Follow the pink brick road

Posted by on May 16, 2016 in public speaking, story-telling, visuals | No Comments

Zoë, representing Austria in Eurovision 2016

What can Eurovision teach you about public speaking and engaging with your audience?

The best public speaking takes your audience on a journey. The charming Zoë, who represented Austria at Eurovision 2016, was on her own journey, standing on a pink brick road singing about searching for paradise.

When you‘re presenting to an audience your role is to create this journey for them so that they can feel it, too. The result? They’re far more likely to remember your presentation.

So, how can you do this?

The magic of fairy tales

Well, first off, you can borrow a metaphor or two from classic fairy tales to bring your journey to life. Dorothy‘s adventure is to get from Oz to Kansas. Where are you trying to get to and who’s your wicked witch? The glass slipper is a pivotal turning point in Cinderella turning calamity into glowing success. What‘s your version of the glass slipper? Jack is transported to a new world thanks to the magic beans. Where can the magic beans take you?

Turn it up

Another reason Zoë’s performance was so memorable was because it had colour. In bucket loads. Vivid 3D butterflies flew about and crimson poppies magically appeared. Lavish your story in colours. They help stories come to life and paint a picture for your audience.

This is not to say that your next presentation needs the latest CGI effects. Here are two simple ways to do this.

First, think about any visuals you use. Are they colourful and eye-catching? Are they bold and clear? Do they make people smile or laugh? Clue – think about the simple and striking illustrations in children’s books.

Second, think about the senses. Describe a scene from your journey using the senses. What can you see? Which sounds can you hear? How do you feel? When you describe the effect on your senses you light up your audience’s brain and they feel like they’re experiencing the event first hand. Result? They’re far more likely to remember your talk long after you’ve delivered it because they remember how you made them feel.



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