Your customer is the hero. You are the guide.
If you're at all interested in marketing & storytelling, you're familiar with this thought (made popular by Donald Miller). It's one of the cornerstones of modern marketing.
We think we understand the point. But the thought implies a question that few realize.
Imagine, you just had a great idea. You know from experience that the idea will help everyone do their work better, so you want to share it with your boss & coworkers. Next week Wednesday, you are going to have a remote all-hands meeting with your team, so you decide to present the idea there. You feel a tinge of anxiety and your heart starts pounding, but you move on with it.
Now it’s presentation day. With much effort and anxiety, you have prepared your arguments. You make your case. But even as you are speaking, you notice that your audience is not buying into your idea. They nod politely on their webcams, but after you finish, you only get a dismissive “Thank you”, before everyone moves to the next thing on the agenda. They didn’t even ask any questions. You feel like shit. Why didn’t they see how helpful the idea was? How can they be so stubborn?
We could just blame them for being stubborn and resistant to change. But there is a better way. We could ask ourselves: What went wrong here? How can I improve, so that next time, my idea will be heard?
There are some common mistakes that you’re likely making - even if you are a professional speaker. I see them all the time. Good news is, it's fairly easy to fix these mistakes. But more on that later.
First, let's discuss this: Why bother learning public speaking, especially now that the entire world is isolating?
No matter what you do, you will need to communicate. Remote or not, you'll need to share your ideas with others. This is why public speaking is critical for your future. Doesn’t matter if you’re a leader, salesperson, researcher, teacher, consultant, entrepreneur, or train monkeys by profession. Public speaking will make almost everything you do more impactful.
Moreover, if you are good at communicating, you will be critical to any team. You are less likely to lose your job when the times are tough, because you can build trust, sell more, and lead more effectively. You can bring people together and motivate everyone to do their best.
It gets better. Learning public speaking is easier than you think. Because it’s scary, most people avoid it like plague. Since most people never learn to speak in public, it’s easy for you to be good - even if you’ve never thought of yourself as a confident speaker.
I myself have grown from a shy, withdrawn kid to a professional speaker, stage host & public speaking trainer. I have hosted e.g. the Slush 2018 livestream to 30 000 viewers, and coordinated my native Finland's largest speaker training program. These days I help others succeed on the stage, among them CEOs of tech companies, TEDx speakers, top salespersons, and expert teams of all kinds. I'm telling you this to show that you can absolutely learn public speaking.
So, let's talk about those common mistakes. Here they are:
Fixing these will make you better able to convince your audience of your ideas. You might even find out that speaking can be fun. As a result, you will stand out in a good way, and become a better speaker.
I won't go into details here on how to fix them, because, frankly, there's a lot of stuff to be said. So instead I created a course for you. It's completely free, and you can sign up HERE. Just scroll to the end of the page, insert your name & email, and you'll get it.
I hope it will make you an amazing speaker.
After hosting 25 pizza evenings and having made 1000s of pizzas, I’ve started to gain some name in my circles as the guy who makes amazing pizza.
So, almost weekly I’m asked: “How do you make your pizza dough?”
I got tired of typing it again and again, so here are the instructions.
There’s a lot of detail I’ve omitted for the sake of clarity (and laziness), so just ask me if there’s still something on your mind after reading the instructions.
Pizza dough recipe
As I was preparing for my trip of a lifetime in South America, an exciting thing happened.
I was invited to give a speech to 1000 Mexican students.
In my head, I’m thinking: Ok, I have zero time to prepare it before I leave but hey, it sounds exciting. I ask: When is it?
The answer: This friday. In 4 days.
I’m struck by anxiety for the tight schedule, but I push it aside and accept.
Fast forward a few days.
I'm sometimes asked: "Miika, what one tip would you give on how to prepare a speech?" What you're about to read is what I usually reply with.
It's one of my favorite tools to use for preparing a speech. The 9 Questions. Every time I’ve failed at a speech, it’s been because I haven’t paid attention to one of these questions. Every time I’ve succeeded, it’s because I have.
Tässä se on: Mun ensimmäinen podcast-vierailuni. Älä anna turhan alkuhippeilyn häiritä, vaan nauti Antin ja mun keskustelusta alla! Löytyy hyviä tarinoita ja heti sovellettavia vinkkejä esiintymispelkoon. Ja paljon muuta.
P.S. Vaikka mä oonkin vähän allerginen hippeilylle, niin Antti oli todella cool. Päästiin hyviin keskusteluihin niin kameralla kuin sen ulkopuolellakin. Antti oli rohkea tyyppi jolla on mieletön taito kuunnella. Oli hauskaa!
Two weeks ago, I was lying in a delirious fever in a remote beach village in Brazil. On the phone, I was talking with my sister. She’s a trained doctor and knew my particular case well. She was trying to convince me to return home for treatment. I didn't want to go.
She would tell me, it's very dangerous for me to be sick without proper medical care, especially since we didn’t know why I was sick. Especially since I had gone through a severe viral infection only 3 months earlier.
What did I do?
A couple of months ago, I left for Brazil with no return ticket. I just found some of my thoughts on that decision from the time just before leaving. I'm posting this, because I think it might help someone out when they're considering jumping into the unknown. You know, make the unknown seem less of a scary place. Plus I believe that it's better to put your stuff out there, even if it's not perfect, and I try to live up to that.
So here we go - enjoy:
When I was a kid, we had a tradition. We lived close to a forest, and there were these small white flowers that blossomed in the spring. Just in time for Mother’s Day. We used to go to the woods with my sisters to pick up those white flowers for mom. It was a beautiful moment.
But why was it so beautiful?
Pidin hiljattain puheen. Se ei mennyt hyvin.
Olin harjoitellut. Puheeni oli selkeää ja sujuvaa. Aiheeni oli myös tärkeä ja koskettava.
Epäonnistuin siksi, että pääväitteeni oli liian ehdoton.
Miika Karppinen. Adventurer, public speaking coach, storyteller.