When actress, businesswoman and former chat show host Oprah Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes something extraordinary happened.

With the trophy in hand and the eyes of millions upon her, she gave a rousing speech that brought the audience to its feet.

Oprah Winfrey accepts the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes in 2018
Oprah Winfrey accepts the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes in 2018

Public Speaking at its Best

Now, a standing ovation isn’t unusual at an upbeat Hollywood ceremony, but the positive reaction she’s received since is unprecedented.

Oprah’s words and delivery were so powerful she’s now being touted as a future US President!

Taking full advantage of her nine minutes on stage, she conveyed a hard-hitting message about fairness and equality at a time when it’s one of the hottest topics in western society.

The passionate speech, wonderfully illustrated with personal stories and relevant points, struck an emotional chord with generations of people across the globe. [you can watch the speech here.]

Oprah Smashed It!

As the first black woman to win the lifetime achievement award Oprah was already the focus of attention. But her speech at the Golden Globes has elevated her status to a whole new level.

It’s true… when you ‘smash it on stage’ amazing things can happen!

The Number One Reason People Refuse to Speak in Public

Of course, the chance to speak at an event like the Golden Globes is rare, and I’m certainly not suggesting any of us has the same profile as Oprah. But the point remains… master the art of public speaking and you’ll stand out from the crowd, raise your profile and become known as the ‘go-to’ person in your niche.

Sounds great, BUT…

If it was that easy there would be a stampede of people rushing to speak at every opportunity and that’s just not the case.

Let me explain why…

The number one reason why your competitors ignore this opportunity and refuse to speak in public is FEAR. 

Studies consistently show that people place their dread of public speaking ahead of fears about spiders, snakes, and even death! Shocking, but that’s the mind-blowing truth.

The fear of public speaking is known as Glossophobia and, according to the guys at statisticbrain.com, it affects 3 out of 4 people (75%), which is a lot! The good news is this gives the small number of us who are happy to stand up and speak a HUGE advantage, because when you step into the spotlight people are drawn towards you, leaving your competitors to scramble in the shadows.

However, self-confidence alone does not guarantee you’ll present like a pro.

How to Become a Speaking Sensation

To become a speaking sensation you must focus on what I refer to as my Six ‘S’ Formula.

  • Create your… Signature Speech
  • Develop your… Speaking Style
  • Master your… Stage Skills

Remember The Golden Rule: ‘Them and You’

It’s all about THEM (the audience)

Get to know your audience and understand what you can provide that’s of value:

  • What problem can you solve?
  • What pain can you relieve?
  • What affirmation or confirmation are they waiting for that you can give them?

It’s all about YOU (the speaker)

Share your brilliance, your vulnerability and your message:

  • Reveal the real person.
  • Show your human side.
  • Take people on a journey.

Above all, connect with your audience and make an impact by telling relevant, purposeful and authentic stories.

The stories you tell are the glue that binds your content together and brings it to life.

Share a fact, tell a story. Tell a story, make a point. Make a point, tell a story.

People respect your knowledge, but they relate to your stories. They feel like they know you and what you stand for. And, because of this, they’re more likely to wait in the wings to hand over business cards or book you to speak at their event.

Let me tell you a story about Lisa…

Lisa Nichols is a celebrated motivational speaker who has inspired millions through her seminars and her six best-selling books. But back in 1994 Lisa was a single parent, raising a child whose father was serving time in prison. She had less than $15 in her bank account, was on government support and couldn’t even afford nappies for her son. Lisa was at rock bottom.

That moment proved to be the turning point. At the age of 27 Lisa realised no-one was going to rescue her… she would have to save herself.

Lisa found her purpose AND her voice and used it to inspire others. Slowly she turned her life around and eventually became the most requested speaker from the hit movie ‘The Secret’ after revealing her story and message.

The Game Changing Tactic

Lisa says using the ‘Dip Theory’ to construct her talks was the game changer.

In short, this is when you share a story that describes your current success and expertise, highlights a low point in your career or life, and tells how overcoming the challenges inspired your mission and set you on the path to what you are doing so well today.

Sharing your vulnerability AND your brilliance is what makes you unforgettable.

Lisa explains: “You have to take people to a place in your story you wouldn’t normally let them go to. The time when you had to fight for something, overcome a serious problem or face up to a dark moment. These ‘dips’ may be painful, but they’re often there to make us ask the question – ‘how can I make sure I never have to go through that again?’ You learn so much from these moments. I call them the gifts that come wrapped in sandpaper. Sharing your vulnerability AND your brilliance is what makes you unforgettable.”

I’ve used the ‘Dip Theory’ to describe Lisa’s story in this article so you can see how it works in practice. Now it’s time to think about how you can use this method to ensure people connect and relate to you when you present.

Dave Sharpe speaking at the MPI World Education Congress 2015 in San Francisco
Dave Sharpe speaking at the MPI World Education Congress 2015 in San Francisco

Finally, as a Master of Ceremonies I know from personal experience how good it feels when you shine in the spotlight. The buzz is AMAZING! And when you’re known as the go-to person in your niche, your business explodes.

So go on then, take up my challenge: unleash your inner Oprah… and become a public speaking sensation as a result!

Need Help?

No problem! I’ve spent the past two decades presenting on stage and getting up close and personal with other successful speakers. From my unique position inside the speaking industry I have direct access to the insights most people rarely get to see. Insights you’ll find invaluable.

Simply get in touch using the contact form and I’ll send you information about my exclusive 1-2-1 coaching sessions and public speaking masterclasses.

Until next time.


Oprah Winfrey Photograph credited to Paul Drinkwater/GETTY

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