Present your message quickly, give specifics and finish on an inspiring conclusion.
Easter 2018, the family headed to Torino in Northern Italy for a city break.
After pulling into Porta Nueva train station on Good Friday afternoon, we made our way by foot through an industrial landscape to our place of lodging. Our hotel, we soon realized, was next to the Agnelli Family’s original FIAT automobile factory equipped with a test track on the roof. Nowadays, it has been converted into a multiplex shopping-center with the Italian food emporium Eataly just adjacent. Curiosity was teased with a mixture of old meeting new and something unusual, all brought together with a sumptuous feast. Our appetites satiated, it was enough for day one.
Over the weekend, we had the fortune to encounter three distinct local Italian gentlemen who - in their own time and circumstances - offered an excellent metaphor supporting a 3 fold lesson in Public Speaking.
Easter Saturday started with the first of these three gentlemen: our Taxi driver.
Straight after breakfast, we headed towards the City center of Torino. The taxi driver who took us to the old town spoke in broken English, however, this did not diminish his eagerness to tell us all about “his city” and in his opinion, where we needed to go and what we needed to see. Thanks to him we understood the lay of the land including the best Museums, Shopping Areas and most importantly Gelato!
He was gentleman number one. He was the metaphor for the general Topic of the day.
Where to be in Torino to see the best of the city. For your speech, the same applies, articulate early to your audience the message of your presentation.
I hate queuing and thanks to my impatient nature, we met gentleman number two.
We exited our taxi at Piazza Castello next to the Tourist information center which was jammed pack with clueless Tourists like us. I hate queuing , so you would not have been surprised to see me going straight to a small and empty booth selling cards, knickknacks and… et voila tourist guide books and maps. With an English copy of “The Guide of the city of Turin” in hand, we were approached by a small gentleman with silver hair who was slightly hunched over who said: “…I saw you bought the Guidebook, let me tell you exactly what you need to see absolutely…”. In perfect English, slightly spiced up by a charming Italian accent, he listed all the specifics from where you can drink the best Capriccioso (melted dark chocolate over an espresso…purely decadent by the way!!) in Galleria Sabauda, to where to see the best copy of the Holy Shroud and offered advice not miss the world-famous Egyptian museum.
Gentleman number two is the metaphor for bringing specifics into your presentations.
If you are too vague, too general or if you use your corporate or industry jargon, your audience will leave your speech with sleepy eyes, and sore jaws from yawning. Always bring examples, anecdotes, or personal experiences to illustrate your points.
Just like the taxi driver gave us an overview of the area to visit, the second gentleman offered precise items in order to plan our day of exploration, filling us with excitement to visit the local recommended places.
On the last day, by looking for good fortune we met gentleman number 3.
Under the arches of Piazza San Carlo lies the “Rampant Bull”, the symbol of the city. Legend states that stepping on the bull brings good fortune, and the people of Turin, and tourists like us do not pass up an opportunity to invite lady luck to smile on them. Of course, you have to step on a certain part of the male bull’s anatomy, so not so lucky for the bull. As the square was huge, we needed to find it quickly as we needed to walk back towards the station to catch our train back home. This is when gentleman number 3 introduced himself in French this time. Elegant and charming with a warm smile, he gave us the exact location of the bull and engaged in a bit of small talk. Thanks to him we could leave Turin on a high hoping to profit from any luck the bull could provide.
Gentleman number three is a bit of a stretch for the metaphor but let me explain.
In Public Speaking there is the principle of recency. It means your audience remembers first what they last saw/heard from you. Hence the importance of gentleman number three. Ending our trip with an action which brings luck! An inspirational statement supporting your message is perfect to end a speech and make sure your Audience remembers not only what you said, but also how you made them feel.
Next time it is your turn to give a speech, remember the 3 wise men in Torino
1- The Taxi Driver: Give the message early in the introduction
2- The City Guide: Produce specifics for each part you develop
3- The Luck Seeker: Always end by Inspiring your audience
Your audience needs to be guided by your words: your message, your thoughts, leading up to your point and your intention. Take them by the hand and just like in Torino, tease them with your topic, excite them with visuals and images with your specifics and never forget to create emotions and inspire them with a grand ending.
Viva Italia, viva Rhetoric!
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