Shep Hyken is the host of Be Amazing Or Go Home. Enjoy his interview with Patricia Fripp.
Memorable messages are now more important than ever, especially in today’s virtual world. What techniques can lead you to the results that you want? Patricia Fripp is one of the world’s foremost speech coaches working with executives from the Fortune 100 and the top professional speakers on how to make more powerful presentations, and Patricia joins us now in the studio to talk about how to get amazing results from your next presentation. Welcome to Be Amazing Or Go Home.
Shep Hyken: I’ve got a number of questions, first of all, yes, you are the speech coach to the stars, both in the corporate world as well as the professional speaking world. Hall of Fame speakers, speakers that have won awards have come to you to get their coaching, … including myself, I’m a proud client. I hope I’ve done you good service. Let’s begin with this.
Why are good presentation skills so important to business?
Patricia Fripp: Leaders need to inspire action and commitment in their associates, their partners, their customers, and shareholders.
That means they need to use powerful, reassuring words. I grew up listening to stories from my parents, tell me how Winston Churchill would get on the radio, and with the power of his words, people would fight in the street and feel inspired in the worst of times. He didn’t have a PowerPoint. He used his words.
Powerful words from well-intentioned leaders can change the whole feel of a company.
Shep Hyken: If you had a secret to share with somebody giving a presentation, any type of a speech, maybe it’s an executive, what would that be?
Patricia Fripp: Focus on who is the audience.
For example, if an executive said, “Our new strategy will help increase the shareholder value,” that’s great if you’re talking to the board of directors or shareholders. Unless your associates are shareholders, that isn’t the right message. You need to adapt the message, in that case, to say, “With our new strategy, we’ll increase sales. That means more job security.” Same message to different audiences. We have to focus on who is the audience and why would they care.
Shep Hyken: The key is to know the audience, and I think perhaps the best way to go about that is to ask, do the research. How do you go about that?
Patricia Fripp: It’s not that complicated.
If you are speaking at a conference and there were different disciplines and industries, at least some of your talking points have to allude to the different industries. If it is an executive, then… with my executive clients, I always make sure, who are some of the unsung, everyday heroes that you are going to include in your presentation?
Shep Hyken: Connect with the audience, including people from the audience in your presentation.
That’s going to draw everybody a little bit closer together, but I think the key is to ask. I know when I get ready to do a presentation, I send out a pre-program questionnaire. I like to ask, “Who is in the audience? What are their positions?” I ask, “What are their biggest concerns?” I want to know. Is there anything I need to stay away from? I don’t want to make that mistake because that could blow everything. All right. Let’s talk about stories. Something you’re very famous for, telling stories, creating stories, helping speakers write their stories. Are there any tips you can share with us about how to be a better storyteller in business?
Patricia Fripp: Yes. With executives, I’m always trying to find the moments in their earlier lives that can tie to their messages. For example, with one executive was talking about the importance of strategy, and I said, Bernard, when did you realize the importance of strategy? He said, “I was a 14-year-old ball boy before the French Open, and people came in to see the match.”
Shep Hyken: The tennis French Open?
Patricia Fripp: Yes, and they didn’t realize that they were going to have to watch a match of the ball boys first. He said, “I was playing against my best friend. We were equally matched in talent and experience. However, their ball boy was his friend’s sister who wanted her brother to win. So, she was trying to sabotage me. She threw the balls.”
Bernard said, “I was playing against equally matched talent, and I was at a disadvantage. That is when I realized the importance of strategy.” All executives say, and I know they say to you, “Do people really want to hear these simple stories?”
Powerful words from well-intentioned leaders can change the whole culture of a company.
Winston Churchill proved what executives need to understand. You all respect a position. We will fight in the streets for the person.
These personal stories are about people, and we like to hear what the characters say. You deliver the dialogue rather than report on the dialogue. For example, the sales manager can say, “I was talking to Shep, and he said, ‘John, I couldn’t be more pleased with your customer service because….’” rather than, “I was talking to Shep, and he was happy with our service.” Deliver the dialogue not report on it.
Shep Hyken: Tell the story. Use the dialogue. Are there some major mistakes that people make when they’re giving presentations?
Patricia Fripp: The major mistakes that I see mostly are:
One, wait till the last minute.
Two, focus too much on slides rather than, ‘What is the message I want to get across, and what is the best way to say it?’
Three, think once they’ve got the slides and the outline, they’re done. No, they’re halfway done.
As Michael Caine said, “Rehearsal is the work, performance is the relaxation.”
When you have your presentation, now you have to get it in your body so your words fall flawlessly from your lips.
Shep Hyken: Well, you coached me on a presentation. I had five points I wanted to make, and you said, “You need to learn those five points so well that you could do them forward, backward, mix them up in any order. When you can do that, then you can go on stage and do it comfortably.”
You are known for a famous phrase. What is that phrase? Share with our viewers.
Patricia Fripp: Specificity builds credibility. and the number one question I ask all my clients is, “If it weren’t a thing, what would it be?” I often hear “innovative upgrades,” “new strategy.” It’s never a thing.
Shep Hyken: Even numbers, it’s like a bunch of…, give me the exact numbers.
Patricia Fripp: Yes. A bunch is for fruits and vegetables.
Shep Hyken: All right. My final question. One last nugget you want to share with this audience? What would it be?
Patricia Fripp: Nothing will position you ahead of the crowd as much as being a powerful, persuasive presenter.
Shep Hyken: Wow. All right. Patricia Fripp, the famous one. I just want to say that you are wonderful to work with one-on-one, but you also have an amazing online program. Patricia, you weren’t expecting me to do it, but anybody that is interested in learning about how to be a better speaker, go to Fripp VT as in Fripp Virtual Training.