I'll never forget the first time I was in Eastern Europe. I was in a former Soviet bloc country, and I was in an old dictators palace. I was working with a prime minister, there was no longer Soviet dictatorship. But democracy had not been around that long. I was working with the Prime Minister, helping him prepare his speeches, his presentations, and we're in this dictators palace and surrounded by armed guards with big machine guns. It's beautiful palace beautiful lakes isolated area.
The prime minister says to me, TJ, do you mind if I give the speech in my native language? I said, Okay, we'll record it. We'll look at it. So he stands up. He proceeds to read his speech. Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla, I'm recording the whole thing.
We play it back. And then he turns to me says, well, TJ, what did you think now the truth was, I thought it was incredibly boring. monotone, dull, dry. It wasn't the fact that I didn't understand the language. It's just nothing was moving his lips, no eye contact, nothing. And it was monotone.
But I'm a little bit nervous. I wanted to tell him it's incredibly boring, but I'm in Eastern Europe. I don't know anyone. I don't know what the embassy is. I'm surrounded by guys with machine guns. But I finally said, You know what, he's paying me a bunch of money to be here and coach him.
I'll give my honest opinion. So I said, Mr. Prime Minister, I have no idea what you said. But with all due respect, you're bored the heck out of me. He looked at me his eyes got big. He sort of glowered. Then he looked at the video.
It looked back at me and said, You're right. It's incredibly boring. I hate it and he took the speech that his staff had worked on for months. torn up, fold it up, throw it on the trash can said Okay, Mr. Prime Minister, now it's time to get to work. We rolled up our sleeves, got a clean sheet of paper and said, Let's brainstorm on every message you really want the voters, your citizens to know in this topic, and brainstorm the messages. I said, Let's narrow it down to the top five.
Now, give me a story for each one. Not come up with a simple one pager. one page outline your five points a story for each. Let's give the speech again. He stood up. He spoke.
I recorded it. We watched it. Soon as it was done. He turned to me says, My God, TJ, you're a genius. I love it. Now, the truth is, I'm not a genius.
I didn't do anything brilliant. I just got him to stop reading. It's incredibly boring to read. Now you may be a prime minister, you may be a CEO, you might be a student in the 10th grade. It doesn't really matter if you have to read Speech and it's a boring data dump and you're not looking at people. Chances are, it's not gonna work out very well.
You're gonna bore people far better off to deal with this Prime Minister did what I get most of my clients to do, which is let's forget what the whole written script let's narrow it down to five ideas a story for each one and talk okay so what's the point of this story? The point is don't read the speech near your messages down to a handful have a story for each one and you'll actually love what you see that's the point of the story. Now there's some other little messages I want to send there I do find it helps my credibility when my clients know that I've trained all over the world. There's a little bit of you know, excitement there and drama that makes it more interesting, makes them more comfortable knowing I've dealt with people in a lot of different areas. But it also I think, makes me come across humble because I admit, it's not that I'm some brilliant expert that magically converted this guy into a great speaker.
I just got him to tear up the script and to speak using simple notes. So that's my main message. It works for him. And it frankly works for almost anyone get rid of the whole, written 20 page speech that you're reading. work from a single sheet of notes with stories.