Become Brilliant on the Basics!
“The best way to predict the future is to create it” – Brian Tracy
The vast majority of us are enamored with technology. Virtual meetings, polling your audience, and holographic figures on the stage are but a few of the technology innovations here today and more are coming tomorrow, next month, and next year.
When I say the “future of public speaking,” I am sure these technology marvels first come to mind. While these technological inventions are great for you in your presentations, technology is not your message. You are your message!
It is important to remember that technology is only useful if it supports your message. A quick way to distract your audience and maybe make them mad at you is to use technology for technology’s sake and not supporting your message.
Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers football team, on taking over as head coach of the Packers, said, “I am not going to change anything. We will use the same players, the same plays and the same training system. But we will concentrate on becoming brilliant on the basics.”
So, in this article, I will give you some tips on being brilliant on the basics of public speaking. This has always been and always will be the foundation of any great presentation. It has been the past, present, and will be the future of great public speaking.
All presentation preparation must start with a thorough analysis of your audience. Without this, you are out in a rowboat in a lake with no paddle and no rudder. You are always the “paddle” and your audience is always the “rudder” for any presentation you prepare and deliver.
So, what does your audience want. Your audience wants, (1) your presentation in actuality as it is advertised, (2) information they can immediately use, and (3) your presentation to be entertaining and informative.
Your Audience Wants Your Presentation to be as Advertised
Imagine an action movie being advertised as action packed while the actual movie has 90% more dialog than action. False advertising!
Imagine, you buy that just released mystery bestseller advertised as a mystery readers mystery and you discover clues that are not veiled, half way through the book you pretty much know “whodunit,” and at the end of the book, the author lets the killer get away with it. False advertising!
Imagine you buy a lawn weed trimmer advertised with a battery that has over hour of operational life and after 20 minutes, the weed trimmer goes dead. Boy, did you get rooked! False Advertising.
Your job as a speaker is to ensure your audience gets everything in your presentation you advertise. I will go further. You should give your audience more than they paid for. This could take several forms of extras.
Maybe you will give everyone in your audience a free half hour of telephone consultation time with you. It could be a free PDF report of 10 of your most popular articles in one package. It could even be a deep discount on one of your programs. Just give them more than they paid for. It will keep them coming back.
This is a great way to get repeat customers. It takes seven times the effort and time to create a new customers. Repeat customers are like “gold” and at a fraction of the effort to create a new customer.
Making your presentation more than advertised is a great way to have them come back for more. Remember, repeat customers are like “gold.”
Outstanding Speaker Secret #1 – Give your audience more in your presentation than as it is advertised.
Have you ever gone to a presentation and come out and say, “That was a great presentation, but what do I do with this information?” Your audiences have the same question. If you don’t show your audience how they can immediately use the information in your presentation to better their personal or professional lives, you would have missed a golden opportunity to create repeat customers.
Your Audience Wants Information They Can Immediately Use
You are in the audience listening to the speaker’s presentation. What is the first question in your mind? What’s in it for me (WIIFM)? The great speaker will answer this question completely and has the answer to your next question, “How can I use the speaker’s information right now?”
You need to be ready to answer both of these questions well before you start your presentation. Here is the thing. You will probably never be asked these questions explicitly. However, you need to give the answers somewhere in your presentation.
The only way to answer these questions is to analyze your audience. What is your audience’s demographic makeup? What expertise do they have on your topic? What is their opinion of your topic? This is not an inclusive list of questions. There are many more questions, but you get the idea.
It is common sense that if you want to give your audience information they can immediately use, you have to have a deep understanding of what your audience expects and needs from your presentation.
The best speakers include a part at the end of their presentations for a Call to Action to the audience. Think of these actions the way you think of SMART Goals – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
If you describe these actions this way, you will completely answer your audience’s questions, “What’s in it for me?” and “How can I use this information right now?”
Outstanding Speaker Secret #2 – Charge your audience to complete SMART actions they can do right now.
So, you now know your presentation should exceed its advertisement and how you need to give your audience SMART actions to accomplish after the presentation.
As the third piece of advice in this trifecta of giving the audience what they want, you need to be entertaining. You need to grab your audience’s attention at the beginning of your presentation and don’t let go until your presentation is done. One way to do this is to be entertaining. When your audience is having a good time, their minds will be open to your ideas and actions for them.
Your Audience Wants to be Entertained
Why do you go to see a movie? Why do you attend your favorite football teams game? Why do you read your favorite author’s books? Of course, because you want to be entertained. The good feelings you feel during and after being entertained open your mind to new things. It is the same thing with being entertaining when you speak before your audience.
Now, entertaining could take many forms. It could be something you say is quite humorous to your audience. You could tell a poignant story which tugs at your audience’s emotions. You could give them a tip that will greatly improve their lives. It could be many things.
Let’s first talk about humor. When I say humor, I do not mean comedy. Humor is not about telling jokes, acting goofy, or telling a riddle. What is humor? Humor is leading your audience down a specific track and then taking them down a completely different track.
It is important your humor follow these three rules, (1) it cannot be off-color, (2) it must be relevant to your topic, and (3) it can never be at the expense of someone else. The reason to follow these three rules is if you don’t, you will offend someone in the audience. Throughout your whole speaking career, avoid offending your audiences like the plague.
Some of the best humor I have seen in other speakers, and I have used myself, is self-deprecating humor. This type of humor is OK in small doses. Don’t use this type of humor more than two or three times in your presentation. The reason for this is two-fold: (1) using self-deprecating humor more than three times will start to “chip away” at your credibility, and (2) after two or three times, self-deprecating humor becomes tiresome to you audience.
Poignant stories with a powerful message are the best way to get your audience to remember your presentation. Stories of redemption, overcoming suffering, and learning a valuable lesson are very powerful tools in your speaking “quiver.”
Interweaving stories in your presentations accomplishes three things for you: (1) stories grab the attention of your audience, (2) stories give your audience “hooks” so they can remember your main points, and (3) stories tap the emotions of your audience.
Stories are older than the printing press, the ancient Romans and Greeks, and recorded history. In fact, the first recording of history was through the stories passed from generation to generation. There is a reason for stories to still be around. Everybody loves a good story!
Outstanding Speaker Secret #3 – Entertain your audience while also teaching them and they will be as attentive to your presentation as any audience could be.
So, what have you learned about your audience from this article? You have learned to (1) the benefits of delivering more in your presentation than advertised, (2) give your audience information they can immediately use, and (3) entertain your audience as you are teaching them.
Technology will advance and, no doubt, affect the speaking arena, but the foundation of any great presentation in the past, the present, and in the future is to be brilliant on the basics . The basics were there in the past, are there today, and will be there in the future!
Call to Action
- Deliver more than your presentation is advertised
- Charge your audience to complete SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based) actions they can do right now
- Entertain your audience while also teaching them
“Our future will be shaped by the assumptions we make about who we are and what we can be.” – Rosabeth Moss Kanter
DiBartolomeo Consulting International’s (DCI) mission is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence.
Contact DCI at
Office – (703) 815-1324
Cell/Text – (703) 509-4424