Language has never been easy for me.
What most of you may be aware is that I have a thick accent and sometimes I butcher the English language.
For example, for many years I said “ice on the cake” instead of “icing on the cake” during my talks.
Last year I was doing a talk in front of 200 people and during a written exercise and I said “drop your pens” and it sounded like “drop your pants”! People were looking at me superconfused!
What you may not be aware yet is that I struggled with language when I was growing up in Brazil. I can’t remember ever getting an “A” in Portuguese, most of the time I received a “C”.
Perhaps, you’re thinking that’s not too bad?
Well, what I lacked in language skills, I compensated with studying, which prevented me from getting “Ds” and failing classes.
Even after living in American for 24 years and getting an MBA in Marketing, I still struggle with language, I have to work extremely hard to do a good job.
What is crazy to think about is that since 2002 I made my living speaking to people (I have done over 4,500 talks).
Despite my struggles, my accent, my lack of eloquence, I can still speak, get hired to speak, am being invited back to the same event multiple times, and I have even been called several times a “wordsmith” (I know, it is hard to believe!!!).
And, the BEST part of all, I have been able to help hundreds of thousands around the world to improve their talks and presentations!
How is that possible?
The short, oversimplified answer is this: it comes down to the 3 “S”
To influence an audience, your message must influence you first. You must believe deeply in your message in the impact it creates. You must believe that your message is the audience’s passport from the impossible to the possible.
The ability to find, craft and deliver stories has been the single most important skill in my speaking career, period. Instead of spending countless hours writing talks and working on slides, storytelling has a) saved my preparation time by at least 50% b) made my message unique so audiences are excited to listen to me c) increased the overall persuasiveness of my talks.
Structure allows you to take your audience into a journey, from not knowing who you are, to buying into your vision. Every persuasive and well-developed presentation has a structure that leads the audience emotionally to a logical conclusion. I learned to rely on my presentation structures to move an audience, instead of relying on my desires to move an audience.
As a leader, coach and advocate, when you improve your state of mind, your storytelling skills and the structure of your message you will skyrocket the persuasiveness of your presentations.