Give your audience a sense of WONDER! Use these tips to keep them engaged and hooked on your topic [Wednesdays: “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”]
Have you ever heard about the wonder walk?
To give you an idea…
Wonder walk is a public speaking concept that reveals a message through a succession of interesting ideas or “wonder moments.”
It’s where a speaker walks his or her audience through a series of captivating sub-topics to make the overall presentation enjoyable, informative, or inspiring.
Curious about how this concept works?
Let’s use David Gallo’s TED talk in 2012 as an example.
David Gallo is an American oceanographer who is a pioneer in ocean exploration and the Director of Special Projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
In 2012, he was invited by TED to deliver a presentation about deep ocean mysteries and wonders.
Knowing how his audience might get bored about his discussion (especially when they haven’t gone through the depths of the ocean to explore), Gallo thought of a better way to get his message across―through revelation!
How did he do that?
With the help of the wonder walk… or wonder dive, in his case.
Throughout his talk, Gallo showed his audience a series of amazing images and videos of different underwater creatures, particularly the bioluminescent ones (those that emit light).
This was followed by an astonishing footage of an octopus instantly vanishing from the camera’s view by changing its skin pattern to exactly match the appearance of the coral behind it.
If you were part of the audience that time, wouldn’t you get hooked on these interesting visuals?
We bet you’d also fix your eyes on TED’s projector screen!
By using the wonder walk, Gallo’s excitement at the awesomeness of exotic ocean life became contagious. Aside from describing what he was showing, he also provided context that increased the audience’s sense of wonder.
Here’s what he said in his presentation:
Gallo’s TED talk didn’t just impress his audience on site. When a recorded video of his presentation was posted on YouTube in April 2012, it garnered more than 12 million views.
That’s indeed a HUGE reach!
According to Chris Anderson in his book titled, “TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking,” the appeal of this type of talk is clarity in structure.
A speaker is simply walking the audience through something he or she is passionate about, building excitement along the process.
Just like Gallo, what should you do to make sure you’re using the wonder walk effectively in your speech or presentation?
Have a clear throughline.
Wonder walks work best when there’s a clear linking theme that puts all the pieces of your presentation together.
Simply saying, “Now we’ll turn to my next point” is not enough to keep your audience’s attention on your talk intact. It’s like a flat transition line that invites them to start shifting and fidgeting on their seats.
Prevent that from happening by providing a clear link between points A and B!
What is the main concept of my presentation?
Why are all these points and sub-topics necessary?
What should I do to make sure the audience easily follows my discussion?
Answering these questions will help you, as a speaker, to construct your presentation in a clear and logical order.
Plus, it will also help you cover all bases to make sure there are no gaps that can cause confusion on your audience’s part.
Provide no room for “inaccessible language.”
“In this work I sought to challenge the paradigm of identity versus communality in the context of a postmodernism dialect…”
Uh… wait a minute. What does that mean?
Did you read through the statement multiple times to understand it or open a dictionary to look for the meaning of some words?
If you answered “yes,” you’re not alone!
That sentence is indeed hard to understand, especially if you don’t know its context.
When delivering a presentation to your audience, keep in mind that you have to stay away from “inaccessible language” AT ALL COST.
Some speakers have a habit of using obscure and overintellectualized words to describe their work. If that’s the case, they shouldn’t be surprised to see some of their audience quietly sneaking out the door to escape their presentation.
Examples of these words are:
If you’re ever tempted to say anything like that in your discussion―complex words that are boring or confusing for your audience―bring out your sharpest pair of scissors and cut it out of your script!
However, there are times when you can’t avoid these terms especially if they are related to your topic.
Here’s a tip: There’s a valid use for these words, but explain their meanings and use them sparingly. If they pile up on your presentation, you’re endangering audience comprehension.
Give an “inside scoop” about your topic.
If your topic is about a major project you’re working on, don’t just focus on discussing the end result of that task. Share the process you went through as well!
Doing so will help you build a connection with them and enable them to see you as someone who’s reliable.
Share with your audience the goals you had when you were just starting the project.
What did you learn along the process?
What are some of the mistakes you made along the way?
How did you reach your goal?
Sharing these insights and experiences will mean that every person listening to you can learn more from your presentation. Lifting the lid on the process is one of the key gifts of any talk.
Take note of these tips to turn your speeches or presentations into wonder walks!
Make an effort to identify how your audience can benefit from your discussion.
Whether your topic is about business, science, design, art, or others, don’t just walk people through your work. Figure out a route that engages, enlightens, and intrigues your listeners.
One of those routes?
The route that brings in a little wonder and delight!
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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