Nail a Speech, Launch a Career

Being a preacher was more important to Dave Beckmann’s career, than anything else, because it helped him learn to sell his ideas. Most engineers are terrible at giving speeches. They practice death by PowerPoint. Your effectiveness is measured by how well you speak with others.

Great speeches have 3 keys. The elements, the construction, and the delivery. Dave showed an example of a TED speech, to illustrate a great speech. The speaker, Steven Johnson opened with a familiar story of a coffee house. He made three point–liquid network, slow hunch, and connecting vs. protecting. He concludes by coming back to the opening illustration. That circling back tied a bow on the speech to give the audience a feeling of closure to the story.

Nothing is more compelling than a story. Great speakers build their stories with a common enemy (the antagonist). They reveal the conquering hero. They conclude with a call to action. Dave then showed Steve Jobs commencement speech to Stanford.

Steve shared three stories–I was adopted, I got fired, I’m gonna die. He read the speech. What you say is more important than how you deliver it.

How do you build a good speech? You build your story. Write the script-15 hours, sketch the slides-5 hours, build in PowerPoint-5 hours. Come with a creative title. This is often what decides if someone will listen or not.

A speech should have a passion statement. Dave’s passion statement was that he wants to make us all insanely great speakers.

People are wired to remember 3 things. Make a point and tell a story about each point. Use illustrations since these help us remember. Finish with a call to action. Appeal to a common vision and an enemy. The enemy may be something like complexity, confusion, competition, etc.

Transition from the problem to solution. You need to take someone from agreeing with you to where they may disagree with you.

Dave ended his speech back where he started, by showing the final speech from the movie, The King’s Speech. Some great points to lift your speaking game to take you to the next level.

Posted Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 under Emerson Exchange.

2 comments

  1. Carl Henning says:

    Wow, does this strike a familiar chord.  My opening would be just a little different: “Being a preacher was more important to Carl Henning’s career, than anything else, because it helped him learn to speak in public.”  Before a set of coincidences (if you believe in coincidences) placed me in front of a congregation, I was the stereotypical engineer – shy.  Presenting at my first sales meeting, I read from a prepared document without looking up.  Now, I can talk in public.  I’ve even surpassed being an extroverted engineer.  You know the old anecdote:
    Do you know how to recognize an extroverted engineer?  When he talks to you, he looks at YOUR shoes.

    • #PAuto 
      #EMRex Carl, Thanks for sharing that great story and the engineer joke. I’m sure it strikes a cord with many in our ranks… 😉

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