Speaking, stories and snowballs

A couple of weeks ago, I seduced many of you into opening my blog only to find out that I’ve not read Fifty Shades of Gray yet but did read Magic of Impromptu Speaking, by Andrill Sedniev, while taking some time off of work.

I promised a review on the book, so here goes.

The book caught my attention as its subtitle states: Create a speech that can be remembered for years in under 30 seconds. The fact is, I and gazillions of other book buyers gravitate to titles that promise fast and almost immediate results. A good formula to remember when you are writing product copy or selling a book.

So was he telling the truth or committing a marketing sin and telling a big white lie?

It’s a gray area. Maybe not fifty shades but at least three. The book is excellent, filled with wisdom that can be applied to formal speeches and varied other opportunities of attention, like when doing a media interview, interviewing for a job or taking a stance in a board meeting. All good stuff for building a brand.

His driving premise points out that in any speech only small pieces are truly remembered and these message gems are often unscripted, off the cuff and impromptu.

So if you knew that going in, you’d think Andrii delivered on his claim. If you were expecting the ability to craft a speech, a brilliant 30-60 minute presentation in 30 seconds you may question his claim, but no one will be disappointed in this book.

4 brand building take-a-ways: 

1) Great speeches answer questions.
Andrii’s book and formula puts attention on situations where there are questions. Which is important. Questions are thrown at us all everyday. If you are preparing for a full-blown presentation, you can still benefit from his concepts. Just ask yourself questions you believe your audience will be thinking and address them in your content.

2) Your mental state matters.
Whenever you are on stage (literally or figuratively), or poised to talk or answer questions, being in a high-performance mental state is critical. This means being relaxed, open-minded, confident and excited.

3) Don’t strive to be perfect.
This is self-inflicted stress. There are no speech police that will arrest you if you miss a point or can’t answer a question.

4) Stories provide anchors and associations that audiences need.
Stories connect facts, data and principles to life and hopefully your audience is alive. As a business expert, you should have a handful of stories that you can recite blindfolded, or hanging by your toes, on any given day with poise and passion.

Which brings me to my next adventure.
This week I’m headed to Colorado Springs to spend a couple days working with a long-time coach and adviser of mine, Doug Stevenson.

Doug a former actor and stand up comedian created the Story Theater Method, authored a book by the same name and is a master storyteller. His work helps professional speakers, like me, topic experts, and businesses leaders around the globe, deliver stories that rock, persuade and stick.

I’m looking forward to amping up my story telling, enjoying the mountains and maybe even some snow.

Next week, I’ll recap what I learn.