How to Give a “Kick Ass!” Speech
Posted by Khiem in: Articles

If you are anything like me – which I hope you aren’t :) , you like good filtered (no frill, no thrill, no BS) content… which leads me to Guy Kawasaki and his blog.  I have only recently discovered his website but I already love the guy.  If you look on the right side of his page, there is a list of top 10 postings where he offers great insights on multiple business-related topics.  As a presenter, as a social coach and as someone who likes to build communities myself, his writing on How to Get a Standing Ovation, The Art of Schmoozing, The Art of Creating a Community particularly rang true to me.  His speech last year on “The Art of the Start” is also a worthy video to watch.  Today, I want to give you my own tips on how to present and speak like a king!

  1. Have something interesting to say.  I know… this is the same first tip that Guy Kawasaki wrote, but hey, you need to have good content.  You want to bring value to your audience.  Period.  If you are an extremely talented speaker, you can probably make a good presentation out of mediocre content, but having something interesting to say does make a difference.
  2. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.  Having good content is only the first step to giving a “kick ass!” presentation but if you can’t convey it well to your audience, it doesn’t matter how interesting your content is.  You don’t want to bore your audience, nor do you want to leave them more dumbfounded.  Be concise.  Speak slower.  Use pauses.  Avoid “uhhh” and “uhmm.”  Use limited hand gestures to reinforce your key points.  Make sure the structure and format of your speech and PowerPoint presentation make sense.  Convey emotions and energy through your words.
  3. Focus on the audience’s experience.  It is not an honor for the audience to have you as a speaker.  It’s an honor for you to find people who will take the time to come and listen to you.  As such, engage your audience in your presentation as early as possible.  Being entertaining is one way of doing it, but getting them to participate (even in a limited manner) will incite them to commit more of their attention to you.  Creating a 2-way communication greatly enhance the perceived value that you are giving them.
  4. Make your content relevant.  Obviously, understanding where your audience comes from is an important part of this process.  The first thing people are going to wonder as you start speaking is:  Why should I care about what he is talking about?  How is it applicable to me?  It is more important for you to point out how your content is relevant to the audience than it is to state all the interesting facts you have gathered in your presentation.  Guide your spectators in making their own realizations.
  5. Do not allow yourself to be overhyped.  Some hosts tend to overyhype your credentials as they introduce you.  They want to get the audience excited, which raises their expectations of your performance.  Do not let that happen!  It is usually better for the host to simply introduce your act and let you introduce yourself in the manner you most see fit.  By speaking in the first person perspective during your introduction, you become more personable and relatable to the audience.  Delaying your own introduction instead of giving your name and background upfront can also have interesting positive effects.  Experiment with it.  In short, understate and overdeliver.
  6. Tell stories, but only to illustrate key points.  Stories are meant for 2 things: making you more personable as a presenter (think of funny or entertaining situations) and helping the audience better understand the confusing/complicated key points.  I just hate speakers who rambles and tells stories for the sake of storytelling.  Don’t you have a grandma for that? 
  7. Have a good closing.  Nothing kills a good presentation more than not having a good closing.  Think of the closing as your punch line.  It is what you will be remembered by.  You want the audience to sense that you finished your speech on a good note (not necessarily on a high note).  You don’t want them to think that you ended your act because you ran out of things to say with something like “Sooo, uhmm… that’s it for today.  Anybody has questions?” (if you ran out of time and was being ushered out, I may forgive you this time).  After you are done, take some time to meet the people in your audience if given the opportunity.
  8. Practice, practice, practice.  Yes, I know.  This is another tip that is very similar to what Guy Kawasaki wrote but guess what?  The more you speak, the more you rehearse, the less nervous you get and the less you have to think about the words you use.  You are now free to focus on what is truly important: your delivery and your audience.

Now, I can sense that some of my readers who were expecting a post on social dynamics ask:  what does this post have anything to do with socializing and meeting women?  Well… a lot!  If you are familiar with what theApproach teaches, you will know that VAC is the model of attraction we abide by.  VAC stands for Value, Attainability and Compliance.  For the uninitiated:

  • Value can be defined as: what do you have to offer to the woman?  What do you bring to the table?
  • Attainability questions:  how is your value good for the woman and can she attribute your value to herself?
  • Compliance refers to any type of effort/commitment she gives towards you.  Compliance becomes the credibility to your value as it is based on the Cost/Worth conception:  if something takes more effort/money/commitment, it must be worth more. 

So VAC = Attraction.  The beauty of VAC is that it is simple enough to be easily implemented  into business and marketing practices.  VAC can help you attract the type of customers or audience you are looking for.  In the “presentation skills” tips written above:

  • Value is created by having good content, good presentation format, and good delivery. 
  • Attainability is taken care of by ensuring that the content is relevent to the audience, keeping the overhype to a minimum, and making sure that the stories used portray the speaker in a personable and likable fashion. 
  • Compliance is achieved by making the audience get engaged with the speaker.  You want to set the stage of the presentation in a manner that allows spectators to participate and interact with the speaker as much as possible before, during and after his/her act.

So, what do you think of this post now?!? :)
You can find more presentation tips on Garr Reynolds’ personal website.


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