Public speaking; the final frontier.
For many it doesn’t even get to the first frontier, rather a feeling of dread that starts in the pit of the stomach and slowly engulfs your entire physical being.
Public speaking is hard, like REALLY hard!
There are those who are naturals, who grace whatever stage they are on with integrity, humility, knowledge and experience; but also captivate and entertain. It’s a rare combination, to speak on a subject and tell a story that makes people want to listen.
Not only listen, but inspires them to go and do something different, to become better, to have adventures, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Sorry going off-track with the Star trek thing again but seriously these ‘naturals’ have put the time in, they have worked hard and practiced a lot to refine this art.
I’ve attended a fair amount of conferences in my time. I’ve seen lots of speakers talk on subjects that bore me to death, proper dross – although I think the conference free seminar is responsible for most of those. I’ve seen experienced practitioners share fascinating stories that fall flat and don’t make an impression. I’ve seen people with similar personality and dynamism hold the attention of 10,000 people, spellbound and silent, waiting on every word. I’m fascinated by this. What is the magic formula?
It’s easy to separate the OK from the truly awful but it’s harder to separate the good from the great. However, you can tell when you’re in the presence of a truly world class speaker. There have been 3 of these occasions in my life, 2 in real life and 1 virtual. The content and delivery of which has stayed with me and made me want to shake shit up, to go and work differently and follow my own ideas with belief and passion. They are:
- Sir Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk – Bring on the Learning Revolution 2010
- Marshal Goldsmith at the Benchmark for Business 2014 – Creating Triggers That Last (this video is a much more recent one and in a different setting but very similar content)
- Simon Sinek – ATD Keynote 2016 – Why Leaders Eat Last (or variations of depending on audience)
I believe these three speakers allow the audience to connect with what they are saying. No flashy slides, no big brashy promises or wild sweeping statements about how easy it is to change the world or CHECK ME OUT, check out what I’VE done. They don’t claim to be or act like ‘thought leaders’ – they just do their thing and get results.
They talk with the audience not at them, they tell stories, they use humour, they narrate, they entertain and convey powerful messages that people understand and can relate to. They listen, they observe and reflect…
They paint the world around them.
They make you believe in them and the story they are telling. You believe they believe what they are saying. It’s not a bullshit sales pitch or the latest fad, it’s from the heart. Their words and body language create an emotional connection with the audience. It becomes an experience rather than a presentation.
So if you’re presenting in the near future or it’s something that you want to get better at, think about how you tell your story and paint the world around you. What experience do you want your audience to have, how do you want them to remember you and your story? Remember….
Your thoughts, words and deeds are painting the world around you.
Jewel Diamond Taylor
Inspirational Speaker, Author
Which speakers or talks have you seen and heard that have made you want to shake shit up, go and work differently and follow your own ideas with belief and passion?
If there’s a link to it, post it in comments and let other people see the world they’re painting.