Last week, I had my Publicity Mastermind event. Masterminders flew in from around the country (and world!) for our 3-day retreat.
It was so exciting to watch them give their speeches at the VIP dinner party. The room was packed with magazine editors & writers, publicists, literary agents and influential entrepreneurs.
Speaking in public is so powerful — you never know what opportunities it could lead to. From giving speeches at the VIP dinners, people have been offered opportunities like TV appearances, book offers or magazine contributions.
Today, I want to dive a bit deeper into how to give a powerful talk. I’ve invited my friend Alexia Vernon, a public speaking coach who specializes in TED talks, to share her expertise with you. Here’s Alexia!
For more years than I care to admit, I was a really “good” speaker, but I wasn’t “great.” I wasn’t transformational or soul-stirring (i.e., the kind of speaker who has audience members running up to her afterwards to sign up for her programs).
I couldn’t understand why. I’d spent nearly a decade overcoming my paralyzing fear of public speaking. People told me I was a great speaker and that I was so polished.
I now know that to consistently be an audience favorite, you must be a lot more than well-researched and accomplished.
Through studying the speakers who inspired me (and got paid the big bucks — like $10,000 per talk), I discovered five things that they each did in their talks. Today, I want to share them with you.
We’ve all heard speeches that started with the speaker thanking the event producer or listing their professional background. (Usually, those leave us bored and slightly distracted.)
Instead, you want to grab the audience’s attention from the moment you start talking. The way to do that is through telling a powerful story that takes the audience on a journey with you (just like in TED talks).
This is so essential because people aren’t looking for more information — they’re looking for inspiration! We all want to be entertained just as much as we want to be educated. A story allows you to connect on an emotional level, creating a powerful experience for the listener.
When you look at the talks that have gone viral by speakers like Simon Sinek or Brené Brown, their talks are centered around just ONE unique idea.
I used to really struggle with this one. I either tried to cover far too many topics, or I would summarize what other people said rather than giving it my unique twist and voice.
Focus on just one key idea that hasn’t been heard before. This should be something that you want your audience to understand, be passionate about and spread along with you.
When people experience a mindset shift from something you shared, they’ll feel a deeper connection with you. The way to do this is through asking questions that gets them to look at their challenges in a whole new way.
- If fear were out of the equation, what daring action would you take in your business?
- If you had 6 months left to live, what would you do in your life?
At the end of the day, your talk is about the people listening. If you can prompt an internal shift, the experience becomes more powerful for them.
4) Stick to the allotted time frame for your speech (and be innovative in how you use it).
Rather than viewing 18 minutes or 30 minutes with your audience as a constraint, view it as an opportunity.
Here’s an idea of you should structure it:
- 25% of your time should be spent in the intro, rousing their curiosity and interest.
- 50% should be spent in the body of the speech.
- 25% should be spent in the close, inspiring them and inviting them to take concrete action.
Remember: your goal is to make your audience as passionate about your big idea as you are. This is how they will be inspired to spread it!
5) Continue to engage with your audience after the event.
When you follow the four strategies above, you’ll likely convert audience members to fans (and in many cases, clients!).
Sometimes, they’ll sign up to work with you right at the event. Other times, they’ll need to get to know you better first.
Make sure to have a clear way for them to sign up for your newsletter list. You could offer free strategy sessions, give a free gift, or simply have a sign-up sheet in the back of the room.
Afterwards, follow up with your new subscribers, and nurture your relationship with them by sending them your best content.
Are you ready to share your message with more people?
It starts with identifying your signature story and your “idea worth spreading.” Alexia has created a new video series to help you do exactly that! Check it out here (it’s free!).