I had the opportunity to see two professionals in one day – and they both taught me something. In the morning I saw a professional speaker perform a short 3-minute 'hot seat' presentation. This is where a speaker gets to perform a very small portion of his or her presentation and get coaching from a hall of fame speaker.
That same night, I went to see the remarkable Andrea Bocelli.
I am sure both professionals make a living on their talent that involves connecting with their audience. One failed, the other amazed. Here was the big difference.
The speaker crammed so many words, phrases, and stories in that three minutes, I was lost. I don't even know what the point was. There was a sense of panic as if she was thinking "I have to put ALL of my best stuff in a shorter time, so let me talk even faster!"
The hot-seat coaching was spot-on: Less is more. Slow down. Let your stories breathe. Tell less stories, but make them more impactful. Pacing, timing, point. Have a point.
Later that night, I saw the amazing Andrea Bocelli perform. If you have never heard him, I highly recommend going to ITunes right now and listen to a sampling of his talent. And, oh by the way, he's blind. That means he had to be led on stage by the conductor of the orchestra. Here’s the thing. The whole concert, he said maybe two sentences. TWO!! Unlike the speaker who crammed more than necessary, Andrea just performed. He connected to his audience with his amazing talent – at one point with over 10,000 people listening, you could hear a pin drop.
There were many cool moments of his performance including when he was joined on stage by a soprano for a duet. When he did this duet, we saw a very playful side to him at the end of the song. Both singers ended on a long, high note, and at the very end, Andrea went just a note higher! The soprano sort of laughed and slugged him in the arm and he laughed like a kid getting caught doing something slightly naughty. It was pure joy.
What I learned was to focus on your talent, don’t force stories, slow down, and while you are connecting with your audience…have a little fun.
From your learning to slow down motivational speaker, Marilyn Sherman