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Prepare to go naked

How do you remember the content? One speaker wrote to us, telling us how he wanted to learn how to pr
Standing oration
Prepare to go naked
By Kristian from Speakers Loft • Issue #8 • View online
How do you remember the content? One speaker wrote to us, telling us how he wanted to learn how to prepare a more free-form approach. We asked our community of speakers on Linkedin for their advice. The answer was simple: prepare to be naked.

“When I first started public speaking in front of large audiences, I used to get so nervous about forgetting my "lines” that I would physically throw up,“ Andrew Vorster from London confided on LinkedIn.
We can probably all agree that throwing up is a sub-optimal response to doing your job. What makes the story beautiful - and the reason Andrew shared it is what comes after:
"One day, a professional speaker that had seen me do a keynote before came up to me and asked me why I was so nervous. On hearing of my fear, he said: "Nobody out there knows what you are *supposed* to say - so they won’t know what you leave out.”
This advice radically transformed my mindset and has turned out to be the best career advice to date.“
Even if you do have a naked moment during your talk, it might not matter. The audience will not know about it. And if you are serious about speaking, whatever you forgot will be hammered into your talk next time you are on stage.
If you do want to try a new approach to remembering the content and it feels a little daunting, remember this piece of advice, even if you do feel a little naked the first time you are on stage.
Naked is a metaphor. No butts on stage. Photo by Evren Aydin on Unsplash.
Naked is a metaphor. No butts on stage. Photo by Evren Aydin on Unsplash.
Two approaches
Scott Lesnick out of Boca Raton, Florida said there are two ways to go at it: memory and habit. While the former requires a lot of rehearsal, it also works well. In Lesnick’s own words, “It is painfully arduous, boringly repetitious and extremely effective.” The other approach requires more active stage time, and after presenting it a few times, you’ll be able to give an excellent talk. The drawback here is that you need to know your material extremely well.
At the Scandinavian Speakers Ball in Copenhagen this year we saw a panel discussion with two speakers: Geo (a comedian from Denmark) and David J.P. Phillips (an entrepreneur/speaker/coach from Sweden). They varied wildly in their presentation style. While Georg comes from a background in stand-up, he confided that he improvised most of the talks on stage. Phillips, on the other hand, admitted to having spent 4 hours of rehearsal per minute of his TedX Talk. Talk about dedication.
Both approaches are, I think, valid. Both talks were absolutely worth watching even if these two speakers came at it from wildly different angles. Do find your style.
When it came to remembering content, there was almost unanimous agreement that referring to notes or using slides as an anchor was still a way forward. That doesn’t mean you can avoid rehearsing. It means you get to have a prompter, like in an old-school theatre. Of course in theatres, they hide the prompter, as speakers we put them dead-center behind us on stage (and email them to people after the show).
But they bring cursed gifts. We’ve all seen people just read out their slides, which can be a drag to watch. And we’ve seen people turn their backs on the audience, to confer with their notes. We’ve not heard anyone say that either of these created speaker magic.
Then again, as we all know, the stage is the perfect place to forget all the things we want to remember.
Now for a small experiment: help us get some numbers on the table concerning these things - fill out this form (it is three questions), and I’ll let you all know the answers in the next issue.
That’s all for now. I wish you tons of success and remember that you have tons of speaker colleagues right here.
See you with a new edition in a week.
The loft
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Kristian from Speakers Loft

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