Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 318) – Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004) American Actor and 4oth President of the United States

“I learned [during my time as a radio broadcaster] the fundamental rule of public speaking. Whether on the radio, on television or to a live crowd, talk to your audience, not over their heads or through them. Just use normal everyday words. I have never lost that vision of the fellows in the barbershop sitting around and listening to the radio.

— Ronald Reagan

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Things that public speakers don’t need on stage

When you deliver a speech or presentation, there are several things you do not need to bring on stage:

– Your cell phone

Coins in your pocket

– Keys in your pocket

– Anything that can jingle in your pocket

– Jewelry that can jingle, distract or interfere with your microphone

– A pen to hold for comfort

– Your name tag

At best, these things won’t help. At worst, they will become a major nuisance for you or the audience. We want to hear you, not some jingle.

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Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 317) – Richard Powers

Author Richard Powers

Richard Powers – American Novelist

“The best arguments in the world won’t change a person’s mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.

— Richard Powers

Photo courtesy of www.richardpowers.net
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Lessons from Senegal – Part 2

Teranga. It is the word that best represents the values at the heart of society in Senegal. During my trip to Dakar, I experienced it on a daily basis.

There is no direct translation of teranga in English. “Hospitality” comes close but it is an incomplete translation. The best way to understand teranga is to have it explained by someone from Senegal.

Pierre Thiam

Pierre Thiam is a famous Senegalese chef from Dakar. I first learned of Thiam in an episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. (Definitely worth watching.)

In an interview about Senegalese cuisine, Thiam explains teranga this way:

Teranga is the word that symbolizes Senegal the best, I think. Teranga is a Wolof word that would translate to hospitality, but it’s not the right way to translate teranga.

Teranga is much more than just hospitality. It’s a value. If there’s a set of values in Senegal, teranga would be the most important one. It’s the way you treat the guest. It’s the way you treat the other, the one who is not you. That person becomes the one to whom you have to offer teranga. You have to treat him with so much respect. You have to offer him what you have. You have to invite him to sit around your bowl.

There’s always room for the other around your bowl. Why? Because we believe that the other is bringing blessings. When you share your bowl, your bowl will always be plentiful. This is the deep-rooted Senegalese belief; we believe that there’s always more. You will never lack by sharing. Actually, when you share, you guarantee yourself that tomorrow if there’s more, there’s going to be more food in your bowl. This is a country that values the wealth of a person not by how much he has, but by how much he shares, by how much he gives.

That’s what I would say to summarize what teranga means. There’s not one word that describes it, but teranga is what Senegal is. It’s something that’s really unique to my country. I’m not saying that because I’m Senegalese. It’s just this value has been instilled in us that we have to treat the other as the most important person in the world.

It’s a beautiful word and a beautiful idea. The world could certainly use more teranga.

Speakers can also learn a lesson from Pierre Tham and apply the principle of teranga in their speeches and presentations.

    • The audience is your guest.
  •  
    • You must treat the audience with so much respect.
  •  
    • You have to offer the audience what you have — knowledge, insight, hope, inspiration, guidance, motivation.
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    • When you share your bowl (i.e., your message and yourself) on stage, your bowl will never be empty. There will always be more: more people who know you; more people for whom you make a difference; more speaking opportunities; more chances to leave your mark on the world.

I find the whole idea behind teranga inspirational and aspirational, and I have been thinking about it a lot.

In his show about Senegal, Anthony Bourdain said:

Some places surprise you. Even if you’ve been traveling nearly non-stop for 15 years like me, there are places that snap you out of your comfortable world view, take your assumptions and your prejudices, and turn them upside down. They lead you to believe that maybe, there is hope in the world. Senegal is one of those places.

I understand what he means.

Photo courtesy of www.pierrethiam.com
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Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 316) – Seth Godin

Seth Godin – American Entrepreneur and Author

“The idea of marketing is this: Do you have a story that’s worth telling? Are there people who need to hear it and who want to hear it? And is it true? That’s marketing.

— Seth Godin

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Lessons from Senegal – Part 1

I recently had the privilege of traveling to Dakar, Senegal. There I worked with 30 officials from the United Nations (in French) to help them improve their public speaking and presentation skills. These men and women are doing important work in often difficult conditions all over Africa. It was a privilege for me to be with them.

After my workshop, I stayed a few extra days to experience a bit of the country. On one of those days, I visited an island off the north coast of Dakar, Île de Ngor.

Ngor is a beautiful, tranquil island. A great place to spend the day alone with your thoughts, ambling along sandy lanes lined with bougainvillea or sitting on the edge of rocky cliffs above the ocean.

While visiting Ngor, I shot this video to share a  few reflections from my workshop.

It is important to be mindful and respectful of cultural differences when speaking in another country. But there are some principles that are universal when it comes to public speaking. Principles like connecting with your audience, structuring your talk, and using the timeless wisdom of Aristotle to move your audience to action. 

A big thank you to everyone from the United Nations with whom I worked. And a big “Jërëjëf”  to the people of Senegal.

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Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 315) – Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961) American Author and Journalist

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”

— Ernest Hemingway

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Sketches from the Summer School of Rhetoric – Part 5

This is the fifth and final post in a series based on the sketches that graphic recorder Linda Saukko-Rauta made during my public speaking workshop in Hämeenlinna, Finland. I was speaking at the 2019 edition of the Summer School of Rhetoric.

Today’s sketch is about the elements of a message that sticks; i.e., that the audience will remember. It is based on the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. I wrote a series of posts on the book several years ago. You can find the first post on the book here.

For the previous sketch in the series, please click here.

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Sketches from the Summer School of Rhetoric – Part 4

This is the fourth post in a series based on the sketches that graphic recorder Linda Saukko-Rauta made during my public speaking workshop in Hämeenlinna, Finland. I was speaking at the 2019 edition of the Summer School of Rhetoric.

Today’s sketch is about stories and storytelling, the currency of a great speech.

For the previous sketch in the series, please click here. For the next sketch in the series, please click here.

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Sketches from the Summer School of Rhetoric – Part 3

This is the third post in a series based on the sketches that graphic recorder Linda Saukko-Rauta made during my public speaking workshop in Hämeenlinna, Finland. I was speaking at the 2019 edition of the Summer School of Rhetoric.

Today’s sketch is about structure. Every presentation needs good structure if it is to be successful. That means a powerful opening, good development with proper transitions, and a strong conclusion.

Sketches from the Summer School of Rhetoric

For the previous sketch in the series, please click here. For the next post in the series, please click here.

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Sketches from the Summer School of Rhetoric – Part 2

This is the second post in a series based on the sketches that graphic recorder Linda Saukko-Rauta made during my public speaking workshop in Hämeenlinna, Finland. I was speaking at the 2019 edition of the Summer School of Rhetoric.

Today’s sketch captures the three pillars of a successful persuasive speech, as set out by Aristotle over 2,300 years ago.

For the previous sketch in the series, please click here. For the next post in the series, please click here.

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Sketches from the Summer School of Rhetoric – Part 1

On 6 June 2019, I had the pleasure of giving a workshop on public speaking and presentations skills in Hämeenlinna, Finland, at the Summer School of Rhetoric. It is an excellent event, held every summer, at a beautiful location in the idyllic Finnish countryside. It was my second time speaking there; the first was in 2014 when I gave a keynote address.

The event is held over two days. On the first day, there is a workshop for approximately 30 or so people. The second day is a full day of keynotes related to public speaking. It is informative and a great networking opportunity for 250 to 300 people.

The Summer School of Rhetoric, which is bilingual (Finnish-English), was founded by my friend, Antti Mustakallio. He has done a terrific job at developing it and making it a sought-after event in Finland every year.

Among the participants in my workshop was the talented Linda Saukko-Rauta, a graphic recorder who works with businesses to producing real-time “sketchnoting”, animated videos and strategic illustrations. She made some wonderful sketches of the different themes that I discussed during my workshop. I thought I’d share them with you here.

Over the coming days, I will post Linda’s sketches. While I don’t expect everything in them to be clear if you did not attend my workshop, you should still get a sense of what I covered (and how good Linda is).

Today’s sketch is about preparation and some of the key issues you always need to think about before you deliver a speech or presentation.

For the next sketch in the series, please click here.

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