There’s an urge in most of us to improve. It’s the reason no matter how much you nail your presentation – there’s that little nagging voice say “Oh, but I think this could be better…”
Now some may say that voice is your negative nellie creeping in, but in my always humble opinion, I believe it’s your intuition telling you that in order to achieve what you want to achieve, reach more people, serve more people with your ideas and have a bigger impact on the world – you must improve!
Most speakers hear the voice but don’t heed it. Instead they give the same speech over and over again without every really improving it.
When I first met Erica Loren, a certified coach and expert in positive psychology, her energy and enthusiasm told me that she was already great on the stage. I could tell in one conversation that an audience would quickly resonate with her.
She’d been speaking for years. She had crafted a signature talk but it just wasn’t hitting the mark. She wondered:
- How much information is too much information?
- How do I shorten my speech?
- How do I weave my story into my speech?
- How can I achieve the impact that I want on my audience?
As soon as Erica started in my Speak for Impact program, it was clear what her presentation was missing. It was the answer to all of the questions that she had asked me in our original conversation.
The missing link: THE BIG IDEA
The BIG IDEA is the ONE (and only one) concept that you want your audience to remember after you finish speaking. It’s what you want to be known for as a speaker, and most importantly it gives the audience a way to spread your message long after you finished speaking.
Without a BIG IDEA, your speech is rudderless, drifting from idea to idea, point to point, with no real destination. Not having a BIG IDEA is why speakers give far too much information, overwhelm their audience, talk about themselves without understanding why it’s important to the audience.
If you want pens to be writing, thumbs to be tweeting your message, and audiences taking action, then read on!
How do you find your BIG IDEA?
Experts get really excited when talking about talking their THING! Erica loves to talk about positive psychology, and boy, does she know her stuff. She’s up-to-date on the latest studies, has tons of exercises and strategies to share, and so many stories to tell.
Without a BIG IDEA though, her presentation was falling into the presentation gap. The gap is the difference between what you want to tell your audience and what they audience actually needs from you.
To solve this, the first assignment I gave to Erica (and all my clients) is The Presentation Strategy. The strategy is made up of 3-parts: your audience, your opportunity, and your BIG IDEA.
Become a passionate advocate of your audience
One of my jobs as a speech coach is to become the advocate for your audience, so I worked with Erica and we really did our homework on her audience. We wanted to know everything we could about the people who were showing up to hear her speak.
Erica is an innovation type (like most of my clients) – she speaks the language of creativity. Most innovators skip to the end when they explain their ideas in a presentation. They tell you about the big vision, but don’t tell you how to achieve it. With every audience, you want to meet them exactly where they are.
If you don’t understand your audience your message won’t be crafted appropriately and your audience won’t get your message -they will feel overwhelmed.
Erica loved stepping into her audience’s shoes and creating an experience for people who were new to positive psychology
Know your opportunity
Your presentation must be aligned to your business model.
If it’s not aligned then it can’t help you to grow awareness of your product or form new relationships with clients.
For this reason, it’s important to know your opportunity with the audience. Erica didn’t want to be one of those speakers doing the hardcore, sell from the stage, buy my crap pitch. She did want to be able to find new clients and opportunities through speaking.
Together, we identified the best next step for her audience. The opportunity should feel natural. If the audience loved what she delivered, getting people to take the next step with her should feel as easy as getting a second date after the first one was a splendid success.
When you’ve served the audience and created an opportunity that’s clearly the next step, your audience converts. Nearly, everyone in Erica’s audience signed up to go deeper with her.
Get your ideas out of your head
No one has ever nailed their BIG IDEA on their first try, but the most important part of this process is getting your ideas out of your head and onto paper.
Erica brainstormed all the possible takeaways from her speech. She thought deeply about what she wanted to be known for, and then we hopped on our call and got to work.
By the end of the call, we hadn’t nailed it yet. In fact, in my session notes I wrote “We are still struggling to come up with her BIG IDEA statement. We are circling it but it hasn't crystallized yet.”
We did have a working BIG IDEA which was enough to move forward with the process. And Then in the second session, lightening stuck and magic happened. We found her BIG IDEA:
“Happiness is not a luxury, it’s a mission critical work ethic.”
And not only did we find it, but when she crafted her next speech around her BIG IDEA the audience found it, too! Now, those words are what people write down, what they tell others about, and ultimately what she wants to be know for.
Here is what Erica thinks about using her BIG IDEA:
I got immediate feedback on my BIG IDEA! While I was still talking, pens were frantically writing the phrase “Happiness is not a luxury, it’s a mission critical work ethic.” Then, after my speech, I was inundated with excited people sharing how my BIG IDEA had immediately impacted their thinking, and what a breakthrough it was for them.
My confidence definitely increased because I could actually SEE the strong effect my words had on people in the audience. I also had a strong increase in the number of people who signed up to be clients right after my talk.
The best bonus is that now it takes me less time to prepare for my presentations because I am so clear about what I need to say. And this gives me more time to work on my business!
What about you?
The BIG IDEA is the basis of any great presentation. It establishes your expertise, helps you discover what you want to be known for, all while lining up your perfect clients.
Want to get the same results that Erica experienced? Of course, you do! Check out how you can work with me and apply for a 15-minute consult.