Over the years I’ve done a lot of public speaking. I enjoy it and it’s something that’s come naturally. I’ve talked at conferences, business events, networking groups, and Universities. I’ve hosted a TEDx event and chaired a Business Breakfast. However, it wasn’t until I spent a day with Marcus Sheridan back in May 2016 that I really did it properly. My friend Roger Edwards also worked with Marcus, and wrote about the experience on his blog.
What I realised after a day with Marcus, was that to all intents & purposes I’d been winging it. I’m naturally confident on stage, but I didn’t really have any structure to what I was doing, and I was spending most of my time telling people stuff. It must have been boring as hell!
The day with Marcus made me take a long, hard look at myself and change EVERYTHING that I do. Absolutely everything. His attention to detail was amazing. Watching him prepare was another thing altogether. And then his delivery. Just wow!
Since then, I’ve been on a journey of discovery. I spend much more time researching and planning a talk. I structure them in segments, like Marcus does. I ask lots of questions, as anyone who’s been in a workshop with me recently will know. It’s much more fun for all of us that way! I help you find the answers – the Columbus Principle as Marcus calls it.
I’m also much more self-critical than before. I want to do this well, and do much more public speaking. So I spend time after every presentation, reflecting on what worked well, what wasn’t so good. And then I iterate. I’m tweaking, changing the order, changing the stories, getting the start better, nailing the ending. Thinking about how I can deliver the most value for the audience. I love the process!
And the results? I’ve done one presentation already this year, my next one is tomorrow, and between then and the end of March I have TWELVE more talks booked in, as well as an intensive week of teaching at DJCAD at the end of February. It’s amazing!
I’d love to know what makes a speaker engaging for you. What do you like? What makes them memorable? Who’ve been the best that you’ve heard? What’s been your worst experience?
Let me know!