I’m into day two of the Inbound Marketing Summit in Boston, part of the #FutureM events that are dedicated to showing how big a tech and marketing town Boston really is. I spoke yesterday, as did author Ben Mesrich. Today, I’ll see Guy Kawasaki, Tim Hayden, and Dan Heath, among others. It has me thinking about speaking and speakers.
Great Speakers Tell Stories
A great speaker doesn’t simply preach from the stage. They tell illustrative stories that explain their points. Professor Youngme Moon talked about brands that we feel passionate about, and used Mini as one of the examples, including some of their powerful advertising. More so, she shared her own feelings about the brand and how the story related to her. These tales give us more to consider than simple numbers and data points.
Great Speakers Connect to the Audience
My biggest failing as a professional speaker right now is that I allow myself to wander deeper and deeper into a rapport with the audience, sometimes forsaking the narrative of my presentation for that spark of connectivity. However, if you get it right, that balance of presenting and connecting with the people in the audience, it’s golden. We are a society used to being entertained through glass. Break that glass and touch the audience in a way that reminds them that you’re right there. (Maybe just don’t overdo it like me.)
Great Speakers Deliver Takeaways
Not to turn this into my own personal therapy session, but where I also could use some improvement is in the department of giving the audience some direct takeaways, some actions to take, some things to do when they get back to their lairs. A great speaker not only inspires, educates, and motivates, but she or he gives some “serving suggestions” so that the audience can take these ingredients and make something useful to themselves.
Practice Wins Every Time
Practice these three elements in your speech-giving, even if your content is fluid. Make sure you check yourself for the first and third elements, stories and takeaways, and then be ready to touch your audience with a real connection. The more you work on this, the better your speaking will be.
Me? I have more practice ahead. The people who I want to serve deserve the best.