Experience-driven, practical, to the point - THE SEVEN MINUTE STAR is your entertaining guide to becoming a great speaker! Whatever your profession may be, these 15 steps will propel you up the stairs where you'll find your seven minutes of glory - on stage: You will release your hand brake. You will be as translucent as ice-cold water. You will surprise your audience. You will look deeply into their eyes. You will set your voice free. You will make your body talk. You will explore the power of 3D. You will learn how to create any speech in just ten minutes. You will arm yourself with rhetorical weapons. You will tell your own stories. You will borrow credibility without being a thief. You will make your audience laugh. You will be more enthusiastic than Michael Jordan. You will engage your audience and express yourself with passion. And, most importantly, you will rediscover your smile!
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THE SEVEN MINUTE STAR
become a great speaker in 15 simple steps
Copyright © 2010 by Florian Mueck
Cover artwork, illustration & composing by www.navarra-design.com
published by: epubli GmbH, Berlin, www.epubli.de
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
For permission requests, write to the publisher, at: [email protected]
Writing the first book is an incredibly enriching experience and a great opportunity for self reflection. I would like to send out some special thank-yous to the following people who helped me bring The Seven Minute Star to life:
Special Thanks to Arthur Waters and Claude Desroches for their outstanding work on the editing side.
Special Thanks to Bart Navarra and his team for giving the book its unique design.
Special Thanks to Christoph Reisner and Sven-David Müller for helping me on the publishing side.
Special Thanks to Trent zum Mallen for his everlasting encouragement.
Special Thanks to Andi Kaim, Roman Rosete ten Pas, Ryan Slack, and JK Wasson for their constructive criticism.
Special Thanks to all my fellow Toastmasters from Prestigious Speakers Barcelona - you guys are phenomenal!
Special Thanks to Team Europe Ventures, Tony Anagor, and ESEI for their great collaboration in the educational arena.
Special Thanks to Harry Beckwith for inspiring me with his marketing classic Selling the Invisible (1997).
Special Thanks to Luis Walter for always believing in me.
Special Thanks to my family and my Dadt:
"You are the star of my life!"
New Orleans — jazz, Mardi Gras — the historic French Quarter, and the vibrant nightlife! I dived into it when I stopped over on a road trip in 1995. Cats Meow, on Bourbon Street, is a famous karaoke bar. I stood in the crowd admiring the people who dared to step out onto the stage, into the spotlight in front of the raucous crowd. I wanted to sing too, so very much! But — I just couldn’t. I was terrified by all those critical eyes out there, staring, judging, sometimes admiring but sometimes booing. I suffered from what we all suffer from: I suffered from stage-fright!
Now it’s fifteen years later, and I speak at weddings, at parties, at business meetings. I write songs and perform them. I have created my own public speaking seminar that’s both educational and entertaining. And my role as primus inter pares of The Festival, a European movement of which I am the initiator and co-founder, often requires that I give informative and inspiring speeches to a wide variety of people, and to different audiences all the time. And I love it! I constantly look for new opportunities to be a star - The Seven Minute Star.
You’re not looking to be a star? Not for a lifetime? Not for a few years? Not even for just a few months, or weeks, or days? Not even for — seven minutes?
Fine. No problem. I didn’t write this to turn you into a star — but I do mean for this book to inspire you, so sometimes you can feel like a star.
So — A Seven Minute Star? What the heck is that, anyway? Well. what is a star? A star is someone with charisma, with a positive attitude, an engaging spirit, enthusiasm, passion. People admire stars. We celebrate them.
And seven minutes? Seven minutes is the best amount of time for a public speech. There are one hour speeches, 30 minute speeches, and TED1 talks of 20 minutes, but normally it takes about seven minutes until the first few people in the audience, usually the ones in the last three rows, start to fall asleep. Seven is king!
Stars and public speakers have a lot in common — so whenever you get up to make a speech, to any audience of any size, you will be The Seven Minute Star. And if you follow the steps I offer you in this little book, you too will be able to speak, even for 45 minutes, without anyone falling asleep.
So How Did It Happen?
The answer goes back to the year 1924, when Ralph C. Smedley founded Toastmasters in Santa Ana, California. Today it is Toastmasters International, with local clubs nearly everywhere, all around the world. Toastmasters has changed my life; it has transformed me into an outgoing, extroverted and passionate public speaker — I enjoy what I speak about, and I also simply enjoy the act of speaking in public.
My introduction to Toastmasters came in 2005, when a friend invited me to a meeting of Prestigious Speakers, a local chapter in Barcelona. I signed up right away. “Wow,” I thought, “these people are moving from just plain smart to being so brilliant, they’re almost like Aristotle!”
Toastmasters emphasizes learning by doing, and you do it with people you like. You’ll learn
how to speak;
how to move your body;
how to vary your voice, so the people in the last row won’t fall asleep;
how to use supporting visual aids — what we call props;
how to include catchy anecdotes, quotations, and humor;
how to maintain eye contact with the entire audience;
how to structure a speech;
how to keep your allotted time by speaking less while still making your point; and
how to engage your audiences enthusiastically.
You’ll turn into a passionate speaker, and you’ll always have your greatest asset on display: your smile!
This book, The Seven Minute Star, is a collection of my own personal experience gleaned not only from spending four years with Toastmasters, but also from applying its lessons in the real world. This book is experience-driven, and offers practical tips and tricks on how to master those seven minutes on stage.
There’s a star in each and every one of us — we just have to prepare ourselves, and let that star step out into the spotlight.
I will definitely return to New Orleans, and when I do, I’ll head straight for the Cats Meow. I’ll climb right up onto the stage, take a deep breath, calm myself, and look deeply into everyone’s eyes. Then — with passion — I will sing: “Start spreading the news...”
So, Thank you, Ralph! You helped me change my life.
So here we are - YOU are about to become The Seven Minute Star — and in just 15 simple steps!
All 15 steps are autonomous learning blocks. If your goal is only to become starlet rather than a fully-fledged seven minute star, you could apply any one of these steps individually, and your speaking style will improve correspondingly.
But of course the secret lies in climbing up all 15 steps, up to the stage, elevating your speaking abilities, growing and expanding, so you’ll shine in the spotlight.
The first two steps — confidence, transparency — are the foundation of your performance. You need these basic principles to climb up further.
With the third step — your first sentence — you’ll create that indispensable link of tension between yourself and your audience.
Steps four through seven — eye contact, voice, body language, visual aids — keep that tension high and guarantee that no one in your audience falls asleep.
Steps eight to eleven — structure, rhetoric, anecdotes, quotations— gives your audience the impression that what they have heard was more than informative, but has actually been profound.
To make your speech truly memorable, though, you need to continue with steps twelve to fourteen — humor, enthusiasm, passion. And the final step, both the simplest and the most difficult, the most obvious and the most important, is your smile.
Once you’ve climbed up all 15 steps, you’ll be standing on the stage ready for the spotlight. For seven minutes you’ll feel like a star. Indeed, you’ll be a star, and it will be unforgettable.
So what are you waiting for — let’s get started!
Imagine you’re a cat. Imagine also — you’re giving a speech to an audience of 500 Rottweilers. The term “hostile audience” would have to be redefined! Yet you take on the challenge. You are even thrilled to do it. You step up on stage. The snarling and barking crowd down there might cause you some concern, but rather than being scared, you feel inspired; you’re even more enthusiastic, because you know what you have to say is important. You cut through the sound of hostility with a roaring “Meow,” and with a firm voice you begin to purr. You are the cat’s meow! You can do it because, from your whiskers to the tip of your tail, you are filled with a wonderful essence, the most important quality any public speaker can have: confidence.
Search your memory — remember the last time you saw someone speaking in public. Can you picture the scene? Good. Now, how did the speaker look? Nervous? Tense? A little coughing? Did the speech begin with a long and disturbing “Aahhh — Ummmm” before an “OK, well...” got added, for variety? Was the room still noisy when the speech began? Did the speaker look at the floor, or off to the side, or over everybody’s head?
That Darn Stage-Fright!
Stage-fright is one of those things, like fleas, that nobody really needs. Where does it come from? When I was in college, why couldn’t I sit in a group of students and just say, “Hi, I’m Florian, I study Business Administration, and I’m here today to find a great employer, ” without suffering from a dry mouth, sweaty palms and high blood pressure?
Once I attended a seminar about moderating discussions given by my friend Bernhard Pelzer from Hamburg. He explained that, when you’re leading a discussion in a larger group, you should always focus on sub-groups of five. This is because a very long time ago we would be sitting in the trees in groups of - you guessed it - five! So, when we were still covered with fur, five was the crucial number. This is now written deep in our brains, in our cerebellum.
But, thanks to Charles Darwin, we did climb down from the trees; we evolved. From that moment on, down from the trees and out in the open, our cerebellum learned to distrust any group of strangers — especially those larger than five; it tells you: “Those guys over there most likely want to kill you. Shut your mouth and get outta here! NOW!” So the last thing your cerebellum wants you to do out there in the meadow is to open your mouth and say, “Hey guys, how are you doing?”
This hasn’t changed. When I was thirteen, I had to perfom a clarinet concert before a large, intimidating, and (to me at least) even menacing audience of 300. I almost wet my pants. I can still hear my cerebellum yelling: “Run away — NOW!”
Dear Future Master Speaker: Although this feeling may be real, even hard-wired in, surrendering to it Does Not Work — not for you, not for anyone! Audiences don’t want to look at a fearful, anxious creature nearly overcome by nerves. That is exactly what they do not want to see.
You Are The Star
Most of the times we speak in public, there is some sort of stage. You, as a speaker, will stand on that stage, standing up above everyone else, who will be looking up at you. Do you know why stars are called stars? Because we look up at them in the sky. And your audience will be looking up to you. While you are speaking, YOU ARE THE STAR!
Practice, Practice, Practice
I may not be a cat, but sometimes I have felt rather like that cat up in front of an audience of 500 Rottweilers. But now I feel that I can gather up all their leashes into my little paw and pull on them. It establishes a sort of tension between my audience and myself. It puts me in control, and gives me an exhilarating feeling of confidence.
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