Why you need to be in the M and M business

If you are called on to make many speeches or presentations, we have some great food-for-thought for you from a speech by singer/songwriter, author and social media activist Dave Carroll.

Dave, the guy who had that viral blockbuster United Breaks Guitars, was speaking in Halifax at a fund-raiser for the bush fires disaster in Australia. The event was organized by the Canadian Association of Public Speakers, and the Presentations Masterclass/Podium team was delighted to be able to play a part.

Dave Carroll was on a United Airlines flight about to leave Chicago when he heard another passenger say “They throwing guitars about out there”. After months of getting the runaround from the airline as he sought compensation for the guitar broken by the baggage handlers, Dave wrote a song. He posted it on YouTube. And it changed his life.

The song has had almost 20 million views online. It prompted a TV documentary. A book soon followed. And Dave is now in demand around the world as a motivational speaker.

Here a few a few quick take-aways from Dave’s talk in Halifax:

1 – If you are a speaker, you are in the M and Ms business: memories and moments.

How will you create moments within your speech or presentation that will be remembered long after you finish speaking.

Dave’s advice: touch people in the heart and they will always connect with you.

2 – Nobody buys into what you do. They buy into why you do it.

Process doesn’t turn anyone’s crank; we get excited about the human element. What’s the story behind the human element? Talk about the passion, the struggle, the quest to achieve success, or get justice, or build the perfect widget.

3 – Your story is your differentiater.

What’s your story? What makes you different from all the rest? Find a perspective, an insight, and make it yours.

But always remember, your story has to be congruent. If you are not the company or person you claim to be, you are not congruent and the audience will see you as a phoney.

4 – Caring is free and it’s contagious

Maybe tainted by his long and frustrating fight with United, Dave Carroll believes that compassion is missing from too many business encounters these days. He sees too much of what the calls a ‘war room mentality’. And that spreads throughout an organization.

But introduce a more caring approach and that can also spread through departments, often with better long-term results.

5 – Be yourself

If you are just starting out as a presenter or speaker, be comfortable in your own skin. You won’t develop your own style and voice if you try to be somebody else.

Dave’s advice: you are not Tony Robbins – and that’s OK.