Every speech is different
It’s the audience that tells the story
My most important public speaking lesson ever, came from a Malagasy storyteller. “No matter how gifted you are as a speaker”, she said, “you are not the one that is telling the story”. It is the audience that paints the tale in its mind’s eye. It takes your words and images and applies them to their own context, history and beliefs. This means that it will only appreciate your message if this confirms or expands what they believe.
The implications of this insight are profound. Good storytellers continuously adapt their story to the personality and needs of their audience. To resonate, they either confirm what people already know to be true or expand their perception by showing them new possibilities. New colours.
presentations should move, or not exist
Since meeting her, I’ve never given the same speech twice. Sure, I have stories and formats I can build on, and I usually stick to the themes you can find at the bottom of this page.
But beyond that, I’ve approached every presentation as a step towards an audience or business result. To confirm or challenge a (strategic) reality. To take an audience from point A to B. Or at least ‘not A‘.
To me, this isn’t just about effectiveness. It’s also a matter of respect. To you, as a client that wants more than a talking head with PowerPoint slides. And to the audience, that spends time listening to me, while it could be enjoying the sun.
A different type of collaboration
This audience-centric approach is quite different from working with an off-the-shelf speaker. I need to truly understand your business and target audience. Where are you? Where do you want them to go?
Once that’s clear, we co-craft the presentation that will have most impact. We may even decide not to do a presentation at all, but instead have an open Q&A or send everyone a video to discuss in their next Zoom call. I’ve even done multi-week on/offline experiences. Anything goes, as long as it delivers the result.
And yes, like any bespoke suit or dress this approach requires a higher investment. But just like with the clothes you buy, it’s all about the impact you are going for.
Keep scrolling for examples of some online work and possible topics of conversation.
Speaking Covid style
For now, public speaking is an online game. But 45 minutes of talking on a Zoom just isn’t the same.
So during the first lockdown, I worked with narrative designers, immersive theatre makers and TV-editors on a series of affordable, yet impactful online formats. They range from short daily videos over interviews to long-form presentations.
You can check out examples below. But remember that in your case, it might be best to do ‘something completely different’. So if you want to explore, get in touch. Or keep scrolling down for some conversation starters.
RECALIBRATE YOUR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Watching long videos can be boring. So it’s better to split a story into short episodes that people can watch when they have time. The series Recalibrate the Customer Experience explores this idea.
THE POST COVID CONSUMER
This video illustrates that online interviews don’t need to restrict themselves to two heads talking side-by-side. After a live jam session, we summarised the key conclusions in an engaging video with chapter headings for rapid viewing.
CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MANAGEMENT: YESTERDAY. TODAY. TOMORROW.
This is a long-form presentation we created for the DEC Congress 2020, which with 1700 participants is one of the largest customer experience events in the world.
Interested in exploring this direction for your business? Then get in touch. Or keep scrolling for practical topics of conversation.
I hardly do off-the-shelf speeches. But I do focus on customer/employee experience, transformation and storytelling. So get in touch if you want talk about:
- Building a customer-driven organisation
- Growing your brand through differentiated experiences
- Bringing your organisational purpose to life
- Creating an employee experience that fires up your teams
- Delivering against post-covid customer expectations
- Driving sales through advocacy & storytelling
- Moving towards a customer oriented culture
- Customer-centric leadership
- Reinventing your industry
I look forward to hearing from you.
What others say
- “One of the most effective and brilliant sessions on customer-centricity I ever attended”.
- “Super inspiring in both content and form.”
- “Ahead of his talk, Alain took the time to understand the brief, our business challenges and was really happy tailor work-in-progress thoughts based on our feedback.”
- “The presentation was extremely well prepared and spot on! Additionally to being a great speaker Alain is a very good moderator and has a very didactic approach”.
- “Alain brings clarity, relevance and a commercial mindset that helps to engage a diverse and international audience, whether in smaller strategy meetings or larger scale workshops.”