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Heroic Public Speaking

Lesson 10 of 23

Developing Different Contrasts

Michael Port, Amy Port

Heroic Public Speaking

Michael Port, Amy Port

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Lesson Info

10. Developing Different Contrasts

Lesson Info

Developing Different Contrasts

Hey, so welcome back so we are talking about contrast in this particular segment and as we like to say contrast is king you know whether you are presenting for fifteen minutes or an hour or you're presenting for two days what keeps our audience engaged with us? One of the things that keeps our audience engaged with us is providing a lot of contrast so one way to do that uh well there's three main ways to do that you can create contrast in the structure of your speech you can create kant contrast in the delivery, how you deliver and also emotional contrast that's the third of the three ways and what we're going to do in this last segment is go through and talk about various ways that you can bring in that contrast on we're going to look specifically at some clips from michael's one man show the keynote think big revolution so that you can see how he puts that into practice now always as always you will put it into practice differently and that's the beauty of it being an art form you wi...

ll put it into practice in different ways but like everything else that we've been bringing to you the frameworks the big idea of the big promise you get to make it your own and it's important that you do so we're going to start with structural contrast now very often when you're giving a speech you are not the on ly person speaking. There will be people who speak before you or people who speak after you. You can create contrast right then and there. If you're there and aware of who's performing before you, then it's beautiful to come in with a very different energy, then you may have been preceded by, but within within your own content very simple, specific example of that. If you go online, teo youtube and you search michael port, coldwell banker two thousand fourteen thirteen I was giving a keynote and they had done a number of panels before my keynote, and the audience had been sitting a long time, and I could see that they were low energy and the panel's before that were very low energy. So the way that I that I prepared the speech to start wass very intimated, conversational, but I saw that we needed contrast, so I came out with a who a very, very big opening, and we were in lincoln center, so it was thousands of people, so I had a huge and I had them do these games calling response from different sections, and it picked everybody up, so I knew I had to create some contrast and I to change what I had planned on doing because of the energy in the room. So one way to create some contrast within your structure is to tell stories and then give content or curriculum and then use a story it will all tie into your through line as we talked about earlier but we listen differently to stories than we do too structured modular sequential any of that kind of content uh and he will bring out you'll see different qualities in you when we talked about the different rules that you play, you may find that when you're talking about content that you'll be going through here is this module and here is this module but when you tell a story still authentically you and without the storyteller voice you, it will bring out a different, uh, physicality and you may be a different use of your voice but even just the structure in and of itself between content and story catches people's ears I'v been working recently with a man on a speech in every time he pops into a story it's like he just starts to shine so we're looking at how do we bring more stories in and still have there be enough content knowing that the storytelling is his strength? It's where he feels most at ease another way to bring in variation within the structure is to mess with the timeline, so if let's say I'm telling a story about uh so I wass once engaged that wedding never happened I was actually engaged another time and that one did but if I'm telling the story of it I can go to the beginning of the story I was once engaged to the end of the story that wedding never happened and I could then go back you can know the end of a story and then proceed to have the whole story happen sequentially from there you can mess with the timeline or she could start with so I was dating this guy named so and so not going there and the first time that we ever went out we went to hear what's really amazing is this romantic start to build it up build it up and oh my god that love affair and this and then we got engaged but then it ends with but that didn't work out cancel that wedding six weeks before it happened right so you just you flipped it we flipped it so in some way it keeps the audience on their toes because they're going oh well what's gonna happen next or how do we get there andrew stanton is uh an executive at pixar and he introduces this idea of giving the audience too and they give you two so if a great movie in his cases for great speech great presentation is total for you give to they give tio if you get four they don't do any work and they just sort of sit back and maybe they take some stuff and maybe they don't if you give them one they've gotta do way too much work and they can't can't get it so you're trying to find the balance you give them to you gotta work for it there's no such thing as a free lunch you gotta work for your meal here but it's got to be balanced and some of the most exciting stories are the ones where you don't know what's coming next because if you're watching an action movie and you go I know he's going to go do this that buried it it's not exciting they lost you but what's gonna happen next so that's that's what you're trying to do with structural contrast so another example is but we're going back to the jill bolte taylor speech she says early on in her presentation I had a stroke and I was reduced to the state of an infant I didn't know my name what my job was I couldn't speak I couldn't read and yet here's this woman up on talking to you and very articulate and so right away you start going okay how did she get from there to here? And so were engaged in that way another way to vary up the structure of it is tow something that michael does so exquisitely he will instruct the audience to do something but then you have to do it there's variation right there because you're not just listeningto us speak you have to actually get involved you have to actually do the things so and that that there's delivery contrast to which will grow into a man and that is part of delivered contrast. But this particular example is demonstrating content contrast structural contrast you're actually producing some content actually in the presentation you're doing some work which is contrast ing me either telling you a story or telling you hear of the four things you need to know so we're creating more contrast were contrast, the more on edge people will be we're going to give you video examples of these different concepts that were introducing so you can see them which of course is contrast e so let's go ahead then can you bring up clip number one for us so some of you will have to turn to see the screen behind you those of you at home you have to tell you too you're going to get into groups of four and you're gonna have three minutes to take as many pictures of each other as you possibly can in as many of the poses that you saw in the video and if you have ideas for other intimate poses, go for it and during the three minutes you're going to hear music, you're also going to see a slideshow of the poses from the video to inspire you okay, so there you go that's nice so let's go ahead to the next one bandits video too yeah, so you won't need to know that there's music playing behind all of this but this is people getting up and doing exactly what michael instructed and having a blast to doing it now the other piece of contrast that was added in here you heard michael make reference to it there was a video that they watched and then he gave them instruction and then they actually did the thing, so of course you see delivery contrast again we're going to talk about that in a minute, but their structural contrast here too they are creating content. They're taking pictures of each other they're gonna have these pictures. Thank you, ben. So let's go through all of them and then we'll go through the video. Okay, so the next major category is delivery contrast and this is the place that that for me anyway feels really, really juicy because you can have you can have delivery contrast in let's say the video and the talking uh michael has also used with great success auditory using sound whether it's music or other things which will show you in a minute which video so delivery contrast is could be it's the thing that I you look a first contact of course a cz we said you look content contrast as you're producing it as you're creating it, but in rehearsals where you're looking for delivery contrast you're looking at how many different ways kind deliver this material so that there is lots of contrast, okay, I'm going to show a video now I'm going to tell them a story sitting on the edge of the stage, but now I'm going to teach them a number of things, but I'm going to get up on the table and do it from out there then now I'm gonna have each one of them say something, I'm going to go into the audience and I'm gonna go back up on stage and I'm gonna lie down, you see, now I'm gonna move, so these are all different ways of delivering but there's lots of contrast and you you build it into a presentation, you design it, you rehearse it, but when you've been doing this for a long time, you start teo feeling sure to find opportunities for it in the moment. But of course, the things that need to be built into it are things like videos or doing those kind of interactive exercises because you have to know exactly how all of that's going to go you need to stand on a table, you make sure that it's a table that will support you're going to go into the audience need to make sure that you could get back on stage because you jump off a stage that is really, really big you might have to run all the way around back to the door to get there may not actually be steps going down that does happen you gonna go backstage around all those you find yourself stuck down there so these are things that need to take into account before you do that. So those are the big things that you would find in rehearsal but even smaller things like where the moments that you really use your voice and then you go in for one specific little point that's a delivery contract that's a delivery country because it sounds different here it different there's a there's a there's there's the physical contrast there's the movement lots of movement and then still this will show you a video to represent that also and then just to put the term out there blocking it's a term you should all be familiar with it's a theater term and what it simply means is the staging so to give you a little bit of structure here we call this I'm out of my light up stage and we call this downstage and that simply has to do with the fact that in the olden days this stage was actually what they call raked it was on a slant it wasn't flat like this every stage was on a on a rake so that you could be seen rather than the audience being on a rake which is how it is normally okay that was flat audience with a rate stage which is very interesting for ankles as a performer especially in high heels but so we had upstage and downstage and then we have stage left which is the performer's left stage right is the performer's give you an example here sit down for one second give me an example when I do book yourself solid I put the foundation over here there are four building blocks one is here ones over here ones over here and the ones over here okay so there's no talking and then I put the second module over here I put the third module over here and put the fourth module over there. Now if I have a stage like this I have tio make some adjustments because I'm not going to put the whole thing all sixteen building blocks from stage left to stage right and this is house right and house left from your perspective that's right and that's left but from our perspective that's left and that's right so I'll need teo change it up I need to adjust it and I need to make sure before I come in here that the lights are set so that I can use the whole stage in a way that I want. So now I'm creating all this contrast just through the blocking, where I anchor different ideas. No, not everybody blocks a speech. We were watching one just the other day where he was, the speaker was placed right center stage and he did not move for twenty minutes and he was fascinating. He was great. He was fascinating again, it's, that you have opportunities to break the rules. But it is more a typical to really use the stage. No, yes, this's not blocking. So there was a time when I was giving this speech and when I gave the speech I thought I was blocking out the speech, but actually I was doing was just wandering around. That's, not blocking blocking is intentional staged movement that lot wonder like you just made it up in the moment. Do you see how that works? That's the key. So there are moments where where michael will be doing something really big and that he'll come right down to the edge of the stage and we'll talk to you all, and it will feel very personal and very intimate. And then he'll go right back up into something up here and it may look like oh, he just he just needed to talk to me but it's intentional is just that he's very, very good and you can be too and making it seem that spontaneous that I messed this stuff up all the time just because we're going to use examples of things that I do that work here doesn't mean that what I do always works the worst thing about teaching performance is that everybody goes so when you're great you get no credit at one stage they're off he doesn't know what he's doing, you know? So that's the problem with it all of a sudden you start getting self conscious about everything you do where you put your head you know, that's that's the price of you know of admission so to speak ok? So then so we've already covered structural contrast and we've covered delivery con a test not every element of each one because that's, what comes up in the creative process there are these are the four types of delivery contrast and these are the doesn't work like that with the creative process what's great in rehearsal is as you're working to go okay, what can we do differently here and you'll start to feel it as you get more adept at rehearsing, you'll start to feel like wow, I've really been I've been in the same zone for a little while now how am I going to shake this up? You'll start to sense when it's getting way send you here are the four delivery contrast protocols, then you'd get stuck in those you think those are the four and all of a sudden you would no longer have contrast, but you haven't you just doing those you have imagination that is different from ours and that's good on we want you to use your imagination and come up with with other things you will have brilliant ideas that we never would have thought off and then there's emotional contrast yes, emotional contrast courses so important, funny light, very serious and intense maybe something that's sad and really quite touching teo something that is quite shocking and confronting, so we're trying to find as much of that is possible the greatest movies that you've watched the greatest plays that you've seen the greatest concerts that you've heard, I have the most emotional contrast because they take you on this ride, a roller coaster ride one minute you're laughing and all the sudden you find yourself crying, your laughter turned into tears or your tears turned into laughter that's an extraordinary moment to create so that's what we're going for, so when we're conceiving of our material, we're trying to organize it so that it has emotional contrast so you see how the emotional contrast of course is influenced by the content contrast right the information contrast because if the if the information that you're imparting doesn't have emotional contrast in it it's very hard to produce emotional contrast and so going back to what does the world look like now and what could the world look like? Well right away start to give you some contrast here is what the perhaps the current problem is here's where it could go here's where I am challenging you to go yeah that's right you know you have delight and you have anger, delight and anger, delight and anger he's already doing vocal contrast in that tool you hear that then that's these these different types of contrast this is inherent in all great performance this is not a new concept but what's new from any of you is noticing it's starting to recognize I see why that moment worked now I get it so what you will find after this workshop is that you will see things that you hadn't seen before you'll understand why something worked and why something didn't work when you have those tools that's when you can start to really pursue master because you will then be able to put in the time in rehearsal to produce something great you're not going in blind and you're not necessarily just imitating what's been done before you one of the reasons that a lot of speeches seem the same is because people do what they think they're supposed to do because that's what people do when they give a speech just like hi I'm happy to be here or the little beginning filler part where it's just filler like so I flew in from arizona today and my arms are tired you know they're laughing because it's so bad and this is what you hear oh are you know a couple other little bits or you know whatever and and then you say okay, now let's get started but this is what people do but when you say let's get started you don't realize it already started and what happened is those flat these these five minutes were completely irrelevant to the audience so when you're doing the filler they know I can keep checking my phone oh, he said let's get started I guess I should look up now it actually starts before your bios read your bios where it starts so this is because we often see it done this way for example I would say just not using the word housekeeping ever because if you use the word housekeeping I know oh I can keep texting on my phone it just means the bathrooms or hear the thing they're well can you introduce where the bathrooms are with the registration table is in a way that feels like you're going on a journey now on the way to the bathrooms, you may see something that you've never seen before because you plant something there. Now when you're going there's gonna be a bowl on the left side, I want you to reach into that, but don't worry, there's nothing in there that's gonna, you know, frighten you or make you sick, but reach now all of a sudden, there's little treasure hunt that you've put together based on and although some people are now fascinated with all the housekeeping and they're having fun when they're having fun. So just because you hear people say housekeeping doesn't mean that that's what you should say so in that same light, very often the person who presents your bio will be saying you'll give them quite wonderful things to say about you better to have somebody else say that wonderful thing, then you if we had walked in here and said, hi, we're here to present ourselves and michael said, I've done all this tv, I've done all these voice overs, and I went down to yell on me, I haven't done this in that right? It doesn't actually get us started on, so one of the things you can consider, which create some contrast, is producing some sort of either slideshow or video that matches your bio. Because often the person is reading your bio has no interest in reading your bio there a sponsor for the event and they're out there because they want to pitch their thing and then they go after either by also omar is the bubble on about a bad about and the message on that just destroy it and then you gotta get on stage and who's that what has he done but they need to know your bona fides before you get up there so what one of things I often do I don't always do it one of things I often do if I feel that this person may mangle the speech is I say to them, look here I mean magalie bio here's the bio you need to read it word for word because I have a slide show that's going to be moving while you're reading the bio and it's going to match the words that you say so it needs to go in the exact order so I need you to rehearse this bio and I'm gonna work on it with you because otherwise they're going to get the book names wrong you know they're going to a book beyond solid instead of you know I mean they're just going to get them wrong so when it says michael porter's, the new york times best selling author of five books he says that picture of me appears sitting on my books yeah, you're gonna just above above but he's been on all these, uh, the's tv programs in these channels, all of a sudden you start to see pictures of me on those things. So now I'm creating some contrast. There wasn't a bio like that all day long, unlikely. And so it also helps make sure that the information gets across that you need to get across, and then when he comes in, he provides even more contrast because he's humble he doesn't come in going like, yeah, that's me, you know, actually what I did, what I often do it like they often do this at the beginning of aa book yourself solid specifically not think the revolution but I lost often say guys lean in for a second career. No, no. Lena does everyone leave except a secret today? How do you know how my lead to curse? Just one know how much b s exists in any one particular field or industry that I wait? B b because everything comes in threes. How many books are written about it right now? That's? Not what you must, but my job I was gonna say no account. The number of books written about it. I was saying, everyone goes, ah huh, and I've written five. So what does that tell you? So I could do something self effacing after the bios written, and I said, look, but here's the thing. So my promises to you was no b s. I don't think that any one way to do anything, I'll share my view of the world with you, hopefully who, you know, and so it creates a little contrast from what you just saw in the bio. This guy's done all these things, he's on all these lists. He's, you got contrast.

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

Related Classes



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.