Writing a keynote speech is the Ultimate Writing Nightmare! If you have been offered such an opportunity it is great news but finding inspiration, crafting and polishing a speech that does you justice is a massive challenge. Here are a few of the challenges:
If you’re like me, you have a clear idea why you’re in business but find it difficult to explain to others. What seems obvious to you is met with incomprehension. Clearly this is not a good place to be when you are asked to deliver a keynote speech!
I worked with stories as a community development worker, helping local residents build community businesses and development trusts, plan new developments and apply for finance for projects.
I found stories help people take action, far more than theory – the technicalities of change leave people cold. Seeing lives transformed by stories creates real enthusiasm for change.
Sharing stories is the foundation of any keynote speech. When we share stories we find common ground, where we can see potential, through shared experience, for real change.
When I demonstrate how to transform the raw material of someones life story into the Story of Their Life, business-owners see the point. When I share benefits, clarity slips away like water into sand.
Development work is primarily coaching, helping local residents work out the changes they want to see in their neighbourhoods, identifying priorities and then implementing them. It is a close working relationship and I found it works best where both parties understand the relationship.
About 20 years ago, I undertook a two-year post-graduate course in non-directive consultancy. This is coaching based on understanding the roles of consultant and consultor. The non-directive consultant helps the consultor identify, prioritise and implement their aims. The consultant is not an expert in the consultor's field, indeed it is an advantage when the consultor is in the driving seat. The consultor decides what ground the two together cover. The consultant helps define objectives and with thinking through how to get there.
Sheffield is fortunate to be the base for Public Speaking Academy (PSA). Sheffield's economy is based on large-scale industry, mainly special steels, and so it does not have the entrepreneurial reputation of other cities, such as Birmingham and London. PSA brings not only public speaking expertise to the city but also a practical example of excellent modern marketing practice. PSA helps new businesses get off the ground and sponsors the PSA Curry Club, an opportunity for business owners to network over a curry and hear excellent speakers from the region and further afield.
Early in 2017, at a suggestion from PSA, I started “Telling Stories: Making Business”, an opportunity to listen with others, to business stories and work on them together. This has proved a practical route to understanding how storytelling works for business.
I've helped nearly forty business owners tell their story since April 2017. Some struggle to put together a compelling narrative from lived experience. Others offer a highly polished story. Stories are never complete - each telling is a fresh experience and offers new insights.
Through reading, study and experience, I've developed a deeper understanding of what makes an inspirational story and how to use stories to build a business narrative.
My “graduates” see their story in a new light. Telling Stories: Making Business opens a paintbox with far more colours and textures than they thought possible. Business people tell a lot of stories to promote their work and it is fascinating to hear how someone’s story develops after a Telling Stories meeting.
Some people have a big, single narrative – a massive story, caught up in deep-seated emotion. It is a story that needs to be shared and dominates all other stories. I've found there are many ways to share these stories and the same life experience generates many stories.
Others have no single narrative and perhaps feel they have nothing of interest to share. But you can turn even the most mundane events into compelling stories.
Any keynote speech brings together stories and teaching. These need to be structured to capture and hold attention, moving the audience towards a call to action. Most of us have plenty of material from our lives and professional experience. But for many of us, it is like an onion and we need to peel away a few layers to find nuggets of pure gold.
Let me introduce A Script for Your Business. With this offer, I help you write a keynote script for public speaking, your website, business networking or social media.
In this coaching package, I work with you step by step to prepare the script. We work together to tease out your business narrative, write and review your script and share it through the spoken word.
The coaching goes at your pace and you work on your script with help from me. The coaching is in three parts:
Picture how you’ll feel with a well-written and rehearsed script. You are far more confident, presenting your business where people pay attention. People respond to your call to action, commit to you and buy your product.
In addition, with this package, you uncover your business narrative and can apply it to other aspects of your business. Transform your marketing as you apply your business narrative to, eg social media posts, blog posts, elevator pitch, business cards and flyers ... You find customers who understand your offer, opt into it and pass it on to others. They support your offer because they see why it is important.
This is not simply about writing a script. More profoundly, this package builds marketing skills and therefore confidence. You receive feedback as you experiment with new ideas and work out how to make a real difference through your narrative.
You become clear about the “why” of your business, what makes it distinctive and attractive to your market.
This offer saves you time, energy and money because it cuts down the costs of producing a keynote by providing you with feedback as you work. This approach works whether you prepare for a crucial speech to a massive audience, need to pitch to a small group of decision-makers or launch a marketing campaign.
This package helps you write your script, it is not a Done-For-You package. You save more because once you have the skills, you can use them over and again.
The fee for this package is £350 - £995. The difference depends on how much assistance you need with your preparation.
This is a joint offer with the Public Speaking Academy. When you sign up, you join the PSA community. You receive 1 – 3 months membership, which means if you need, for example, to brush up your public speaking, you can do so at no extra fee. This means you can sample PSA's monthly business mastermind or its one day foundation course. Both these events are available for £95 per month and during your complementary membership, you may attend as often as you wish. This could amount to up to £570 worth of value!
A great deal depends on the energy and insights you bring to the coaching. I aim to help you make a marked improvement to the delivery of your keynote speech.
We meet for an enrolment conversation before you sign up. This saves time and anxiety, if this offer is not suitable for you. Both Market Together and PSA make other offers and it is possible we may find a different product that works for you.
We offer a money-back guarantee, if you are unhappy following your first coaching session.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Sign up for a free enrolment conversation today. This is an opportunity to find out more and explore exactly what you need.
At the end of the enrolment conversation, whatever the outcome, you receive a printout of seven tips for improving storytelling. This checklist helps improve your storytelling, you can quickly apply it to any story you tell.
Sign-up to receive:
A single session aims to help you get past a barrier
Produce a script or deliver a great speech.
Most popular. Produce and deliver a great script.
Find out how others have experienced Market Together on my website. Many others have used PSA and their website includes testimonials too.
Interesting – I was thinking last night, why I got in touch with you following that talk. I liked the idea of using story, the narrative – you absolutely met my expectations.
I had not appreciated how much time I would take to work through the questionnaires – the different layers. I feel like there’s been a lot of movement for me – it doesn’t necessarily equate to more clients – more, establishing firmer foundations.
I have been on a journey during the creation by Chris of Sheffield Interfaith’s website. At times it has been very scary as I was taken out of my comfort zone and introduced to totally new and unheard of concepts. It felt like that I was floundering and struggling to work out what was happening. Things have moved on and I now know what “Updraft Plus” is - nothing to do with unwelcome breezes!
Having looked at the systems behind the website today I am struck by how much I already know, and able to tinker with. This would not have been possible with out the way in which in Chris has patiently worked with me and the others who were wanting to have a website for our organisation. He helped us develop a website, which looks good and which we can now manage and use effectively. He has willingly responded to my requests for guidance.
The way it works with Chris is that we, as the new website owners, have been given complete autonomy over the website. There is no tie in to use his services in the future and he has been open about the choices that we have for future support.
Chris submitted a tender which was good value for money and we are pleased with what now have.