So many talks delivered in company are delivered by that person who’s good on their feet, they’ve always done it and they rarely mess up! We can all name one person if we think about it who was normally OK, blooper free and sometimes even entertaining.
Where does that leave the rest of us – the mere mortals who find speaking in public more of a challenge, it’s outside of our comfort zone and clearly we don’t have any fun when we are doing it. “How can you possibly enjoy doing that?”
Recently I have worked with several business people each of them have turned up with talks ‘ready’ to deliver – each one had a well crafted and coiffured speech that would deliver their message on time and on topic. A functional speech – Fit for purpose and Unlikely to offend or cause ripples, containing None of their personality. That is the entire point, anybody could have delivered their speeches – a short amount of time learning it or some autocue and away you go. The individuals had removed themselves entirely from the speech – no personality, no individualism, certainly no attempt at humour – a FUN free Functional Speech.
How many conferences or briefings have you been to where at the end of the day you are incapable of remembering anything of any significance from the myriad of speakers during the day. 6 or 7 suits standing behind a lectern regurgitating their cleverness on the audience while pointing at a sea of ill prepared slides and confusion on the wall behind them. I’m not going to go off on one about PowerPoint slides now, but I do recommend you read Lee Jackson’s book on PowerPoint Surgery for assistance in this area.
So what can we do about it – how can we add real FUN into a FUNctional speech when speaking is not something you really enjoy doing. Going back to the example above of the convention where 6-7 speakers spoke about their cleverness, the one that you do remember will have done something different to the others.
I was given a formula recently that really hit home very well for me –
TRUST = CREDIBILITY + RELEVANCE + INTIMACY
Looking at that in the world of speaking, most functional speeches have credibility and relevance and the impact is affected positively and negatively according to how big an ego the speaker has. However the extra ingredient that takes the speech to the next level is intimacy, non biblical of course. This is the element of sharing their truth, their openness, humour, stories, making it FUN. I’ve always said Perfect Peter has no friends, so for an audience to be able to relate to the speech or the speaker the more human and intimate the speech is the more it will hit home.
A FUNctional speech delivers the message in a individual and authentic manner; no-one has to become someone they are not to make an impact. The more we are truly ourselves the more FUNctional the speech will become. I described earlier a client whose speech was functionally sound but he was missing from it, his uniqueness. The gentleman concerned was West Indian with a wonderfully softly spoken Glaswegian accent, white hair and a white goatee beard – totally unique with the potential to be very memorable for delivering a FUNctional speech. And so he did!