Public Speaking: How to Bring Your Characters to Life

“How to Bring Your Characters to Life” in your public speaking and sales presentations.

You may be interested in my opening comments.
1. As a speaker we need to help the audience to see our characters.

We must learn to paint a picture of them…and give enough of their background for the listeners to understand why they may do what they in our stories or examples.

It may help to put a time frame on the story.

In my classic Larry Mariottini story,

I let the audience know…it was 10.45 am on a Tuesday in 1975.

When I introduce him as … “You might say he was NERD…long before I knew what

one was…or that I would want to grow up and be one.”

2. It is a good idea to not insult your protagonist or hero especially if you are speaking to an audience that is technical!

By letting the audience knows when your story happened it helps them SEE how he might look compared to now as a systems engineer.

Another example is my Nancy Albertson story about how her idea made Sprint $13 million dollars. When I asked Nancy her title she said “I’m just a secretary. I guess you’d call me a big gal with BIG ideas!”

3. If you interview people for stories they write them for you!

As you know a good portion of my business comes from sales presentation skills training.

When I coach my sales professionals to tell their happy client testimonials I recommend you always give your clients title, the CFO of Cisco would tell you…. Or the 18-year veteran of the Human Resources department.

4. This is helping to give their client characters a business “backstory.” With this much experience, it is logical that they would make better decisions. That makes the decision for the prospect easier.

5. We bring our characters to life through some of the verbs we use.

“Fred casually sauntered into the boss’s office” vs “Fred rushed breathless into the boss’s office.”

Please note I am taking a lesson from the brilliant Mark Brown who taught us in a recent EDGE lesson about the importance of adjectives and adverbs.

6. We bring our characters to life through their dialogue. What do they say…“I’m just a secretary. I guess you’d call me a big gal with BIG ideas!”

One of my examples from coaching an executive who sat his children down the day after Christmas and said, “You are very lucky children, you have generous parents and even more generous grandparents. Perhaps you would like to give one of your gift certificates back and we can send the money to children who do not have homes.” He told me “I was so proud of my little boy. He came back and said “Papa…how much do I give? I could give you all of my savings, all of my pocket money, and all of my gifts and there still would not be enough to make a difference.”

My CEO client Bernard said, “You never give it all. You just give enough that it hurts a little.”