Years ago, I asked, ”What’s a keynote?” My client answered, “We just want the funny, pithy parts.”
I’ve never forgotten that. And now, in the age of TED Talks with an 18-minute limit, it’s even more relevant.
Attention spans have shortened. You cannot afford potential eye-rollers, like “Let me tell you the whooole story from the beginning . . .”
Yes, you need to be the expert. Yes, you need to know 100 times more about your subject, or product or service, than you will ever say in a presentation. It will serve you well in the question-and-answer period.
But there are some sentences that do not “speak well.” They look great on paper, but they are not exciting verbally. You never want your listener to glaze over. When I hear those verbal “no-no’s,” I comfort my clients by saying, “This is great stuff. Let’s save it for your book.” Mostly, they don’t have a book—yet. We move the “great stuff” to a separate folder entitled THE BOOK. Sometimes, the folder is online; mostly, we use an actual old-school manila folder!
None of your brilliance needs to be wasted. A comforting thought. After all, it was knowledge that literally saved the life of Scheherazade, the mythical Arabic queen and storyteller. The translator of One Thousand and One Nights, writes, “the King kept her alive day by day, as he eagerly anticipated the finishing of the previous night’s story. During those 1,001 nights, the King had fallen in love with Scheherazade, spared her life, and made her his queen.”
Sigh. If only incessant talking makes someone fall in love with you. . .not when you are the speaker!
Nathaniel Hawthorne once said, “Easy reading is damned hard writing.” Your speech coach, Mimi, says, “Easy listening is damned hard speechwriting.”
I know—I hear “I have so much to put into my speech.” Child, please. Your speech needs to hit the mountaintops—only. Your BOOK can travel up and down the mountains, and through the valleys, and ain’t no river wide enough . . . But I digress.
Your roadmap needs to be, “What’s the next question in the listener’s mind—right now?” Then, answer that. And then ask yourself the question again. And answer that. And so on.
You may need a coach. Please call me to schedule a complimentary call about your future TED Talk, or marketing speech to grow your business. And remember: Mountaintops, mountaintops. . .Stick to the mountaintops.
Please join me at NAWBO-LA live and in person. Learn how to be “Pitch Perfect” downtown on July 31. Register here.