Last night I attended a meeting of a new public speaking club called Hamwic Speakers- Southampton. Hamwic have only been going since March but are doing extremely well. At last nights meeting I was entranced by a wonderful speech by a young man called Rich Watts, who talked about “A trip to grandma’s“.
On the face of it, not the most exciting of topics but Rich delivered a most entertaining and excellent speech in which, by describing in vivid detail, what it was like to visit his grandmothers, from the perspective of his five year old self, he evoked powerful memories and emotions in all of us.
I was particularly impressed with the way Rich matched his energy and pace of delivery to the story he was telling. At the start his pace was slow and measured as he described the rather boring car journey where he was too small to see much out of the car window but clouds. Then, when he arrived at his gran’s the pace picked up dramatically as he described zooming into her house (an Aladdin’s cave for a five year old boy!) with his arms outstretched behind him pretending to be a plane.
The pace stayed high as he described how he explored and played and then slowed a little as he started to describe the other family members present. The pace slowed further as he brought us up to the present day and how things had changed. How his granny wasn’t as energetic as she had been, how the food wasn’t as home cooked as it had been and so on. This “gear change”change of pace brought a poignancy and a sense of reflection to this speech that worked beautifully and lead us up nicely to Rich’s take away message.
Rich finished with two key messages, about remembering the importance of Granny and perhaps even more important, remembering (& not losing) the sense of wonder and playfulness we had when we were younger.
I hope this short article has captured the importance of being able to change gear in any speech or presentation in order to be a more effectie story teller and influencer.