Aristotle laid out three pillars to persuasion and our final to discover together is Logos. In an emotional and highly irrational world, do we still need to use logic in debate and rhetoric?
More than ever before.
Logos translates in greek to logic and helps your audience make sense of what you’re saying.
You want to make sure that everything you say has an understandable, logical, and has a real message. The supporting arguments should be clear and flow nicely into the main points. To develop this element, key questions to ask yourself are:
1. Does this message make sense?
2. Is the message based on facts, statistics, and evidence?
3. Will the call to action actually lead to an outcome the audience wants? Will it solve the problem that’s been presented?
With high logos you are less likely to have the audience turn to the person next to them or walk away saying “what the heck were they talking about?”
I highly encourage you to focus on structure in your presentations to develop logos. I cringe when I see speakers who have a lot of great information but it’s not organized. Who tell fantastic stories, but they’re irrelevant to the main theme and therefore do not persuade.
Let’s all just keep it simple. There are only a few main structures to presentations:
Intro, body, conclusion
The three act structure – same style, different name, where you have the context, climax and conclusion
Tell them structure – Tell what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them
If you focus on structure and than back up that structure with messages based on fact and evidence that support your arguments, you will successfully inject logos into your rhetoric.
Now as I hope you’re aware of from our precious posts,
Aristotle intended us to use a combination of these three forces, ethos, pathos and logos rather than keeping them mutually exclusive.
These pillars intertwined create the greatest chance for influence. They are supportive, and complimentary, not independent. It reminds me of when I started my first business at 18. Our trainers would often coach that there are multiple kinds of people, sharks, whales, dolphins and sea urchins, and our responsibility as presenters pitching our ideas would be to appeal to them all. The same is true here.
In each audience there will be people who just aren’t persuaded by what school you went to or what clothes you wear. There will be people who make decision solely on their gut, on emotion, and if you’re unable to appeal to that person, you will not influence them. And finally, there will be analytical people in your audiences. Are you giving them the stats and evidence and logic they need to make an informed decision, because if you aren’t it’s highly likely you’re missing out on business or changed lives.
Ultimately , my hope and vision for you is to allow these concepts of persuasion, ethos, pathos and logos to sink deep into your subconscious. For you to take them with you for the rest of your career so that when someone needs a sale made, they can call you, a relationship built, they know who to ask, or someone to change the world, you are the one on stage delivering that message.
Till next time stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “you cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change the direction.”
I’m excited now to uncover with you Aristotle’s second pillar of persuasion. His concepts can be seen throughout histories most influential orators. On demand they would allow their audiences to feel specific emotions at very specific times.
With pathos, you can too.
It’s not enough for a speaker to simply rely on Ethos or credibility because there will come a time when either you will not be a credible source on a topic or your audience isn’t that impressed or persuaded by ethos. You’ll need to dig deeper into your tool belt as an influencer and remember how essential emotion plays in your ability to persuade.
While ethos translated into credibility, pathos means experience.
The job of the speaker is to create an experience for the audience by appealing to the emotions that exist within them. By drawing out these emotions the speaker keeps the audience feeling engaged and interested. It’s important to recognize that emotion doesn’t need to only mean sadness, anger and fear but should also include joy, excitement, and a myriad of other feelings.
It’s our responsibility as communicators to choose which emotions are appropriate at any given time, and learn how to evoke these emotions. Typically, the best way to give the audience a memorable experience is to evoke contrasting emotions throughout the speech, almost like a smooth roller coaster of ups and downs.
With high pathos, your audience is more likely to feel connected to you, trust you, be persuaded by your message, and follow through with your calls to action.
Let’s talk the how:
This includes personal stories as well as simple anecdotes or even stories of others. For example, if I’m talking about mental health awareness I could say something like, “asking for help for the first time can be hard – I remember sitting down with my dad with a scar I cut into my own arm nervous and unsure about what I was going to say…”
Painting the picture of sitting down with my dad with the scar on my arm, feeling nervous and uncertainty, draws your audience into your memory. This is often the quickest way to establish emotional connection with the audience and is likely going to be one of the most memorable moments of the presentation.
Pro Tip – Lead by example. Mirror the emotions you would like your audience to feel. Believe it or not – it works! If you are describing a wonderful moment, for example, amplify and show the joy in your face, voice, and posture. On a subconscious level the audience will see the way you are speaking and use that as a cue for the emotions they should experience.
So avoid the mistake of 90% of speakers who tell as sad story with a smile on their face or share their vision with a monotone voice. Ensure that your non-verbal communication reflects the emotions you want your audience to experience, it will magnify the impact.
Analogies and Metaphors
These comparisons allow you to build on the understanding and emotions an audience already feels for something. For example if you speak about gang violence, you might
plainly state that, “We have a problem in our city…” On the other hand, you might say, “we have a cancer in our city…” The latter analogy draws on your audience’s pre-existing feelings about cancer, and makes them want to move or take action towards a solution.
I’ll bring my good friend Iain Gabriel onto a future video for you to learn first hand from a masters of taking advantage of metaphors and analogies.
Humour typically involves story telling and often allows the audience to connect to you on more of a friendship level. The audience laughing and having a good time also allows them to stay attentive and engaged with the content.
Disconnected audience are not easily persuaded.
As you go out and try tell better stories, use more vivid language and analogies, make your audiences laugh and lead by example. As a final tip, Aristotle intended for us to associating positive emotions with our main calls to action (whatever your cause or takeaway) and more negative emotions surrounding the issues we seek to address.
You, like histories most influential orators, are now armed to go on stage and into your everyday life to use pathos, to use emotion to elicit your desired response in every interaction. Whether that be action towards your cause, buying your product or just simply living a better life.
My question to you is, what are you going to do with it?
Till next time stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change the direction.”
I fundamentally misunderstood the purpose of leadership as President of CSI Pitchmasters.
I thought club membership growth was a measuring stick of my leadership.
I thought successful events was an indicator of my influence.
I thought being called, “the best president we’ve ever had,” meant I was doing everything right.
I was certainly and without a doubt wrong. The truth is I failed as a leader.
Not because anyone said so, as you can see from above I’ve been praised over and over again for my dedication to our members, for representing our club professionally, and for ensuring that we meet our club key performance indicators, I say I failed because I know it in my heart of hearts that anyone could have done what I did this past year.
It’s relatable to being a peacetime general. In good times, when you’re growing, when the revenue curve is going skywards, you don’t really see leadership. In fact, it’s not really that important. Everything’s working with or without great leadership. When you need leadership is when things go wrong. It’s when the curve flattens, you’re losing members/ employees, the economy tanks.
But my lousy leadership wasn’t that I didn’t make more problems that I could stand up heroically and solve. My biggest mistake is that i didn’t take advantage of the most important function of a leader during peace times. Developing other leaders.
The leaders most important task is to take good people and make leaders out of them.
You see, in any organization whether that be a non-profit like CSI Pitchmasters, your own business, or even your families and communities, people are the only assets that can continually appreciate. Systems become outdated, buildings deteriorate, machines wear down, but people can grow, develop and become more productive and effective if they have a good leader who understands their value.
Over the past 12 months I’ve been surrounded by 5 incredible board executives and over a dozen members all of which I’m extremely fond and proud of. Saying that I haven’t seen tremendous growth in them right before my eyes would be a lie. But their incredible growth is a by-product of an environment we’ve created, nothing to do with my personal leadership. In fact, it’s so clear to me now that on many occasions I was standing directly in the way of their growth. Here’s why: I didn’t give my team the space to fail and win and because I was insecure.
I took on jobs that should have clearly been delegated. And tasks that would have been huge confidence boosters for members, ended up on my plate because I didn’t set proper expectations and encourage members to take them on with pride and enthusiasm. When I look back, most of the talk about being an awesome president was because I took on so much work, personally.
We all had it twisted.
The best leaders would have inspired, delegated, and encouraged its members to take on the work and grow personally. They would have consistently modeled the behaviour they wanted to see, mentored the team to acquire new skills, recognized their personal accomplishments and established the right support systems incase there were challenges.
That is the role of the leader!
Not taking on all the work, but ensuring the team grows in the pursuit of accomplishing lofty projects. If you’ve experienced this problem as well or want to be wise and avoid these mistakes as a leader completely, follow these two principles.
It’s in a leaders best interest to let your team win or lose
Understanding your teams abilities will multiply your effectiveness. The first step to great leadership is to surround yourself with people of great potential. That wasn’t my problem. My problem was that I didn’t know how to properly delegate responsibilities and tasks. Instead of recognizing my teams strengths and capabilities, I did everything myself. When I should have been confident in my team and motivated them to take on projects, I stepped in and stunted their growth potential.
What I’ve learned is that it’s important to give your team opportunities to show you and themselves that they are capable. Fostering leadership is about putting people in a position to become leaders themselves. And to do that without micromanaging. I didn’t clue into the fact that it was actually in my best interest all along to let them win or even fail because then you both know moving forward whether or not they’re suited for that task. Once you know what your team is and isn’t capable of you can delegate appropriately and multiply effectiveness.
Great leaders are not threatened by people with great potential
Gary Vaynerchuk has an excellent analogy where he says that as an entrepreneur building a company he wants to build the biggest building in town. And he wants to do that by building the biggest building in town… Unlike how most other business people do it by tearing down other people’s building.
When it comes to my relationships with people I’ve definitely never purposefully tried to build a bigger building by tearing down anyone’s building, but I sure have been threatened by others buildings. I’m being very transparent for the sake of drilling deep into my own personal psychology when I say that I do avoid giving others opportunities, or share their work when I love it, or hold on to my own personal learning because I’ve convinced myself that if I do, they will build a bigger building than me.
Joze Piranian bumped me out of the Speaker Slam Grand Slam first place spot by .5 in November of 2017 and I still haven’t shared his incredible speech on Facebook (until now). I don’t share valuable insights that I know could help my roommate, Iain, because he’s already so damn smart and it exposes my insecurities. Finally, I don’t pass along all of the best practices in selling I’ve learned with specific members of my team at work because with it I know they’d outsell me.
Why? Because I’m not secure as a leader.
It’s an unproductive, disempowering, and candidly a pathetic place to come from as a leader. Fortunately I recognized the need for change.
Great leaders, the type of leader I want to become, are not threatened by people of great potential.
Great leaders want to lift them up and help them soar higher. I’ve learned that in order to be a great developer of people you need to be personally secure, because taking people to the height of their potential may mean they will pass you by…
And that’s okay. Our job as a leader isn’t to look good or to be at the top of some hierarchy. It’s to work hard and model the behaviour we want to see in our people. It’s to mentor and coach potential leaders to achieve big goals, goals bigger than the individual.
It’s about developing other leaders.
This radically transparent reflection, while painful, is necessary. It’’s not only necessary for me to be completely honest with myself, but it’s also critical for you, if you also want to step into a leadership role, to see yourself in my example. To decide whether or not you’re truly developing people or if you’re holding them back because of micromanagement or insecurity.
Give your team the space and opportunity to win and lose. Taking on all the work may get you short term credit and pleasure, but it doesn’t lead to long term satisfaction, trust and results. I want to challenge you to give your teams more challenging tasks and coach and encourage them until they’ve stretched into the leader they have the potential to be.
Seek ways to elevate your team higher than yourself. Just like you move beyond mentors and coaches when you’re ready, the same should be happening with your people. If you’re maximizing your responsibility as a leader they should surpass you in skill and ability as well. Give them the strength, encouragement and recognition they deserve. It will only make the world a better place.
Till next time stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “you cannot change the destination of your life overnight. But you can change the direction.”
If there is one commonality amongst achievers, it’s that we like to say yes.
Would you like to take this project on? Of course!
Are you free to volunteer at this event? Let’s do it!
Can you lead the team this year? Why not?
Even if we have 3 other projects running, multiple interpersonal commitments, and already feeling stretched and overwhelmed, we say yes.
Well it could be our fear of missing out. Our desire to test our limits. Perhaps even feeling guilt over letting a colleague down. Whatever the reason, I’m here to tell you it’s time to start saying no.
This past year I committed to 2 volunteer leadership roles, my more than full-time career as a salesperson, my fellowship with Venture For Canada, being a speaker, volunteer and delegate with Jack.org, building my career as a professional speaker, writer and coach and of course the most important relationships in my life with my girlfriend, few close friends and family.
A mouth full I know…
And not only am I out of breath saying it out loud, it’s clear to me I bit off more than I could chew as a leader this past year.
I’ve stretched myself too far mentally. I’ve put too many demands on myself physically. I’ve weakened relationships that I cared about. All because I said yes. Perhaps you have too.
So I’m here to say, once and for all, that I hope my mistakes this year challenge you to believe that it’s time to stop overcommitting. To shortchanging our relationships. And from preventing ourselves from doing our best work. As my good friend Iain Gabriel always reminds me, “he who chases two hares catches none.”
Am I saying, don’t take on hard work as an achiever? No.
Am I saying I regret my decisions, actually, some of them.
What I’m saying and hope to make it crystal clear that as a leader, less is more. This year of pushing myself too far has taught me that having more than three top priorities means that we have no priorities. That the more you say yes, the more inevitable sacrifices you will need to make. Some of the sacrifices just weren’t worth it. Looking back I don’t want to dwell on Jim Rohn’s words ever again,
“Don’t trade your life for mediocre goals.”
If you struggle with this as much as I do, I think these 3 reasons to say no might help you moving forward, too.
1. Other peoples’ priorities take precedence over ours. If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.
2. We will not have time for rest and recovery. Therefore we ultimately end up frustrated and stressed. Similar to working out in the gym, everyone needs to de load every-once in a while. We need to exercise with lower weights, less intensity and have a greater focus on rest. That way, when do get back in the gym, we’re stronger than ever before. The same is true with our mental health as a achiever and leader.
3. We won’t be able to say yes to the really important things.
The last one was the clincher for me.
Out of guilt or fear of confrontation, we take on more projects and invest in someone else’s priorities.… In the process, we lose our most valuable personal resources—time, energy, and money—on things that aren’t important to us. Each time we agree to something without enthusiasm or interest, we waste a little more of these precious resources.
If you can’t remember how you just spend the day (or the week) – you’re doing Good Work.
If you’re about as anxious as you are excited – you’re doing Great Work.
If you’re bored of telling people what you do – you’re doing Good Work.
If you’re going to do it regardless – you’re doing Great Work.
If you’re sticking to your job description – you’re doing Good Work.
If you’re stepping out to the edge of yourself – you’re doing Great Work.
Over the last year as a leader, every-time I said yes to other people’s priorities, excluding those that I was genuinely excited about, I ended up doing good work. By continuously taking on that type of good work not only did I start to feel overwhelmed, stressed and burnout, but I didn’t have the strength to say yes to my personal passion projects and priorities.
I didn’t get to be the President at CSI Pitchmasters I envisioned I would be. I didn’t get to make as big of an impact for youth in Canada suffering with challenges with their mental health as I promised myself I would be. And I didn’t get to I didn’t have the energy to be fully present in my relationships or go all in on my personal brand. As a result I’ve accomplished less in the last year than I know I’m capable of.
I’ve learned my lesson. And it’s time to turn it around.
Every time we say no to something that is not important, we are saying yes to something that is: our work, our relationships, our resources, our health.
Every time we say NO to something that is not important, we are saying YES to something that is.
Decide to stop trading your life for mediocre goals. Decide to stop putting other peoples’ priorities before your own. Decide to start saying no to good work and yes to great work.
Find the work that lights you up. The work that makes a difference. The work that matters. Say yes to that work. If you can muster that courage, your health, relationships and of course your leadership will flourish.
Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change the direction.”
Almost everyone I’ve ever admired were or are leaders.
Jim Rohn, became a millionaire leading a team in network marketing. Eugene, my first Gymnastics coach led scrawny kids to become powerful young superstars. My dad, learned his chops in the military and went on to lead hundreds of men and women for the Metro Toronto Police Force.
It’s clear to me that leadership is an uphill battle. It demands excellence, discipline, and vision. It can quickly expose you, if you aren’t prepared, to the chinks in your armour. And it is surely a humbling pursuit.
I admire leaders for the same reason you do. Leaders lead. They take the first step into uncharted territory. They organize, rally and inspire. They take ownership over the direction and strategy for the team and ownership of the failures along the way. Leaders, force you to grow.
Over the past year and a half, I’ve decided to crawl out of my shell and embrace leadership. Not for the admiration, but for the growth. Looking back to when I started I never would have imagined how far I’ve come and how many missteps I was soon to make in the process… It’s a journey that, for me is just beginning, and a journey that I encourage you to travel for yourself.
Today, I’m currently the president of CSI Pitchmasters as well as the Area Director for Area 71 with Toastmasters. And as I’m sure you’ve experience first hand, most of our growth, almost all of our greatest epiphanies as leaders, are through our errors. The purpose of this series is to share them and call them out so you don’t need to make those same mistakes as I have.
In late 2017, as the President of CSI Pitchmasters, the board and I decided on our club contest dates. Every 6 months, each Toastmasters group runs a contest to test the members and ensure their progressing by going head to head with other members from across the globe. When we sat down as a board to discuss the next steps, it was decided that our VP of Education would organize the event with my support along the way. The next 4 weeks leading up to the event were a blur. The next thing I knew it was 4 days until the contest with very little progress made. The club was excited but I was nervous.
The only thought going through my head was, “I guess I’m screwed!”
Let’s unpack this first lesson in lousy leadership, together.
Autonomy Over Blind Faith
My first major blunder as a leader was misinterpreting the word autonomy. I thought, our VP has decided to take on this project so we can meet once and he’ll get it done! He’s an intelligent, educated and hardworking guy, this is going to be easy I thought.
How could I have been so naive?
It’s true that he is intelligent. He is Educated. And he is certainly hard working. But as a leader I totally dropped the ball. What I thought was autonomy was actually blind faith.
It’s a mistake I’ll never make again.
This, like all failures, merited reflection. After playing out other scenarios in my head and understanding more about the way autonomy worked in my current job, here’s what I should have done. If you’ve ever worked with a great leader they probably did this – They define the expectations.
As a leader, I should have set expectations for who was responsible for what, when it needed to be done by, and how often we should have had a progress update. Although we clearly needed to organize the event, I never set the expectation around food and our budget. Who would print off all the materials and forms. I missed communicating what needed to happen in order for us to be ready and when did it need to be ready by. That simple method of setting expectations would have saved my ass.
If I had done that, I would have been giving him autonomy instead of blind faith.
Blind faith is saying, “Let me know if you need any help!”
Autonomy is saying,”this is what we’re responsible for, here is our desired outcome, and these are our agreed upon check ins.”
That way, it’s clear what needs to get done and everyone knows their personal responsibilities.
Trust me when I say that your team will thank you for setting expectations and appreciate you caring enough to check in when you said you would.
If You F Up Be Like A Duck
Finally the day of the event arrived. I ended up scrambling like hell to organize the people, the paper work, the food, and get the venue set up to support the desired outcome. It goes without saying that you don’t need that kind of stress in your life.
I’m now standing in front of the room, 10 minutes before the start time with our VP and the MC we invited to run the night. While my VP and I franticly ran around trying to set everything up, our veteran Toastmaster and MC, Emilio, demonstrated to me what it looks like to be a leader under pressure. I’ll never forget that night because it was the first time that I saw first hand what it meant to be like a duck.
Leaders of all capacities will be required to execute under pressure. When the chips are down, when you’re the underdog, when it’s clear you’re underprepared and no one has a clue what the hell is going on. The leader still needs to lead.
That night, 10 minutes before we started, Emilio walked up to my VP and I and said, “We’re missing forms and you see these other forms? Ya, all of those are for the wrong competition.”
My stomach sank. I tried to keep my composure but both my VP and I were panicking. All of a sudden my VP was not only panicking but he had verbal diarrhea and lost his nerves in front of the whole group. They were beginning to realize we F’d up.
Coming to our rescue, like a war tested veteran who had clearly done this hundreds of times, Emilio grabbed us and pulled us outside the room. We have a room of over 20 people ready to participate in the contest, he said. A few missing forms is nothing to ruin this night over. Yes, we screwed up. Yes, we don’t have everything we should have. But we’ll make it work, he said boldly.
With a straight face and head held high, one that only a real leader could muster under pressure, Emilio guided us back into the room and worked diligently for the next 5 minutes briefing our judges, the timers, and our ballot counters on the missing forms and what we were going to do about it. When we F’, he acted like a duck. Cool and calm on the surface, yet working like hell to paddle hard under the water.
When you watch ducks, it looks as though they are smoothly gliding along the surface of the water with very little effort. However, a closer inspection reveals that they are paddling hard under the water to get where they need to go.
It was easy, even default, for my VP and I to get frazzled that we had screwed up.
But the best leaders, leaders like Emilio, are more like ducks. Sure, they’re still working hard, but they make it look easy. With warm smiles and a relaxed demeanour, they bring a sense of calmness and reassurance to those around them. They are less likely to explode in rage when the team has made a mistake and more likely to focus immediately on a solution.
Staying cool, calm and collected is the only way to keep everyone level headed and productive. Emilio told me that he works best under pressure. He’s learned from all his past experiences that it is best to focus our energy on the factors WE CAN control and not to lose sweat over what we can’t.
Because of Emilio, that event was still one of our biggest successes to this day. Thank you, brother.
Don’t make the same mistakes I have. In your next leadership opportunity practice these two lessons from my lousy leadership.
Set the right expectations. Don’t lead with blind faith, instead give your team autonomy. Who’s responsible for what, when does it need to get done by and what are our agreed upon check ins.
If you make mistakes, which you will, receive them relaxed. Choose intentionally to focus on the solution rather than the problem. If you act like a duck, you won’t project your anxiety and frustration on the rest of the team. Instead you will become an example they aspire to emulate like I do with Emilio.
I hope these stories inspire you to share your own leadership lessons. Please leave a comment below so I don’t have to make them all myself!
Till next time be on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change your direction.”
The quickest way to a goal, is to model the behaviour and philosophies of those who’ve already been there and done that. So as we wrap up our series on presentation preparation, it’s important to spend time thinking from the lens of a professional speaker.
How do professional speakers prepared to inspire the masses? How do speakers like Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Brendon Burchard, and Arriana Huffington impact so many people without burning out?
The answer is simple, but not easy.
The strategy is called becoming a modular based speaker. And it’s a strategy that will allow a newbie or intermediate speaker, to become a professional. This transition will not only make you a top 1% earner in North America, it will give you the gift of speaking to any audience, at any time, at a moments notice.
Let me give you an example.
Imagine you’re Tony Robbins up on stage at Unleash The Power Within. There’s 3000 people in the audience expecting you to deliver the best performance of your life. They want to change their lives, help them make more money, have better relationships and go home never being the same again.
For 5 days straight, 12 hours a day, you’re on stage delivering material. Yes, 5 days, 12 hours a day!
How do you feel? Well as Tony, you have incredible certainty that you will deliver on those expectations because you’ve done it thousands of times. But for most of us, that would be unimaginable… We aren’t professionals, just yet.
Is Tony a genius? Does he posses some skill that is unavailable to the rest of us? No. We anyone who’s willing to set up their content to become a modular based speaker could in theory speak for hours and hours without ever running out of material.
The secret is that every story, every topic, every theme that Tony delivers, is modular. Meaning today we have 12 hours and we’re delivering modules a, b, c, d, and e. Doesn’t sound too complicated right?
But what happens if we’re 3 hours over time on a 12 hour day. Are you going to make your audience stay 3 extra hours? How would you feel if a speaker kept you an extra, 1, 2 or 5 hours? You can’t do that, it would be amateurish.
As a professional, Tony and Brendon, and all of the other greats, know their modules so well that everything is finely tuned with precise timing. Let’s continue with the example above and say that the organizer rushes up to you and says, “Hey Tony we’re 3 hours behind, we need to get back on track.”
In less than 10 seconds Tony can decide that he needs to cut out modules c and d, leave in e and end with q. He’ll end on time and still deliver amazing value. 2 seconds later is back out on stage delivering off of the new material he’s sliding in and forgetting about the material they will miss out on by being behind.
Can you see the implications for yourself?
No matter who’s in the audience or how much notice you have you know your material so well, every module is laid out in such detail, that in a moments notice you can deliver.
Maybe you’re not speaking for 12 hour days. But if you’ve only got a 45 minute keynote and the last speaker wen’t over 22 minutes. How prepared are you right now, to remove 3 stories, end on time for the organizer, and do it with such grace that nobody ever noticed you were planning on doing more material?
If the answer isn’t a resounding yes! Than we still have work to do to get you closer to professional level speaking.
Begin laying out your content, themes, and stories in modules. Know which stories and ideas take 1 minute, 3 minutes, 5 minutes and 10 minutes to deliver. Learn that material so well that you know without a shadow of a doubt you can speak to any audience with no notice.
The decision we have to make as newbies or intermediate speakers is, is it worth it?
Is it worth it to become one of the best in the world. Admired by millions, impacting lives over and over again, and changing the world.
If you said yes to that question like I have, starting today, decide to go pro. Decide to lay your material out in modules like the best in the world. Once you’ve done that, you’ve begun the path to extraordinary.
Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change your direction.”
While critical, the mindset of performance is not nearly as sexy as it’s counterpart, the tactics! Today, let’s push past the mindset of preparation and explore the tactics required for beginner and intermediate speakers to crush their next performance.
After all, the unprepared speaker has the right to be afraid.
My goal from this post is to give you three actionable take aways that will remove your anxieties and ensure high performance. Beginner and intermediate speakers alike can take advantage of the following three rules. The 24 hour rule, the video rule, and the real life rule.
I use the 24 hour rule as my measuring stick for how prepared I am. If I’m giving a speech Tuesday night at 8pm, then by Monday night at 8pm at the latest, I should be completely ready to give that speech as if it was on Monday night! As soon as you start using the night before a presentation as the main hours for practice, you’ve already lost.
As a speaker and communicator, your unconscious mind is your most powerful asset.
Preparation ahead of time gives your presentation time to sink deep within your subconscious mind. When you find yourself truly mesmerized by a presentation it’s virtually always because it comes off authentic, like they came up with it on the spot.
That’s the feeling you want to give your audience.
If you’re giving yourself less than the 24 hour rule, you’ll either be A) underprepared and stumbling on your words or B) just prepared enough that you sound robotic as if you’re reading from a script.
That is not how you persuade and it’s not how you deliver exceptional performances.
If you want an accurate measure of how prepared you are before a big presentation use the 24 hour rule and ensure you’re ready at least 24 hours before your next big speech.
The Video Rule
People are often given misguided advice when it comes to speech prep. That, if you practice in front of a mirror… it’s just like the real thing!
Practicing in front of a mirror does not accurately represent what you will look like in front of an audience. My recommendation is to use the video rule instead. The next time you have a big presentation, get a video with your entire body in the frame. Film the speech you’re were going to give and then spend time combing out the knots.
You’ll be surprised on how many adjustments you can make through watching yourself on video. I gave one of the biggest speeches of my life at the Speaker Slam Grand Slam back in November of 2017. When I watched my practice video I found that I was doing all these tiny bounces and my movements were clearly abrupt and contrived.
Fortunately, I used the video rule to take the presentation from a 6 or 7 to a 9 or 10! The presentation turned out to be fluid, and in fact one of the best example of effective body language and gesticulation I’ve ever given.
Make sure you use the video rule. It will only make you better!
Real Life Rule
This one is my favourite because if you use it, you’ll separate yourself from 90% of communicators. It’s so simple.
Give your pitch to your dog. Practice your job interview with a buddy. Give your presentation before you need to give your presentation!
No matter how many times I practice in my room and film myself, it’s always a bit different when there’s a thousand people staring at me. So if you want to go into the world and make a difference, crush that pitch, and get a standing ovation, use these three rules: the 24 hour rule, the video rule, and the real life rule.
I promise, there is nothing more anxiety inducing than being underprepared, and nothing more empowering than knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that this will be the best presentation of your life.
Till next time stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change the direction.”