Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spectacular Speaking is Transformational

Have you ever been part of a Transformational event? This is the best way that I can describe #SpecSpeak2014 in Warsaw, Poland last week!  Six amazing speakers from six different countries came together to share the tools of their craft, and what an unbelievable impact they had on the participants. The effect was Spectacular, to say the least.

John Zimmer shared the importance of speech preparation (including knowing what your message is and analyzing your audience) and gave us good useful tips for making use of presentation tools (i.e. PowerPoint, Keynote).  Peter Zinn showed us how powerful stories are and why we should be using them to connect with our audiences. Although people want the logic, they really want this to come via stories. Florian Mueck demonstrated how a good speech structure should look (and I don't think that any of the attendees will forget about the tailpipe anytime soon!). Tobias Rodrigues told us how to be persuasive via Logos (logic), Pathos (credibility of the speaker) and Ethos (emotion).  Olivia Schofield demonstrated the importance of breathing, entrance onto the stage, and so many of the things that have made her an engaging speaker.  Jerzy  Zientkowski was the Master of Ceremony, weaving all the different speakers and segments together via his sense of humor.  Jerzy reminds me a lot of a the comedian Yakov Smirnoff, so not only did we learn a lot but we laughed a lot and had a lot of fun.

What really stands out, for me, was the transformations that I saw in everyone. There was a woman that had been talked into attending by a friend, but she really had no idea what was going to happen, AND she was promised that she wouldn't have to speak!  She did give a speech on the 2nd day, and what a speech it was.  She told us about how she wasn't really happy in her career and a life changing event. She had such a warmth and sincerity that everyone in the audience connected with her.  This woman did an impromptu exercise where she was an orchestra conductor leading the audience, who were all playing imaginary instruments. You should have seen the look on her face, she was just beaming with excitement and joy as she was up there conducting. One of the guys is a programmer who is introverted (as many of think that programmers are) he experimented with movement as he told us three stories of his life and the lessons he learned from each one. I was astounded by the camera women, who took us on an incredible journey of a documentary that she did while she was in Japan. Two of the speakers really incorporated the presentation tips we were shown on the first day to liven up some business presentations that would normally bored the audience to death.  All of the participants incorporated some of what they learned into amazing results.  I'm really curious to see how all of the participants incorporate what they've learned into their lives.

Another thing that really stands out, for me, was the authenticity of all the participants. There were several Polish people (as you might expect, since we were in Poland) and a Russian women.  For most of them, English was definitely not their mother tongue.  I've discovered in the time that I've lived in Germany (and in Europe), that many people will use this as a crutch to hold them back or apologize that their English is not that great. To me, this only makes them more sincere and it makes me want to hear them all that much more. We should not let anyone's language "not being perfect" stop us from communicating, we can often get someone's message, even when it isn't perfectly formulated. This is all something that we need to keep in mind in when we're dealing with different people from around Europe and around the world.  There were so many great people that attended the event, this along is enough to attend the next event.

I do have a disclaimer to make. Olivia talked to me in January about becoming involved in promoting the event via Social Media and I did know a few of the speakers up front, but I was just as excited about attending the event (if not more) than any the other participants. I'm now looking forward to seeing how I'll make use of what I've learned and what effect it will have on me.  I can't recommend attending a Spectacular Speaking event enough.  We all need to be better communicators, for our own reasons.  Some of us want to be better public speakers; others could stand to be able to give presentations to their teams, bosses, clients, and so on.  Why be an ordinary speaker, when you can be a Spectacular Speaker! Stay tuned for the next Spectacular Speaking event.

You Might Like to Know....

Florian Mueck wrote about some of the more memorable phrases here.
Olivia has quite a few events in the next few weeks.
John's blog can be found here.
Florian's website is here.
The website of Tobias Rodrigues can be found here.
Jerzy Zientkowski can be found at the Speakerslair.
Peter Zinn can be followed on Twitter @PeterZinn
I interviewed a few of the Spectacular Speakers and will be posting the interviews at the Toastmasters Podcast Europe.

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