Audition Your Content to Create an Epic Speech

When did you last analyze what works and what doesn’t in your keynote?

I loved an idea that Eric Chester shared from the NSA Main Stage in Washington.  He said that we should make our content “audition” to determine if it makes the cut. How fascinating!!

I wanted to understand how Eric came up with this concept. Here is what he told me:

eric chesterLast year I was stressed having to give a 25-minute speech to an audience of 5,300 business leaders. I had so much to say that I didn’t know which stories and examples to throw out to cut down to 25 minutes. Finally, I had an epiphany and threw them all out. I then wrote the program making each and every story, example, point, and metaphor audition its way back in.

Are you getting this concept? Audition your content… I love it!!!

How to Audition Your Content

So how do you even get started with auditioning your content? Try starting with these steps:

Step #1

List all your key points, stories, vignettes, anecdotes, case studies, examples, quotes and thoughts that you include in each presentation.

[**Some of you change your presentation completely each time, so this may be an opportunity to start working toward “epic” by crafting the bones of one solid speech.]

Without a doubt, you will have many items on your list. To simplify, try going slide by slide through your deck if you use a visual aid.

Step #2

Review each item you listed out in Step 1 and decide whether or not it makes the cut into 2017.  To do this, try asking these questions:

1.  Is it relevant to today’s audiences?

2.  Does it lead back to your central theme?

3.  Is it unique in how you present it?

4.  Does it engage the audience?

5.  Does it fit with the rest of your content?

6.  Does it evoke emotion or humor or thought?

You could probably add a few more question to this list depending on what criteria you think necessary for your topic and audience.

By auditioning your content, you will not only be refreshing it but reigniting your passion for the content.  The beginning of the year is a very good time to change things up and get excited about what you are talking about, so give this a try now!

See you soon Wealthy Speakers!

Jane Atkinson




PS:  We have several more ideas on how to sharpen your speech in The Epic Keynote:  Presentation Skills and Styles for Wealthy Speakers.  If this is top of mind, pick up your copy HERE.

  • MarkBlack78

    Love this!

    • speakerlauncher

      Thanks Mark, that Eric Chester is one smart cookie!

  • Jim Ruta

    Jane, I came upon the same idea recently by necessity, like Eric. I had a 55 slide deck that I use for a workshop and it had to be cut back to 45 minutes. That meant I had to “kill” a lot of good ideas that weren’t great. The same thing happens when I am asked to get down to 20 minutes. Only the strongest survive… but it creates an even better skeleton for building up again.

    • speakerlauncher

      It’s really a terrific exercise Jim, well done!