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QuickBites: How a Talk Is Like a Ferrari

When I speak with a prospect, we talk about their objectives. For example, do they want to work on creating messages, or are their needs more on the delivery side?


Quite often — okay, the overwhelming majority of the time — I suggest that they work on both. More times than not, this comes as a surprise to them. Like so many others, they believe that having a powerful talk will compensate for a lackluster delivery and vice versa. 


Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved Ferraris — the stance, the quality, the statement they make, and the sound … oh, that sound.


Sure, there are other cars that might handle better, and there are other cars whose sharp angles might seem more futuristic than the sweeping lines of a Ferrari. And Ferraris aren’t necessarily the most powerful or faster cars you can buy. But there is no other car, in my humble option, that is more complete a package than the cars that sport the prancing horse emblem.


You might be thinking, “Okay, you like Ferraris. So what’s this got to do with speaking?” And a fair question that would be. So please stick with me.


Being a speaker with a dynamic message and an uninspired delivery is the equivalent of cramming the potent 12-cylinder F140HC engine into a typical four-door sedan. Likewise, relying on a passionate delivery to overcome an unexceptional message is like taking a masterpiece such as the Daytona SP3 and dropping in an underpowered 4-cylinder engine. You’d have a gorgeous car, but you wouldn’t have an actual Ferrari. 


Just like I’m drawn to Ferraris, I am drawn to speakers who blend the essence of a message (the engine) with an engaging delivery (the body language) that supports and fosters that message.


Too frequently, however, I witness speakers who place their engine in a delivery that can’t handle its power. Just as often, I see speakers who have a compelling delivery but lack the engine that connects with their audiences.


As you might imagine, a Ferrari is more than a mixture of brawn and beauty. To the people attracted to such a car — its audience, if you will — there is an appreciation of the details … to the fact that nothing is overlooked. Everything is essential, all the way down to the stitching in the interior. And this is another comparison between a Ferrari and a talk.


No part of your talk should be overlooked. This includes the quality of your slides, if you use them, your clothes and accessories, getting your hair done, and just about everything else that has to do with presenting to your audiences.


So, when preparing for a talk, please work diligently on your message, delivery, and details. Only then will you provide a phenomenal experience.


As I wrap up here, you might be thinking that I left out the fact that you should also use your voice to support your message … and you should. But let’s face it, that’s where the comparison to a Ferrari has to stop because, as they say, nothing else sounds like a Ferrari!