Bravo, bravo! Here’s what you can do to make your presentation genuinely inspiring. [Wednesdays: “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”]
There are a lot of ways to build a great talk.
As many as those ways may be, public speakers still have to carefully choose the approach they use in their presentation.
This includes taking note of the inappropriate talk styles that could tarnish their reputation as a speaker.
In our previous Speak on The Shoulders of Giants articles, we talked about The Sales Pitch, The Ramble, and The Org Bore. Today, we’ll focus on the fourth talk style to avoid: The Inspiration Performance.
On February 22, 2020, Barbadian celebrity and businesswoman Rihanna received a standing ovation from the audience at the 51st Annual NAACP Image Awards in California.
[NAACP: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. It is a civil rights organization that aims to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality rights of African Americans.]
During the event, Rihanna accepted the President’s Award for raising millions of US dollars to fund disaster relief operations, overseas education, and awareness of environmental issues affecting the world.
By the end of her speech, everyone got on their feet and clapped loudly.
What exactly did Rihanna say to solicit this standing ovation?
“Tonight is not really about me, because the purpose is bigger than me, right? It’s not bigger than us together, but it’s bigger than me because my part is a very small part of the work that is being done in this world and the work that is yet to be done.”
This message resonated well with everyone in the audience that they could not help but express their approval and support for what she’s done.
Wait a minute.
You’re probably thinking we just said don’t do “inspiration performances” and yet the example we give looks like a performance that inspired people.
Allow us to clarify.
As inspiring as Rihanna’s speech was, it’s not the style we’re telling you to avoid.
This story below is.
Christian Anderson, in his book titled, “TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking,” told the story of one instance when an American man urged the TED team to invite him as a speaker.
The man was a huge fan of TED and his public speaking style matched the organization’s theme during that year, so the team decided to give him a shot.
The first few moments of his talk were very promising. It’s as if he took note of all the good points in every TED talk he listened to and was using all those points in his presentation.
Sounds too good to be true?
It probably was.
Here’s the “but” in the story…
The TED team noticed the man loved being in the spotlight just a little too much―he kept pausing for hopes of getting an audience applause or any other reaction. When he got one, he acted flattered to elicit even more response from the audience.
Some audience members clapped and cheered because of his big personality and impressive way of delivering a presentation.
However, when the same group of people were asked to fill out a post conference survey regarding their key takeaway from the man’s presentation, they gave teeeeerrible feedback.
This story is one particular example of why you should avoid being an “Inspiration Performance” type of public speaker, according to Anderson―all style, very little substance.
He states the “intense appeal” of the standing ovation may cause some speakers to look at talks given by other inspirational speakers and seek to copy them… but in form only.
The man who delivered that presentation claimed to have demonstrated the truth of his topic but to the audience, it turned out his talk was just “all whimsy and anecdotes.”
As a public speaker or presenter, don’t settle for just a moment of applause. Strive to leave a lasting impression on your audience because of your great content!
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to receive a thunderous round of applause at the end of your presentation, but don’t let that be your driving force. Don’t let that be what drives you to make a great presentation.
In Anderson’s words:
Don’t pressure yourself to be as EXACTLY passionate as your favorite speaker or copy their presentation style; the more you force it, the more it won’t work.
Think about the great speakers you know. What makes them inspiring?
Is it because they look at their audience with big, puppy dog eyes?
Is it because they explicitly beg their listeners to join their call-to-action?
Or… is it because they’re simply inspiring?
One thing about inspiring your audience is this: In the public speaking setup, inspiration is earned. You inspire them not because you forced them to do so, but because you have a story they’re able to relate to and draw inspiration from.
Inspiration can’t be performed.
It’s your audience’s natural response to your content, authenticity, confidence, courage, selfless work, and genuine wisdom as a public speaker.
They know what a great speech or presentation is and for that moment, they will forget the world beyond the auditorium’s walls.
They won’t fidget on their seats or check their phone from time to time.
They will just listen and focus their attention on your talk.
It’s having a clear objective about how you want your audience to remember you and your speech or presentation.
You can achieve this clarity by first identifying the objective of your presentation, and then setting aside time to prepare for it.
Create a narrative. Make sure it flows smoothly from one point to another. Connect with your audience.
Present it with confidence.
When you deliver your presentation with heart and passion and you effectively get your message across…
… and when your audience gives you a standing ovation…
Well, congratulations! You’ve inspired them and have done an awesome job.
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesdays: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”
In a meeting with one person
…a boardroom with five people
…or a huge venue with hundreds of people
—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.
No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.
What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?
Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.
The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.
(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)
Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.
Have that advantage.
Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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