I’m never going to give a speech in front of a large group.
I always find someone else to do the speaking at work or in committee meetings.
I’ll do anything to avoid having to make a presentation.
Do any of these sound familiar? After cleverly avoiding the limelight for a lifetime, imagine you’re suddenly asked to deliver the eulogy for a loved one. Now what? This happened to a client of mine who came through one of my 4-session group classes and chose not to participate in any of the exercises. He listened, he gave feedback to the others after they delivered their practice speeches, but he wouldn’t try it for himself. About six months after the final session, he called me and said, “I wish I had participated and practiced—I have to give a eulogy for my father!”
It’s inevitable that during your lifetime you’ll be asked to give a eulogy or a toast at a wedding or an acceptance speech. Be prepared! There is no greater honor than to be asked to speak on behalf of others in honor of someone at their funeral or memorial service. And there are clear techniques, like with any speech, that if used will make it compelling, impactful and memorable.
Two examples are included here. One was written and delivered by Rory Reid and the other by me. Rory was a good friend of Jim Rogers who was a prominent Las Vegas figure, a media mogul and an innovative philanthropist. Rory was asked by Jim’s wife, Beverly, to share his thoughts at the funeral. I was honored to be one of three asked to speak on behalf of Vincent Frey, who was a good friend, a kind heart and a well-known activist in the Las Vegas community. His mother, Ruth, and I had known each other for years and his partner, Chris, was the one who invited me to be one of the speakers.
You will notice that my speech is twice as long as Rory’s. You can count on that being true any time you want to compare us, I’m sure, because Rory has a direct communication style and I…well, I don’t! I do, however, work tirelessly to make sure I don’t ramble, which is why I prepare and rehearse. I’m still working on “killing my darlings” as Stephen King warns us, reminding us that just because something sounds beautiful doesn’t mean we should keep it in the speech.
Notice how neither of us started with pleasantries, like “thanks for being here,” or “I’m sorry we’re together for this reason,” or anything like that. Always have an opening that grabs the audience’s attention because they’re still sending that last text or filing their nails if you start with meaningless pleasantries.
If you only have time to read one speech to witness an example of a powerful, memorable, compelling speech, read Rory’s. It’s under five minutes. If you read them both, you’ll have a better understanding about your own style and preference.
Both Rory and I have been asked to give other eulogies since then and it, without exception, is always an honor we accept and prepare for with the love, gravity and sincerity it deserves.
Will you be ready?
President, The Zen Speaker
Beyond the Expected:
Learning The Zen Speaker System (Level 1)
Making a few slight changes in your communication skills will create a significant difference in how you impact your audience. During this 4-month program, you’ll learn proven techniques designed to lessen the time you’ll need to reach your goals as you:
Become calm, confident and compelling in the spotlight
Gain instant credibility with your audience
Conquer anxiety through proven techniques you can practice anywhere
Present in a conversational and engaging manner
Discover and share your unique story to create a personal connection
What you need to know about Beyond the Expected:
The environment will be safe and respectful
Sessions are once a month on the 3rd Friday for 4 months
Classes are from 8:30 am – noon
Class is limited to 12 people
Take the first step and go Beyond the Expected with The Zen Speaker.
Upcoming Virtual Class
Begins Friday, June 18, 2021
8:30 AM - 12 PM
$2,500 is the investment in yourself!
Conquering Your Fear Virtual Workshop
Is fear holding you back?
Do you find yourself remaining quiet when you want to speak up?
Are you avoiding situations that would put you at the head of the table or front of the room for fear of being judged, not being good enough or being exposed as an imposter (you know, that dreaded imposter syndrome!)?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you can put an end to that with this virtual workshop! If you’ll allow it, these 45 minutes will change your life. Transformation is possible when you open up to it!