How To Mesmerize Your Audience — Public Speaking Tips from Inbound 2016

Have you ever experienced a keynote or presentation that you couldn’t stop thinking about? At Inbound 2016 there were 100+ breakout sessions (very honored to be one of them!), keynotes from top thought leaders and interviews with celebrities.

However, the keynote presentation given by the Co-Founders of HubSpot, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah blew me away and was one of the highlights of the entire conference. If you want to engage, inspire and motivate your audience, here are 3 key lessons that you can learn from Brian and Dharmesh.

Set The Stage

The keynote began with a short video called The Inbound Journey where Sir Brian Halligan and Marketing Wizard Dharmesh Shah was on an expedition to the magical land of Inbound where along the way they had to defeat the coldest of all cold-callers, Kevin of Outbound.

The video served as a pre-introduction that helped set the mood by creating a magical experience. Instead of having Brian and Dharmesh come on the stage at the beginning, the cinematic story, details, lights and sounds enhanced the audience’s feelings, emotions and surroundings so that the audience no longer felt like they were at the Boston Convention Center but instead in a mysterious story land.

The video introduced Brian and Dharmesh in a light hearted way, created credibility, built anticipation and suggested a hint of what was to come (the 10 year anniversary for Hubspot, the fact that cold calling is dead and the predictions for marketing and technology in the future).

What does this mean for you? To take your presentation to the next level, craft a creative pre-introduction. A short video or a well-written intro given to a colleague to introduce you can help you be credible, build anticipation, create an experience for the audience and make you seem more important. The audience is the adventurer and you are the guide. Take the audience to another place by creating a personalized experience for them.

Go On A Journey

At TEDxEast, Nancy Duarte unveiled the secret structures of great talks (from Steve Job’s presentations to Martin Luther King’s speech). According to Duarte, an impactful speech is comprised of four components: what is, what could be, a moment to remember, and the promise of “The New Bliss.” If a line was drawn to gauge the highs and lows of emotions and engagement levels of the audience during a great presentation, here’s what it would look like:

The audience is taken through a journey of emotional highs and lows throughout the speech. The ‘What Is’ moment stays at a static level but once the possibility of the fresh ‘What Could Be’ moment is introduced people become interested and curious. A ‘Moment To Remember’ moment let’s the audience take in all the information and thoughts while ‘The New Bliss’ or an A-ha moment becomes high value for the audience as a glimpse into new possibilities. Nancy’s presentation revealed a universal truth about humankind which is that “We want our lives to change for the better”.

Both Brian and Dharmesh guided us through a magical journey filled with stories, educational moments, and predictions for the future. Brian’s told us what he learned from 10 years at HubSpot and the 2016 buying process trends. Dharmesh made us fall in love with change and he embraced the future of chatbots.

What does this mean for you? Tell us how life is now, be enthusiastic and passionate about your topic and tell us how life can change for the better. Give us an insider’s view and back it up with stories and research. Be a futurist.

Check out Brian’s and Dharmesh’s keynote below:

Don’t Forget To Keep It Personal

In the introduction, Brian quickly opened with light humor by introducing his parents, Dharmesh’s parents, his dog and Dharmesh’s two cats. This made him relatable and introduced his personality.

The power of sharing stories and tidbits about your life helps the audience relate with you on a personal level. However, not only do great presenters just share stories, their stories tie back to their main points.

Brian shared a story about his mom and then introduced his mom to the audience. Immediately afterwards, Brian related the story to his message which is that “If you are not marketing in social media, you might as well be marketing inside a trashcan!” (Now don’t you want to know what the story is about?)

Next up, Dharmesh immediately began his presentation by giving us a sense of his personality by saying statements such as “Before we geek out” or with his introduction for his love for computers.

When the speaker is passionate about his topic, the audience can be moved to fall in love with the speaker and the topic as well. He engaged the audience with his whole-heartedness. At the the end of his talk Dharmesh, shared a powerful story where his son asked questions to Alexa.

Dharmesh wrapped it up by relating his story to his overall presentation about change and the power we all have now with technology.

What does this mean for you? It is absolutely OKAY to be yourself on stage. In fact, people love it when they learn more about you and what you love to do. However, don’t forget to tie in your personal stories to the overall message and reiterate why it would be important for the audience. If we only told stories about ourselves, the audience will be wondering “Okay…what’s your point?” and if we only told facts and figures, the audience will be thinking “Zzzzzz….”. You have to include reason and emotional appeal to talk to the head and the heart. Brian and Dharmesh introduced their personality, family, and interests very quickly to relate with others and gave an opportunity for the audience to learn more about them while their stories served an overall purpose that related back to their message. Do the same.

Public speaking is an art form. The next time you have the opportunity to craft a presentation, think about how you can set the stage to create a magical experience while taking the audience through a journey of highs and lows by sharing stories, insights, and personal tweetable moments.

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