Have you ever seen someone give a speech, and they weren’t connected to the audience? They were saying the words, but somehow you knew they were not fully “present.” Ever given one of those?
Do you know what’s happening? Many times, it means that the presenter is up in their own head, thinking of what they are going to ‘say’ next. You can’t be up in your head and ‘present’ with the audience at the same time.
It’s sad to see this when it happens at a Toastmasters club. It’s even more of a tragedy when we see it happening during a sales presentation for a good company with a good product. All that time and work, mostly wasted. It’s even more of a loss when the speaker gets feedback on the speech… and instead of incorporating the feedback, goes off and writes a completely new speech. Part of the problem is the speech was written on the way to the meeting or the slides were thrown together on the plane as the presenter traveled to the presentation. What a waste!
That’s bad enough, but it can get worse. The same can happen when a speaker steals a speech from the internet or from a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. I don’t know why people think this is acceptable. I guess they just have a different perspective than I do. Besides just being ethically wrong, it actually slows down your growth as a presenter. You’re not learning “the process” of looking within your own life experience to help others.
What is the real problem behind the delivery?
You don’t own your presentation.
I loved an e-mail that came from Jeremy Robinson, one of my Stage Time subscribers. I asked his permission to make reference to it in this article. Jeremy is a lawyer from the UK. He said that he had learned from Phillip Khan-Panni that when you give a speech, you are giving yourself, your time, and your wisdom to your audience – it is a gift.
Jeremy also said that in Law in the UK, he had learned:
“Nemo dat quod non habet.”
Meaning… that you can’t give what you don’t own. Jeremy’s example to me: I can’t sell my house if it is not mine to start with.
So, (if I may use the legal jargon) we surmise that you can’t give a speech unless you own it. So don’t waste time, slow down your growth, or blow a sales presentation. There’s no point in copying someone else’s speech or idea. And, throwing a speech together on the way to a meeting will not be a speech that you own. So you can’t really ‘give’ it.
There’s a big difference between saying words from the stage, and owning a speech. The audience can tell. I was asked to give my winning speech, “Ouch!” at an NSA Conference the year after I won. A few months later, one of my mentors attended a conference overseas and told me that a speaker ‘copied’ my famous fall and tried to make it his own. When confronted, he claimed that he had never seen my speech. He later admitted the truth. I don’t know who the speaker was, and I don’t care. Who did his actions effect more, me or him? Who did it define more, me or him?
My biggest speech coaching client in Boston now requires their sales people to go through their presentation slides with a colleague before making the presentation to their customers. The pressures and demands on their day-to-day client services position makes this extremely difficult, but they do it anyway. Why? It gets them close to owning it before they’re in front of that all-important audience. Is your audience important?
If you want to truly give a speech, you must own it first.
Will you abide by the law?