On the advice of my friend Sam Davidson, I recently picked up Paid To Speak, a book compiled by the National Speakers Association. It was a pretty decent read and for anyone looking to perfect their business and their story-telling abilities, I do recommend this book.
For me, the best part of the book was the detail behind what is called, The Hero’s Journey. What is it? We’ve all heard of it and Joseph Campbell made the concept famous but it is quite simple: The Hero’s Journey is something we can all connect with and believe in. The story itself requires a want, a goal or a desire. Then there must be an obstacle with a resolution. Finally, the journey ends with a piece of wisdom.
A lot of the lessons in this book I have already learned by my time on the road.
- “Use your first two minutes wisely: your first words, your first story, your first slide should serve only one purpose: to help the audience confirm you are worth listening to. Throw something substantial to the audience for them to chow on rather than the mundane details of your flight, the city, a joke, or a thanking of this or that person.”
- “When you finish a story, always extract the key point (the hook), and turn it back to your audience (the hinge) by asking a variation of a “you” question such as, “where have you encountered this?”
For me, therein lies the two most important pieces that I learned from the book.
Sure, there were tips of growing your network, elevator speeches, and the like. But to be a great speaker, you have to do those two things really well (in my opinion).
And so, my journey continues …