Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

What good is your Ferrari if you don’t know how to drive it? Learn from this speaker’s winning TED talk! [Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy]

July 11, 2023

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson

Are you familiar with Return Driven Strategy (RDS)? 

Discussed in the book, “Driven” by Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo, this pyramid-shaped framework has 11 tenets and 3 foundations. When applied properly, these principles help businesses effectively implement their branding and marketing strategies. 

Another thing I like about this framework is it’s applicable to the microlevel. Just apply its tenets and foundations to your career and you have Career Driven Strategy (CDS). 

Today, let’s talk about public speaking through the lens of CDS. 

Continue reading to know why public speaking is an important skill to have regardless of people’s professions. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Return Driven Strategy 

In Career Driven Strategy (CDS), Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo say it’s important that individuals think and act strategically about their career choices. This is especially true in today’s changing economic environment. 

This means individuals should not just think about their career paths; they should also think about and develop the skill sets they need to achieve their goals. 

Today, let’s talk about public speaking in the context of CDS’ Tenet 11: Communicate holistically. Developing this skill has lots of benefits regardless of the field you’re in—marketing, communications, engineering, sciences, etc. 

The Art of “Having a Conversation” 

Photo from NPR

Amanda Palmer is a performance artist and musician who delivered the most talked-about presentation at TED in 2013. She admits her punk rock/indie/cabaret music isn’t for everyone, but regardless of whether or not you’d like her music, you’ll learn something from her approach to public speaking. 

In her 30-page blog post regarding the making of her TED presentation, Palmer thanked 105 people for their inputs. Think about that: 105 people! It literally took Palmer a village to build her talk. 

Her first mentor was “Science” musician Thomas Dolby, who also helps TED with their music programming… and his advice to Palmer? 

“Be totally authentic.” 

Here’s the thing: Authenticity in public speaking doesn’t happen naturally. It requires hours or days—in Palmer’s case, months—of work, digging deeper into the core of the subject matter, choosing the right words for maximum impact, and making sure nonverbal communication is consistent with the verbal message. 

After meeting with Dolby, Palmer continued her journey towards making an excellent presentation. Here are 3 steps she took to deliver the best talk she could: 

  1. Getting help with planning

As a performer, Palmer has maintained a popular blog for years. When she was asked to deliver a TED talk, she literally “crowdsourced” her topic by asking readers for suggestions. 

What does this teach you? 

It’s okay to ask for help from the people who know you best—family, friends, or colleagues. All too often, you’re simply too familiar with what you’re talking about. In some cases, you might already be too immersed in the details of your presentation when your listeners need to see the big picture first. 

… or you might assume your audience knows what you’re talking about but in reality, they could really use a simpler explanation. 

One of the keys to avoiding these scenarios is through asking for help in how and what you should deliver in your message. This is pivotal to making a connection with your listeners. 

  1. Welcoming early feedback

When Palmer read the initial draft of her talk out loud, the people who listened to her got bored. Because of that, her theater director and mentor from high school gave her “brutal feedback” on her draft. She also reached out to Seth Godin who told her to stay vulnerable. 

Asking for and receiving early feedback was just the beginning for Palmer. Dozens of friends, experts, bloggers, and speakers read the content of her presentation and brainstormed ideas on how she could bring her topic to life. Palmer even approached a girl sitting alone at a bar and asked, “Can I tell you a story?” 

What does this tell you? 

The best talks are the ones with a carefully crafted narrative and story line. However, if you’re not open to feedback, you and your message won’t get there. 

Remember: Not everyone is born a good communicator… but with openness to constructive criticisms and using such feedback to improve your presentation, you’ll be one step closer to delivering a powerful message. 

  1. Rehearsing her presentation

Palmer believes creativity thrives in diverse views. So, she took every opportunity to practice in front of people. 

Three days before the actual day of her presentation, Palmer sketched the outline of her talk on a looooooong piece of paper and laid it out on the floor. This allowed her to see the flow of her entire speech. On her plane trip to California, Palmer continued to practice out loud, warning the person sitting next to her that she was just rehearsing a talk. 

After that, Palmer still wasn’t finished. When she arrived at Long Beach, she had a friend listen to her presentation over Skype. She also performed her talk twice for the TED team. 

A winning presentation like Palmer’s wouldn’t happen without hours of practice and a HUGE amount of input. She said: 

“If I’d done this alone it probably would not have been a good talk. All these people made it a brilliant talk.” 

As you can see, all the 3 steps Palmer took to make a brilliant presentation involved lots of people. This shows it actually takes practice to appear natural when delivering a talk, and presenting a message that truly moves people takes hard work. 

Public Speaking and CDS’ Tenet 11 

Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo talk about the importance of communicating holistically in CDS’ Tenet 11. 

According to them, communication impacts thoughts… and when you communicate well—in this sense, through public speaking—you’ll more likely positively impact the thoughts of your clients, customers, business partners, colleagues, or whoever your listeners are. 

That’s why like Palmer, you have to dedicate time to practice and internalize your message. This will help you deliver the presentation as comfortably as having a conversation with a close friend.

Besides, true persuasion occurs only after you have built an emotional rapport with your listeners and gained their trust. If your voice, gestures, and body language are inconsistent with your words, your audience will have a hard time accepting your message. 

It’s like having a Ferrari (a magnificent story) without knowing how to drive (delivery).

Take note of these tips and apply them to your next public speaking engagement! 

Also, if you’re looking to gain a better understanding of Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy, we highly recommend checking out “Driven” by Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo. 

Click here to get your copy and learn how this framework can help you in your business strategies and ultimately, in ethically maximizing wealth for your firm.

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy”

In the book, “Driven,” authors Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo said that the goal of every long-term successful business strategy should incorporate the combined necessity of “making the world a better place” and “getting wealthy.” 

That is why they created Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy―frameworks that were built to help leaders and professionals plan and evaluate businesses so they can also help others achieve their organizational goals and career goals. 

The frameworks describe the plans and actions that drive returns for anyone in an organization such as independent contractors, marketers, brand managers, communicators, and other people in any field. These actions lead to the creation of wealth and value for customers, employees, shareholders, and the society. 

Every Tuesday, we’ll highlight case studies, business strategies, tips, and insights related to Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy. 

In planning, building, or managing brands and businesses, these strategies, case studies, and guidelines will help you choose what specific actions to take and when to take them. 

Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Return Driven Strategy!”


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities 
Powered by Valens Research 

View All

You don’t have access to the Valens Research Premium Application.

To get access to our best content including the highly regarded Conviction Long List and Market Phase Cycle macro newsletter, please contact our Client Relations Team at 630-841-0683 or email client.relations@valens-research.com.

Please fill out the fields below so that our client relations team can contact you

Or contact our Client Relationship Team at 630-841-0683