3 Topics to Read Carefully

  • The Only Thing Every Great Speaker Has in Common
  • Story for Getting Your Audience to Ignore All Your Mistakes and Flaws
  • What Should Happen After the Presentation?

The Only Thing Every Great Speaker Has in Common

If you want to jump right ahead and go to the next section. We will really deal with the nitty-gritty of how you create stories. Break it down element by element.  So you can start crafting your own but I do want to ask your indulgence. Bear with me a little more in this section because I want to really establish the right framework of how to think about stories.

Just change your whole approach to stories. I appreciate you being in this course. You obviously have an interest in improving your storytelling abilities for your presentation but I want to take just a few more minutes to really step back a minute and look at why this is so important. I have been doing public speaking training around the globe for more than thirty years.

I always ask people who is the best speaker you have seen in the last year, in your industry, last five years maybe ever, and what do you remember? I have never yet had anyone say. Well I remember this person who had 18 slides and all these bullet points and the color-coded charts and the graph.  I have never had anyone mentioned that.

The only thing I ever have people mentioned consistently the stories they said, “Oh yeah I remember the story this speaker said, and they go into explicit detail.”  Now they may remember humor that the person walked around and was engaging but when it comes to the substance. They remember the stories in my experience, the one thing and the only thing that unites all great speakers across continents, across industries, does not matter what field they are in or even what level, they are in their profession, the one thing that unites great speakers is they use stories consistently in every single presentation they give. In every single point in their presentation they illustrate it with the story. Great speakers know something that the rest of us do not which is that, it is the stories that are essential more and more facts data, that is an extra.  The big problem most of us have is we go into a presentation with this mentality of “Oh it is about the facts, it is about the data and the story is the extra I want to really get you to reverse your thinking, not because we are just here as professional storytellers but because the stories are what are remembered first and often last by your audience. 

Story for Getting Your Audience to Ignore All Your Mistakes and Flaws

Here is something else, you might not have known about storytelling. It is going to be; I hope a pleasant surprise for you.  If you can tell an interesting story, in your presentation people will forget and forgive any other flaws you have. That is right it sort of masks your errors. Take for example the top TED speaker of all time, Sir Ken Robinson gives a brilliant speech on creativity in education but by most standard definitions his body language is awful. He stands there with his feet planted as that they would been nailed to the floor. Now I do not want to seem insensitive. Maybe he does have mobility issues but from the so called professional public speaking perspective, he should be moving around the stage naturally stopping, moving for transit. He does not do any of that and guess what? People love his speech. They watch it, they share it, they tell other people to watch it. It is by every single metric a huge, huge success and the all-time at this moment most popular TED speech ever. 

So keep that in mind I have also noticed that when speakers tell great stories.  They can have ahs and ohms come out of their mouths, no one remembers. A shirttail can hang out, a collar can go up, no one remembers or cares. So that is the other beauty of putting great interesting stories throughout your presentation is it covers up any other flaws you might have.

What Should Happen After the Presentation?

What do you want to have happen after you deliver your presentation? Now this is one of the most common questions I receive. But it is one of the most common questions that I ask clients. I am asking you too. I need you to really think about the answer to this question. A presentation cannot just be on telling people everything I know about this subject. They do not need to know everything you know. You have got to figure out what information, what messages do they need to know in order for you to influence them to do what you want? Whether it is hire you, endorse your proposal invest in you, so think of this question. Frequently ask yourself that what is it you want out of this presentation? What is it you want the audience to do?

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