how to deliver an award-winning speech
Those of you who have been reading this blog for a long while know that I love Toastmasters and have been an active member of Toastmasters International since 2001. The highlight of a memorable District 64 Toastmasters conference in Winnipeg for me was to hear Ryan Avery share his public speaking tips. I’d like to share them with you here.
Ryan Avery’s Public Speaking Tips
Ryan Avery is a Toastmaster from Portland, Oregon (originally from the American South) who is the youngest Toastmaster to ever win the World Championships of Public Speaking. At the age of 25, he won the world competition in 2012, and in 2014, Avery launched his first book about his public speaking journey, Speaker, Leader, Champion.
But winning didn’t come easy to Avery. He worked extremely hard, watching other winning speeches that he’d purchased on a series of DVD’s from Toastmasters International numerous times. He studied them, and looked for a common thread in these winning presentations. He read numerous books on how to make effective presentations, and says, “If you only read one book in your life, make it Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Another of Avery’s favourite books on how to deliver a dynamic presentation is Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln by James Humes.
Avery says he has 3 simple rules that have led to his success as a public speaker, and now as a professional workshop presenter.
1) Make it SIMPLE.
– Simple always wins.
– String stories together in your speech. Let the stories make your point.
– Keep unusable ideas in a file that you can use in future presentations.
– You should not be the hero of your own speech. Someone must teach you something.
– Mention that person at least 3x in your speech. Anchor those points to move the audience along.
– Write in poem form vs paragraph form. That means writing your points in short, easy to memorize and remember lines. Group those lines in a series of “poems.” The lines don’t have to rhyme. They just have to make a point, before you go on to the next story or point.
– If you want to engage your audience, engage their senses. Smell is the strongest sense. Ensure you spread those sensory references throughout your speech.
– Drop the prop. The audience’s imagination is stronger than any visual aid you may provide. Paint a picture for them and let them fill in the details. It will personalize and strengthen the message for the audience members.
– Always use the active voice.
2) Make it IMPACTFUL.
– Never give a speech again. Only deliver a message from the heart.
– Life is short. Only talk about what you really care about.
– Remember Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle: Think in terms of why/how/what vs what/how/why. Your WHY is important in order for your speech to have impact.
3) Make it RELATABLE.
– Envision the 60/6 rule. Your message should be intelligent enough for a 60-year-old and simple enough for a 6-year-old to relate to.
– Never tell a joke. Share only failures, as we can all relate to them.
– Family stories are great for being relatable as everyone can relate to quirky family stories. But remember to leave your family on a pedestal at the end of the story.
– Dress to relate to your audience.
In summing up, Avery shared these insights that have helped him achieve success, and now form the basis of his inspirational talks:
– In order to be great, you must start.
– You have to believe in yourself before others will believe in you.
– Set up Visualization Stations to help you focus. Write down your dreams and goals and people will come to you and help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
– Act like you’re already what/where/who you want to be.
– Practice. How you practice is how you will play out.
– Your voice matters. What will you do with it?
– You don’t need an IQ. You need an I WILL.
You can find Ryan Avery at http://ryanavery.com/.
I hope you found these tips helpful. Being a visual learner, I’ve always been a strong supporter to the use of props. But I can understand that when telling a story, a prop may not be as necessary as when one is delivering an informational talk to teach the audience something, as I do when delivering my talks about the world of chocolate.
Did you find Avery’s points helpful? Are there any that you particularly relate to or disagree with? Let’s talk about talking.