Presentations Corner: The 3 C’s that got me the gig!

Invoice had been paid, business class flight, booked, 5-star executive suite reserved. All this for  “A statue on stage, a speech with a collection of quotes on google and cheesy request for a standing ovation!” That was Merriam’s version of what happened the last time they invited a guest speaker at their function. I was in an interview to be their hopeful candidate.

Her: You must be able to bring something more, what do you offer?

Me: (Table-topic’ing it) I’m bringing 3 C’s!

Her: Hm, care to elaborate?

Me: There are 3 not-so-common elements I believe every speaker must incorporate in their presentation:

  • Charisma

“But charisma only wins people’s attention. Once you have their attention, you have to have something to tell them.” –Daniel Quinn

I have since learnt that speaking involves transfer of emotion. Sadness, laughter or as most sought after inspiration. Charisma is the element you would need to be able to transfer that emotion, before you speak, and of course during your speech.

I too have had to work on that charisma. From sussing out the feelings of the audience prior to the speech. Gauging their interest in that particular topic and leading them on with their thoughts. I have come to learn that through all this, having the charisma to connect emphatically with the audience draws, gives you undivided attention. Even the boss’ emergency call is silenced

  • Controversy, yes!

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King Jnr.

I am a subscriber to the above motion and believe even for every speaker worth listening to, an intelligent opinion on a controversial topic keeps an audience at the edge of their seat.  The impact here can be detrimental, but exactly why you need your charisma in place. My all time favorite in this instance is the “too soon” Trevor Noah. I feel controversy channels  a bit of an uneasy feeling in an audience allowing you to hopefully change their ideologies with your intelligent argument. Words such as: “I feel,” “as I see it,”  suggest your personal opinion on the matter; and the audience is impatient to know where you stand. Which is why you need to be well researched to give an intelligent argument!

  • Convince to Action

“Make them do, what you want them to do” – Guess who coined that?

The power of words is often spoken about but barely practiced.  I have made it a point that every time I speak henceforth, I end with a clear cut call to action, outlying exactly what I want the audience to do or say after listening to me.

From closings like “Be the best you” or “Change the world” to closings like, “Write down your affirmations now” or “Appreciate 5 people daily” – they have developed conversations among audience members to reflect and react. Someone immediately knows what to do now – and implement. If I need them to change the world, “how?” I ask my self, then the answer becomes, “by appreciating 5 people daily”

Merriam: That’s promising. I’ll have your flights booked, accommodation sorted and invoice processed.

Me: In exchange, I won’t stand like a statue, l’ll are some charisma. I won’t compile quotes on google, instead, I’ll bring some controversy. I won’t have a cheesy request; I’ll convince them to action!


Andrew Tsuro, DTM

Public Relations Manager – Toastmasters Southern Africa