You can learn lessons about being a better Long Beach speaker from anywhere. To prove that point, here are some tips gleaned from the animated television show The Tick, which aired from 1994 to 1997.
The show was about an unlikely superhero with the brawn and intelligence of a tick. In one episode, The Tick and his sidekick Arthur teach future superheroes the tricks of the trade. From these superhero lessons, the following speaking tips have been derived:
Develop your origin story
The Tick mentions that super villains are often created by a single event that forever changes them. Public speakers have an origin story (although not as disfiguring), as well, that led them to be the expert and person they are today.
This origin story is what you share near the beginning of your speech so that your audience knows why they should listen to you. This story also can become an integral part of your marketing materials.
Take action now: What’s your compelling back story? Delve into your origin story and massage it into something that illustrates why you are the person to be giving your speech.
According to The Tick, the “A” in the ABCs of “superheroing” is action. Speakers are, as well, all about action.
To be an effective speaker, you need to create presentations that are active and engaging. You need to inspire your audience to take action. And you need to be an active self-promoter.
Take action now: Is your presentation active enough? How can you make it more engaging? Are you including a call to action in your presentation? If not, be sure to develop one and incorporate it. Are you actively promoting yourself? (No, having a website is not enough.)
Create your battle cry
The “B” and “C” of the “A” in the ABCs of “superheroing” stand for battle cry. In public speaker terms, this is your signature phrase. This phrase becomes an integral part of your branding. It is an audio identifier. Sometimes this is an acronym you use in your presentations. Sometimes it is your traditional way of ending a presentation. It can be anything, as long as it is natural to who you are as a speaker and supports your public speaking brand.
Take action now: What is your battle cry? Do you have a signature system that is represented by an acronym? Do you have signature verbalization that you use in all your presentations? If not, start working on your battle cry now.
One of the superhero students is a woman who calls herself The Flying Squirrel. At first, she doesn’t seem very heroic, but she eventually embraces who she is and finds her super powers in her authenticity.
As a speaker, when you embrace who they are and what your are interested in, you will be more successful. Successful speakers recommend focusing what you speak about on something that you are interested in and good at. You will book more engagements if you become known for your expertise in a specific area, rather than being a Jack or Jane of All Trades.
Take action now: What is your core, authentic message? Are you trying to be all speaker to all bookers? That is recipe for disaster. Hone your message so that it is a natural expression of who you are and what you are about and interested in.
Control your enthusiasm
Another of The Tick’s students is Mr. Exciting — a great example that there is such a thing as too much enthusiasm. Successful speakers know how to temper their passion and excitement about their topic so that it doesn’t overwhelm their audience. They know how to sprinkle a bit here, dab a bit there so that their speech is engaging, but not over-the-top.
Take action now: Your body language is your strongest communicator of enthusiasm. To see if your enthusiasm is too much, too little or just right, record your presentations on video and watch the videos with the sound turned off. What is your body language like? Are you too expressive or not expressive enough?
Market your services
The Tick says that supervillains don’t want to get caught, so “you’ve gotta go out and get ‘em.” In this case, speaking gigs are like supervisions — you have to go out and get them. You need to actively market your speaking services, get yourself in front of those who hire speakers and win them over.
Take action now: Set yourself up for success by developing support material such as one sheets and a speaker reel. Then research potential contacts of those who hire speakers. Only contact those who are looking for someone in your subject area.
The Tick teaches his students in a logical pattern. Effective speakers organize their presentations so that they follow a logical sequence. For example, The Tick instructs, “I want each of you to introduce yourself, tell me a little about your superhero-ness and then shout your battle cry and take your best shot at me!” This is a very good way to organize a speech:
- Open with an introduction
- Add a little back story so people know why they should listen
- Go into your signature phrase, acronym or information
And do this all with the best of your ability.
Take action now: Take a look at your presentation outline? Does it have a logical flow? If not, time to tweak, edit and fine tune it so it does.
Would you like more information about public speaking? Visit PublicSpeakingSuperPowers.com for tips, advice and plenty of videos about all the “powers” you can employ in your speaking endeavors.
NOTE: Are you a Long Beach based speaker? Do you know of an upcoming speaking event? Contact me to have an interview with you published in this column.