What type of speaker are you?
There are three types of speakers in general. One category is a talent speaker. A talent speaker has a unique talent that they cover in their speech, and it could be from a wide range of topics or hobbies. That could be anything from singing, to martial arts, to acrobatics.
A talent speaker is someone who has that true entertainment factor, a real uniqueness value. But if you don’t fit into this category, you will probably fit into one of the next two.
First, let’s cover what a story speaker is. A story speaker has a presentation based on a very unique experiential story that pertains to their lives. It’s based on something that is rare or uncommon that not everyone would have experienced.
A great example of this type of speaker is a person like Aaron Ralston. You may have heard of him — he’s the guy who cut his own arm off. That’s right, when he got stuck rock climbing, he did what he had to do to survive and cut his own arm off. They even made a movie about it!
Another example is Nando Paredo. This is a man who survived a plane crash in the Andes as a teenager, and managed to walk out alive. Something Nando used to do in his keynote speeches that I loved was the M&M trick. As every person entered the room for his speech, they were handed an M&M. He would ask them not to eat it, just to hold it. And as his speech goes on, you learn that for three days, this was all he had to eat. It’s powerful.
At first, he just licked off the coating for day one. Then he licked on the chocolate for day two. And then he ate the peanut on day three, as he was walking out of the Andes. It’s such a minor addition to his speech that makes it so incredible, unique and memorable. And you’ll never look at an M&M the same way after that.
That’s a great component to a speech because of how powerful it is, but here’s the deal. No one else in the audience has cut their arm off and more than likely, no one else in the audience has had a plane crash in the Andes and survived to tell the tale. That is what makes a story speaker.
There’s something to be learned in that, even if you are not a story speaker. What are the stories that no one else can ever get from any other speech, other than yours, that are big and powerful and unique? They just can’t get that anywhere else because they’re not you. Those are your unique stories and no matter what type of speaker you are, you need to have them and tell them.
Finally, you have the last and most common category. Expert speakers. Some examples of those would be Brene Brown, Simon Sinek and Jason Dorsey. These are a wide variety of examples, but each of these people has one topic that they hone in on and become an expert of.
What are you the expert in? What life-changing topic can you speak about? That’s your expertise. You have to find those niches in order to make your keynote powerful, no matter what category you fall in.