Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Speakers: The Stories You Tell Take The Audience On A Journey

While in New Orleans to be the keynote speakers for a business conference, I had the opportunity to join some of the folks from the meeting at the New Orleans School of Cooking.  The private class was set up as one of the activity choices for those in attendance, and it was a GREAT experience.  While I do not always go on these outings at conventions, this one seemed especially appealing.

The woman who taught the class, Harriet Robins, was a local woman who grew up cooking in the New Orleans styles of Cajun and Creole.  She was also half Irish, and the mix not only lead to good food, but she was a delightful instructor who ensured that everyone had a great time in her class.  She was not just a cook, or a cooking teacher... she was a delightful presenter who genuinely cared about her audience.

The demonstration included the How-To's on how to prepare Shrimp Creole, Corn & Crab Bisque, Pralines, and Bananas Foster.  Yet beyond the food, it was how she drew the audience in with her personal and professional stories that made the impact.  It was not just a list of ingredients in a recipe, her class was a shared adventure between teacher and students because of the tales she told.

Much is discussed in the "Meetings Industry" when it comes to educational presentations about "CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT". Too many keep yelling that "Content is King"..... But the unforgettable speakers who have a lasting impact also have a style when they speak that draws in the audience.  They also tell stories.  Harriet could have simply taught us how to prepare the food (AKA: content), but instead she took us on a culinary journey through the history of her life and the life of her local ancestors as she taught about all that went into each dish (style and content together make a presentation.  One or the other alone is not enough).

Never let anyone tell you a real experience (at a cooking class, business conference, or anywhere in life) is only about content, as I see lots of people dump important data, but few will I write about on this blog and sing their praises.  Harriet deserves to be highlighted, as she gave 100% to this class over a 2 hour period.  It was a "WOW".

The next time you deliver a presentation.... ask yourself if you are going all the way to share from the heart, and that you are going farther than the content alone in your delivery.  Touch the soul of the audience beyond the data you intend to teach.  Tell the stories that will make people believe and they will do more than learn -- they will be inspired!!!

Have A Great Day

thom singer


Sam Lucero said...

Harriet is my best friend....we have cooked and laugh together for years. Thanks for saying all the nice things about her. It is all true.

Anonymous said...

I too, had been deeply touched by this wonderful teacher/story-teller, Harriet Robin.

What made the difference for me with Ms Robin was that not only was she interesting, but interested.

An absolute must "see" in a city that has a lot competing for you attention!