What do you think is the most important part of a presentation? World champion speaker and coach Darren LaCroix says it is “the thought process in the mind of your listener.” In other words, if your listener is not engaged, but finds himself confused or drifting at some point, you will likely be ineffective and your message will be lost.
On the podcast Unforgettable Presentations, hosts LaCroix and fellow world champion speaker and coach Mark Brown give practical tips for effective speaking. The two often have influential speakers as guests who explain the stories, secrets, and strategies behind their success.
Some of the best advice from the podcast’s run comes in the very first episode, “Top 10 Mistakes Speakers Make.” Their list of errors to avoid ranges from moving without a purpose to not pausing properly (so the audience can reflect on your point), as well as not using personal stories, using too much narration, and not using enough dialogue in storytelling.
Before every presentation, the speaker should ask himself, “What do I want the audience to think, feel, or do after my talk?” Since most speeches are forgotten a few days or even hours after they are heard, effective speakers often look for ways to make their message more memorable.
For instance, what do you think is more memorable, giving a speech or delivering an experience? Few people deliver an experience better than legendary storyteller Les Brown. In episode 88, he describes why he gets 3,000 speaking requests per year—mainly because he relives his stories on stage, gripping his audience and inspiring their emotions, instead of simply delivering facts. Brown says, “If information was enough, everyone would be thin, rich, and happy.” He continues the emphasis on building a connection with his audience by saying, “Never let what you want to say get in the way of what they need to hear.”
Why all this emphasis on your audience? This time-tested method goes back to the adage attributed to Ben Franklin: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn.”
In episode 55, world-class speaking coach Craig Valentine joins and the three discuss the importance of having a foundational phrase. This is your main message, boiled down to a short, rhythmic, and memorable phrase. Valentine’s most famous phrase is, “Your dream is not for sale.” He builds his entire speech around that premise and everything that doesn’t support it gets eliminated.
Recently, I’ve been participating in the 77 Day Video Challenge, conveniently described in episode 77. This involves recording yourself on social media giving a short, live-streamed presentation which concludes with a single, specific message or takeaway. I am on day 75 of the challenge and have noticed incredible progress in my use of conversational tone, dialogue, and storytelling over these past six weeks. In addition, the program helps me in my job, where I employ storytelling in our podcast, The Hero Show, and in the course I deliver called Your Supersystem for Flourishing.
Even if you are not a speaker yourself, the Unforgettable Presentations podcast will help you gain insight into what makes a presentation more memorable. For speakers who are aiming to go from good to great to unforgettable, be sure to listen to, learn from, and apply the principles discussed in this useful podcast.