Be a Sponge: It’s Not the Speech You Give, It’s the… | Darren LaCroix

Be a Sponge: It’s Not the Speech You Give, It’s the…

By Darren LaCroix | Master Public Speaking

…Well, we will finish that sentence in a bit. To help you understand the importance of this point we will go deeper first. To fully appreciate this idea, we need to look at it from the audience’s perspective.

Let’s say you are sitting in an audience. You are very excited. You have been looking forward to the opening keynoter. You heard all about him and know that he is an expert in an area of life where you have a great challenge. For the sake of this example, let’s say this expert talks about having money mindset.

What if Mr. Expert had a great personal story of transformation? You could relate to where he was ten years ago. You saw how the process he followed helped him and his clients. You see the proof of the change in his life. Although making the changes would not have been easy, they were clear and simple. You were excited for the possibilities for your own life. Could you see why you’d want to buy his book or get his personal coaching? You’d probably even recommend him to friends with similar challenges. Make sense?

Let’s look at a different scenario. What if Mr. Expert was boring at first? As he starts to speak, you find out that he started off wealthy from birth. You could not relate to him at all and find his ideas unrealistic and a bit ridiculous. He becomes kind of funny, but he doesn’t really have a process to follow. Then he tells two stories you’ve heard from other financial experts, Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman. What’s worse is he tells the story like it happened to him. His credibility goes down because you realize he’s not original. The person next to you leans over to you and whispers that Mr. Expert inherited $10 Million and is now only worth $2 Million. What? Would you buy his book? Would you consider hiring him as a coach? I hope not.

Sound too far-fetched? It happens all of the time in many industries with lots of shades of grey. But here is what is most important in all of this, you. Your credibility. Your experience. Your transformation. The help and inspiration you bring to you your audience when you are presenting.

OK, back to our title. “It’s not the speech you give, it’s the life you live.” 

Giving a presentation or speech is just an opportunity to help many people at once based on your perspective from your personal experience. Let me give you a real-life example of a real life worth learning from. He is Golden Gavel winner, Jia Jiang.  Mark Brown and I sat down and interviewed him for a recent podcast interview. Why? Because of the life he lives. We saw a speech he gave a few months ago in which he wonderfully tapped into his life experience. 

Here is the extra cool thing about Jia. He never set out to be a speaker. His main goal was his own personal transformation to become an entrepreneur. He realized in order to do that, he needed to overcome rejection. On a mission to desensitize himself to rejection, he challenged himself to be rejected daily. He also had the foresight to document his rejections. What personally blew me away was the insight he reflected on along the way. He then took the lessons he learned along the way and shared those insights from his personal experience on stage. He lived it.

Great example Darren, but what are you telling me? Wherever you are right now is perfect. It’s where you are going from where you are at that I’m trying to inspire. Whether you are an expert or an emerging expert, we need to keep building on our expertise. Not just always improving our skills, but also the experience we draw from. We do this to best serve our audience and build our reputation; we need to constantly be improving the clarity of the processes we teach. We also need to continue to gain more experience to draw from. 

Is there more research that you could do to improve your credibility? This is one of the reasons Mark and I started our podcast. We are eager to learn and grow as we uncover the stories and strategies behind the up and coming speaking superstars. A few months ago, I had never heard of Jia; now I’m a huge fan.

On your to-do list, have you included at least one of the following to continue to improve:

  • Your step-by-step process you teach 
  • Your personal experience in your topic area 
  • Research you might discover or do yourself to help your audience and  your  credibility

Oh yeah, one more reminder, be original. When you need to use someone else’s story, please give credit. If you’ve heard me speak, you’ve heard me give credit to Brian Tracy, Patricia Fripp and Craig Valentine. Want to be a better speaker? Live a life worth watching. Stretch yourself. Unlike almost any other industry, the coolest thing is when we fail, we’ve got a new story that can help people.

What do you take from this?

Watch Jia’s Speech: What I Learned from 100 Days of Rejection

Check out our podcast interview with Jia

Please add your comments/read other comments on this blog post.

What are the secrets, stories and strategies behind Unforgettable Presentations? Find out. Listen to Darren’s Brand New Podcast.