Since Wednesday, I have received so many compliments from the audience. At least 20-30 people came to talk to me after the speech to tell me how much they liked the phoenix story and my presentation was engaging, powerful and impressive. Someone even asked me if I learned stage performance! A few people said it was one of the best speeches of the whole session. Believe it or not, I am still receiving positive feedback from people days later!
Even before the speech, I already was reaping the rewards of your coaching and brilliant tips. Now, I look at speeches and presentations in completely new ways. I look for ideas. I search for what perception has been changed after the speech. I notice the storytelling techniques. I analysis the start and ending. Occasionally, I watched great speeches being delivered…and most times I wish the speakers could have taken your course!
Here’s what I learned…
First and foremost, develop a compelling idea.
Do not just inform the audience–challenge their mindset or shift the paradigm.
The process of developing an effective speech has 5 phases.
- Developing the strawman (outline).
- Flesh out the outline.
- Develop the PPT.
- Reduce the speech to key bullet points.
This process was a complete habit and game changer for me. My old process was to develop the PowerPoint first and then write scripts to support the PowerPoint. Now, I call this approach the “Corporate PowerPoint slave” approach. In my old way of creating speeches, the audience could not digest the heavily bulleted information in the PowerPoint and it reduced the role of the speaker by over-emphasizing the slides. The new approach provided by Fia, I did not even create the PowerPoint until Phase 3.
Have a simple and cohesive storyline.
Fia taught me that for persuasive presentations, I introduce the problem (and make sure it really addresses the audience’s pain points). Then, introduce the current solution (why these solutions do not work) and my solution (and why it’s the best solution). I have noticed that this new structure is both engaging because you make it very relevant to the audience and easy to follow.
Use metaphor as a creative transformation of your idea.
I found an effective metaphor and it worked well for the story that I wanted to tell. Why? It was my own personal story. It was the inspiration for the revolution I was leading. And it helped people to digest the core strategies that I was suggesting. In addition, it became a creative device for the slide design.
Use powerful visuals to unpack the idea.
Use fewer words and more powerful visuals. High color contrast is preferred. And…forget the template!
Less is more.
I really struggled on this. Originally, I wanted to cover seven different points since that more information would be more comprehensive. However, after working with Fia, I realized that focusing on three points was absolutely crucial since the audience could not digest too much information in one talk. Actually, Fia advised me that most people will forget all three points and only remember one or two. So, choose wisely!
Do not be afraid of repetition.
Fia suggested that, similar to Mr. King’s “I have a dream” speech, repetition can be very impactful. It creates a lasting memory of key points that the speaker wants to emphasize. It also makes it easier for the human brain to digest the messages.
Have an ending that calls to action.
I loved Fia’s coaching tip that the ending should bring hope to the audience and have a call to action. I’ve noticed great speakers do the same thing. The ending of the speech should be like the ending of the movie. It needs to reward the audience for taking the time to listen to the talk. This is a similar idea to the sales phrase “What’s in it for me?” and the advertising phrase “the pay off”. Very true for a great speech!
Practice and rehearse aloud.
I loved Fia’s idea of the three-phase approach to rehearsing.
- Read it aloud several times.
- Bullet the entire speech and memorize the key points.
- Rehearse at least five to seven times start to finish to engrain in the speech in your brain.
It was a process of digesting, internalizing and eventually owning the speech. When practicing, I now know that speaking aloud activates a different part of my brain so I cannot rehearse silently!
Delivery is performance on stage.
Have a power dress (or suit) and power posture.
Wear a darker shade of lipstick so that your mouth will be seen far away.
Make eye contact (even when the stage lights are strong).
Always have a smile!
The power of the pause.
Do not be afraid of a few seconds of silence. It can be a great tool to draw attention to what you’re about to say next.
Stimulate the brain.
The human brain is easily bored and distracted. Do not be afraid to be bold! Dare to break the rules!
Use different vocal tones as if you were talking to different people in your life.
I’m not sure if I have mastered the tones and still want to learn more. But, I am now aware that I don’t have to be monotone. Vocal tones can be a great tool to deliver your message.
Be authentic and real.
I discovered that the audience can tolerate and even appreciate a wide range of speaking styles as long as the speaker is true to themselves and feels that they care about the audience. A speech does not need to be perfect to be powerful. It needs to be sincere and from the heart. Authenticity cannot be faked.
Think of social media sharing.
Immediately after I finished my speech, some tweets were already out about my speech and the meaning of it. A good speech will have a lot of sharing. Frankly, it was a new angle I have never thought of before but next time I will try to make my speech more socially sharable. Fia shared that the best result for my speech is that it is memorable and people are talking about it after I leave the stage.
It has been an incredible journey of learning. Thank you for everything you have done. Thank you for being an amazing coach!
I definitely look forward to collaborating together again. Your course has been one of the best courses I have taken. Working with you has been such a transformative experience.