I don’t know if you know this, but I used to be TERRIFIED of speaking. I couldn’t get up in front of my class to give presentations.
I was even scared to read in front of a few friends. Any time I had to speak before a big games, I was trembling.
Public speaking is one of the most important tools, no matter what your career is. You need to be able to properly present yourself so you seem confident, and people trust you.
Thanks to some training I was able to overcome this fear. Today, I get on stage in front of thousands for people and make a lot of money doing it. For this episode, I decided to give you some tips that can potentially change you life like it has mine.
I wanted to share some of the lessons I’ve learned on what makes a great presenter, which is why I put together this new mashup for you.
This one is really powerful. I hand picked some of the best words of wisdom from people like Michael Port, Bo Eason, Carmine Gallo, and Sean Stephenson.
Don’t miss this one. I know you’ll be able to take a lot away from these guys, so get ready to take notes. This episode could easily change the trajectory of your life.
You’ll be learning all about what makes a great speaker, on Episode 680.
Lewis Howes: This is episode number 680, on Becoming A Master Speaker And Presenter.
Welcome to The School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now, let the class begin.
John Ford said, “You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.”
One of the most important skills I’ve ever developed, is public speaking. It was once my biggest fear, I stressed about it, I was terrified to get in front of five people, to stand up in front of my classmates, to stand up on a stage, to stand up on the football field, it didn’t matter, I was terrified of it.
But, through lots of practice and training, I now speak on massive stages, guys, tens of thousands of people, and get paid tens of thousands of dollars for it. And I’ve had the chance of getting coached by some incredible speakers throughout the years.
So, on this Masters Episode, I’m bringing you wisdom from previous interviews with some of the best speaking coaches in the world. This is such a powerful skill to develop, I cannot emphasise this enough. When you learn to communicate what’s on your heart, to the world, or to one other person that’s when you can start to make a change, that’s when you can start to see things develop. That’s when you can start to manifest what you want.
Those who can learn how to communicate, are some of the greatest leaders in the world. So imagine if you can just learn one or two little things, that you can be better in your day-to-day practice of communication and speaking and presenting. It will change the trajectory of your life when you learn to communicate and get that message across better, to the people in front of you.
Featuring some clips from Michael Port, who is an incredible speaker, Bo Eason, Carmine Gallo, who talks about TED Talk speeches and really how to present on TED stages. Also, Sean Stephenson, incredible and inspiring speaker and coach as well.
Before we dive in, a big shout out to the Fan of the Week, this is from Erica L. Makeup who said, “This is an incredible daily inspiration! I get so excited for each new episode, release and continuing to listen to past episodes. I love how passionate you are, Lewis, and truly bringing on amazing content to inspire us, motivate us, and challenge us to become the best authentic person we can be!”
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Again, a big thank you to both of our sponsors, and without further ado, let’s dive into this episode, on The Masters Of Speaking And Presenting.
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Michael Port: I want to try to separate these two things, because introvert/extrovert doesn’t necessarily make you a better performer, one way or the other. But if you are very shy, or you label yourself as shy, and you don’t like people watching you, maybe that’s something else.
And that’s okay, that’s not a bad thing. You don’t have to change yourself and all of a sudden start having this big, huge personality. That’s definitely not necessary, because, ultimately, performing is about connecting. That’s what it’s about.
And all of us can connect, with one person or one thousand people. So, when I coach, one of the things that is really important to me, in all of our Heroic Public Speaking Training Programs, is that you will never see one of our speakers look like another speaker.
Nobody would watch anyone that I’ve trained and say, “Ah! That’s a Michael Port method speaker!” It’s just not going to happen, because it’s an art. It’s an art. Performance is an art. And each one of us is an individual.
And what I do with the book, Steal The Show, and in all of our training, is find the individual, and give you an opportunity to express yourself as an individual. So, one performer may move a lot on stage, and that’s the way that we’re going to direct them and coach them and then use their physicality in really extreme ways, and it works really well for them.
But another, we may have them very still for most of their presentation, because that is a much more powerful place for them to be. So there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to any kind of performance.
Performance is an art, and often the performer’s job is to break the rules, not necessarily to be controversial or just to break the rules, but to try to create something better in its place. And to that end, I think we have two options.
We can be critics, or we can be performers. But I don’t think we can be both.
Lewis Howes: What do you mean, ‘critics’?
Michael Port: Well, I think that there is a place for people who are professional critics, you know, someone who, in the New York Times, they review movies and plays, and I think there’s a place for that, but if you spend any time on Facebook, these days, many people have a lot of very strong opinions about what other people do or don’t do.
And I think one of the reasons that we’re so afraid of performance, is because we’re afraid of being criticized. And if we spend our time criticising others, how are we going to get up there in front of others and take risks?
Lewis Howes: Aha! So you’re saying people that do criticize a lot of the time, usually aren’t the ones taking the risks themselves.
Michael Port: Yeah. Well, let me ask you a question: When’s the last time you wrote a negative review about somebody’s podcast, book, or anything else? Have you ever done that?
Lewis Howes: I don’t know if I ever have.
Michael Port: Yeah, exactly right! and when I ask, all my colleagues, and I really, I very rarely use absolutes, but every colleague at high level that I’ve asked this same question to, they’ve said, “Hmm… I’ve never done that.”
Lewis Howes: Too busy creating!
Michael Port: Exactly! Exactly right! So, one of our students called up Amy and he was really upset, because somebody blasted his video. “Oh! You’re like Joel Osteen!” And blah, blah, blah! And I don’t know why the guy hates Joel Osteen, but you know, for whatever reason, this guy just blasted him.
And his video was fantastic, and he’s a wonderful speaker, but rarely will everybody like what you do. But he took it so personally. And I asked him, “Well, who is the guy?” And he said, “I don’t really know him that well.”
I said, “Okay, what does he have to do with what you do for a living?”
“What does he have to do with the people that you’re trying to serve?”
But yet, it’s still so powerful, when other people criticize us. And, look, there are two types of critics, there’s the external critic and then there’s the critic in your own head. And when you criticize yourself, you tend to hear the external critics even more.
So those are, I always call them the people in the cheap seats, who like to push other people down and lift themselves up. So we don’t really have any time for that. That’s not interesting to us. We’re trying to make things, because anybody can break things, the question is, can you build something better in it’s place, and that’s what we’re focused on.
But if you can work on silencing those voices of judgement in your head, the ones that tell you you’re not enough, you don’t know enough, you’ll never be enough, “What do I have to say that already hasn’t been said?” If you can quiet those down, then you won’t hear those voices out in the cheap seats quite as much.
And you don’t need to be different, to make a difference. In our world – and when I say ‘world’, I mean our industry – often there’s this real strong push to try to be different than other people. And, somehow, the idea of being different is conflated with being unique, yourself. As if that’s what you’re supposed to do, “Be different. Be different. Be different.”
And I don’t think ‘trying to be different’ is a way of finding your voice. Trying to be more honest, is a way of finding your voice. And if we focus on being different, then we will feel, either like a fraud, or we’ll feel insignificant, because we don’t feel that different.
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Bo Eason: If I’m unknown and I’m speaking in front of an audience, which happens all the time, so, I’m speaking in front of people who have never heard of me, they don’t know any of my background, the first place I start is a defining moment.
And if you think about storytelling throughout your life, like you and me and everyone who’s listening, have grown up with story. That’s how we were taught. We’ve watched movies, we’ve read books, we’ve been watching TV shows, everything is a story to us.
So, we know, as a human being, one of our greatest attributes, that’s natural to us, is that we understand story, and we connect to it. We love it! So, if you think back on every great story that you’ve ever heard, or any great movie that you’ve ever seen, it starts in the middle of the story.
Do you notice, like, think of a movie, right now. Think of an action movie with Tom Cruise, like, say, Mission Impossible. One of those kind of movies, every time, the first frame of film that they show, isn’t Tom Cruise getting ready to do something, it’s Tom Cruise being punched and he’s swinging from a rope!
He’s being punched in the face, they’re taking his children, they’re taking his wife, he’s in the middle of the story. So, that is a defining moment in his life. So the same is true for you and me. So, when I’m in front of groups that don’t know me, the first thing out of my mouth is not, “Thank you,” or, “It’s great to be here in Detroit.”
The first thing out of my mouth is, “When I was nine years old, I had a dream. So I drew up a 20 year plan.” That sentence is in the middle. You know me like you know your next door neighbour, because of once sentence, because it’s a defining moment. It’s a moment when I’m nine.
So, when you say that to people, when you let people in, like, say it was you, Lewis, and you say to me, first thing out of your mouth, you come on stage and you say, “When I was thirteen years old, I was in love with a girl named Cindy, and I asked her to the prom and she said no.”
You start a story like that, that’s a defining moment that shapes your life forever more. So, right when you do that, when you get that intimate and that personal, right out of the gates, people connect to you. Because now, they think they’re you. They think, because everyone has that kind of pain, everyone has that kind of defining moment.
So, the minute you say, “When I was nine years old, I had a dream,” every everyone in the audience, and everyone listening, is now thinking of themselves, when they were nine. And what dreams they had, and where they have heartbreak.
So, that is really the key. The more personal your story, the more effective it is, the more universal it becomes. And you and I were raised in a world that’s, you know, “Don’t brag about yourself, don’t talk about yourself, it’s not about you.”
But that’s just not true. Look, a great storyteller shares himself or herself so that other people can participate. So, when I say, “When I was thirteen, my girlfriend, Cindy, dumped me,” everyone listening to me goes, “Oh, man, I remember that heartache.
Lewis Howes: “When I got dumped,” yeah.
Bo Eason: Yeah! And so, now you have intimacy and connection and trust that would have taken you five years to build. And you have it in one sentence. That’s what I’m talking about. So, when I teach business people and entrepreneurs, that opening line, what is it? So you can lay out some connective tissue so that people can start to co-create with you, that’s what you want.
Lewis Howes: Right, right! Very cool! Because it’s all about building that bond and that trust and that likeability and that relationship with anyone else coming in contact with you. So I think that’s extremely valuable.
But what about people who feel like they don’t have a great story, or don’t have anything to talk about? What do you say to them? How do you help them discover it?
Bo Eason: That’s true of almost everybody I’ve ever talked to, everybody I’ve ever taught, that’s true of myself and that’s true of every person that I’ve ever encountered. The first thing that we do as human beings, is devalue our own story.
Lewis Howes: Or compare it to someone else’s story. “It’s not good enough.”
Bo Eason: Right, but your story is so dramatic, it’s just not dramatic to you, because, for you, you’ve lived it. And so, it seems mundane and ordinary to you, because you’ve lived it. But often, like, this one little kid got up, and, I swear, this is the first thing that came out of his mouth, Lewis, and he thought it was nothing, but to everyone else, they fell off their chairs.
He got up and he said, “The second time that my dad broke my arm…” That was the first sentence out of his mouth. Now, he thought, because that was his life, he assumed that that was everybody’s life, that that was everybody’s experience.
Lewis Howes: That it was normal.
Bo Eason: Yeah, but so, us in the audience, we’re falling out of our seats, going, “Did he just say that?!” But to him it was mundane, and ordinary, because that was his life. Now, when I talk about playing pro-football, I played pro-football and therefore, all of my friends that I kind of grew up with and that I knew, all the people that I knew, were also pro-football players.
So, to us, it wasn’t anything big deal, it was just, like, “Doesn’t everybody play pro-football?” And then you get out in the regular world and you realise that’s very rare. And it’s dramatic to people to tell them that.
Well, the same is true for every person that I’ve ever met. They’ve got super dramatic, moving stories, they just don’t know it. Because they try to encapsulate their whole story. Like, I’m 53 years old, so, if I was to break down my whole 53 years, that would be a long, boring, stupid story. But what I break down is the most defining moments, like when I was nine years old and I had a dream. That! That’s what’s dramatic.
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Carmine Gallo: I don’t want people to get too focused on the number of words, but you bring up a good point. So, let’s go back to Bryan Stevenson. I’m urging your listeners to watch Bryan Stevenson. His delivery is the best delivery I’ve ever heard.
It’s very natural. Why? Because, like I’ve just talked about, it’s like he’s delivering a conversation over dinner. When you’re having a conversation over dinner, you’re speaking in a natural rate of speech. It’s kind of like you and I are talking now. It’s sort of a little bit more natural.
It’s not a formal powerpoint presentation, “And now, turning to slide 28,” where it’s very slow and plodding. I analysed Bryan Stevenson’s rate of speech. It was about 190 words, which makes sense, because, an audiobook, for example, is more like, about, I think it’s 120 words, but in audiobook, and I’ve read audiobooks.
I’ve had voice instructors or voice directors in the studio with me when I read the audiobook. You’re supposed to slow it down a little bit. You’re supposed to slow it down because people are only hearing it through one channel, audio. So it’s important to kind of slow it down a little bit, but you don’t want to slow it down so much that people lose attention.
But you also can’t talk this fast. If I’m talking really fast in an audiobook, you’re not really going to pay attention, you’re not going to capture a lot of thoughts, right? So that’s too fast. So, 190 words a minute, for just a casual, more face-to-face conversation, makes complete sense. That’s completely sensical, it just makes logical sense.
Which is why people like Bryan Stevenson speak at about 190 words per minute. But then you get people like Tony Robbins. That’s more like 225 words per minute, right? And, again, most of us are not Tony Robbins.
So I can’t talk like this, like Tony Robbins, really fast. If I do that in a presentation, I’m going to look like a phony because I’m trying to be somebody I’m not. But, also, it’s too fast for just a typical type of presentation and most sales people would hammer something like that.
So, you’ve got to think about, “How quickly am I delivering? What’s my pace? How many words per minute am I delivering?” So, I don’t think people should get hung up on, “Okay, now I’m going to pace myself, time myself,” and that type of thing, and see how many words. But I do think that it’s a pretty good role model.
Start looking at people like Bryan Stevenson, and realise that the way most of us speak, when we’re pitching our sales, or delivering a presentation is very stilted, and slow and plodding, compared to a much more natural and authentic rate of speech.
Lewis Howes: Sure, sure. And the verbal delivery is obviously important, but there’s another thing that’s important, or it could be distracting, which is, the body language. And the use, or lack of use, of hand movements and gestures and things like that.
You talk about one, the power sphere, and why you should use the power sphere. And can you talk about the importance of that, but also, easy fixes for common body language mistakes?
Carmine Gallo: Sure, absolutely! One of the best examples of strong body language, is Colin Powell, and that doesn’t surprise me, you know, Colin Powell, he’s a great military guy, right? A great military leader. And I find that military leaders are awesome speakers.
There’s a viral video right now, I think, of an Admiral.
Lewis Howes: From Texas, right?
Carmine Gallo: From Texas, yeah, that’s right. And the military commanders are great communicators. So, Colin Powell has magnificent body language. It’s what I call, commanding presence. It’s that kind of presence that just draws you in and makes you feel like this guy’s in control.
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Sean Stephenson: I believe, to leave somebody breathless, you need to have that vulnerability where you’re willing to tell them, “I am struggling, with being human, and here’s how I am dealing with it, and you just share that openness.
And I think, when we do that with people, if they’re ready, they lose their breath for a moment, because they go, “Whoa! I could do that! I could be that vulnerable! What would my life look like if I was that vulnerable?”
And it’s funny, by letting people know your weaknesses, they see you as stronger. It’s very counter intuitive. Because when you only lead with your strengths, people don’t trust you, because everybody’s got strengths, and we would put them up front, we put our best foot forward.
But what about things, they’re not really weaknesses, but they’re perceived weaknesses, you know? Our shortcomings, our vulnerabilities, our frailties, our fragileness. And when you’re willing to say, “Here’s where I’m still working on myself,” people are, like, “Wow! I get that and I hear you!”
But when you just want to share your strengths, people aren’t left breathless. They end up kind of not trusting you.
Lewis Howes: So, would you say vulnerability is one of the most powerful qualities you can have?
Sean Stephenson: I think it’s certainly one of the most powerful qualities to help you connect with another person. Because, human beings, we really want to know what people are really all about, so [we] can trust them. [We] want to know their agendas, and when somebody only shows us the strengths and their winnings, then we’re like, “Well, yeah, that’s a part of who you are, but there’s more.”
There’s your disappointments, there’s your failures, there’s your mistakes, there’s your times when you’ve tripped, fallen and hit your head. Like, “Show me your boo-boos. Show me your owee’s, your ouchies.”
And when we’re kids we show people our boo-boos. We go, “Oh, look at my skinned knee! Will you kiss it? Look at what I did over here! Look where I ripped my jeans.” But, as adults, we get to the point where we’re like, “I’m fine, I don’t have any scars.” But we do, we do have scars.
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Lewis Howes: There you have it, my friends! If you enjoyed this episode, all about becoming a master speaker and presenter, then, please, take a screenshot, share it with your friends on Instagram stories, post it on Twitter and Facebook, @LewisHowes, and let me know what you enjoyed the most about this.
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