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Get ready to fearlessly step on stage in front of an audience. This episode highlights 29 things NOT to do when giving a speech.

  1. “Let’s get started” (2:29)
  2. “Housekeeping” (3:04)
  3. “Happy to be here” (3:50)
  4. “Center stage” (4:49)
  5. “Great question” (5:52)
  6. “Wandering” (7:02)
  7. “Looking down” (8:30)
  8. “Sideways” (11:12)
  9. “Stand and land” (12:18)
  10. “Podium” (14:33)
  11. “Slow Down” (15:39)
  12. “Weak language” (17:17)
  13. “Can I tell you a story?” (18:12)
  14. “Details” (19:20)
  15. “Story teller voice” (21:16)
  16. “Unpack it” (22:31)
  17. “Flip your hair” (23:11)
  18. “Touch the mic” (24:27)
  19. “Curse” (25:11)
  20. “Point” (26:40)
  21. “Apologize” (28:10)
  22. “Sit back on your heels” (29:19)
  23. “Get off the stage” (30:02)
  24. “Speak to one section or a person” (30:38)
  25. “Turn your back on the audience” (31:05)
  26. “Overact” (32:15)
  27. “Run away” (32:58)
  28. “Touch yourself” (33:27)
  29. “Break the rules” (33:58)

00:01 Michael Port: Welcome to Steal the Show with Michael Port, this is Michael. Today I have two guests, they are my sons, Jake and Leo, and they are gonna help me with this episode. One of the things that I often do when I do a master class is, I pass out index cards and on each index card it has a word or phrase and then the audience members will read their index cards. They’ll just stand up and read the phrase and then I’ll teach to that phrase and then I’ll finish and I’ll say “Next” and the next person will do it. So, Leo and Jake are here today, because it’s Bring Your Kid to Work Day, which means keep them home, for me, because of course we don’t need to go anywhere today and they’re going to help me out, so they’re going to read these phrases and then I’m going to teach on them. And the reason I’m doing it now is, because people find this really fun. And it’s actually about what not to do when you’re performing and as you know I don’t think there are hard and fast rules, I think anything that works is what you do, I think you’re making art and I don’t think there is one way to make art. That is a big part of our philosophy, so if you find that there’s a way to effectively do any of the things that I’m suggesting you don’t do, then do it. Does that make sense guys? Should I tell them again?

01:23 Jake Port: I think that…

01:24 Michael Port: They actually just weren’t listening, they were sort of spacing off.

01:28 Michael Port: If you find that, what I am sharing with you, about what not to do, works for you, then do it. Even though I say not to do something, it doesn’t mean that someone should just take me at face value. If they hear it and go, “Makes sense, I don’t think I should do that, I get what he’s saying.” If they go, “I’m not sure.” they should try it and if they find that they can make it work, if audiences love it, even though I suggest they don’t do it, they should still do it. Make sense?

02:07 Jake Port and Leo Port: Yeah.

02:07 Michael Port: Okay. That doesn’t go for you guys. For you guys, whatever I just say you do, and whatever I say you don’t do, you don’t do.

02:13 Jake Port: Okay.

02:13 Michael Port: Okay, good.

02:13 Leo Port: Okay, dad.

02:14 Michael Port: That’s you know, of course, I’m sure all the parents can relate to that, because kids do exactly what their parents tell them to do all the time. Right?

02:22 Jake Port and Leo Port: Totally.

02:22 Michael Port: Yeah. So, you guys ready?

02:25 Jake Port: Yeah.

02:25 Leo Port: Yeah.

02:25 Michael Port: Alright, so, Jake give me the first one.

02:28 Jake Port: Let’s get started.

02:29 Michael Port: ‘Let’s get started’ is a phrase that speakers often use at the beginning of a speech, often a few minutes into the speech they start with a bunch of filler and then they go, “Okay, let’s get started.” And the speech has already started, so it’s redundant, it’s not necessary and it suggests that anything you have just said or just did was a waste of time, because you hadn’t yet gotten started and everybody wants you to get started right away. Leo, what’s next?

03:03 Leo Port: Housekeeping.

03:04 Michael Port: “Housekeeping”. Generally, when an audience hears the word housekeeping, they stay down looking at their phones texting or writing emails or doing whatever they’re doing. Housekeeping means, “Don’t listen to anything I say, it’s just annoying stuff that I have to get out of the way, that you don’t really want to listen to. So, don’t.” Can you find a fun way of introducing the, “housekeeping,” you know, where the bathrooms are. Can you make it into a little scavenger hunt or adventure, say “The bathrooms are here and here, and on the way to the bathrooms, we’ve hidden some fun prizes, so you may want to… ” And then all of a sudden they’re like “Huh? What? Fun prizes hidden on the way to the bathroom, that’s kinda cool.” Who was next? Jake?

03:48 Jake Port: Yeah. I’m happy to be here.

03:50 Michael Port: “Happy to be here”. This is something that people often say at the beginning of a speech and it’s perfectly acceptable, it’s not gonna ruin a speech, of course, but it’s likely that if you are the fifth speaker of the day, that the four speakers prior, said the same thing. Because, of course, what’s the alternative? That you’re really pissed off that you’re there? So, just show them that you’re happy to be there and they will see that. Often again, it’s just a little bit of filler that we do at the beginning, because we’re a little bit uncomfortable and we’re not exactly sure how to start. So, again, it’s not gonna kill you, it’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s just not necessary. And when we are designing speeches that we can rehearse, then we are able to cut out the things that aren’t really necessary and that’s the beauty of rehearsal for a speech. Leo, what’s next?

04:48 Leo Port: Center stage.

04:49 Michael Port: “Center stage”. So, center stage is a very powerful place on the stage, of course, and it’s something that we want to take advantage of. Often, however, when a speaker starts, when they first come out onto the stage, they will just make a B-line for center stage, they won’t look at the audience, they’ll stop at center stage, turn to face the audience and then say, “Let’s get started. I’m really happy to be here.” And it’s not a very powerful, the boys are smiling, ’cause their going “That’s actually kind of funny.” It’s not a very powerful way to start. As soon as the audience sees you walk up onto the stage or walk out from the wings, that speech has started. In fact, that speech started when your bio was read or when they saw you in the hallway. And your speech starts long before you actually step onto the stage, but when you do step onto the stage, you’re connecting with them immediately, you’re not just making a B-line for the center stage, stop, turn toward them, and then start. What’s next, Leo? Who is next? Jake?

05:50 Jake Port: Great question.

05:52 Michael Port: “Great question”. That’s a great question. One of the things that folks often do during Q&A, when they are answering questions is say, “Well that’s a great question.” But the thing I worry about is what if Leo asks a question and I just answer it. And then Jake asks a question and I say, “Jake, that’s a great question.” And then I answer it. Leo might feel like his question wasn’t great and he’ll do his little tear down the side of his face. He takes his finger, he puts it right under his eyes and he goes, “Mm-hm” and then runs his finger down his face as if a tear is coming down his face. And it works sometimes to get what he wants. There it is, he’s doing it right now. Very cute. But we wanna avoid making anybody feel that we don’t appreciate them and when we’re doing Q&A. We wanna reward people for asking questions. Not make them feel like their question wasn’t great. We can just avoid saying that’s a great question and we can just instead answer the question. Who’s next? Leo?

07:00 Leo Port: Yeah. Wandering.

07:02 Michael Port: “Wandering”. So you might not be surprised to hear that wandering is a very common mistake that people make on stage and it’s often because they don’t know where to go, when to go, why to go anywhere on the stage. They haven’t blocked out their presentation. And blocking is the organization of your movement on stage. Where you’re going? Why you’re going there and when you’re going there? And the term comes from, I think it’s 18th century directing where they had a little model of the set, and they had these little blocks to represent the actors. And then they just move the blocks around deciding where the actors are gonna go. I guess they thought of actors as blocks, which I’m not sure what to make of that.

07:53 Michael Port: But nonetheless the term stuck and we still use the term today. One of the important steps in rehearsal and as you know if you’ve read “Steal the show”. There’s a seven step rehearsal process is blocking. You don’t wander aimlessly around the stage and you know exactly where to go, when to go and why you’re going there. And the wandering often comes just from nervous energy like you feel like you wanna move but you don’t have any plans on where you’re gonna move so you just wander back and forth. Next.

08:29 Jake Port: Looking down.

08:30 Michael Port: “Looking down”. Often when a speaker is presenting. They will down at the floor to get their next idea. If they’re telling a story they’ll pause in between thoughts and look down to find the next thought. Now there are a couple of reasons that this occurs. Number one is because you’re not familiar with your material or you’re not familiar with it in such as a way that you don’t have to think about what’s coming next. You’re telling a story in a speech. You shouldn’t have to think about the next part of the story or if you’re delivering content. You shouldn’t really have to think about the next part of the content. It should be able… You should be able to recall it pretty easily. And if you haven’t done much rehearsal on it then you may not be able to and as a result you tend to look down and away from the audience so that you can think and it disconnects you from that.

09:30 Michael Port: The other reason that we often do it is because we’re nervous to look at them and to stay looking at them so we look down at the floor. And again it disconnects us from the audience. It may seem like a small thing but if you start to watch speakers and notice how they do this. You will see that it is disconnecting and it actually reduces their power. It reduces their gravitas, the way that they present themselves on the stage, their power on the stage and it often corresponds with wandering. So you will wander to one side, you’ll look down, look up, wander to the other side. Let’s say I’m telling a story about a time I went to get some pizza. And I say I’m walking to one side of the stage and I say, “Well there was a time I went to get a piece of pizza.” Then I stop, look down, look up, “and I went to a pizza place called Fred’s.” As I’m walking back to the other side. Then I stop, look down, look up, “and I got a piece of plain pizza.”

10:39 Michael Port: And you can see that would slow down the whole story and then ultimately, it also can make a story feel like it is one note. Because when you get to the conflict, you still have the same pacing back and forth. You still have the same patterns because you’re looking down each time you have a new thought. And the exposition and the conflict and the resolution will all feel the same even though they’re not. What’s next?

11:11 Leo Port: Sideways.

11:12 Michael Port: Sideways. Walking sideways it’s something that, oh gosh I wish they could see me right now instead of just listen, because of course, we’re talking about things people do on stage. But sideways walking is not something that we generally do. I’ll show the boys here if you see my feet guys. People don’t walk sideways, one foot over the other. Right, they walk one foot in front of the other but on stage, sometimes you’ll see people walk sideways. Women often do this more than men, I’ve found and I think part of it is from wearing heels. At least this is what Amy believes, part of it is from wearing heels and not feeling very stable in the heels. So you take these sort of small sideway steps crossing your legs over each other and that is definitely, definitely a very weak way to move on stage because it is not natural, it looks a little bit awkward, and it looks closed off. You don’t look like you’re strong in the way that you move. What’s next?

12:15 Jake Port: Stand and land.

12:18 Michael Port: “Stand and land”. So, if you speak quickly, you may have been told at different points in your life to slow down. And I get that, it makes sense, but you can understand somebody who speaks very quickly. The issue is not how fast you speak, but whether or not you pause. Because in the pause is where the audience consumes what you are teaching or what you are sharing. So I can speak… I mean look, I’ll do it quickly. I’m speaking right now quite fast. “Jake’s got brown hair, Leo’s got blonde hair, they got a microphone in front of them, they’re looking at the computer, they’re sitting on the other side of the desk from me.” But what’s important to note is this. And then when you’re delivering the big thing, it gets a pause afterwards. Because the rest about the hair and their color, most of that was exposition, it wasn’t absolutely necessary. I mean it was necessary that you get this picture of them, but then the big delivery is what’s important and you get the pause after that.

13:31 Michael Port: So, standing and landing asks that you don’t move when you deliver really important information. So you can move and talk at the same time. Move and talk at the same time. Move and talk at the same time. Move and talk at the same time. And you can speak quickly. So what I’m doing really here unintentionally, inadvertently is combining speaking quickly and the power of the pause with standing and landing. So there’s the power of the pause, so use the pause to make sure that people can consume what you have to offer. And also land and deliver the big information. You can move and speak at the same time, you can speak quickly, but when you’re delivering something of note, that’s when you stand and land it. What’s next?

14:31 Leo Port: Podium.

14:33 Michael Port: Podium, lectern, try to stay away from them. Certainly, try to stay away from being behind a podium or a lectern. Also, try to avoid leaning on it too much. I request that they take away the podium or the lectern, but sometimes that’s not possible, it’s either built into the stage or it’s just… It’s taped in with all the wires and it has to be there because the person afterwards is putting a computer there etcetera, so you just can’t take it away. But if it’s there, you may be inclined to lean on it. And once in a while that’s fine, it actually can be effective. But if you do it throughout the entire speech, then it starts to look like you’re lackadaisical in your approach, and your speech becomes one note. Now we wanna avoid that. Good, what’s next?

15:36 Jake Port: Slow down.

15:39 Michael Port: “Slow down.” Yeah, so this is what I was addressing earlier, just a few moments ago is the fact that you don’t always have to slow down your speech, you just need to pause. And in fact, here’s what happens if you slow down too much, “Hi Jake, Hi Leo. It’s really nice to see you and it’s so nice to do this interview with you.” You guys, we watched “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. Remember, Bueller?

16:15 Jake Port: Yeah. [chuckle]

16:16 Michael Port: Bueller. Now of course he was also monotone, but it’s the slow, methodical, plodding way of speaking that will put people to sleep. In fact sometimes make you wanna strangle them, ’cause you guys are looking at me like, “Dude, come on, would you stop talking that way please?” It’s annoying. Leo’s like strangle… Don’t wanna strangle… You wanna strangle me Leo?

16:43 Leo Port: No.

16:44 Michael Port: No, he doesn’t wanna do it. They took me literally on that. No, they don’t wanna strangle me, and hopefully your audiences won’t wanna strangle you either but, but it is something, they found that funny too. But it is something that you should be aware of that the very, very slow methodical way of speaking can put audiences to sleep. What you’re looking for is contrast, and pacing, and timing, and tone, and pitch and volume. Good, what’s next?

17:17 Leo Port: Weak language.

17:18 Michael Port: Yeah. Try not to use weak language. Weak language are words like basically, because… Not because, basically, sort of, kinda. If you ask me, “What do you do in your business?” And I said, “Well, we basically help people be better speakers.” That doesn’t sound very compelling does it? If you said, “What do you do?” We say, “We help you become a better public speaker.” Boom, done, simple. That’s much stronger. So if we use words like, kinda, sort of, basically, then it weakens our argument over all, and doesn’t seem too sophisticated. Next?

18:12 Jake Port: Can I tell you a story?

18:14 Michael Port: Yes you could, Jake if you’d like. You’re a good story teller. I generally recommend audiences… I mean speakers stay away from saying, “Can I tell you a story?”, or “I’m going to tell you a story.” Because often if you say, “Let me tell you a story,” the audience sits back and go, “Okay, you better make this good.” Because a boring story is a real waste of time. Or what if you say to an audience, “Can I tell you a story?” And someone said, “No. Actually, I’d rather you didn’t. Can you talk about… ” And then all over sudden… Yeah, Leo is going, “Ah!” He is making me a face. All of a sudden the audience member just took over your entire speech, and told you where to go. And also, audiences like to be surprised. They like finding themselves in a story, and they didn’t even realize they were in the story until it becomes a conflict, something interesting happens. So, you don’t need to preface a story with a statement that you gonna tell a story. What’s next?

19:19 Leo Port: Details.

19:20 Michael Port: “Details.” When you are telling a story, some details are more important than others. Not all details are as important as all other details. So, get really clear on what is needed and what isn’t needed. For example, we had a student in the master class who was telling a story about her grandfather who was in the military, and she said, “Well, my grandfather was in the army, and he was a corporal or a colonel, I don’t know, whatever.” And then she went on. It seemed like she was unprepared to tell that story, which was the case and the audience could sense that. So, I stopped her and I said, “Do you know what his rank actually was?” And she said, “No.” I said, “Could you find out?” And she goes, “I don’t know. My grandmother probably doesn’t remember that, her memory is not what it once was.” I said, “Okay. Well, does it matter what his rank was?” And she said, “Not really, but it does matter that people know he is a high ranking official.” I said, “Well, then just say that.” “So, my grandfather was a high ranking officer in the army.” And then move on. So, those kind of details are important in that you don’t want to seem like you don’t know the details, but there is a way to offer details even if you don’t have every bit of information and still make sure the audience knows what they need to know, so that when you get to the conflict, they understand what’s happening. Next.

21:16 Jake Port: Story teller voice.

21:18 Michael Port: Yeah. There is the story teller voice. So, when sometimes when somebody tells a story… Just moved the mic. Sometimes when somebody tells a story, they will go into the story teller voice. The story teller voice is kind of like this, “There was a time, when I was young and the world was mine, but now I feel that it’s not.” You guys can laugh if you want. You don’t have muffle your laughter, they’re cracking up, but it’s true. Have you ever heard guys, someone tells a story like that?

21:53 Jake Port and Leo Port: Yeah. Yeah.

21:54 Michael Port: A teacher maybe?

21:54 Leo Port: Yeah.

21:55 Jake Port: Yeah.

21:56 Michael Port: Yeah. Okay. So, it’s false. It seems manufactured. Fake, phony. So when you tell a story, just tell the story, the way that you would talk to anyone in any conversation. The other thing that happens, sometimes the story teller voice can sound a little bit forced. It’s like, “Oh my God! This thing happened, and it was just amazing. And you wouldn’t believe it.” And then what happens is, you’re actually speaking on your voice, on top of your voice, instead of with a full voice with breath that comes from deep within your body. Next.

22:30 Leo Port: Unpack it.

22:31 Michael Port: “Unpack it.” So if you say you’re gonna teach them three things, then you need to them those three things. If you say you’re gonna do something, you need to unpack it completely. Give them what you said you were gonna give them, because if you say, “Look, we gonna do these six thing, or these seven things, or these five things.” And you get to the end of your presentation, you say, “Oh! Sorry we only got through three things. Bummer!”, then the audience feels gypped. So you wanna make sure that you do whatever you say you’re gonna do, and that means of course, rehearsal, so you know how much you can actually do in the time that you have. Next.

23:11 Jake Port: Flip your hair.

23:12 Michael Port: Well, clearly, not a problem for me. I don’t have to worry about this, but many folks with long hair they will often flip it out of their face. Here I’ll do it for the boys, because they’ll crack up. But it looks like this, tell me if you’ve seen this.


23:29 Jake Port: Yeah.

23:30 Michael Port: They’re laughing.

23:31 Leo Port: Justin Bieber.

23:32 Michael Port: Justin Bieber does that?

23:33 Jake Port: Yeah.

23:33 Michael Port: Okay. So there’s a great example. You can watch Justin Bieber hair flip. I wonder if it’s on YouTube, if you can search…

23:40 Leo Port: It’s definitely on YouTube.

23:41 Michael Port: Oh really?

23:42 Leo Port: There’s probably a whole compilation.

23:43 Michael Port: That’s hysterical. So I guess what we will do after this is, we’ll go on YouTube and look for Justin Bieber’s hair flip, and then all the audience will know what we’re talking about. But it can get annoying to the audience, and if there is a compilation, it’s clearly because people find it a little bit annoying. So you wanna make sure that you put your hair up in such a way that people can see your eyes, they can see your face and it doesn’t bother you, so you don’t have to keep moving it out of your eyes. This is why I shave my hair, it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m pretty much bald. I would grow a long, beautiful head of hair if I didn’t wanna worry about the flipping part, right guys?

24:24 Leo Port: Yeah.

24:25 Jake Port: Mm-hmm.

24:25 Michael Port: Okay, next.

24:27 Leo Port: Touch the mic.

24:28 Michael Port: Yeah. So you gotta be careful. When you’re wearing a Lavalier, which is the little clip on mic, often you will inadvertently hit it when you are emphasizing a point. So you’ll hit your chest, and then what’ll happen is it’ll sound like this, which is really very annoying to the audience, and right now the sound engineer wants to punch me in the face, but don’t cut this out. Don’t cut this out. I want people to hear that because it can of course be very very disruptive, and you wanna just be careful that you don’t hit the mic, touch the mic. You don’t wanna wear bangles on your wrists that make a lot of noise or a necklace that would get in the way of the mic or brush against the mic. So, next.

25:10 Jake Port: Curse.

25:11 Michael Port: Yeah, don’t [25:11] ____ in curse, because listen, if you… The guys are freaking out right now. I’m ruining my children, because I’m gonna do a little bit here right now. But listen, every once in a while a curse is fine when you’re giving a speech, know your audience though, ’cause there may be audiences where it is not fine. If you go to give a speech where there are many people who are religious, it may not be appropriate because they may have decided that they don’t want that language in their life. And if your entire brand is based on it, there are certainly speakers out there who’ve based their brand on their curses, literally, then fine, that’s great. If it works, do it. But if it’s not what your brand is about, then just leave it out, it’s not necessary. Again, once in a while you’ll hear me pop out with a curse, I get really worked up about something or excited about something, and then it actually can often be effective, because it shows my enthusiasm or my excitement. And that the curse popped out inadvertently because I was so worked up, that can be effective, but if you just use it in your regular language and that’s not part of your brand, it becomes distracting and potentially offensive. This is just my opinion, you can do whatever the [26:32] ____ you want. The guys laughed a little bit, but you get the joke. What’s next?

26:38 Leo Port: Point.

26:40 Michael Port: Yeah. I would suggest not pointing at your audience, unless you choose to for a specific reason. Both the guys are pointing right now. Because it can seem aggressive. You keep pointing at people as if you know better, and then you start to look like you’re scolding them. So, you remember… The boys wouldn’t remember and fortunately they’d have no idea what I’m talking about but… When Bill Clinton wagged his finger at people when he said, “I did not have,” you-know-what, he was scolding everybody, and of course he was lying, but it was just that kind of scolding that may unintentionally affect your audience. They may not even realize why they’re getting turned off, but it’s the pointing, or what looks like scolding to them. So, what I suggest you do is use an open palm. Use your hand flat, open-palmed to the audience. So if I say, “Okay, so Leo”, and I’m moving my hand toward Leo, my palm is facing up. Leo, doesn’t this feel much nicer? And I said “So, Leo”, as opposed to, “So, Leo”.

27:54 Leo Port: Yeah, it’s better.

27:55 Michael Port: It’s better. It’s a nicer way. And then I can say, “So, Leo and Jake”, and I open my hand to Leo and I open my hand to Jake “and I”, and then I move my hands the same way towards myself, it brings us closer together, more connected. What’s next?

28:10 Jake Port: Apologize.

28:12 Michael Port: Yes. If you say something that was inappropriate, do apologize. If inadvertently say something that was inappropriate, apologize. But don’t apologize for not having enough time, don’t apologize for forgetting something that the audience didn’t even know you forgot. Sometimes you’ll forget to do a part and then you’ll at the end go, “Oh my God, I forgot to do the part that was so good. Oh man, I wish I had. I’m so sorry, and now I don’t have time.” Well, then the audience feels like they got ripped off when in fact they had no idea that you were gonna do that thing, so they don’t feel like they’re missing anything if they didn’t know. But you apologized for not doing it, now they know, now they’re bummed out. Same thing with the time. If you come out and say, “You know, I thought I was supposed to have 60 minutes. I’m really sorry, I only have 45, so I’ll do my best to give you what I can in those 45 minutes.” Well, already you’ve made the audience feel like they’re not gonna get what they deserve to get. What’s next?

29:16 Leo Port: Sit back on your heels.

29:18 Michael Port: Yeah. So, be careful about sitting back on your heels, both literally and figuratively. Literally, meaning having your energy move back rather than toward the audience. Your physical energy, your body actually leaning back as opposed to leaning toward the audience, and figuratively your energy. You want to have a very forward moving pace, a forward moving timing, a forward moving agenda rather than one that moves backwards, because it slows down when it moves backwards. It’s not particularly exciting or engaging, it needs to move forward toward the audience. What’s next?

30:00 Jake Port: Get off the stage.

30:02 Michael Port: Yeah, so at end of your presentation, when it’s time to finish, you close, you say “Thank you very much,” you take a bow, you enjoy the applause and then you go. But if you take that applause and then say, “Oh, wait. Hold on. There was something else.” Meanwhile people are packing up their bags, they’re starting to leave and then you’ve lost your power and your close really weakens as a result, because half the people are walking out. Some people are listening to you, they can’t really hear you because now there’s noise in the room. So, when you’re done you’re done. Get off the stage. What’s next?

30:36 Leo Port: Speak to one section or a person.

30:38 Michael Port: Yeah, so be careful about getting stuck speaking to one person or one section. You may find one person who has a big smile and they’re looking at you and they’re nodding and you start to feel comfortable with them, and then you start devoting most of your attention to them. But if you give attention to all of the people in the audience, then they all will feel served. What’s next?

31:02 Jake Port: Turn your back on the audience.

31:05 Michael Port: Yeah, so often, especially if people are using PowerPoints, they will turn to the PowerPoint and then turn back to the audience. But you needn’t turn your back to the audience. And in fact, generally I’d recommend not turning your back to the audience. Hopefully, you know your material so well, that you don’t need to look at the screen to know what slide is coming up next.

31:35 Michael Port: So, only turn your back to the audience if it’s a choice, if there’s a reason that you’re doing it. So for example, in my “Think big” revolution speech there is one section where I show some slides that are very funny. And I don’t speak during it. And they roll for about 25 seconds. And I just turn, look at them with the audience and we all watch them, and they laugh during it. So they’re having this interaction with the screen. I want them to have the interaction with the screen not me. That’s why I turn. But if you wanna keep them focused on you, then don’t turn your back. Next.

32:14 Leo Port: Overact.

32:15 Michael Port: Yeah, so be careful about thinking that performance is about big, animated, over-the-top performance. “Okay, so here’s what we’re gonna do today guys. You’re gonna love this. It’s gonna be so fantastic, you’ve never seen anything like it.” [chuckle] That’s a little over-the-top. Performances doesn’t… You can be an incredible performer and be quite still, quite calm and even quiet. But you’re so effective that you’re a great performer. So I wouldn’t make any assumptions about what performing means. Next.

32:56 Jake Port: Run away.

32:58 Michael Port: “Run away.” Right. So I mentioned, get off the stage when it’s time to get off the stage. But don’t run away. So sometimes people say, “Okay, well I guess that’s it.” Boom. And then they run away, they don’t even wanna take the applause. They’re nervous about the applause, they’re not sure what to do at the end, so they just get off the stage really quickly. That will reduce your power as well. What’s next?

33:24 Leo Port: Touch yourself.


33:27 Michael Port: Leo is a little embarrassed to say that… No, it doesn’t mean that kind of touch yourself. It means keep playing with your shirt, or sort of pulling up your pants or whatever it is. We, some of the times we develop these habits, these physical habits that can become distracting on stage because if someone sees you for a long period of time they start to notice that, and it can at certain times be distracting, right guys?

33:54 S?: Yeah.

33:55 Michael Port: Yeah. What’s next.

33:56 Jake Port: Break the rules.

33:58 Michael Port: “Break the rules.” Don’t break the rules just to break the rules, because it seems like it’s cool to break the rules. But the performers job is in large part to break the rules. Raise the stakes. Take risks, requires sometimes breaking the rules. So don’t be afraid to do things differently. Don’t think you need to perform the way other people perform. And in fact, a lot of the habits that people have developed over time are a result of seeing habits that other people have developed over time, but they may not be effective. So, this long list of what not to do’s that I introduced, you’ll notice that a lot of them are just things you pick up from other speakers. They’re not necessarily things that you’ve made up on your own. You just have seen people do it, so you do it too. So we don’t need to follow the rules that other people have set forth. You don’t even need to listen to me. You need to focus on what is effective for you. I think that’s it, right guys?

35:03 Leo Port: Yeah.

35:03 Jake Port: Yeah.

35:03 Michael Port: Hey, thanks guys, you guys are fantastic.

35:06 Leo Port: It was fun.

35:06 Michael Port: It’s fun. There’s such good performers. They’re so focused and they play and have fun. They even understand how to be quiet on the mic when I’m speaking, but actually guys, these two mics, they’re recorded on separate tracks, so what the audio engineer does, when I’m speaking is he mutes the other mic. When you’re speaking he mutes my mic. So for example, let’s say you’re speaking and I wanna take off, like I’m wearing a jacket, I have a zipper or something. I could unzip it and take it off while you’re speaking, because he can mute my mic, and then you won’t hear the zipper. If it’s really loud it’ll get picked up on your mic, but he can usually pull that part out. Not always, but because we’re across from each other, my mic picks up me more than it picks up you. And your mic picks up you more than me. Does it make sense?

35:54 Leo Port: Yeah.

35:55 Michael Port: Alright guys. Keep thinking big about who you are and what you offer the world. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be of service to you, I never take it for granted. I try my best, and I love you. Not in a weird way. But I love you for being a big thinker. For being a performer rather than a critic. So, until next time, bye for now.