When I competed in Toastmaster’s international speech contest for the first time, I met Janice. 

An athletic looking lady in her mid 50’s, with bright eyes and an assertive demeanour. 


At the semi-final round of the New York district, Janice was sitting right at the back of the room and as soon as my name was announced as the winner, she came over to me and said: 


“You have a potential. Let me coach you”.


I thought it was a very generous offer to offer me free coaching, but what did I have to lose? 


Little did I know that her coaching will completely change the way I think about public speaking ever again.


In my first coaching session with her, she was very blunt with me: 


“You’re giving too much away” 


I never thought that was even possible. Surely that’s what the audience wanted? Lots of information that they can learn from and take away whatever’s important to them. 


I went away that day and realized that this was the biggest mistake I was making. I was giving my audience a whole buffet, when actually, I should be giving them a single meal. 


Buffets give people choice, too much distraction. They can even skip the main course and go on to dessert if they wanted to, but this isn’t what you want. 


We only have a very short time to deliver a message, so it needs to be short and simple. I call this your ONE BIG MESSAGE®.  


If you imagine listening to a presentation where too much information is shared, it ends up being so confusing. You want to write things down to help you remember, but there is so much that you end up writing down NOTHING and forgetting EVERYTHING that they’ve even said.  


If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the years as a keynote speaker it’s that LESS is MORE. 


Just because you have lots of experience and knowledge doesn’t mean you have to give them everything within one speech.


Before you begin writing any speech, always start with your overriding ONE BIG MESSAGE®. Then ask yourself: 


  • Is it easy to remember? 
  • What story can I tell to bring this message to life and help my audience visualize it? 
  • What 3 main points that will back up my message? 


It’s only by following this same structure that you’ll be able to deliver a powerfully persuasive message. 


To find out more about how to bring your ONE BIG MESSAGE® to life, enrol on my online course “The Art of Persuasive Speaking in Global Business.” It has a whole chapter dedicated to creating your message and bringing it to life for your audience. 


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