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As well as Altrincham HQ, I worked in music for over 14 years and I still often think of business in rock & roll terms  (NOTE: all the photos in this blog below are from events I organised)

Rock & Roll has the ability to change lives and I don’t see why business should be seen as drab in comparison. When I work with businesses I want to work with them, challenge ideas, adapt ideas in the same way Morrissey, Joe Strummer or the Manics did when I was in my teenage years

So when it comes to prepping for a business talk I think of the structure of the talk in the same way as you craft the perfect setlist

Hungry Pigeon Festival - Live in Piccadilly Gardens Manchester (Photo by Karen McBride)

Hungry Pigeon Festival – Live in Piccadilly Gardens Manchester (Photo by Karen McBride)

Involve The Audience From The Start
Unless you’re the keynote speaker at a conference chances are the audience are not there JUST for your talk

The audience may be there for networking and your talk is just an added bonus … or you may be one of 3 or 4 talks that day they have a passing interest in

You have to draw the audience in from the start and bring them into your world and often the easiest way to do this is by asking a question or referring to a story that involves somebody in the room

It shows you actually care but it also helps to show you the level of understanding that the audience are at and give you reference points for the rest of your talk

Coronation Street Stars at my Night & Day Gig

Coronation Street Stars at my Night & Day Gig

Bring The Big Guns Out Early
People need convincing early that the rest of your talk is worth listening to

In gig terms this is why one of the 1st 2 songs in a set is always one of the “hits”

In business terms this is why you need the hook to convince people to listen more

If I started off a business talk by stating “80% of businesses owners that use social media win little or no business from it, but by taking these steps i’ve worked with businesses that have got £7000 orders from Social Media” would you listen further.

Sure – and yes that’s true and you can read that here

Salford Knight Warrior came down to one of my gigs - bizarre night!

Salford Knight Warrior came down to one of my gigs – bizarre night!

Surprise Them With Something New
I’ve delivered talks for the past 4 years on a range of subjects from Twitter, Blogging and Instagram and i’ve never delivered the same talk twice

The content might be similar, the big guns are always featured – but I have to make it interesting for myself so even if I’m delivering a similar talk 1 month apart I was always add in something new for those who may be seeing the talk for the 2nd time.

Talks are constantly evolving, new content is added, content stripped out and I’m search of the holy grail of the perfect talk that’s interesting for both the audience and myself

If You Borrow – Make It Your Own
Subliminally when you read 5-7 articles a day on your core subject it is hard to stop other people’s ideas filtering into your own work


There is that saying which we hear every week on X Factor “You really made it your own” and there is a huge difference between delivering a straight copy and using something as inspiration for your own work

Any Questions? Hands up!

Any Questions? Hands up!

The Question Round aka The Encore
The question round of me is when the content of your talk really is tested

Are there a dozen questions because you’ve inspired the audience so much… or are they silent in a daze

Altrincham band The Mandigans at Sale Waterside

Altrincham band The Mandigans at Sale Waterside

Leave Them Wanting More

What do you want the audience to do after the talk?

Do you want them do sign up for a mailing list, look at your website, investigate your services more

Don’t give everything away in one talk – leave them wanting more!!!

And that’s how you prep the perfect setlist / talk – Delivery of course is something for another blog!

Alex McCann

Author Alex McCann

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