It’s as simple as 1 – 2 – 3.
Last week I was an audience member for two, in-person presentations. On Monday, I attended the Kickoff Breakfast during Denver’s 3rd annual Denver Startup Week. A week bustling with excitement and enthusiasm centered around technology and local startups. While Denver has not reached Silicon Valley status with regards to volume of startups and VC funding, it’s hard to ignore Denver’s growth and how our “town” has morphed from it’s frontier days to the technology bubble it has become today. The sessions were categorized by Business, Design, Technology, Manufacturing and Headline Event and judging the sentiment during breakfast, it was sure to be a fantastic week.
On Tuesday, I was invited to join existing customers who were hosted by a local business partner. Kudos to this organization for continually driving the number of attendees to dedicate an entire day to learn about their products and solutions. There were over 90 customers interested in new features, product roadmaps and of course … free training.
For both events I was anxiously excited to hear the respective keynote’s message.
The first, a self-noted successful entrepreneur from Silicon Valley spent more energy delivering profanity-laced rants about race and sexism than making an actual point. A lost opportunity to what appeared to be 500+ professionals excited to start the week. The second, a seasoned veteran who delivered a presentation that had audience members studying smartphones and recalling Ben Stein mumble role call. Anyone? Anyone?
The most basic public speaking skill learned from the first time you stepped in front of a microphone is to have a message. It’s easy. Ask yourself, why is your audience listening to you? What is it your want them to take away from your speech? What is your point?
Steve Martin captured it best in Planes, Trains and Automobiles — “if you are going to tell a story have a point. It makes it so much more enjoyable for the listener.”
The next time you step up to a podium, grab a microphone or don a headset ask yourself, what is your message. Remember, it’s much easier for the listener and it’s as easy as 1 – 2 – 3.