Do you leave memorable messages – Darren LaCroix on originality

Do you give your own memorable messages, or do you sound just like everybody else? Here is an interesting lesson from Darren LaCroix, the 2001 world champ of speaking. He tells an interesting story:

Never use someone else’s story. This is a small industry… it won’t take long for the ‘owner’ to find out. After doing my “Ouch!” speech at NSA a few years ago, it was copied by somebody overseas just a couple of months later. One of my mentors happened to be in the audience, and called the speaker on it. At first, he denied it. But later, he admitted it. As speakers, we can be inspired by others — but it’s important that we be original in our own messages, techniques, and stories.

As Darren would say “Ouch!”

You can read the entire article on Darren’s website.

Leave them wanting more…

Whammey Bar Gig

Before I started getting stage time giving presentations, I spent many years on the stage as a musician. In fact, you will still see me occasionally playing a few tunes in a restaurant or pub. One of the things that I learnt from playing and from listening to live music is to leave them wanting more.

I have heard great bands that just don’t know when to stop planning, or that insists of playing every song they know. What happens? Everybody gets board, and leaves before the band has finished. So when they do finish, they end to a lukewarm applause from the few people still there.

I have also heard bands finish their set with the entire audience is on the dance floor, while everybody is having a party. They end the gig with a bang, to huge applause. When this happens, everybody remembers a great party, and is back next week.

Why does this happen? Simple – the last impression is what people remember. The same applies to speaking.

If you speak for too long, people will get board and loose interest. If you finish on time, and with a strong finish, they will remember how great you were, and will want more. Next time they hear you speak, they will wait with anticipation for your presentation, and not with dread as to how long you are going to speak for.

Leave them shouting “encore”, and not “thank goodness its over”.

By the way, if you want to listen to some of my music, go here.


What image are you projecting? 10 tips to selling yourself

  1. Be on time for meetings. If you are late, you show a lack of respect and self-organisation.
  2. Respond to messages. Even if it is just a one line to say that you received the message, let the sender know that you are onto it.
  3. Dress for the occasion. You don’t have to wear a suit and tie, but dress appropriately for the occasion. Whether you like it or not, first impressions count a lot, so make a good one.
  4. Only make commitments that you can stick to. If you cannot stick to a commitment, don’t make it. Have you ever been promised that a job will be completed by a particular date, and being annoyed that it is a week late? Have you ever overpromised. Rather under-promise and over-deliver.
  5. Smile
  6. Greet people by name. It shows an interest in others.
  7. Always have business cards with you. They should neat and presentable. Simple cards are not expensive to print, and home-made cards can look tacky. Get them professionally printed.
  8. Be positive.
  9. Listen. People like to listen to themselves. Let them, and they will think how great you are at conversation. Understand your customers’ needs before responding with a solution.
  10. Remember rule #6 – don’t take yourself so seriously (there are no other rules).

Featured on Speaking Pro Central

A new public speaking website has just been launched – Speaking Pro Central. They describe themselves as “a community that collects and organizes the best information on the web around the business of speaking.”

Anyway, I was having a look on their site today, and I discovered that I am featured on their website. Just visit the site, and have a look at the featured links on the right.

Go and check the site out – there are some great resources and some fantastic public speaking websites to explore.

10 tips to add humour to your presentation

Humour tips from Bo Benet of Talking Toastmasters – you can listen to the podcast here.

  1. Never take credit for somebody else’s joke
  2. Don’t tell the same joke over and over
  3. Be appropriate to the audience
  4. Keep it short – long jokes are confusing, and prone to mishaps
  5. Be smooth – delivery is as important as the content (if not more so)
  6. Timing is important in delivery of humour
  7. Make sure the humour is relevant to the situation and occasion
  8. Do not make jokes at other peoples expense
  9. Don’t overdo it. Be fully, but you don’t need to be a stand-up comic
  10. Don’t be corny