How facts can be turned into messages and messages become emotionalizing experiences with professional speaker coaching.
“I have a dream!” Martin Luther King began his speech in 1963 with these words against racism and oppression. One of the most legendary and important speeches in human history. You may wonder why I’m referring to this particular, more than 50-year-old, speech. Because this moment shows us how much power and sustainability can be contained in the spoken word. A good speech can change the world. It is a reputation maker and a signpost. It can, however, also cause damage. A lot of damage.
During a good speech our brains begin synchronizing. Regardless of how different we are. And what types of personalities we have. That which takes place in the head of the speaker, the thought patterns, ideas, concepts but also the emotions, the inspirations and the passion, is transmitted to many other brains on the other side. Onto the other side of the stage or to people seated in front of their desktops or looking at their smartphones. This approach to sustainable communication is as old as humanity itself.
People follow those who inspire them… and who have an idea.
In ancient times we already listened, with great curiosity, to the most clever and experienced members of a group, who were particularly wise. Someone from whom you wanted to personally benefit. And could. Today, we no longer sit around campfires very often listening to others. But somehow, we do. Today, we go to conferences, meetings and events, to learn from those who have something to tell us. It is in our nature to allow ourselves to be newly and positively inspired (“inspiration”, lat.: “revelation”). This is what an effective speech is all about. Inspiration and emotion. Facts and feelings. Logos and pathos.
Every moment counts.
Every speech, every tiny address – they all have the potential to unfold power. To take effect. If they are well prepared. Did Martin Luther King prepare himself? Yes, he did! His reaction comprised a structure and a message. And a great deal of authentic emotion. And in addition to the facts and the emotions (logos and pathos), there is the power of his undeniable authority as a successful and charismatic human rights activist (ethos). This is how effects happen!
It results in powerful and rapid neuronal changes in the brains of the listeners. A personal experience of elation, passion, expertise, conviction and vision, reinforces this effect many times over. “What’s in it for me?”, is the question listeners ask themselves, consciously or subconsciously. If they receive a plausible and memorable answer, it generates a sense of understanding and identification. Then this idea is expanded on even further. “To feel like you belong” is simply very different to “being there”. Those who, therefore, want to inspire others with a speech or a presentation, should always be aware of one thing: Being well prepared goes a long way. From the appropriate introduction, through the activation of listeners, to the convincing factual elements and the final outlook on a “shared” future. A good speech has the potential to bring about lasting change.
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
Sounds like an old indigenous American proverb. And it may well be. But this sentence is also a golden coaching rule. Because all the essential elements contained within a successful speech, a presentation or a talk, can be learnt. Should be learnt. And practiced. The moment in which all the cameras are aimed at you. The audience is waiting in anticipation for every new word that is uttered. Or your workforce has to be informed about new prospects and changes. Because so much depends on it. For instance, the future!
Your own personal reputation. And your credibility. Martin Luther King recognized this. His legendary comment was, in the end, a turning point. A clear signal. A clear signal to the US government and the rest of the world that a new era of equality and tolerance had dawned. A powerful and authentic signal from a human rights activist that we need to work towards a future in which all human beings, regardless of creed or colour, can live together, side by side, in harmony.
Let’s look at the example of a financial results press conference. Just imagine what would happen if the CFO of a MDAX corporation, were to introduce the current figures with an incorrect statement. Or with non-consistent sub-messages. Paired with misleading gestures or bored facial expressions. In front of analysts, business journalists and in front of running cameras. Bam. Share prices drop. Or if the aim is to convince international management of a new strategy regarding some internal processes. A strategy with which a turnaround is to be achieved. A strategy that is necessary to ensure the continued existence of the organization. A strategy that will hurt in some places. Who wants to risk the wrong gesture at the wrong point in time? Who doesn’t want to ensure that the message is as concise and as memorable as it can be? Or imagine a bored and unemotional CEO on stage? Or a CEO, whom no-one can take seriously because he doesn’t come across in a clear, convincing and emotionally authentic manner? Nobody! Most definitely not!
One message. Three to five sub-messages. To the point.
There hardly seems to be a better usage for the idiom “less is more!” than in the context of preparing a talk, a speech or a presentation. Speeches don’t have to make sense of the world and its entire complexity. They have to make people feel like they want to delve deeper into a specific subject. Take listeners on a journey. And this is why, first and foremost, it is always about the catchy, well-packaged, emotionalizing core message.
Every “wow” presentation can be condensed into one single core message. Has to be able to be condensed into one single core message. Because the core message is the foundation on which everything else is based. Only those who have examined this intensively, are able to actually hit the bull’s eye. And it is in our nature that after three to five really catchy sub-messages, our capacities for receiving them are exhausted.
It is just as important to clarify who the target group is and what their needs are. Actually, quite obvious but very often disregarded: The supervisory board, for instance, requires very differently prepared messages than the workforce!
Martin Luther King chose the right place, the right time, the right occasion, as well the right core message, for his speech. Exactly 100 years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves, on the marble steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. This well-considered move ensured that his message was multiplied around the globe. Within the hearts and the souls of the people he addressed. This most certainly had a much bigger impact and radiance than if he had made his speech somewhere else.
In management coaching too it is all about looking at: Which core message should definitely be heard, understood and remembered? Which occasion is most suitable, or how can we prepare ourselves for this special occasion? And how are my messages actually received by my listeners? How do I apply gestures, facial expressions and personal stories appropriately and effectively? This is an art you can learn. On-stage appearances, in front of cameras or participants of a large-scale event, can and should be a lot of fun! Your presence in and your concentration on this specific moment. Those who succeed, who inspire others, emotionalize and mobilize people. Take people on a journey into a shared future. This also underlines essential leadership qualities. This is the power of the spoken word. I have a dream.
Feel free to contact us!
If you want to turn your message into an experience and create the perfect scene – Feel free to contact us.