Later today I'll be keynoting the lunch portion of the Connecting for Children's Justice Conference. I'll be talking about the idea of story and how as advocates, volunteers, nonprofit leaders, and world-savers, we've got to captivate people with a story to entice them to join our efforts.
Of course, story can take many forms: video, conversation, text, music, sidewalk chalk. At the core is a compelling message told in a relevant way.
Each time I step on stage, whether to address a room full of college freshman or a conference full of professional leaders, I want to make sure I connect in a relevant way so that the audience doesn't leave merely motivated, but compelled to take something I've said and apply it to their immediate context. To do that, over the years, I've honed my speaking skills, presentation skills, and storytelling skills.
And it's something I keep working on. In fact, I came across three great articles recently (some of them were brought to my attention by fellow speaker Nancy VanReece). I've linked each below and included (what I think is) the best piece of advice. Enjoy!
I really like Stratten's advice on connecting with audience members and organizers before your presentation via social media. As I prepare each talk, part of my routine is to ask if a social media account or a specific hashtag will be used. If so, I'll begin using it weeks before the event and then encourage attendees to use that keyword during my presentation. This is a great way to let more and more people "hear" the valuable things you're saying.
Never assume your audience will know exactly what to do as a result of your talk. People like action steps - something practical they can go and do once you're done speaking. This is the main thing that all great sermons have in common - something listeners can do to improve the world. Don't just share your ideas; tell people the specific steps needed to put those ideas into action in their world.
Don't underestimate the idea of grouping ideas in threes. It works. You may think you'll be a presentation renegade by deviating, but you do so at your own peril. For speeches that work well, have three clear points or ideas that can be remembered and shared. Yes - you can break this rule as you need to, especially if your content is top-notch throughout.
What about you?
Have you found any great posts or ideas about speaking? If so, drop a link in the comments.