I work with some great speakers in my day to day existence. People who lead businesses and do great things, and the last thing they need from me is coaching on the ‘how’ to deliver a relevant, focused message. They know how.
They tend to use me as a source of stories, anecdotes, facts and figures that they can use for the tricky bits of their speeches. They just know that those ‘frills’ are the things that help their message stand out at conferences, meetings and sales pitches. They want great attention grabbers at the start, memorable ‘funnies’ that make a point, and powerful, moving stories with bite, that no-one’s heard before. I guess you’d call them the ‘tricks’ of the speaker’s trade if you like. Most successful people don’t have time to find them for themselves, and that’s where I help.
It’s a joy, if I’m honest, and I do have a talent for finding, storing and remembering such stuff, and- as importantly for me- it gives me a free rein to read all kinds of magazines, comics and crap, watch TV, films and theatre, that I wouldn’t otherwise have the conscience to do during work time. The skill of ‘collecting’ such material is about about having an open mind, believing that whether it’s a women’s fashion mag, or a TV documentary about people trafficking, something interesting and useful will come out of it. It’s amazing how often, when you’ve got a speech to write, and your subconscious is ‘looking’, that you notice lots of stuff that suddenly seems to be just right, but on any other day would pass you by unloved and unnoticed.
Now the point of this piece is that the very best source of stories, anecdotes, funnies and facts, that I pass on to my grateful, and occasionally paying punters, is ‘Private Eye‘ magazine. It’s an irreverent, independent, irritatingly self-righteous bi-monthly magazine, published in the UK, and focused on UK first and global thereafter, matters of business, politics and life.
If you’d like a source of great titbits and tittle tattle, you should buy it, or even better subscribe, because it’s one of the few, truly ‘free’ publications left in Europe. And if you’re going to be giving a presentation it will pay for itself ten times over.