Back in 2001, at the Toastmasters International Convention, I was invited to deliver the opening keynote speech. In this 10-segment series, you view the anatomy of a keynote presentation.

You will notice I have made comments on how I would give advice to the 2001 speaker…who is me!

Come out punching. The purpose of your opening is to arouse interest in your subject. This opening is stating an opinion. Enjoy.

“It never ceases to amaze me that intelligent, well-educated, and ambitious people, frequently overlook developing the number one skill that is guaranteed to position them ahead of the crowd. Namely, developing the ability to stand up and speak eloquently with confidence or at the very least stagger to their feet and say anything at all.”

Lesson: speak as an audience advocate.

“As Toastmasters, we are committed to being competent communicators, and…”

Lesson:  I said but. Now I recommend whenever possible, (“Take the ‘but’ out of your mouth.)

Lesson:   Introducing the speech premise.

“I maintain, however, even the most dedicated Toastmaster can even more effectively prepare and present powerful programs by understanding in depth the three necessary ingredients that go into every presentation, what I call million-dollar words, speaking for results.

Those three ingredients, the structure, the foundation, the organization of how you put your remarks together. The material, what it is you actually say, your knowledge, your wisdom, and third, of course, the delivery, how you say it.

I maintain, if you do not know what you are going to say, organized in a logical way so you and your audience can remember, it’s very difficult to work on the pazazz of how you say it, which is so much of how we emotionally connect with our audiences.”

Lesson: The visual aid was a simple one-page piece of paper. Even watching this speech 20 years later, in a world when I use PowerPoint, believe this presentation did not need more.

“In front of you, you have a very simple tool, a sheet of paper. It’s a diagram, hopefully very valuable. You will see at the top, there is a circle that stands for the first 30 seconds of a presentation. Come out punching, grab the audience.

Then questions. Answer the questions an audience might have in their mind about you, your subject, what you have to say about the subject and what the connection is.

Then the premise or the objective. What is it that you are going to talk about in one clear sentence? If you can’t define what you’re going to talk about in one sentence, the audience probably won’t be able to remember.  A couple of weeks ago, I followed a speaker and I was going to sum up what he said. He was giving (I would not say “delivering”) a two-hour program. I said, (I would not say “asked”)

‘Can you give me a general outline of what you’re going to talk about?’ He gave me one word. I said, ‘That’s a man who really understands his subject if he can sum up two hours in one word.’

Lesson: I missed the opportunity to answer the audience’s unasked question. “What was his one word?” Collaboration.

“Then you’ll see the points of wisdom. The points of wisdom, perhaps the rationale that makes the case for your objective. The circle stands for the stories, the examples, the analogies that make your case because people don’t remember what you say, they remember what they see when you describe what you’re talking about.

Lesson: I would not replace people with ‘your audience.’

“Then you see at the end, any questions. If it’s a small group and it’s appropriate, then you might sum up what you’ve done and close on a high. Very simple. I suggest as you put together your remarks, you might use that as a guide, or perhaps if you have a speech that you give frequently, look how it would fit in that formula.”

This is the first of ten segments. Next week, you will receive segment two.

To have access to this complete presentation and eleven more recorded-live Fripp presentations, check out FrippVT Live.

“Patricia, thank you for your help with last week’s speech, it went well! It was wonderful to have so many in the audience want to talk to me afterward and reached out on LinkedIn. Your scripting techniques really made the speech shine, thank you!”
De Ann Doonan, CPP, Executive Director, Global Payroll

 

 

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Your relationship with your audience is a major key to your presentation success.

How do you speak with confidence? One of the secrets is to know how to build an astonishing relationship with your audience.

The first two ways you will connect to your audience of 5, 50, or 500 are intellectually and emotionally. Logic makes you think; emotion makes you act.

The intellectual connection will come from your content and the logic around how you make your case. When you use charts and statistics and report on the result of surveys, you are connecting intellectually.

Making an emotional connection is easier. There are three ways to connect emotionally with your audience.

One is through stories.

Second is with “you-focused” language, what I call the “I-You Ratio or balance.” How often do you say “I” compared to “you” or “us”?

“You” is your one-word advantage.

The third connection occurs by speaking as an audience advocate. Focus your content from the audience’s point of view; look at your message through their eyes. When you work on the principle that everyone is more interested in themselves than in us, you will not go wrong.

If an executive says, “Our new strategy will increase shareholder value” to employees who are not shareholders, the executive is not speaking as an audience advocate. If they say, “Our new strategy will increase revenue, which in turn leads to more job security,” they are on track.

Here are a few remarks to remove from your presentations:

“I am going to talk about . . .”

“What I would like to talk about . . .”

“What I am going to do first is . . .”

Instead, substitute “Great news! You are about to learn ten techniques guaranteed to make your presentations memorable.”

Make a list of you-focused phrases that would work in your presentations.

Here are several that I use to begin. If they work for you, please use them.

In your experience . . .

If I were to ask you . . .

You can feel confident . . .

How often have you felt, seen, experienced . . . ?

When was the first/last time you . . . ?

It might interest/surprise/amaze you to know/learn/discover . . .

Do you remember a time when . . . ?

What advice did your dad/parents/mother/first boss give you?

Think back to when you . . . frustrated/upset/ happy/enthusiastic/disappointed?

I helped a sales executive from a major hotel with a short presentation to bring a convention to San Francisco, a $500,000 event. They had strong competition from two other cities. When the competition is tough, the best presentation wins. I recommended a you-focused opening.

“In the next 8 minutes, you will decide that the best decision you can make for your association and your members is to bring your convention to San Francisco and the Fairmont Hotel.” That is 5 you or yours and one Fairmont. That creates a strong emotional connection.

Good luck making a strong connection with your audiences.

If you would like help, let’s talk.

“I gave my speech last night… it was at least TWICE as good because of the day I spent with you. I didn’t realize during the day that you were making such a great impact… but mission accomplished… and quite an accomplishment on your part because it is nearly impossible for me to sit through anything for an entire day. I have already referred a couple of my clients to you.” Sally Pera, President, PR Connect

“Oh, my goodness, Patricia! The panel went so well! I received dozens of compliments about how engaging the panelists were and about my moderating as well. The expert panelists were extremely pleased. Your expert coaching was excellent and timely, as always. Thank you, Patricia, for your brutal honesty, for always steering me in the right direction, and for always challenging me. Words do not express my gratitude!” Angela Cockerham, Attorney and Mississippi State Representative

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Your Soundbite Statement, AKA Your Foundational Phrase


Within many of your stories is a foundational phrase.

This is a short sentence that gets your point across or summarizes your story. It adds clarity so that your audience grasps your message easily. These phrases are both memorable and easy for you and your audience to remember.

Here are some of my favorite foundational phrases from my stories and talks:

“Life is a series of sales situations, and the answer is “no” if you don’t ask.”

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Nobody Can Resist a Good Story Well Told

Tell better stories and make the sale.

One of my favorite assignments is to work with sales teams and help them use stories to drive more sales. It amuses me to ask them, “Have you ever noticed that it seems as if our prospects are often trained to resist our sales presentations?” However, it is my belief that when we use well-chosen stories, examples, and case histories in our sales presentations, they become more memorable.

When we have strong competition, we must tell better stories. In this context we tell stories that relate to how we improve our client’s condition. You may call them examples or case histories. They are stories. The most important type of story is about your satisfied clients who are enjoying the benefits of your product or service.

The happy client story formula is situation, solution, success.

I might ask you, “May I have a reference of one of your clients who has benefitted from your service?” You would say, “Yes, Patricia, feel free to call Diane Brooks. Just like you, she is a successful entrepreneur who needed our help with managing her business finances, accounting, and bookkeeping. We have worked with her for the last five years, and she is very satisfied with our service.”

Your sales stories must be true, but not necessarily 100% accurate as stories shrink time. You can put what may have been multiple meetings and calls into one conversation. Developing your relationship may take weeks. Telling your story will take a few minutes.

This is the situation.

Remember when you first met your client and they said, “Help . . .” and clearly articulated their problem?

FrippVT helps you drive more sales and tell better stories.

“Help! Our current technology partner is costing us too much!”

Or “Help! We are not compliant.”

Or “Help! We assumed experienced technology professionals would be able to tell our story effectively!”

In good storytelling, the situation is always told in the client’s words.

The client’s situation is their problem, the pain, and it is like that of the prospect you are now talking to.

The solution is what you did for the client with your product, your service, or your technology. This can be in your words. You explain your process so that your prospects can see what it is like working with you. You can use phrases like this: “What Diane benefited from is the usual three-step approach we take with each new client. First we . . .” This also answers your prospect’s unasked question: “If we say, ‘Yes,’ what happens next?”

The third part of this formula is success.

This is the end of the story, the happily ever after: How did you improve their condition?

Just as with the situation, this needs to be in the client’s words. You can repeat their glowing comments. When you use their words, they will be more expansive than you would be about yourself. However, their words are specific.

Let us go back to our example about Diane.

“Patricia, if Diane were here, she would tell you, ‘When I first talked to the people at Profit Results my accounting was in a total mess. My last bookkeeper had dropped the ball which resulted in $3,000 in fines and penalties. Even though the professionals at Profit Factor had nothing to do with creating my problem, they went to bat for me. Within three weeks of hiring them, not only did I get my $3,000 refunded, but they also found me more legitimate write-offs, and that resulted in another $8,762 refund. In the first two months of my hiring them, their efforts resulted in enough refunds to pay for their services for the next two years. They have my loyalty for life! You can’t go wrong talking to Jenna.’”

Good luck driving sales with stories. If you would like help, let’s talk. Consider the cost of losing a sales.

If your presentations deserve the best talk to Patricia Fripp!

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Patricia Fripp coaching a sales team on their stories

The Success Formulas of Good Stories

If you’ve heard a speech, sermon, or business presentation that you enjoyed and remembered, I guarantee that at least one aspect that made it memorable was stories.

Everybody loves a good story, and that is their power. No matter what our culture, we grow up feeling that hearing a story is somehow a reward. Stories are how we learn values and our family’s legacy. When we’re in school, stories make history come alive. In business, we quickly discover that stories help us explain complex issues and are the best way to connect to coworkers, customers, and audiences of all size and makeup.

Wise leaders, sales professionals, and presenters do well to develop an arsenal of great stories that provide clear, dramatic examples. Good stories help distinguish us from our competition.

Interesting, memorable stories that illustrate your

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Welcome to part four of a four-part series on the best formula for a presentation closing that resonates.

3 • “The End-of-the-Story Close”

This closing technique involves a story that’s told early in the speech, maybe even in the opening. As far as the audience is concerned, the story has a successful conclusion. In the closing, you reveal one more detail about the story, in effect revealing the next and concluding scene of the story.

Here’s an example from my good friend Hall of Fame speaker Tony Alessandra’s presentation on customer service. He opened with a story about a frustrating experience dealing with calling an airline for the second time, only to find that the cost of his ticket was now $600 more than 30 minutes before. He heard, “Sir, there is nothing I can do for you. The only suggestion is you could call the president of the airline” Case closed This was a very satisfying conclusion to the story. 45 minutes later, after his review, challenge, call to action, and Q and A, the audience loved his message. He then took two steps forward and said, “So, I called the president of the airline and said . . .” Everybody laughed because by now their mind was no longer on the opening. This was an effective use of the “End of The Story Close.”

4 • “A Perspective-Changing Close”

This closing prompts the audience to think differently about a situation, others, or themselves. World Champion Mark Brown uses this technique in his presentation ‘Stronger Together’ as he discusses various roles and responsibilities within an organization. During the presentation, he acknowledges that some roles may feel minor and almost insignificant and emphasizes why they’re important. Mark closes with, “Your role may seem insignificant; however, you are invaluable. Know your role, play your part, and you will all be stronger together!” Used effectively, this technique will prompt your audience to change their perspective.

Sometimes, by their response, your audience will tell you that you have a perspective-changing statement. My frequent collaborator, Darren LaCroix, experienced that when delivering his “Path to Powerful Presentations.” He noticed that every time he made a certain statement, the audience instantly wrote it down. Darren’s audience was telling him that he had a “perspective-changing statement.” He realized that the statement would be significantly more powerful at the end of his presentation as a “Perspective-Changing Close,” and he moved it to his conclusion.

5 • “The Emergency Close”

As the name suggests, this is a close that is good to have ‘in your back pocket,’ prepared and ready when needed. If you must end your presentation unexpectedly, it’s important to leave your message on a high point still and have the confidence of being prepared in case you can relax.

World Champion Ed Tate was competing in the World Championship of Public Speaking, an event in which speakers MUST adhere to strict time limits or face disqualification. His speech was so humorous that the audience’s laughter used up more time than he had anticipated. He was forced to use his emergency close and had he not done so, he would not be a World Champion of Public Speaking.

6 • “The Fripp-‘Remember Me’ Close”

This technique gives the audience a unique reason to remember you. Here’s an example I often use: “Thank you for being a kind and appreciative audience. I hope you will remember me. Fripp. However, much more important than remembering me, remember what Fripp stands for: Frequently Reinforce Ideas that are Productive and Profitable.”  Invariably, audience members approach me afterwards saying, “What was that final line?” What are they doing? Writing down my name, which, of course, is my website.

“Last words linger: Bonus close”

The last line of your story may be powerful enough.

My recommendation to my sales and technical clients is to make this a habit. It is reminding their prospect of one of their major benefits or part of their value proposition or a major feature of their technology. As the sales professionals or systems engineers are about to leave the board room or client office or close the virtual product demo, almost as an after-thought they say, “Remember, 99% of the Fortune 500 do business with us.” Or “Remember, 157 profitable quarters.” Or “We are large enough to satisfy your needs, small enough to consider you a valued customer. To create your own last words linger, ask yourself, “What is the number one benefit we offer?”

When you close your presentations incorporating these six techniques and the bonus, you leave your audience wanting more.

In case you missed one of four

Two of four

Three of four

Your presentation deserves the best, talk to Patricia Fripp about her help.

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Welcome to part three of a four-part series on the best formula for a presentation closing that resonates.


End on a high point. Options for Closing Techniques:

The last thirty seconds of your speech must send people out energized and fulfilled. This means you need to finish with something inspirational that supports your theme.

1 • “The Circular Technique”

As a discipline, it’s always wise to revisit your opening, whether you use this technique or not. In the Circular Technique, the opening and closing generate the same emotion or have corresponding circumstances or situations. For example, I opened my keynote to the American Cemetery Association with the story of my experience when my mother died. Using the circular technique, I led into my close with this:

“At the beginning of my presentation, you heard my experience when my mother died. Let me close with my brother’s experience that he wrote in the liner notes of his CD, Blessing of Tears. ‘Life is what we are given, living is what we do with it . . .’”

My opening showed my perspective, and my closing gave my brother Robert’s perspective.

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Welcome to part two of a four-part series on the best formula for a presentation closing that resonates.


If you plan to include Q & A, indicate how much time has been allotted.

To keep the session flowing, I recommend that you say, “What are your short, specific questions?” Be sure to let your audience know when you will take two final questions. With virtual presentations, after each point of wisdom and before you transition to the next chunk of content, why not add a slide with a question mark on it. This reminds you of your flow, and it gives the audience time to engage. Up front, ask the introducer or moderator to tell the audience you will be doing this. If you are your own moderator, let the audience know to add their questions when they have them. My advice: If you have an audience of more than a handful, have a moderator. Not all questions need to be answered if they are off-topic. If three attendees ask the same question, they can be combined. It is a good idea to have a couple of on-point questions prepared in case none are asked.

If you speak on a complex subject, it is best to answer questions throughout your presentation.

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Welcome to part one of a four-part series on the best formula for a presentation closing that resonates.


Every great singer opens with their second-best song and closes with their best.

In a perfect world, your close will be a highlight of your speech. This way you increase the likelihood that you will look out and see your audience leap to their feet applauding. Bill Gove, the first president of the National Speakers Association, told me, “A standing ovation says more about the audience than the speaker.” In other words, a mediocre speech can receive an ovation from a direct sales organization, whereas the best-crafted presentation delivered to enthusiastic accountants mostly likely will not.

There is, however, a surefire formula that you can rely on to close your presentation.

Six-step formula to captivate your audience at the end of your presentation:

Ask a rhetorical question.

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Make more sales more often. Patricia Fripp can help.

Developing good public speaking skills helps you make more sales more often.

To sell you need technical skills, product knowledge, how you compare to your competition, territory management, a good relationship management system, discipline, and self-management. However, that is not enough. Too often the best presentation wins.

Earlier in my career when I was primarily a keynote speaker, a large food service company invited me to keynote their yearly sales conference. After my speech, Jennifer, the National Sales Manager, pulled me aside and said, “I liked your speech. However, I really loved how you delivered it. Can you teach our salespeople to speak that way? We sell quality food and uniforms to hospitals and healthcare systems.

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