What Motivational Speakers can learn from Andrea Bocelli

Motivational speakers could learn from Andrea Bocelli

Connect with your audience – and sometimes use your words

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


Marilyn Sherman, CSP is a Front-Row Leadership Expert helping people get out of the balcony and get a front-row seat in life. For over 20 years she has inspired audiences with topics on Visioning, Goal Achievement and having a No More Excuses attitude! Check out her fun, dynamic style at http://www.MarilynSherman.com

Marilyn Sherman, Owner UpFront Presentations - Helping people get a Front-Row seat in their life!
9030 W. Sahara Ave #444
Las Vegas, NV 89117

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  1. Great takeaways from both experiences, and a beautiful reminder to this woman who wants to shove too much in too little time to slow down.

  2. What a great day Marilyn!  As a motivational speaker who has sat in that very same 3 minute Hot Seat, I can TOTALLY relate to the feedback given.  I was fortunate enough to have had coaching in my past, so I used the opportunity to edit my story down to its essence and one point.  You can see the results HERE.  It is a great exercize in clarity.   And the clarity you saw in Andrea's performance that night sounds like it was magical!  What a joy to see someone live and breathe their talent with absolutly no extra "noise" to muck it up!  

    • Great story Tami!  I hadn't heard you do this one before – I love the 'put your perfect on pause'.  Yay!  And your 'Breath their talent with absolutly no extra "noise" to muck it up!' perfectly summarized what I was trying to say.

  3. I also have soooo many great ideas that I feel like I MUST share with my audiences, that I often get myself into trouble. Great reminder for us all to simplify!

  4. Such a great point. The pause is so important. 

  5. What a great point. As Dave knows, I have made the mistake of cramming too much in a short time!  Thanks for the reminder Marilyn of how to use the moment to our advantage, and that more is not always better. 

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