A Book Every Speaker Should Read


Here’s an excellent book I read recently – the outline is courtesy of friend and colleague, Simon Rowell:

Carmine Gallo, Talk Like TED

The most engaging presentations are:

  1. emotional – touch my heart
  2. novel – teach me something new
  3. memorable – make it unforgettable


  • Unleash the master within – passion
    • You can’t inspire others if you’re not inspired yourself
    • What’s your motivation? [we have the greatest motivation!]
  • Master the art of story telling
    • Stories turn abstract concepts into tangible, emotional and memorable ideas
    • Aristotle – Ethos (65%), Logos (10%), Pathos (25%) – credible, persuasive, appealing
    • 3 simple effective story types
      • Personal stories – carefully chosen, esp with an unexpected outcome
      • Stories about other people –  create empathy
      • Stories about success – who has achieved what you’re describing – give people a hero
    • Lead with stories – avoid over-used clichés, metaphors and buzzwords.
    • Stories illustrate, illuminate and inspire
  • Have a conversation
    • Authenticity doesn’t happen naturally – practise and get feedback – use video
    • 10,000 hour rule – it takes 10,000 hours of practise to master a skill!!!
    • How do you sound / how do you look – rate, volume, pitch, pace, pauses – use a verbal highlighter
    • What’s your body language like?
    • Pay attention to these details and practise


  • Teach me something new
    • reveal something completely new, or re-packaged to your audience – a fresh / novel take on  something  known
    • People are natural explorers
    • Get out of the office once in a while – find a new work-space to get the creative juices flowing
    • Craft a Twitter friendly headline – 140 characters  brings clarity – helps recall
    • What’s the ‘one thing’ – we need to see the big picture before the details
  • Deliver jaw-dropping moments
    • the shocking, surprising or impressive moment that is moving & memorable – an emotionally charged event
    • Props and demos – compare things (iPad mini launch…as thin as a pencil)
    • So what – a showstopper moment…
  • Lighten up
    • Humour – don’t take yourself too seriously
    • Use humour to make it novel – the brain loves it
    • Anecdotes / observations / personal stories / analogies / metaphors
    • Quotes – think creatively – not just Goodreads!
    • Use video / images
    • Humour / shock / stats
  • Stick to the 18 minute rule
    • Optimum time – or build in soft breaks every 10 minutes – listening well is tiring
    • Listening / learning – drains the brain – mental activity rapidly depletes glucose
    • Creativity thrives under constraints
    • The rule of 3 – attitude / awareness / authenticity – it’s easy to remember 3 things – create a message map
      • Twitter headline
        • Supporting message 1 – Stories / stats / examples
        • Supporting message 2 – Stories / stats / examples
        • Supporting message 3 – Stories / stats / examples
  • Paint a mental picture with multi-sensory experiences
    • Think how to touch all 5 senses – learning is enhanced
    • Use pictures, not text wherever possible
    • Tell stories, don’t lecture – we can’t multi-task – cut the words
    • What do you want people to feel
    • Multisensory can mean multiple voices
  • Stay in your lane
    • Be authentic, open and transparent – most people can spot a phoney


Obviously some of the above is more or less relevant to preachers. For example, we’re not trying to invent a message or sell a product. Nevertheless there’s still plenty here that is helpful to reflect on if we want to improve as communicators. What do you think? Anything missing? Where do we need to do most work? Thoughts, comments etc. most welcome.

C:\Users\Martin\Desktop\message map.jpg


3 Replies to “A Book Every Speaker Should Read”

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