Lou Longo, a member of my network, shares his thoughts on public speaking. As you know, public speaking is a time, where you interact directly with your audience and where they judge you based on appearance, competency, personality and differentiation. Lou understands this and shares his thoughts:


Have you ever listened to a speaker at an event or meeting that just blew you away? Did you walk out of there wondering where he/she got their training or how they were able to deliver such a great message? Then tell me, what was the message? I am pretty sure you cannot remember and how do I know? 4% and 100%. A former colleague named Rich Monaghan was the head of a Sales Force when I worked in the financial services sector. The first time I saw him, I was hooked and if he asked me to run through a wall after this meeting, I would have done it. The best part was that I did not even work in his division; I was there on the advice of a peer. Going forward, every time Rich was speaking somewhere, I made every effort to attend. So I emailed him one day and asked for advice. He sent me back a 2 page bulleted email (which I have since lost – ugh!!) and I will never forget 4% and 100 %. “People generally retain or remember 4% of the content of any presentation, speech or talk, but they always remember 100% of how they felt about it.”

I have found that I am at my best when I am knowledgeable about a subject matter and I am allowed to be myself. I actually love interviews because I get to talk about one of my favorite subjects that I know the best – Me! I teach and advise people that you cannot be something you are not. You may be able to sustain it or even fool people for a while, but over time, you will not be able to keep it up and the outcome is never positive. I can tell you I have never pictured my audiences in their underwear or other tips while speaking in public or to large groups. I can also tell you I am rarely flawless and have even used slang (“ain’t” or “’you people”) and botched my words. But people will not remember that unless you really hit a clunker and get offensive (hit a nerve with vulgarity or you bring up a controversial subject) or present mis-information or the wrong topic. I am lucky, as a Sicilian-American, we are an emotional culture and I am able to funnel that into passion in almost everything I do. But passion is not an ethnic trait, anyone can develop it. You just need to find it and believe in your cause or topic and most importantly, in yourself. One of the best compliments you can get after you speak somewhere is when people ask how it went, and others answer to the effect: “I am not sure why we need to support (this cause or project) but I like this person and they have my support.” If you are who you say you are and are passionate about what you speak, people will remember you and want to follow. “Inspire First, Results Will Follow.”