Practice Makes Performance.
The best keynotes and TED Talks we’ve seen have been as entertaining and “sticky” as some of our favorite movies.
Same for you? That’s because the most successful presenters and leaders understand that if you want to connect and convert your audience, you need to get them excited. For some companies, hiring a public speaking coach is the secret to presentation stardom.
Engage, excite, stir, galvanize. Make them cry, make them laugh, make them think, make them not think—about their phones.
Exciting your audience is one of the fundamentals of MOXiE Methodology… and here’s why. Great presentations go far beyond the spoken word: great presentations turn messages into movements. They imbue our words with life and purpose. They inspire action, incite applause, and earn accolades.
They become more than presentations; they become performances. But, as a reputable public speaking coach will attest, these performances aren’t restricted to the TED stage or commencement podiums.
Executives who realize the persuasiveness of the presentation comme performance leverage communication skills training to close high-stakes sales, open new opportunities, increase income streams, and even catapult new careers.
Defenders of the opposite will say they (the defenders) are being realistic. In reality, they’re just being limiting.
Communication skills training can catapult whole teams and individual careers alike.
With how great presentations go viral and permeate offices, households, social media, and traditional media, it’s no wonder achievers and influencers at every level deliver their presentations with the verve and flair of Broadway superstars.
Skeptical? Two words: Tony Robbins.
More Than Words
Think about it. If presentations were just the spoken word, there would be no need for them. We would just email reports, skim PDF’s, and never have to drool through another slide deck again. Which is what many of us do during most presentations.
But not during a performance.
Think of each presentation as a golden opportunity to get face time with your audience. It’s your chance to inspire, motivate, persuade, and engage.
On the keynote stage, audiences have come to expect “quasi-celebrity spectacle and cutting-edge intellectual enrichment,” so put by this article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
It’s true. And a lot of it is due to the permanence of the gold standard, the crème de la crème, the TED Talks. TED Talks and TEDx presentations, dished out to global audiences via YouTube, have inadvertently set the bar for presentations. And the best TED Talks on YouTube go viral almost immediately.
So does the speaker, and his or her message.
Relax, it’s not just TED Talks—they’re just the archetype. Recent years have seen graduation speeches circulate YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other popular social channels.
Bombing the Encore
But, despite the virality of truly amazing commencement addresses lately, it’s a common lament in academia that guest lecturers and keynoters deliver presentations that are “disasters.” (Their words, not ours.)
When keynote addresses fail, it’s often because the keynoter gets caught up in speaking the words, not conveying the message. And with the majority of communication being visually perceived (eg: body language), how you look when you’re saying what you’re saying can make more of an impression than what you’re actually saying. At least to those to whom you’re saying it.
Know what I’m saying?
In the boardroom, it’s the same thing. Great executives often give lackluster presentations because they fail to connect with their audience, be it co-workers, potential investors, board members, etc. Not to say their presentations were bad; their performance was.
Just as A-list actors spend a significant amount of time deciding how to most effectively convey a character using their bodies and voices, top presenters work with their public speaking coach to adapt the same techniques to use during their talks.
Making It Big-Time
A major study published in The Harvard Business Review highlighted the importance of exciting an audience with your voice (primarily tone and pitch). The study focused on CEOs of major corporations in the United States. The report confirmed that for every 25% decrease in pitch, these CEOs held positions six months longer, managed larger firms, and made up to $500,000 more per year.
If that salary increase isn’t worth the price of a public speaking coach, we don’t know what is.
The theory is that powerful voices are associated with strong leaders. According to the same study, the true influence of business leaders’ ability doesn’t lie in email or text and data research, but rather their ability to inspire, influence, and empathize with others.
All of this can be amplified by our voices, oral communication, and incorporating vocal variety. And all of this can be improved with high-quality communication skills training.
Taking A Bow
So, to recap:
• You have to engage with, excite, stir the emotions of, and galvanize your audience.
• Turn your presentation into a performance to hit your business goals.
• TED Talks have changed everything. The bar is raised; learn to change the way you jump (See Tim Ferriss, the “The Fosbury flop.”)
• A public speaking coach is imperative to presentation mastery.
• Thinking beyond the words is the key to success.
And, why do we bring this up? Because having a coach is vital to crushing it from the podium to the boardroom. We strongly encourage you to get a coach. Sure, we’d love it if you chose one of our MOXiE master trainers. But, foremost, we want you to get a coach. Not because we think you are terrible—you surely aren’t. But because, “everyone needs a coach.” Yes, that’s a direct quote from Bill Gates. Who has a coach.
A public speaking coach capable of delivering the highest quality communication skills training is unquestionably the single best asset you can have to galvanize audiences, let alone simply keeping their attention away from updating Facebook.
And, just in case you are terrible (we doubt it), remember…great speakers are made—not born. Practice will make the act of exciting your audience feel like a natural and essential part of your presentation.
After some training, all you’ll have to do is learn how to graciously accept a standing ovation.
*The image of Tony Robbins is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic and was originally posted to Flickr by Randy Stewart at https://www.flickr.com/photos/35034356597@N01/3948482669