Let's talk about content. Stories are very popular components of business speeches these days. The CEO or the engineer should use well-crafted stories to tap into the emotions of their audience--then follow them with their facts or plans, or figures, steps, or processes.
What are stories if not content or words? Only mimes tell stories without words. The rest of us write stories, select words thoughtfully and deliberately, and put the sentences together in specific sequences to enhance the impact. A poorly written story told with a lot of body language and vocal variety is still a poorly written story that will not have a lasting impact on the audience and won't lead the audience to respond to the call-to-action that is the purpose of the story.
Processes are designed to help your company and your customers achieve results and reduce risk. When you describe a difficult situation and show how your process helped the customer get their results or reduce the major risks, your content--the words--are your means for making your point. Too many dramatic flourishes of the body or the voice can lead to the opposite conclusion. In this case the content is 80% or more of the impact.
Past performances are used to convince prospects that you can do the work for them and achieve their desired results. You use these citations to stress partnership, trustworthiness, expertise, timeliness and cost management. Can you imagine a skeptical prospect responding positively to excessive body language and voice qualities when their money is on the line? I don't think so.
- Promise yourself that you will never, ever again be fooled by the myth that only 7% of the impact of your speech or presentation comes from the words or content.
- Promise yourself that you will vociferously dispute this myth when anyone else promotes it.
- Promise yourself that you'll put the vast majority of your effort--time, thinking, writing, slide development, practices and rehearsals--into your content.
Then you can expect to make a powerful impact on your audiences and enjoy the outcome you're intending to achieve with your speech or presentation.