So many of us think of Steve Jobs when we're looking for speaking role models. I took at look at some of Jobs' thinking and rule #5 of his 7 Rules of Success jumped out at me as appropriate for business speakers: "Create an insanely different experience."
How often do you deliver to your audiences an "insanely different experience"? Are you held back by these typical thoughts:
- "We always do it (speeches and presentations) this way"
- "That's what they (the audience or the boss) expect."
- "I don't feel comfortable doing that."
- "I'm better when I wing it."
- "I don't have time to practice and rehearse."
Any one of these will prevent you from creating an insanely different experience for your audiences.
How do you overcome these obstales? Some thoughts:
1) Expectations, whether on the part of the audience or of the boss, are based on what they've seen before. These are purely habits. They can and should be disregarded. By the way, I'm not suggesting that you should be rude, obscene or indfferent to the culture.
2) Your comfort with new approaches can be changed over time and with good guidance. Work with an excellent coach who will help you add freshness piece by piece until you have a new comfort level with the elements that create an insanely different experience.
3) No one is better when they wing it. The people we most admire for their 'naturalness' on stage are those who've practiced and rehearsed hundreds of times. Practices and rehearsals instill and embed your content and delivery style into your whole being; then you are free to be fully present in front of the audience. Steve Jobs was known to rehearse hundreds of times and focus on every detail before he went public.
4) You owe the audience, who will be giving their time to your speech or presentation, a commitment to make the time for practices and rehearsals. They could use the time they spend with you for other purposes, and they deserve a return on their investment. If you can't or won't practice and rehearse, then turn down speaking requests. When you do accept, make appointments with yourself to practice and rehearse and then keep them just as you would an appointment with someone else.
There are many resources for business speakers and presenters online, and many presentation skills coaches out there. Be sure to ask them how they will help you create an insanely different experience for your audiences. That should be your objective each and every time you have the privilege of the platform (or conference room, all-hands meeting or propsective customer/client).
Let me know what you've done to model yourself after Steve Jobs. Post your stories in the comment box.