A couple of days ago, as Steve Jobs passed away, I watched again Pirates of Sillicon Valley, the movie that tells the story of the first years at Apple and Microsoft.
It was good to remember that, at that time, Xerox and its PARC had enough budget to invest in R&D and let its engineers create crazy things like the mouse and the Graphical User Interface. They actually had so much money that they didn’t care about having them, as they were sure that the current status-quo was to last forever: computers were just a thing of the distant future, photocopiers are forever.
And so along comes Apple, “borrows” the idea of the GUI and applies it to its Macintosh computer. And the Microsoft “borrows” that idea from Apple and Windows is born.
What if you change a couple of names and re-read that same story over ? In version 2.0
– Microsoft is the new Xerox
– Google is the new Microsoft
– Mobile is the new Personal Computer (Mobile as in smartphones and tablets)
– Apple is the new … Apple!
Microsoft has grown so out of proportions and so sure that PC and Windows kingdom were to last forever, that they had the luxury to ignore all of the money the invested in R&D to develop new products like the Tablet PC and Windows Mobile.
And so came along Apple, “borrows” those ideas and applies them to its iOS platform (iPhone, iPad). And then Google “borrows” that idea from Apple and Android is born.
This was it.
The moment when everything clicked. I got it. Call it “presentation enlightenment”, I felt like a Buddha under the Bodhi tree. Project #5 was the speech that changed everything for me. Several things conspired to get me here:
- Project objectives and subject were well aligned right on target.
- Presenting a personal experience, and a powerful one, is the best subject you can always choose. You won’t need any notes, you know your subject very well!
- I had four other previous speeches to play with and understand what works and what doesn’t.
It is no coincidence at all that by the time you get to the halfway point of the Competent Communicators manual, you start to see improvements.
My speech was about bungee jumping. I told the audience how my experience was. The fact that bungee jumping is something that many people are frightened of (just like public speaking) helped me gain a lot of confidence and that was projected in the audience. I didn’t use notes at all, I was just telling my story so that made it easier. I felt how the audience got engaged in what I had to tell and I picked up that energy and gave it back, that created a very interesting and meaningful connection in the room.
- Always use personal experience to make your speech more vivid and easier to remember.
- Be a clown! Make them laugh! Or at least, that is what makes me comfortable. Some other people might find that is easier for them to inspire something else than laughter, but in the end, inspire some kind of feeling into the audience. That is what will make your speech enjoyable and memorable.