For Speakers Who Wonder Exactly What It Is I Can Help Them Do
My Speech Coaching Process can help you if you’re going to command big fees, big stages, and get them to line up when you’re through, and wanting to buy more. It will help you do more than knock out a speech in a day.
The market is crowded and filled with great speakers. I just heard a panel of high level meeting planners say that the future of speaking is EDUTAINMENT (education plus entertainment). This means that now more than ever, you’d better wrap your content in an amazing experience or you will get lost in the shuffle fast. This means that relying on your expertise alone is a bad move. This means that you are more than an expert who speaks. It means you are an expert who’d better be an entertainer too. Or at the very least entertaining.
When I help people with their speeches, that’s my goal. To help take your words and make them more powerful – more dramatic – more emotional – and just….more.
And one more thing…….I don’t help you write like Kelly Swanson or talk like Kelly Swanson or tell stories like Kelly Swanson. My goal is to help you craft words that are organic and authentic to YOU. I don’t want you to be me. I’m already taken.
What Do I Look For In a Speech?
Many people work with me on their stories. Working on one story is a smaller project with a measured outcome. Working on an entire speech is a much bigger project. Here is the process I follow – or rather the things I look at. Not always in this order. It is a creative process after all.
- Review the written script. Before I can review a speech, I need to see the speech -written out on paper. I can’t start moving words, adding words, and making words better, until I can see the words.
- Some speakers never get to this step because they never craft the words of their speech but run with an outline. I can always add thoughts and ideas. But the magic comes in crafting the words. Just as it is critical in humor to use the right words and pauses in the right places – same goes for other parts of your speech. My clients have been amazed at the difference a few words can make on the outcome of the speech and book sales.
- For these speakers who don’t want to script, I just do what I can with what they give me, in the time they have with me. Just like you may have seen me do the live story hot seats in your meeting – I take what you put up in front of me, and give you feedback on what you have shown me. In and out, and nobody gets hurt. But you’ve only scratched the surface in what I am able to help you do.
- Working with no written script is easier for a story (though I provide way more value when the story is scripted too). Because a story is a smaller thing to work on. But doing this with a speech is much harder and less valuable for you.
- Even when you send me a video of the speech, we end up having to put it on paper, because if I tell you a better way to tell the story, and you hear a good line, you’re going to want to write it down and remember it.
- Here’s the deal. Some people are terrified of memorizing. I get it. In this case, we find a happy medium between a written script and totally winging it.
- Review your business and brand and what you want/need to accomplish with the speech in a way that is congruent with your business model. The speech is intended to sell something to that audience, whether tangible or not. It should be judged on its ability to sell as much as on its ability to entertain and inspire. I have to understand your business and your brand in order to understand the audience and the purpose of the speech.
- The speech is not just a chance for you to tell a story. It’s intended for you to teach them something. Make them feel something. Inspire and motivate them to act on it. Convince them there’s a problem. Etc.
- Sometimes we find that a speaker doesn’t have clarity on their brand and message – so the speech process becomes something bigger and a little more involved. Sometimes we actually have speakers define their brand and message as a result of the speech writing process. The whole “which comes first the chicken or the egg” thing.
- Clarify the intent of that one speech. Now more than ever, the day of the “one and done” speaker is over. Meeting planners expect you to be relevant to your audience, and address the top issues they are concerned about. And even if you give the same speech every time, we have to make it specific and customized to that audience. And more times than not, the client asks you to tweak your messaging a bit and you end up writing a new speech. So we look at what the client has asked you to do, the persuasive argument you are making and whether it’s effective – the foundation of the presentation.
- Is the content structure solid and persuasive? Many speakers get up on stage and give a data dump. A huge download of information that overwhelms the audience. We hear so much we remember nothing. When this information can be structured in easy-to-remember compartments, your audience will thank you. Not only that – a data dump doesn’t persuade an audience to take action. So let’s turn it from a lecture into an experience. Let’s actually persuade the audience, the same way a sales person would persuade his buyer.
- We look at everything you need and want to persuade that audience to do
- shift in perspective
- understand the problem
- learn the solution
- buy your book
- know what else you offer
- feel good about themselves
- trust you and find you credible
- I have created The Anatomy of a Speech. A Template that gives you every block of your speech, and allows you to take your content and mold it in a way that has emotion and persuades so you show instead of tell.
- We look at everything you need and want to persuade that audience to do
- Make sure the content/talking points have been customized to fit the audience. When clients ask for customization, the easiest way is to simply customize the application of your content. You tell your story, make your point, teach your lesson (all things you do the same for everybody) and then just take it one step further. Now, how does this apply to you?
- How is it wrapped? After I look at the core content structure and the organization of your content in a way that makes a solid argument, I look at how you have wrapped it in stories, humor, emotion, and the other elements that take it from data to an experience. If these elements are there, I help make them better. If not, I help create them. For example, my brain will often see where humor could be added.
- For those high-content speakers who have all data and nothing else, this is a more extensive process. We have to figure out how to create stories, write them, where to put them, etc.
- Some speakers want an even more creative and unique experience. So we explore ways to really take it over the top if you wish.
- I work within a speaker’s comfort zone. Pushing you a little, but not turning you into someone else.
- Story Crafting. Then I dive into each story and work on making it better – spending more time on the big anchor stories. If there are no stories, we have to find them and create them.
- I have created a Story Formula that helps you learn how to make sure your story has the critical elements necessary for persuasion.
- For those who want to learn as well – there are courses available in Story Impact Academy.
- Some people want to be students. Some want to be coached. And others want it all. (Story Camp is a good place for those people, FYI.)
- Create a theme or story line. Then I look at the overall story line – to see if the speech has a common theme or story line instead of just cobbled together information. And if there isn’t one, we explore ways to add a through-line. This is all about turning the speech into a journey for the audience with a definite start, middle, and end – as opposed to a speech that just feels cobbled together.
- When we discover the story line – or rather when it is revealed to us – is nothing we can plan. It just happens. Sometimes we get all the way through the speech and suddenly we see a way to tie it all together.
- And there’s nothing wrong with a speech if it doesn’t have one. But when a speech has one, the audience is even more hooked in.
- Line by line review. Then we go line by line to craft the content so that it is powerful – repeatable and tweetable. We also look at places where the content can be cut or expanded depending on time and whether it’s a keynote or breakout. I’d rather you have a longer speech that you can cut, than a shorter speech that you can’t make longer if you need to.
- The time it takes in this process depends on what the words are like now, and whether you are a good writer, or even like to write. Sometimes all it needs is a tweak or two, and sometimes it’s a complete overhaul.
- Sometimes I end up doing some of this work for you.
- Bells and Whistles. Then we look at the other cool things you can do to make that speech memorable. Interaction. Improv. Games. Cool tricks that create a tangible experience for your audience. This will become more and more important as we head into a future where people crave an escape from their digital worlds and connection with the speaker.
- Seeding. Then we look at the places where you can seed for product sales and more business or ask the audience to do that one thing you want them to do for you. This is something best done in the last stages. And we do it in a way that fits your level of comfort and doesn’t come across as pitchy.
- Open and Closing. Then I make sure the opening and closing is powerful since those are the two most remembered moments.
- PowerPoint and Music. If there is Powerpoint to look at, that is another BIG chunk of time and energy. To see if it is interesting, compelling, and helps move the speech along in a powerful way.
- I believe that PowerPoint is used to enhance the speech and the audience experience – not as your crutch
- Just as I look at every word in a speech, I believe every slide in a PowerPoint deserves the same attention.
- Delivery. After we have a speech you are in love with, then we work on DELIVERING the speech in a conversational authentic way. Delivery is as equally important as the speech script.
- Many speakers are killing themselves with a fake delivery style – overly polished and canned.
- My goal is to help you create an amazing CONVERSATION not an amazing performance.
- Some speakers (me included) choose to adopt a more performance style. This is fine too. But it still must feel organic and real and bring the audience into it.
- Memorization. There are some speakers who can never (or will never) memorize a speech. So we figure out how to make that work.
- Note: Many times it’s hard to memorize because you wrote it as if it were meant to be read. I help you write it the way you talk, making it so much easier to learn.
- Memorization is like a muscle you work. The more you work it, the easier it gets.
- There are ways to “cheat” so you don’t have to memorize.
Now you see why I cringe when people say Let me teach you how to knock out a speech in an hour.
Who does what?
Our relationship is like tennis. You send me something, I review, give feedback, and you go off and do the work. You send it back to me. Wash, rinse, and repeat.
As a coach, I suggest, you write.
BUT………in some cases, with your permission, it will be easier and faster for me to jump in and just write pieces of it for you. We’ll figure that out when/if the time comes.
If you’re really looking for someone to write the whole thing for you – I certainly offer that – but at a much higher price. For obvious reasons.
I’m feeling a little vulnerable – worried you won’t like my stuff
Yeah. I get it. I still feel nervous when I have to put my speech in front of other speakers or coaches to be judged. I think it’s because I will find out that I’m not good enough, chose the wrong profession, or whatever deep fear is lurking. So let’s address that right now.
This is an artist’s studio. You’re walking into my studio and throwing your clay up on the table. We stand and look at what the clay needs. Maybe a splash of red. No? Don’t like red? What about blue? We push and mold and you see if you like it. We may create and not like the way it looks, and we smash it up again. I’m helping you mold the clay. I’m looking at this like an artist. My brain is seeing how your words can be molded in a new way. I don’t have time to judge you. It’s not my job to see where you rank or decide if you are good enough. My job is to be your creative muse.
And, by the way. I’ve never met a speaker I couldn’t help in some way. There was one speaker who most of the world might say would never make it. But when we were through, she had in her hands the best speech I have ever heard. “Just go read it,” I told her. “That’s all you need to do. Just read the darn thing and it will be magical.” I was right.
At the end of the day, the audience wants you to do well. They are waiting to be moved. They don’t care how you do it.
OMG! Count me in! What do I do next?
OK. Here’s the deal. I have a lot of different ways you can work with me, learn from me, have access to me. So many that I don’t want to overwhelm you, or give you more work to do. That’s why for all my clients, it starts with one consulting call, where we talk about what you are looking for, the time you have, and the budget you are working with. We’ll talk about whether you want to be a student or have a coach, or both – whether you want to work solo or in a small group setting. Then I will create the customized experience to fit YOU. It’s that easy.
To schedule your FREE 30-minute consulting session, just call 1-800-303-1049 or email firstname.lastname@example.org