Saturday, December 28, 2013
I don't know about you, but at this time of year I pause to review the reference points in my speeches. The stories, the characters and the historical incidents all age at the same rate that we do, though the average age of our audiences remains the same.
Of course, many stories - often personal ones - are timeless, since they relate to emotional rather than temporal issues. However, leaving a speech unchanged, year after year, may mean that your connection with your audience wanes.
Why not take a few hours to consider what stories and references you can replace or update? Your audiences will notice and appreciate it.
Photo credit: Creative Commons licence
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Friday, December 20, 2013
There is no getting away with quoting the 1953 Harvard Goals Study (it never happened) or the "7% of communication is words" (untrue, and disowned by the original researcher, Albert Mehrabian).
Of course, not everything on the Internet (or in Wikipedia) is true, but it's easy to verify if things ever took place. So whenever you start a sentence with "Studies have shown that..." or "It's well-known that...", you'd better be sure of your ground. If your statements can't be verified, your credibility is gone.
So my advice is to be your own fact-checker. Look up everything you claim in your speeches, and be prepared to deal with the consequences of your audience doing the same. It used to be said that you could fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time. These days, you can't fool any of the people any of the time.
Picture Credit: Creative Commons license
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Monday, December 16, 2013
1) Length of speeches. Everyone I spoke to said that the format of 15-20 minutes speaking, followed by 45 minutes Q&A was increasing in popularity. Some said that's all they look for. They want speakers who can engage an audience with their depth of knowledge and expertise, not with a prepared delivery.
2) Level of engagement. Everyone, yes, everyone, wants speakers to engage with the audience before, during and after the event. They want webinars, tweetchats, social media engagement, Google hangouts - all part of the deal. Just turning up on the day, speaking and leaving won't cut it any more.
3) Interaction. Forget the "turn off your phones" stuff. We need to be interacting with our audiences during our speeches, using apps like Pigeonhole Live, Poll Everywhere and the Twitter back-channel.
I've already incorporated these trends into what I offer, and I will keep watching the market to see how to keep adapting. My view is that if the traditional keynote is all you offer, you'd better check the route to the elephant graveyard. What say you?
Image Credit: Creative Commons Licence
Thursday, December 12, 2013
The Global Speakers Summit; Two awards; I expect you to dine; Cory Keenan; Print me a pizza; The role of the MC; Three keys of core messages; Tell me what you really like; An interview with Heather Waring; Music from Geoff Gibbons.
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Off to Vancouver; A proud Clydesider; Tom Daley speaks out; Boris Johnson on IQ; To what do you refer?; Come out with your hands up; Is your business really social?; An interview with Adam Shaw; Music from Kate McRae