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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Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 314) – J. K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling – British Novelist and Philanthropist

“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.”

— J. K. Rowling

Photo courtesy of S.macken6
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Powerful presentations, even with PowerPoint

This is a guest post by David Lindelöf. David obtained his PhD in Physics at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. From 2010 to 2018, he was the Chief Technology Officer at Neurobat. Since 2018 he has been the Senior Data Scientist at Expedia in Geneva. He shares his thoughts on learning, computers and other interesting topics on his blog.

I recently had the pleasure of joining David and around 100 of his colleagues at their annual off-site meeting. At the event, I gave a keynote address on public speaking. And Daire O’Doherty, one of my improv troupe partners, joined me and together we ran four workshops on the benefits of improv for business.

———

Dear student of public speaking,

Have you ever watched a TED Talk and wondered how the speaker did it? How can anyone give a perfect delivery to an audience without notes? How can you speak confidently on topics frequently unfamiliar to the audience and share information that they will remember years later?

You can deliver a powerful presentation

It’s not an easy feat, but neither is it a skill reserved for a chosen few. It’s a skill that you can practise and learn—which is probably why you are reading this blog in the first place.

But perhaps you think that the powerpoint-heavy presentations that you have to give on a weekly basis have nothing in common with TED Talks. You present business studies, analyses, scientific reports and other “serious” subjects. You are even expected to provide a PowerPoint deck, compliant with the local brand guidelines, and which can be forwarded to those who couldn’t attend your presentation. It must be full of details, numbers, and text; a standalone document. Surely the highly visual, minimalist, pithy slides seen at TED Talks have no place in a business setting.

Surely, that is, unless you want your presentation to be effective.

My company’s analytics business unit, about 100 people, convened for our annual two-day offsite meeting in May. Remarkably for such a highly technical and analytic community, there was a strong desire this year to focus on soft skills. People wanted to hear about stakeholder management, fear of failure and, you guessed it, public presentations.

John Zimmer, the creator of this blog, was a natural choice for an external trainer on public speaking. He gave a keynote full of actionable tips and techniques to deliver powerful, impactful presentations—even in a business environment.

A lesson from Aristotle

I cannot give a full summary of all the advice John gave, but the one thing I will remember the most was the importance of having every single presentation contain the right mixture of Aristotle’s three modes of persuasion:

    • Logos: facts, figures, and logic
    • Ethos: persuasion through the credibility of the speaker (authority, expertise, trustworthiness)
    • Pathosemotion (stories, surprise, humour)

Most presentations, like mine, tend to be excessively burdened with logos at the expense of the other two elements. So the next time you give a presentation, don’t forget to establish your credibility and infuse your presentation with some human element. The latter doesn’t have to be silly, cute, or involve cats; but instead of presenting dry, boring facts, consider trying to tell stories with your data.

A post-event survey showed that John’s intervention (and the theatrical improvisation workshops his Renegade Saints troupe gave) were the two most highly rated events during the offsite. It’s easy to understand why.

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Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 313) – Voltaire

François-Marie Arouet (famously known as Voltaire) (1694 – 1778) French Philosopher and Writer

“The secret of being boring is to say everything.”

— Voltaire

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Message from the Berlin Wall

I regularly travel to Berlin, Germany to work with a client there. My client’s offices are located close to the largest remaining section of the Berlin Wall, so I know that part of the city well.

It is always a humbling experience to walk along the Wall and reflect on what life in Berlin must have been like when the city was divided for more than 10,000 days. It seems like a long time ago, but the Wall only came down 30 years ago.

Today, Berlin is a vibrant city that bustles with energy. It is always a pleasure to visit. Recently, I made a short video about the Berlin Wall – and something else – with my good friend and fellow speaker, Olivia Schofield.

As mentioned in the video, the “something else” is Spectacular Speaking, a two-day public speaking boot camp where a small group of people will have the opportunity to give their speaking skills a major boost, working with four professional speakers. I have been a part of Spectacular Speaking since the first edition in 2012.

Over the years, we have held the boot camp in Antwerp, Barcelona, Cologne, Poznan and Warsaw. But for the past few years, we have made Berlin our home base.

If you are interested in taking your speaking to another level, why not join us for two days of learning and personal growth on 26 and 27 September 2019? We will cover storytelling, connection, presence, persuasion and much more. You will give short speeches to your peers and receive concreted feedback.

For more details, please visit our website.

Bis bald in Berlin!

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