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Heroic Public Speaking

Lesson 11 of 23

Crafting Captivating Speeches

Michael Port, Amy Port

Heroic Public Speaking

Michael Port, Amy Port

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Lesson Info

11. Crafting Captivating Speeches

Lesson Info

Crafting Captivating Speeches

Okay so we're gonna look at some clips from think big think big revolution think big revolution let's let's move to clip three I just have my notes up here for the clips I'm so sorry this has never happened before I apologize just just listen um justin this is michael porter yes, but I just I'm in the middle of something so can you call me back? I finally meet you in person I thought you were avoiding me. It seems that steve is here I'm calling about the presentation when you keep saying they start giving a presentation a one of a very big something something they do you think you're going to deliver on that just I'm just a worrier you know you've been telling me that for months now because he said you would do it I have my clients I could book you for okay so this is the very opening of the presentation the very opening I start to talk my phone rings and of course you can also do what I say listen please every make sure you turn off your phones get so rude to leave your phone on have ...

it ring then also in mind rings but of course they're hearing it from the speakers so they know immediately that is not actually a mistake it's intentional and what I'm trying teo get across right from the beginning is this idea of making promises and keeping promises so instead of doing a whole diatribe about it, I do a scene a scene and it's not a real scene it didn't actually happen but it's a representation of what could have happened and it demonstrates how disaster it is disastrous it is not to keep your promises I have it on the phone it's also now they're watching the little scene where there experiencing this and they find it funny and it's also very self effacing because I'm the one in the scene who didn't keep his promises and it's about what I didn't do the presentation and I was supposed to do the presentation I said I was gonna do the presentation central etcetera and then I have the phone and I then turn it back to them I say does that sound familiar? You know, I can't promise, but I'll try and they start to go yeah, because people of anybody ever had that experience you say I can't promise, but I'll try and then what happens? It doesn't usually get done so now all of a sudden I'm demonstrating this is the way the world is isn't it for many of us not always but often okay, yes, we talked about that, but what if we kept our promise? You see? So you create some contrast instead of just talking about it now and it's for most audiences and maybe this will change the more I teach this stuff for most audiences they haven't seen a keynote speaker talk on this phone to another voice coming out of the speakers and the way that that works is it's recorded and then I'm doing a scene with a recorded voice so I have to have the timing perfect and that was a lot of rehearsal more than you might think because when we're doing a scene if I change my pacing it's no problem because she knows what her cues are and she knows when to come in so she either comes in sooner or later it doesn't really matter but you can't do that when it's a recorded voice so there's a little bit of contrast what kind of contrast is it delivery delivery contrast sound cool is that cool? Yeah alright next okay can we go to clips for we're going to four right into five okay so it's another one that the sound is out ofthe there is so it's actually a dance scene there's a whole dance that happens so there's music and the reason we don't have the music on is because just for rights issues I have rights to use them in workshops and presentations but not for broadcast like this so now look all of a sudden I have dancers where they come from they come from in the audience they they're they're plan they learn the routine my partner is a fitness personality so there she is petra she's done a creative live event here could teach us happiness moving to happiness is her concept and she's also upon the screen okay now there's music here there's a dancing here now I get up on the chair so you have left the only thing that matters thank you so you have what kind of contrast delivery contrast there's a dance scene but not only do they watch a dance scene they get up and do a dance yeah so they have emotional contrast as well because when you're dancing when you're moving when you're listening to music happy by pharrell, what else is in there on madonna's in their thie way wants to rule the world when they're young hip hop array you know and they're talking back and so you create emotional contrast also and then of course it's content contrast it's completely different content than what they just had, which is usually exciting now I'm not saying everything I've done here is perfect and just using examples to demonstrate these points is that sound fair? You don't think I'm saying like everything I do here is perfect do you say no please come on because it's not it's not but here's what here's the thing it took a while to figure out the phone thing the initially the way that I wrote it is I was going to do it is a karaoke and I had, which eventually got cut out. I had a mentor voice that talk to me through the speakers throughout that was pushing me to do things that made me uncomfortable. That was one of the ways that I was going to introduce this idea of being comfortable with discomfort, and one of the things he says is they could be a good time for karaoke. Now again, this is a voice coming out of speakers. You don't usually see that in aquino and it's, this big airplane voice pilot guy and I had it all recorded, we've done it all. I went out to annapolis to do the recordings edited, we decided to cut it eventually, but one of the things she said is having now would be a good time for karaoke and the and the and the concept, and the show is that I had to do everything he said, like if you actually engaged with a mentor and did everything, she said, because she'd been down that path before. Well, that might be pretty compelling, so I have mentoring students, and if they all did two things that I asked them to all the time, they be much more successful quickly, so he said, I think it's, good time for karaoke, so what happens, bang on the screen? All of a sudden you see the pictures of the of the guys from the band who did promises promises and I have to carry okay promising promises in front of the whole audience very a lot of contrast from what we had just done before that, but it wasn't working it just it wasn't working, I wasn't it was just too much and was a little gimmicky, so then I came over the phone idea I thought that might work better. Part of what you're seeing here is that you can bring in like, little skit, you know you can you can get really creative and even if you're straight up telling a story let's say let's say I'm seeing someone people poking holes in the audience going like that's, not my style. Anybody having that response inside? Yeah, a little bit right, way, many different way have to say remember, you got to remember the thing we say was that you develop your own style, what we're doing is we're giving examples of how things like delivery contrast work, emotional contrast, work content, contrast, structural contrast, etcetera we never need to do it like someone else we look att the principles behind it, we look at the concepts, the ideas and we apply them to our own way of working our own style, what our audience will appreciate that's what that's what the performer does that's what the business owner does that's what the photographer does that's what this is how you grow and this is how you learn but if you if you put your put a wall between you on the new ideas because you see someone who's doing them is so different than you then you're you're you're cutting yourself off from an opportunity to express parts of yourself that you haven't before or to try things that you haven't before and it's a very easy way to say no but what we're trying to do is say yes and that might not be the way that I would do it I'm not going to go out there and do a dance I'm not asking anybody do dance in fact, the reason that I had petra on the screen is because I was trying to learn the choreography that she taught me and I wasn't learning it so like I can move a little bit I have like three moves and I can put them together pretty well, but when it comes to choreography that was really hard and it got to the point where I didn't have time to work on that I had to work on other things because there's only a certain amount of time before you first have to perform, so I said what's more important the other parts or learn the choreography the other parts so let's, make a video of you doing it. So if you're not there, I can play the video, I could dance with that, and everybody can also watch the video. Fortunately, that particular show she was in town and she brought a couple of her friends were also dance teachers, and they came up on stage. When I went to australia to do that, I got us, I got dancers in australia tto learn the routines and come and do it, but you see how he keeps thinking outside of the box. I think that's largely the point is think outside of the box, if you're telling a story, we've worked with a wonderful man from germany not long ago, and he was involved in computers and computer privacy issues, and he was talking about people who hack people who go in how you protect your data, and we just suggested that he bring in a little bit a little jewel in the storytelling off thinking of that, that person who hacks not as, like, somebody out there, but is a character, and he just kind of brilliantly went okay, so there's, there is all of your data in your computer, I can't do a german accent, there's all of your data in your computer, and then there is the hacker hey took on this little voice that he didn't use consistently but just every time he talked about the hacker or a couple of times you know and it was hysterical and it was one of those things that you didn't expect, you know, because he was very put together, man and it was simple yeah, no dancing involved way didn't lay down on the floor or anything okay, so let's move on to the next clip, please that's the only thing that mattered was being skinny and looking good and of course you can see why but a lot of us think that it's hard not to, but living up to that ideal is even harder because I always want to eat I mean, all the time I have never once in my entire life ever had the sensation of being satisfied. Okay, so you guys have seen michael how he moves, right? How activity is you've seen him dance, so you may also get a sense of the power of when he sits down. And this is a section of the presentation that is particularly personal and very much about stripping off the layers and being exposed and he gets very quiet and he sits down in a chair and it's a dramatic contrast to to that that we see right and it's a specific choice. There are also images on the screen and you see I never turn around I'm cute to the word you know exactly what word I'm clicking on and those help tell the story now I historically attended not to use quote unquote slides in this presentation I used visual tools and the reason that I used uh pictures when I was telling that story is because if I'm talking about the fact that I was heavier before and you hadn't seen me heavier you might not believe it you know galway was like a little bit happier you know like ten pounds or something so I show the pictures so there's contrast oh wow and then of course the authentic stories now authentic because otherwise they could think well this is like a show he just made up a story so he's exaggerating yeah he's exaggerating so it helps authenticate the story that israel but if you're going to use those you know you do not look at him you know where they are okay yeah good uh let's move on to clip number six so we can try to avoid growing it might even feel easy at first but I think it's kind of sad and anyway it turns out that both growing and learning are inevitable who knew? Yeah there's no getting around it it might be uncomfortable maybe even really uncomfortable at first but if you can let it happen maybe even seek out new things then you get comfortable with of discomfort, and you might even find it exhilarating. So what discomfort do you need to get comfortable? Good show for those who have mikes. What contrast? You're going to the same thing. What contrast are you seeing in that particular clip you haven't like stand up and tell me what contrast you see. Yes, you're a lot of variety and changes in the level of your volume of your voice. Yes. So the pitch and the amount of volume used. So that's. One type of contrast. What else? Your movement. You are varying levels who high and you're low and you were moving. And then you were very still. You saw moving side to side up and down and its stillness. Great. What else? I still think there's there's emotional contrast there, even when you do it with you with your voice with a pitch, I find that to be very emotional. Yeah, well, I would hope so because it's going from light moments too this is, you know, this is real. This is not a joke kind of moment. Back to a light moment. Tow this israel because generally, it's. Easier to get somebody to go along with you on a ten serious moment, if you know you're gonna bring it back to something that's light they're not gonna keep them in this place it's like if you watch a movie and it's just like when is this gonna tease others like the whole movie I come on him some light so it's the balance of those two things the contrast good anything else did you notice yes when you get uncomfortable pause after it every single time sze to kind of boom that in there yes so there was a contrast in the pacing vocal contract pacing contrast emotional contrast and physical contrast all in was a thirty second yet that's eventually how you will naturally present you will naturally present that even if you are not somebody who does a lot of movement you will still find enough movement to create contrast so has anybody here been told that they speak too quickly? So we've a lot of hands that going I completely completely understand the the idea of speaking too fast that's hard for people to understand or keep up so then what happens is we slow down and then everything starts to slow down and what happens? No contrast yeah just becomes the opposite problem but what they are really asking you to do is to find places to pause the power is in the paws it's just like music exactly the power is in the paws it's like gymnastics you know those two level bars that the women swing on uneven bars and their who and they're doing a handstand straight up and then uh so do you know that's the pause because of the whole thing was a group of people first of all, they go flying off into the pieces and second of all I would just be too intense for the audience and it wouldn't be exciting because it's that pause oh my god, how are they doing? So you're trying to find that kind of speed ace if you're doing a keynote, you have an audience that's essentially captive audience and they're watching you like a theatrical experience they don't think they can interject, you know they just can't if you're doing a small little group, people might think they khun interject so it's it's easier to draw out long pauses and make those moments because they don't think they could just jump in o'shea's me, michael is gonna ask a question, but in a smaller room they may so sometimes if somebody's gonna ask a question and you wanted to actually be a pause, he just hold them because if you say too much all of a sudden you you lost the moment, so you're finding those places. And then, of course, you noticed that there were specific words that I emphasized and paused after and some of those words repetitive, so we're using the rhetorical device of repetitive and the rules of the rule of three so the rule three is the rule in comedy usually the punch line comes on the three or right after the threes either three and or three so watch what best the best best thing you can do and it's so much fun his watch standup comedy you watch eddie murphy you watch wanda sykes you watch um ellen too generous you watch louis ck you any of the comedians that you like each one is a different style you'll start to see them doing what we're talking about for example, oftentimes they have a bare stage and a stool with a water bottle that's all they have their stage of the stool in the water and they're telling their jobs and their appear they're telling their jokes and they're doing their jokes and they're doing their jokes and then back they land a really big one and the audience goes oh ho ho so do that for me now big which means I killed it on there just soaking it up but they make a moment out of ah water bottle this whole moment and of course, if it's you know what's the guy who created the office that really mean guy no no he's he's the actor ricky's your vase with him it's a bottle of scotch that's his thing so it's a prop water bottle can be much more than a water bottle okay, now we have to put our setback, teo but there was contrast there too part of what happens in that pause whether it's a humorous moment like that or it's something more serious is that it gives the audience time to really absorb that's why you don't have to slow down you can talk really very, very, very quickly but when you have a point to make you let it land that they need to absorb yes they appreciate your open mic so I just want to make sure that is hurt and they appreciate it. So for example, if you say something and you notice that the few people picked up their book to write that down pause and repeated and you might not have realized that something that is particularly compelling but it was in that room on that day so she has writing down all this way now he's the only one so I'm not gonna wait to see oh, but but again, if you see that it was something that they kind of went they showed a little more interesting right down pause say it again and be very proud of yourself you see to you you own that space if they feel that they have taken the space from you, then you lose for example, if I asked you to do something you don't do it and I carry on anyway I lost if I say I'm here's what here's what I want you two to do I know actually in the back michael uh and sean I don't want you to do what I'm gonna ask these people to dok right everybody lean in for a second come here everyone even you two guys come on, come on and eventually they'll lean in because everybody turns around and waits no, we'll wait except for sean but now they're just messing with me because I tell him not to do and I'm thinking, oh, I'm supposed to not do it at all um there's always a couple that won't and then you just with a big smile because smiling helps every situation big smile it'll be ok don't worry yeah and then they do then you carry on well, the audience knows it's your room, but if you ask people to do things, they don't do it and you just carry on as if you never asked anything of them. Why will they listen to you your room? The other thing that is very important is that you own the timing in the room, so if you let people take over the room you lose the timing, your jokes are no longer funny, you're often funnier if that people give you the timing when you're on stage here you're given the timing I was a grad school um I think it's my second year and we were in a classroom doing some work on something, there were about six of us there, and alec baldwin was at the school for some reason, he had a meeting with somebody, and he walk down the hall and he poked his head, and then he walked in the room, alec baldwin, in case you didn't hear who so that alex called it was alec baldwin and, you know, talk. Uh, hey, guys, and the whole room went from here, there was one person in the room who was kind of a big personality and imagine a room with ten big personality, this person, really but everybody's sitting in the sun like there's an alec walked in in the whole roman and alex was hysterically funny, he actually is very funny, but because we gave him the timing, all his jokes worked, you might be at a dinner party where the things you say are particularly funny because the people of the table don't want to give you the timing there's some guy there who wants to lower your status so he messes up your timing. Some of you are not understanding what I'm saying, but when you are running a room, you need to keep that time you need to keep that space. To make sense, so yes, if it does good, I want us to watch this clip again because we've talked about a lot with this clip, and as we're cultivating your eye to see it, I'd like you to just have the opportunity to notice it. So, ben, if we could do clip number six again, please, so we can try to avoid growing, it might even feel easy at first, but I think it's kind of sad, and anyway, it turns out that both growing and learning are inevitable. Who knew? Yeah, there's no getting around it, it might be uncomfortable, maybe even really uncomfortable at first, but if you can let it happen, maybe even seek out new things, then you get comfortable with discomfort and you might even find it exhilarating. So what discomfort do you need to get comfortable? I also had to make sure that I knew that section so well, because I had to be so comfortable delivering if I was looking for lines, if I was a little off physically or if I wasn't breathing well, you see, I'm looking at my breathing, this is what I was watching, my breathing was really relaxed, really relaxed, and that was necessary in order to connect this feeling of being comfortable, even though we're talking about discomfort santa, please. I just also noticed this time around that you were using the word accelerating and usually a very like that. Yeah, and you were just very ground toe, very big contrast, exactly. Sometimes things that an audience might expect to be big if you make it small, it's, even more powerful. There's contrast, it's. A great point, and after great actors do this all the time in films and plays and composers do this. So the music you think it's going to be this big crescendo, all son thing. You didn't expect it, and it has more power than it would have if he went boom.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

A memorable speaking engagement can transform a career – learn how to tell stories that stir up emotion and move listeners to the edge of their seats. Join Michael Port and Amy Port for the most engaging public speaking course you’ll ever encounter, Heroic Public Speaking.

Public speaking is notoriously difficult, but working professionals can rarely avoid it. Whether it's selling your work to a potential client, presenting a deck to collaborators, or giving a talk in front of a large audience, it is almost guaranteed that you’ll have to speak in front of others – learn how to do it well. In this Heroic Public Speaking course, Michael and Amy will teach you a system for engaging, persuading, and inspiring your audience, no matter the size.

In this class, Michael and Amy will help you craft a presentation that feels like a performance instead of speech. You’ll learn techniques for structuring a compelling presentation with tips on incorporating cliff-hangers, using humor to engage listeners, and constructing stories that tell a coherent story. You’ll also learn how the pros handle pre-show nerves and respond to the audience in real-time.

If you want to impress and inspire your audience, no matter the size, join Michael and Amy for their complete guide to turning your public speaking gig into a performance.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Developing Your Big Idea - A Self Guided Worksheet

Guide to Making World Saving Speeches - 25 more tips


Practice Script 1

Practice Script 2

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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What a great class! An incredible amount of content shared in a fun, engaging way. Michael Port is a gift. I attended his Book Yourself Solid Immersion via telecourse and was impressed. However, seeing him on video adds layers of instruction that will benefit me not only in public speaking, but in other aspects of my business and life as well. Amy Mead really lazers in on specific improvements that get big results. Thanks to all for an outstanding class.


Wow.. When I first stumbled across Michaels videos I thought “this guy is almost TOO good.” The free information was so helpful that I rationalized with myself that I didn't have to sign up for the course, at least not right away. Eventually after my procrastination period I bought the class and was pleasantly reassured of my purchase. The content inside was just as valuable and fun! Not only that, watching the transformations of the students as they practiced their speeches was simply amazing. Michael and Amy work great with each other and have put together a top notch experience with Heroic Public Speaking.


Awesome course. I follow Michael Port and his BYS system and I was pleased to see he is sharing also his professional acting experience/tips to help us creating and delivering public speeches. This course is different from what you find on the market: both Amy and Michael are professional trained actors and they share lots of insiders tips (contrast, blocking, the importance of storytelling, rehearsing, etc). A true gem and great course. I hope they will do more with creative live in the future. this course (like the BYS) is highly recommended.