Half-price ebook + audiobook pre-order offer open to celebrate reaching hundred thousand views.
I remembered chatting to a friend before the above TEDx talk went live and saying how happy I would be if it hit five figures in views. Well, in just three months to the day of it going live it x10 that!
During the Christmas and New Year break I’ve been tapping away writing a companion guide to the talk which broadens out the things discussed. What it manifested into though is a series of monographs relating to the three elements of what makes a great presentation, the basis of my coaching system with clients and what I deliver in my masterclasses.
It’s currently being proofed by trusted peers under the title of “Speaking With Purpose : A guide to delivering impressive presentations!“
There are currently 30+ chapters and over 13k words detailing all that I know about public speaking, coaching this challenging skill-set plus tackling the biggest hurdles of nerves, emotional connection and storytelling models. And just as way of a teaser, here are three random un-proofed chapters:
Welcome—this book is for those who have to speak in public, present to small and large groups of people, and who want to master their nerves. It’s also for individuals looking to hone their physical and vocal nuances to deliver insightful content in a way which creates emotive action from their audiences.
These monographs detail the three elements of effective public speaking and will outline practical advice you can start applying during your next talk; whether you be a student delivering your final thesis, a confident leader having to deliver a closing keynote to a large conference crowd or a Chief Executive pitching the next 20 year plan to the board.
I trust you as an adult to take what you need and dismiss what you don’t.
This is not a ‘you should’ but more like a ‘you could’ guide based on everything I’ve learned in this arena (although these are tried and tested approaches which achieve re
After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
As detailed in my bio I was the licensee and producer of the TEDxWellington events for nearly ten years and one thing we provided was a five week coaching experience to aid the development of the talks. One year we had an individual we were failing in this sense as we were busy encouraging them (along with the other speakers) to stand in their story, project out and connect with the audience that way.
Well this person just wasn’t comfortable with this and as the weeks passed it became apparent it wasn’t going to work. I remember the conversation with them exploring other alternatives and the answer came from a comment she made about sitting in her office, across from her clients on two comfy sofas and how that was her most authentic self.
So, we put the speaker in a comfy chair and wow, instant success. The talk became intimate and focussed. Soft as well as powerful.
This was the best version of them to deliver their story in their way, not in our expected way of standing.
It also aligns with a favourite TED talk of mine which is a deeply moving, gentle and poignant, all delivered whilst sitting in a chair (please check out BJ Miller 2015’s talk: What really matters at the end of life). Another case of cultivating closeness through the simple act of sitting.
You’ll learn in a later chapter (DIVA) that understanding and stipulating the best environmental factors for you to deliver a great talk is paramount. And hoping the above story and examples give solid reasons to think differently in this area (albeit in rare cases).
One word of caution here for those hosting and ‘sitting’ on panels at events: this is a very different domain that what is described above in terms of a solo speaker in a chair. Unless you use clever lighting it’s very hard to create the same effect as what I’ve described in the other cases although much of the other stuff in the book can be applied in this scenario.
So lets get back to presenting and the body by focussing on the…
Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.”
Nobody likes the way they sound. That’s a given, therefore, get over it. I guarantee you sound just fine enough.
Accents rule. Lean into them with just a side consideration of clarity for those with thick regional ones. Over the years, due to my international work plus living overseas for over a decade, my Welsh accent has softened. Then again, I still roll my “r’s” heavily and when I get excited it comes out wonderfully. I just make sure I articulate correctly and it’s never been an issue.
Cadence is how you modulate your voice and add stresses to what’s being said. These inflections can assist the audience to consider the importance of certain aspects of the story.
Just like the cadence, the rhythm is another aspect to consider. Varying the speed throughout any talk can be an effective way to add some ‘colour’ to an orators style. Although, don’t have too much of a difference here as it will sound awful.
Play around with subtle shifts in both cadence and rhythm which match the emotional range, like a little faster when it’s an exciting element of the story with a higher register and then slowing down again to annunciate for the poignant aspects which allows for reflection.
By the way if you want to create tension or make the listeners understand of the important of a statement, just pause.
A pause is like an underline is writing. It emphasises what came before.
Now the other way to do this is to repeat something. However this can only be used sparingly, like cumin in cooking.
Repeating something, even twice in a talk, gets noticed and I would suggest using this trick just once. Focus it on your biggest point or statement or piece of information which is truly arresting. Like a statistic which generates a ‘wow’ from when you share it, or a summarising line or two to distill a big topic which you’ve been introducing, or a revealing insight from a lived experience or even report. Just be careful with this one beyond that one time use.
The ebook and audiobook will be available on sale from end of March 2023 although making this pre-order live in celebration of the 100,000 views mark. Half-price. If you purchase I’ll send it through a couple of days before going live to the public:
‘Speaking With Purpose’ is my second book, my first being ‘Zen And the Heart Of Social Media’ (see books), written back in when I was delivering in the social media space. This book is now free if you want it (all you have to do is ask).
Again, HUGE thanks to the TEDxNelson team, the other speakers and organisers plus licensee & producer Kara for the original invitation.