Magic moments of public speaking

By Simon Hall 

Simon Hall

If you’re giving a talk, presenting, or teaching, making sure to include magic moments can make your performance truly memorable…

If you want to be that presenter, lecturer or trainer who always gets the highest praise, best feedback, and is invited back time and again…

This is one big way to do so.

   - Making sure to include magic moments

I recently spent a weekend at Winchester, teaching at the lovely I Am In Print writing festival.

My course was on crime writing, which meant certain areas had to be included…

How to create convincing and compelling heroes and villains, the art of sinister settings, and a whole lot more.

But every time I put together a course, apart from the obvious content that’s required, I think about the moments of magic.

What will stand out and be truly memorable?

In this case, I tried something when covering how to plan a plot. 

Instead of just explaining the importance of an alluring start, a satisfying ending, and lots of developments in between…

I demonstrated it by playing the group a song.

A cheesy 70s pop tune in fact, the Piña Colada Song.

Why did I do that?

Because the song is a great demonstration of how to put together a plot.

It’s got an interesting start, plenty happening, and a great twist at the end.

(But please hear me out before you rush off to listen!)

Of course, I didn’t play the song the whole way through.

No, I paused it 2 minutes in to get the group to guess what would happen at the end.

Which, mostly, they did.

And so the exercise was a success, as they had learned the use of twists.

But! Much more than that…

After the workshop, I had lots of people who hadn't been on the course come up to me saying:

We heard what you did with that piña colada song.

Everyone who came along was talking about it, it sounded like a great session.

Which was exactly what I wanted to achieve.

A moment of magic, something out of the ordinary, that was remembered and talked about.

It’s just the same when giving a presentation or talk.

I always look to include a moment of magic there, and usually towards the end.

I might tell one of my favourite stories, which makes the audience laugh a lot (hopefully!)

I could do a quickfire quiz to check who had been listening carefully, and hand out some freebies.

Occasionally, when I’ve been talking about technology and how we rely on it, I get someone to turn off all the lights and power at a specific point…

And the plunging into darkness, the loss of screens and Wi-Fi…

Never fails to make the point.

When I'm helping some of Cambridge's brilliant entrepreneurs pitch their products, we always try to include a moment of magic.

If they've invented a new gadget, we hand a few around for the audience to play with.

If it's a health product, we could do a demonstration on an audience member.

If it's a leisure or hospitality business, we might give out some free samples.

Anything, so long as it brings a smile, intensifies the interest, and, most importantly of all...

   - Is a memorable moment of magic

Whatever it is you’re doing, think about how you can include a moment of magic.

It’s one of the most important features in making your talk, teaching or presentation stand out from the crowd, be remembered, and create lots more opportunities for you.

By the way, if you need any help polishing up your presentation skills, please get in touch. 

It's one of my most popular courses, something I love teaching, and I’d be happy to help.