Yes, this week was Hubspot's Inbound conference. Yes, if you're active on Twitter at all, you probably saw it trending for three days at the top of the week. Yes, it was awesome. No, we're not going to rub in the fact that we were there like that one friend in college who couldn't wait to tell you all of the detatils about the party you missed, because that would be mean. And a bit annoying.
What we ARE going to do is share some of the amazing, informative speech ideas we saw in action at Inbound, so you can benefit from them, too. It's great to talk about exceptional professional communication skills, and ideas you can implement in your next presentation, and even better to share how it feels to be affected by them as the listener. Here are some of our favorites:
Idea #1: Embrace Your Passion
Simon Sinek blew the crowd away with his presentation on leadership, entitled "Leaders Eat Last." Sinek has the 2nd most watched talk on TED, and with good reason: he's not afraid to let his personal passion for leadership and a better workplace show. He is physically engaged with his content, presenting a fully-connected presentation that does more than say how important the topic is in words, but shows you through a strong body/voice connection.How you can steal it: Embrace gestures and movement! Open up, take a strong stance, and move with purpose. Remember, your body should be as engaged with your content as you are.
You can watch Simon Sinek at TED below:
Idea #2: While You're Embracing Things, Embrace Your Personal Stamp
We saw Jason Miller, social media/content thought leader at LinkedIn and rock-and-roll photog, give a fabulous presentation on content development that we can firmly say was truly unique. Not only was his content strong, but he did what many presenters are afraid to do — he couched the entire presenation within the framework of something personal. His references, pictures, anecdotes, all reflected his love for rock and heavy metal, and he used this to speak metaphorically about creating content. In fact, he tied his presentation up by likening the members of a marketing team to the band members from KISS. We've talked a lot amongst ourselves about his message, but it was made truly memorable with his distinct personal stamp. In fact, we've come to refer to him as "Jason Miller — KISS guy." We have a feeling he wouldn't be offended by that title.
How You Can Steal It: Be bold and let your personal stamp shine through your entire presentation! Thinking of telling a story about your love of painting? Good for you. Thinking of using that love as a metaphor throughout your presentation, maybe with slides of paintings of the masters, explaining how excellence takes time, or passion leads to greatness, or no one is an island, etc etc etc? Now you're a rock star.
You can see some of Jason's rock photography here. (Be warned. It is awesome.)
Idea #3: Stop being afraid of fun.
Seriously, stop it. Stop saying that your content has to be serious, that no one can enjoy your delivery because you are a serious person at a serious company with something serious to say. Hubspot's co-founders Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan kicked off their keynote with a fabulous video where they essentially "Dr. Who-ed" themselved to the conference. Mind you, their presentation topic was important — they launched new products. And yet, they weren't afraid to have a bit of fun.
How You Can Steal It: Are some things serious? Sure, and those things should be handled accordingly. But certainly not everything is. Remember, unless you are delivering bad news, there is no reason NOT to smile. And if you've got something REALLY good to say, enjoy it! You're a human in a room, talking to other humans. Engage.
Idea #4: Free yourself!
Lots of the presentation stages at Inbound had lecterns. The best presenters stepped away from those lecterns and talked to the crowd. Hubspotter Loree McDonald did this beautifully in her presentation about the importance of delighting the customer. She stepped down towards the audience and addressed us directly. (AND she still ran, and could refer to, her slides.)
As an actor, stepping out from behind your set pieces (couches, tables, desks, what-have-you) is freeing. It removes a barrier between you and your fellow actors, as well as connecting you with the other character in the play - your audience.
How You Can Steal It: Be brave, be bold, and step away from the lectern.
Why don't you visit Loree's personal and professional site?
Idea #5: Stories count.
Sure, at a marketing conference you are going to hear a lot about stories. But what was inspiring and exciting to us was exactly how many presenters used storytelling to hit their message home. When Dave Kerpen presented on the importance of likeability, every one of his points was illustrated by at least one story. Because of that, not only do we remember his content, but we can tell you about his wedding, that he's a Mets fan, who "Mary from McDonald's" is, that time he had a bad hotel experience in Vegas, and more.
How You Can Steal It: One story is good. More stories are great. Stories are the fabric of humanity, and your story is what makes your content unique. Get out there and share it!
You can learn more about Dave Kerpen's Likeable Media here.
We love seeing fabulous presentations. Would you like to steal these ideas for your next one? Let us know how we can help in the comments below!