous director could not improvise and talk about Samsung’s new curved TV when his teleprompter failed, yet stage fright is more common than you think. 
Being a dynamic, provocative speaker can increase your influence, improve the probability of your idea being accepted, and enhance your reputation as a leader in your team, company, and industry.
Working with leaders in all industries, I have seen good, bad and downright cringe-worthy presentations. I want to share some tips to create a memorable talk that you might even enjoy giving.

  1. Create a memorable beginning and a dramatic end to capture attention and leave them with a provocative thought. This means you do not apologize, complain, tell a joke, or do a sound check.
  2. Decide the one crucial takeaway you want the audience to remember and build your talk around that.
  3. Tell a story about why you are passionate about your topic. Consider what got you excited, or talk about how it has impacted you personally.
  4. Always leave time for people to share reactions, commentary, disagreements, and questions. 
  5. Use pictures. If you have to use slides, limit them to one slide for every five minutes.
  6. Adjust your style to your audience and consider the crucial information you want them to hear today, not everything you could possibly tell them.
  7. Don’t pretend to be someone you are not. I am from England, and how Europeans present is completely different to Americans. You won’t get any whooping and high-fives from me, it just doesn’t work and I am not being authentic if I try.
  8. Video yourself to practice, then listen and try it without your notes.
  9. Talk to the contrarian“Before you think I am stuck in a time warp suggesting that…, let me tell you this story….”
  10. Get your audience to reflect, learn and think with you.

Part of my work with executives can be working directly with a leader to improve how they communicate. But rather than me tell you about it, you can hear it directly from one of my clients:

"I am required to speak in public to both small and large groups. My dislike of public speaking borders on phobic. I recently had to address an audience of approximately 200 people. I spent the prior day fumbling while going over my speech. I spent an hour with Val the evening prior to my engagement. WOW! She walked through my approach with me, giving me some visualization techniques. She was able to relate to me, my circumstance, my fear, and to help me. What a difference! Val is empathetic, patient, and she just gets it. I delivered my speech flawlessly the next day, and although I cannot say that I was not nervous, my delivery was smooth, and was received exceptionally well by my audience.”
Kate Yackley
Vice President Operations
Tribune Co
Contact me if you would like to know more about how I can help you.

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