If you show me a great speaker, I'll show you somebody who's had some awful speeches, awful days, things were nothing worked, just fell flat or got booed. Now I've had some successful speaking days and I've had standing ovations and that's nice and wonderful. I've had some lousy days of speaking and presenting to live audiences in the media. I'll never forget my worst speaking opportunity ever. About a quarter of a century ago, I was on a talk radio show in South Florida in the United States. It was political season.
And I walked into the station in the studio. I remember sitting at a really low seat. The house was this high seat looking down at me. We're talking about politics. And I said, Mr. Kay, what I really think before I could say anything else, he pulls the microphone out of my hand. So, Mr. Walker, I have more respect for ku klux Klansmen, than I do for You I was a bit shocked.
I hadn't said anything that provocative. But at this point, I'm already a public speaking coach and media training coach and an area of confidence. So I think I'm really tough. So I'm now pulling on the microphone. He's pulled the mic out. I'm pulling it out.
And I see Yeah, yeah. But Mr. K, what I really think before I could say anything else, he reaches under the table, the console, pulls out a gun. Now let's talk radio in South Florida. There's palm trees outside. No one can see this. Now, do you see my point?
Mr. Walker? You know what I said at that moment with my silvery tongue with all my oratorical experience, not much of anything. I see your point. Not my best moment speaking. In fact, this guy was really theatrical. So He then said To his producer, Cola, please get this guy out of here.
Remove this guy immediately pushed out the studio. Not my greatest speaking event ever. But I had some friends listening to that they recorded it and they would replay the audio of that radio show for years at a time I came over their house. It was awful. I did a horrible job. You know what?
I went back to that station. Now I stayed away from that host. I still think he's crazy. But I went back to that station. And I actually co hosted other shows. I didn't let one bad speaking opportunity, one bad media experience.
Destroy myself confidence. I'll never do that again. I love speaking I love helping other people speak. And I just learned from it and I went back to it and after a while, everybody forgets it because there's so many other speakers. presentations, media interviews, I've probably done two 5000 network TV and radio interviews since that. So no one really remembers that.
That's the key. If you have a bad speaking opportunity, you know, learn from it, you just do more and more typically, no one will remember the bad ones. What did I just do there? I told a story. Why did I do that? I just wanted to make the point that everybody can make bad speeches.
And the real lesson is you got to learn from them to get better. I could have said that in five seconds. But if I said it in five seconds, it's much less memorable. The biggest difference between great speakers in the world and everybody else bad speakers, average speakers. The biggest difference is not the quality of the voice or the hand gestures or the eye contact or how expensive the clothes are the single biggest difference between great speakers and everybody else? stories.
Great speakers illustrate every important point with a story. And you can say, well teach I don't have any stories. Yes, you do. All human beings have stories. It doesn't have to be as dramatic as someone pulling a gun on you. The most important thing is it's true.
And it relates a conversation you had with someone by the way, my story was true. That actually did happen. Is it a good story? Is it going to win a Pulitzer Prize? No. But does it work?
Yes. My clients remember I have sometimes people come up to me 10 years after I've seen them the first time in a training and they say hey, DJ, and it had guns pulled on you lately. They remember it. That's how I know it works and they get the point. The point of course, is not that I am subject to guns being pulled on me all the time. The point is Everybody can be awful or bad one day, you just have to learn from it.
So what are the elements of a story? I tried to incorporate them right there, there is a setting. I was in a talk radio station in South Florida, whether you've ever been one in or not, you have an image in your brain. The second thing, there's a character there's me and this talk show host. The third there's a little bit of dialogue. What he said to me what I said back for there is a problem.
There's a gun pulled on me. Fifth, there's an emotional component. How did I feel? I felt scared. Six, there was some resolution meaning to it. Well, I got out alive and I actually went back to the station.
So those are the elements of a story. And you have stories happen to you all the time. People ask me all the time. Well, TJ, can I just make up a story? Well, you could but it's really Hard. Again, I want you to be in a sense, lazy.
That was a really easy story for me to tell. Because I'm just reliving an actual experience. And that's going to be easiest for you most of the time. It doesn't have to be wildly dramatic. All it has to do is involve a conversation you had with a real person about a real problem, how you felt about it, how it was resolved. That's all it is.
And you have to ask yourself, if here's one of my important messages. If I've never had a single conversation with anyone about this issue, maybe it's not really an important message. So that's one of the test I have for you. You can't think of a single story to flesh out a key point. It's probably not a very important point. Remember, your story setting can simply be you're sitting in your office and your cubicle.
You pick up the phone and you talk to The guy or the woman, two floors down about a problem with this customer. How did you feel? How was it resolved? This feels hard. I understand that this feels difficult. It's actually the easiest thing in the world.
Human beings are hard wired to communicate by telling stories. So much of what makes public speaking difficult is we're trying to do something very abnormal listing lots of facts bullet points in an abstract way. Think of it this way. If you go in Monday morning to the office or Sunday morning, if that's the first day of your work week, and someone says How was your weekend? You know, typically say well, I woke up at 6am Saturday morning at 602. I went to the kitchen at 603 I started fixing coffee at 604 I went and open the bread.
That would be really hard to list every single thing you've done the whole weekend. Yet, that's how a lot of people give speeches listing every single fact in some logical order. Instead, someone asked how was your weekend? You might say something like, Oh, it's fantastic. My family loved watching the Olympics, the ice skater Did you see you hop right into a story evolving, setting, how you felt who was involved? We do that instinctively, in human conversation.
What great speakers realize is that when you're giving a so called formal speech, oral presentation, chalk briefing, you don't want to throw away the stories. That's the part you want to keep. You don't want to give people a boring data dump. So you can ignore half 95% 99% of what I say in this whole course. If you illustrate every key point in your presentation with an interesting, memorable story, you're going to be the best speaker anyone in your audience. has seen that day that week that month, maybe ever