Our club meets

Every 2nd Tuesday evening except holidays and summer.

Our new meeting location as of May 2, 2017 is:

Kennebecasis Valley Oasis Youth Centre, 26 Pettingill Road, Quispamsis, NB E2E 3R6

7:00 pm - 9:05 pm on
May 2, 16 & 30
June 13 & 27
September 12 & 26
October 10 & 24
November 7 & 21
December 5 & 19

We'd love to meet you.

There are no meetings on storm days.

View Google maps location.

Contact a member.

I'm Curious . . . but are They?

by Darren LaCroix

Picture this, you're walking in to speak to 100 employees at a well-known insurance company. The topic of your speech is giving more powerful presentations. You're feeling good... you know your topic and your presentation very well. As you walk into a bright clean lobby and you're greeted by a warm smile from the receptionist. The event coordinator pulls you aside and says, "Oh, by the way, you're scheduled to speak from 9:30 until 11:00, but there's a fire drill scheduled for 10:00 am."

Excuse me?

At first, I thought they were teasing me. They weren't. This literally happened to me on Friday in Nebraska. Just when you thought you had seen it all! I've had this happen spontaneously... but actually scheduled in the middle of my presentation... that's a first!

I'm curious. What would you do? How would you handle it? Seriously. This is a real-life scenario. I didn't have time to plan around it ahead of time.

What did I do? Once I realized they weren't kidding... honestly, I laughed. I seriously thought "Cool, a new challenge!"

Years ago, that same hurdle would have completely knocked me off track. This is the value of "stage time" and the value of having your presentation internalized, rather than just memorized. The presentation I was giving was: The Path to Powerful Presentations, How I Went from Chump to Champ.

My original outline is:

  • Opening
  • Show "Ouch" Speech
  • First time on stage story plus video
  • 4 habits of growing presenters
  • 4 Commonalities of the World Champions I studied
  • The "Cherry Tree Effect"

This can be given as a presentation anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours.

Where would I pause the presentation so we could run outside for the fire drill?

Well, as I started my presentation, my plan looked like this:

  • Opening
  • Show "Ouch" Speech
  • First time on stage story plus video
  • Pause for fire drill HERE
  • 4 habits of growing presenters
  • 4 Commonalities of the World Champions I studied
  • The "Cherry Tree Effect"

In my head, I was going to tell the story of my first time on stage, show the video, then pause for the fire drill. When we got back, I would then dive into the heavy teaching. My intention was to get them excited and inspired with my story!

It's very difficult to keep people involved in presentation for that long and then to make sure they come back after a break like that, in the middle of a busy work day. I knew that I really had to hook them!

I actually thought of a lesson I learned from Craig Valentine, the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking. He taught me about using "curiosity" as a tool to keep people on the edge of their seats.

Do you actively use "curiosity" in your presentations? I thought, how could I really make them curious enough to make sure they come back? Bing! Then the idea hit me. I made a slight adjustment. My new outline became.

  • Opening
  • Show "Ouch" Speech
  • First time on stage story
  • Pause for fire drill HERE
  • Video of first time on stage
  • 4 habits of growing presenters
  • 4 Commonalities of the World Champions I studied
  • The "Cherry Tree Effect"

I decided to tell the story of my first time on stage, but hold off on showing the video of it. I set it up by telling them, "Sometimes people don't believe how bad it was, but I brought proof! I'm going to show you the most powerful 57 seconds of video you have ever seen... when we come back from the fire drill."

It seemed to be very effective. I'm pretty sure everyone came back after the fire drill. Now, I have no way of knowing how many would have skipped out had I not shown the video. But either way, it was a great reminder to me of the power of curiosity in a presentation.

Hollywood pays screen writers thousands of dollars to keep us involved in films. How about you? How can you use curiosity in your presentations

About the Author

Darren LaCroix has travelled the road from rags to riches as failed Subway restaurant owner to award winning speaker - he's the Toastmasters 2001 World Champion of Public Speaking. As Darren said in his winning speech,

"After 4 years of business school I went for the American Dream. I bought ... a subway sandwich shop. You're all impressed - I can tell. I don't want to brag but I took a $60,000 debt and in six short months ... I doubled that debt. I turned my subway sandwich shop into a non-profit organization."

As you can tell, Darren's a humorist. He's also a film producer, speech coach, and professional speaker.

Learn how Darren proceeded from being the world's least funny man to a man who helps others learn how to be funny. Check out Darren's website, www.humor411.com, for newsletter articles and resources for better public speaking.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

We'll let you know about special meetings or new articles to help you hone your presentation skills. Just enter your email address below.