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Heroic Public Speaking

Lesson 7 of 23

Finding Your Big Idea!

Michael Port, Amy Port

Heroic Public Speaking

Michael Port, Amy Port

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Lesson Info

7. Finding Your Big Idea!

Lesson Info

Finding Your Big Idea!

Hi hi how are you guys here in different seats no, you're not you are no you are not you are a big idea we weren't drinking during the day I don't even drink this is just how I normally have your big idea and your big promise if a speech doesn't have a big idea it doesn't deliver on a big promise it may not be as compelling as it could be because the audience is coming because they want a big promise and your big idea is what helps them see the world differently so that they could get that big promise so a great speech is able to outline the way the world looks look at any great speech they'll see this it outlines the way the world looks so that we both know that we're on the same page and then you can say uh he gets me but of course that's not enough there wouldn't be a reason for being in the room unless we also could see how the world could be and that's the promise that's what you're going for and I said in another segment in it bares repeating that a big promise and especially a b...

ig idea could be confronting people often it's surprising to you how confronting it is to them because to you it's perfectly normal it's the way you see the world already then in fact you may talk about it all the time and sometimes we forget how far away we are from the people that we're talking to. The big idea that you have that you've embraced for a long, long time may not be something that they've even considered embracing yet it's likely that they have that's why they're in the room, but often you'll give a speech to people that have to be in the room often if I go to a large company and give a speech in front of thousands of people who have to be at their annual event, they have to listen to what I'm saying and it's great that there are captive audience, but you want them to want to be there you want them to say, yes, I'm going to consider this different idea and that's what's often confronted for them changing the way they see the world, so we want to make sure, first and foremost that we're clear on the way they see the world and the way we want them to see the world, so in order to get them to see the world that way, we are going to have to have a big idea, so the idea produces that big result, the big idea produces that big result, there are different types of speech is different types of speeches, there are what we call message speeches, your idea sometimes we say idea, yes, idea speeches that's a better way actually just recently changed that we were calling the message speeches but then we realized that the other type of speech that I mentioned a minute also is a message speech in its own way so we have a big idea speech and we have a content speech which we also sometimes call a curriculum speech because both a curriculum speech and a big idea speech have both content and messages a great content speech also is driven by a great message and great idea speech has lots of content that supports that big idea so let's give you some examples would you give to well known examples then I'll give some examples that are specific to say some of the work that I do in some of my colleagues sure. So if you think of martin luther king's I have a dream speech that would be a message or an idea speech now certainly he has plenty of facts and historical information to back up what he is saying in that speech but overall if you look at the arc of that speech it's about a big idea it is an idea speech uh it's not I'm going to teach you the four modules to freedom yeah you know it's not our here here are the seven keys number one you know the seven keys to letting freedom ring although he probably would have done that pretty well too okay uh jill bolte taylor jill bolte taylor you may have seen if she did a great ted talk and it's this beautiful thing about ted talks right there actually called ideas worth spreading that's their tagline which means they have big ideas in them ideas worth spreading. Jill bolte taylor is also an idea speech and if you haven't seen it you should see it she's a neuroscientist who had a stroke and witnessed herself having the stroke and stepped into the right hemisphere of her brain in moments and had one complete experience of the world and then felt her left hemisphere kicked back in she went oh my gosh, I'm having a stroke I'm having a stroke I've gotta call I've got to get out but then she would step back into this right hemisphere of her brain and go but the world is beautiful and I feel connected and so but this idea that she takes as a through line throughout her whole speech is what if we could integrate what if we could experience both our linear selves? I have my name you have yours I have a job you have yours and this experience of the world that we are hardwired for where we feel connected and completely at peace and she says at the end of her speech so beautifully if we could step mohr into our right hemispheres individually as individuals and have that chemical experience of peace then maybe we could bring more peace into the world and she says, and I think that is an idea worth spreading so it's another example ofthe showing your speed and obviously the ted talks are are so wonderful that you have this opportunity to watch some of the world's best speakers give some of the world's best speeches and they're eighteen minutes generally twenty minutes so idea speeches are well served in those short blocks of time as you're given mohr speech often um or time for a speech often the more the longer speeches are curriculum based speeches which then turn into workshops, which then turned into etcetera so you'll decide what kind of presentation you're working on now doesn't mean that they are mutually exclusive your curriculum speech has a big idea that runs through it is a strong theme that runs through it. You may have a curriculum based speech that you want to turn into more of an idea speech because you want to be able to do it the fifteen minute segment we're getting asked a lot now to do these short speeches I'm giving a speech in a few days and they want their having me do to ninety minute sessions each one is the same so people who could come in one day and they could also come in the other day and then there are also having to give a fifteen minute speech to everyone so now they're starting to ask for both and of course it takes more work to do a fifteen minute speech that it does to do an hour and a half long presentation there's a wonderful winston churchill quote that I could only get away with saying because it's a winston churchill quote he says and I'll paraphrase he says that speech is much like a woman's dress long enough to cover the subject but short enough to keep your interest that was winston churchill that was not me which I think is, um is great so book yourself solid raise your hand if you've seen book yourself solid here creative live or somewhere else that's a curriculum based presentation certainly creative live it's three days but I can also do it as a forty five minute keynote an hour long keynote and some of you have probably seen me do that because of course curriculum based presentations khun b expanded or contracted according to how much time you have so you can expand and contract presentations and that's a very important skill to be able to develop think big revolution anybody seen that presentation that I've given it's aquino that I started doing maybe four months ago five months ago raise your hand if you have okay so some people have seen that that's an idea keynote it's an experiential keynote based on some ideas it's not a how to in the same way that a book yourself solid is so when I look at book yourself solid let's look at the promise and the big ideas so we can understand how you separate those out you book yourself solid the promise is what you'll get books on super clear get clients clear as day doesn't need to be fancy just needs to be accurate and something that the audience actually want the big idea is that marketing doesn't actually get new clients it just creates awareness what you do once somebody becomes aware of you is what actually books you the business that's the big idea so if we look at that back in the context of I have a dream back in the context of martin luther king jr the big idea innit is equality is possible and is the promise of america that's the promise from the big from the beginning of america was that equality should should be the basic standard here the promises then we will have freedom on lee then will we have freedom and it takes this beautiful journey of what the world used to look like when that when that promise was made what it looks like now or then in that it wasn't being fulfilled that there it was not equality too but I have a dream it could look like this this is the way the world looks like here is what it could look like and on lee then we'll freedom ring so we see in this case an idea speech you see very clearly what the world looks like and what it could look look like you see the big idea and you see the promise the promise is if we can transform our culture into one of absolute equality you will have freedom everyone will have tried and when I wrote the book the think the revolution keynote I knew the promise wass that you can think bigger about who you are and what you offer the world and new that's the promise you leave that you know you say yes I know I can think bigger and the force each person translates that for themselves what that means to them somebody wants to build a business that's successful in some way somebody else uh wants to find the love of their life somebody else wants to change careers each person decides what that is for them and the big idea was that you need to keep the promises you make you need to get comfortable with this comfort I need to tell the truth about who you really are you need to love the people around you and have fun at the same time now you might say well that's not really a big idea you made up that idea like someone unique idea in the world of course not but that's what I'm bringing to that conversation so it's important to remember that your big idea and your big promise doesn't have to be somehow wildly unique you're not trying to be different to be deaf you were bringing what you are deeply passionate about to that conversation and then it becomes riel and alive in the moment it exists only in that moment my dear dear friend john jansen who's done I think two creative lives here he has a book called duct tape marketing and john and I often serve similar audiences we've spoken at a lot of the same events and his promise and duct tape marketing is get clients for customers just like mine is get clients his big idea is that marketing's a system there's a systematic approach to it interestingly enough book yourself solid the theme that runs through it is that it's a system so kind of the same thing but we both have done very well it doesn't have to be different so john has a particular personality he's a particular way of expressing himself a particular way of showing up I have a particular personality in a particular way of expressing myself in a particular way of showing up and we have lots of the same readers and we have different readers I always believe there's certain people you're meant to serve and others that you're not in your job is to do everything in your power to reach the people you're meant to serve and I called john to ask him what is the big promise and what's the what's the big idea so that I'm clear and I can articulate it and I thought what a perfect example to our articulator to demonstrate that you can have very similar idea big ideas very similar promises to other people to your colleagues and yet you can still be unique it's because your expression of those ideas and the way you deliver on that promise is unique to you because you are fully self expressed but if you try to be someone that you are not or what you think the audience wants to see yes that's a big one that's a big one often this happens you're giving a speech and in this room there's thirty people let's just say giving this speech and everybody loves except for david dave is just sitting there life and he's told me that he doesn't like it in the break he's like dude I hate like sorry dave you know but all of a sudden what happens is because you care so much about david all of a sudden you start changing you start trying to please david you start trying to up he's david and you lose some of your big idea and what you stand for and the way that you deliver it and what happens to the twenty on other people lost so what I say is you go bigger and you go farther into your big idea whatever david doesn't like do it more so david has two choices he either gets on board for he leaves and I've found nine times out of ten to get on board because when there's that much passion behind it when you're so clear that you're speaking about something that matters to you and that should be one of the reasons why did why we speak yes because we're speaking about something that we are passionate about that matters to us the people can't help but be moved they may disagree so the big idea and the big problem you guys with me on that do you have any questions about that if you have a mic you can raise your hand if you don't have a mic you can raise your hand and you can get him like you have any questions about that yes lear stand up so you said the idea and then you broken it uh oh sorry into several parts it's okay one of the things that if you get she like something in your throat or choked up don't ignore it don't try to keep going over it just go on let me fix this yeah I got it okay all right and then you fix it and you know why you you something you often feel like you need a lot of water the breath of everything that makes me yeah, because you want your daughter it'll dry out drives out because you're putting hair over and it dries it out yes so my question wass thatyou are idea actually had three or four parts and I think when I was thinking of idea I thought, oh, it needed to be some aided in one phrase so I was interested in that one thing this is one of those things where I don't force it into a box, maybe somebody else would, but I don't personally because I don't want to constrain it that it has to only do this one thing because when I think about the think big revolution, I think I think it is more than one thing I think it's the culmination of those things that allows you to think bigger about who you want because let's say you get honest and real about who you really are well, but you're not keeping the promises you made okay? So if you're really honest with what you are but you're not keeping the promises, how are you gonna do that big thing you want or if you're keeping the promises you really about who you are but you're not having any fun? So that's why for me it's it's this it's this this this this as long as it's not eight hundred thousand different things you know that that that works for me? So if it works and allows you to create a piece that is compelling and it's perfect so when we get too wrapped up in the rules or how it has to be, we start to constrain ourselves because remember what we said in our first segment the performers job is in large part to break the rules so if I give you a rule that you think that I have another way to do this that could be effective you break it so we said guidelines for ourselves to help us organize our ideas and organize our, uh our directives we break the rules in the process as many times as we can. So when we get to the segment where we show you the video clips from the think big revolution, you'll see the rules that I break in that presentation is some examples of some of the rules that I break ok, any other questions? Yes, we have coming in from online now this one talking about having your big idea your key message this user wants to know how do you maintain your enthusiasm while giving a presentation that you have given many, many time uh great so let me let me give you a little something else before I give you that one one of the things that you should try to stay with you would be well served to stay away from is saying that's a great question why? Because it suggests that the other questions weren't great question, so everyone so while the question comes up that lights up a little bit, goes good and often it's, because you forgot to mention that it was one of the things that you would say, but and then someone has to question because you left a hole and they're helping you fill it, and you're excited about it. So you say a great question, so I suggest not doing that back to the question. This is what the actor knows, and this is why I want you to think about your performing as acting that's the job if you're on broadway and you're playing hamlet and you, that show runs for six months or a year, some of these musicals have been running for ten years, fifteen years lame is etcetera. Will you do that show every day, sometimes twice a day? It's the same words if you know your material so well, so well and we're goingto look at this when we work on rehearsing if you don't want your materials so well, you khun, walk into the room and completely clear your mind black and you make it up in the moment. As if it never happened before. But it's the same language it's the same words you might be blocked over here in the opening. And then you move over here for this same place. You go to the same place on stage. It's the same words it's the same big idea, it's the same promise. You get the same question one hundred times in the last eleven years. How many times do you think I've been asked about a target market? E? I have spoken at nauseum about a target and the answers it in a fresh way every time, every time, and and you're so happy they asked the question. It really has a lot to do with the people again for the actors on stage, like I'm thinking of a time where I played desdemona in a fellow for eleven months, so eight times a week I had to genuinely fall in love and be betrayed and murdered by my husband, right? And if I was like, yeah, I'm walking through the paces love u babe, kill me, you know there's, no point in doing it. It is the job is a job, but if you remember that the audience is your acting partner, they are your performance partner then. You have a lot of people out there you haven't reached that you haven't connected with so every time you give the speech every time you do that material it's fresh because that's the job but it's also fresh because you have new people in front of you every time yeah, and look, if you get to the point where you don't care about it, you can't get inspired then it's time to move on and often that happens an actor will decide to leave a tv show that they've been doing for years and you're still successful because they said, you know what? It's run its course for me I can't connect any more to that role or it's time for me to do something else because I feel like I'm getting stuck I want to be challenged in a new way and I want to be challenged and it's often hard to do that because if you've been doing something successfully for awhile all of a sudden now you're bringing something out that's new which needs to go through a messy process of development until it becomes as easy as the thing you did before and that's the creative artists job that's the job that's the job okay, I hope that answered our friends ocean just know the question from our home audience this question is this person's looking for advice for when tears start flowing while speaking from the heart when you're so moved by your own message, how do you not look too foolish or how do you do that in front of a crowd? I'll answer that question, and then I'm going togo focus back on the big idea in the big message, and we will certainly make sure that we leave time for questions that are not necessarily related to the topic at hand as well. Being able to control your emotions is a very important part of life in general, and maybe even more important on stage, because to a certain extent and I use this word carefully, you're manipulating your emotions on stage, and I use that word very carefully don't get me wrong not in a negative way, not in a way that is disrespectful or dishonest, but as a performer, you know that if that moment becomes about you and your emotions it's no longer resonating with the audience, if it becomes about you, the term in the world of theater is masturbatory. If it becomes masturbatory, if it becomes about you and how you feeling, oh my god, look at me a boat, then they shut off. And if you keep in mind, you keep in mind your intention, your direct of what you're trying to do to them for them with them, then whatever you're feeling will be in service of that at the same time, if you don't allow your emotions out because you're afraid of people seeing you vulnerable, seeing you cry, then again that's in service of you, not in service of them, and you start to constrain and tamp down on your performance so it's another reason why don't rehearse and we'll get to this in a in a future segment, but the rehearsal process takes time and part of the purpose of a rehearsal process when we're talking about the performance of public speaking is that if you're gonna be talking about something that would stir up emotions for you, you may need to go through a process of wood before you get in front of a naughty in ce where maybe there are tears or maybe there is a lot of anger or maybe there's, anxiety or whatever it may be, and you can notice that stay present within us and get better and better at knowing where and how you shape it and where where you're going to feel very emotional, where you'll get triggered where the trigger is so you can start to control and that's what I mean by manipulate when you craft a story, you craft the story so it's in service of the audience and the climax of that story, you're deciding where goes, you see and that's that's why you're creating a piece of theater

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.