by Michelle Mazur, Ph.D.
“I want to be speaking more!”
Sound familiar? Your business is blooming and you know that public speaking is a great way to build it. Heck, experts like Amy Porterfield, Scott Stratten, and John Jatsch all sing the praise of public speaking.
The key to building your business through presentations is crafting a speech that leaves the audience buzzing.
Your speech must be remarkable, noteworthy, and memorable to get the audience reaction that you’re looking for and have the audience take action.
Here are three ways to craft a presentation that grabs the audience’s attention and doesn’t let go until you’ve uttered your last words.
Nail your opening line
Sally Hogsheads in her book “How the World Sees You” cites an IBM study that finds that the average person has an attention span of only 9-seconds.
And most speakers waste those precious seconds. The first precious seconds, or minutes, of most speeches are taken up with thanking for the audience for coming or introductions or having witty small talk with the audience.
This squanders the audience’s attention… and then you spend the rest of your presentation battling to gain it back.
Instead open with a line that immediately draws.
My friend, client, and social media speaker, Tracey Warren, begins her talk on social media marketing with this:
“Marketers ruin everything.”
She always gets a laugh but more importantly, she hooks the audience. Her opening line defies their expectations about what she should be speaking about.
Use the first 9-seconds wisely. It can make the difference between the audience buzzing or your presentation being a dud.
Get clear on your BIG IDEA
The toughest question that I ask my clients is “What’s the one thing that you want the audience to remember after they hear you speak?”
This question typically elicits one of two responses: either a panicked “What do you mean I can only have one idea?” or a deer-in-the-headlights blank stare.
But the BIG IDEA is pivotal to creating a memorable presentation.
Have you ever experienced this conversation after seeing a presentation? You run into a friend who didn’t attend the speech and they ask: “Oh you saw Barbara speak. How was it?”
“It was great,” you say.
“What did she talk about?”
Long awkward pause. “I’m not sure.”
Barbara didn’t have clear BIG IDEA for her audience and she squandered a huge opportunity.
Your BIG IDEA gives the audience a way to talk about your presentation long after you have finished speaking. In essence, the audience becomes your marketing team.
My client, Mindy Crary, certified financial planner & money coach has a simple BIG IDEA for her audience. She influences each person who listens to her speak to “expect more from your money.”
And when the audience leaves, that phrase is what they are talking about.
Your BIG IDEA is key to having the audience talk about your message.
Leave them wanting more
Audiences remember best what they hear last.
So, how are you ending your presentation?
Too many speakers don’t end strong. In fact, they downright blow it when it comes to the final stretch of their presentation.
Do any of these sound familiar to you?
- Do you have questions for me?
- Thank you!
- That’s all I’ve got.
- You’ve been great.
- *mic drop* & bolt off stage
That’s not the lasting impression that you want to leave your audience with! The final thought of your speech should never be an after thought.
The end of your speech must be as strong as the beginning.
When I am writing a closing line for a speech, I set the mood. This is a tinsy bit eccentric but the ritual works for me: I listen to “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from Les Miserable and tap into that feeling of power.
If I was inviting the audience onto the barricade with me what would I want to tell them? What would entice them? What would motivate them? What would they remember?
I write the closing line from that space.
Sometimes my final thought includes my BIG IDEA, but other times it’s a battle cry that is meant to urge action on the information.
Your last word must be meaningful. If you want more guidance crafting these all important last words, grab the audience journey tool.
The experts are right; a remarkable presentation is a phenomenal way to build your business, to establish your expertise, and to increase your influence.
Begin with a bang, get clear on your BIG IDEA so that your audience becomes your marketing team, and end with your battle cry.
Michelle Mazur, Ph.D. is the CEO of Communication RebelTM, a boutique communication consultancy specializing in the content development of presentations. To steal a lyric from a terrible Bryan Adams song, she firmly believes “Everything you do. You do it for the audience.” Armed with a Ph.D. in Communication, she has helped hundreds of business leaders and entrepreneurs design and deliver presentations from the audience’s point of view. Her speakers have spoken in front of world leaders, First Ladies, and have raised three times the amount of money than expected for charities.
She believes every presentation should leave a lasting impression and the last words of your presentation are the most important real estate in your speech.
She is also author of the Amazon best-selling book, Speak Up for Your Business: Presentation Secrets for Entrepreneurs Ready to Tell, Sell, and Compel and 3 Word Rebellion.
Michelle lives in Seattle with her adoring husband, 2 obsessive felines, and huge collection of Duran Duran memorabilia. You don’t have to fly to Seattle to hang out with Michelle. Come visit her on the blog for all things public speaking, hit her up twitter @drmichellemazur.