Becoming a Powerful Public Speaker
You can be a great storyteller and inspire others
If you’re looking at this web page, there’s a good chance that you are considering getting coaching in public speaking. Perhaps you’re giving a paper at a conference or pitching an idea to prospective clients. Maybe you will give an inspirational speech to your employees. Whatever the event, perhaps you’re nervous about it. You know what you have to say. You believe in w hat you have to say, but you’re not quite sure how to put it all together. Certainly you do not want to come across as flat, forgettable…
“It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” —Marilyn Monroe
All of the speech or movie clips (below) have at least one thing in common: they all tell a good story. We all know of the trials of the Empire‘s Luke Skywalker. Jamie Oliver’s speech on the urgency of improving the world through healthy eating is no less gripping. Steve Jobs’s vision of a more imaginative world and how Apple can help get you there continues to inspire millions. Toastmasters World Champion Darren LaCroix uses his entire body to encourage us to take risks and not settle for second best.
All these stories have a hero who faces challenges. Through many actions (change) he or she reaches an exciting, satisfying conclusion.
Great Storytelling in Action: from Movies to Moguls
Most of us have seen this clip (below); it’s from the movie Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back:
Almost 40 years old, The Star Wars franchise is now stronger than ever. Once you understand how this movie resonates, you can use this technique in your speeches.
The clip below shows chef Jamie Oliver discussing his efforts to fight the obesity epidemic in the USA:
The structure of Oliver’s speech is actually quite similar to that of Star Wars. I can help you connect the dots and show you how to use the powerful hero motif to both fascinate and influence your audience.
Steve Jobs’s 1997 “Think Different” presentation is a masterful example of Jobs contrasting his vision of the Apple of 1997 and the Apple—and the world—of the future. In 1997, Jobs had just recently returned to Apple and found an almost-bankrupt company desperately in need of a new self- definition and branding. In typical visionary fashion, Jobs delivered the goods—and more. Note how he switches from past, present and future to keep his speech moving forward.
Master storyteller and Toastmaster World Champion Darren LaCroix uses the stage brilliantly: he falls down, jumps up and walks around, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats. Note how he uses his voice, too, and how he changes pitch and volume.