The Power of 3s: Public Speaking Lessons with Spencer Waldron – Ep. 02

Why would you interview a public speaker when your podcast is about meetings? 

My wife asked me this question a number of times when I was preparing for this episode. To me, meetings and on-stage presentations are closely linked. Whether you are speaking at a conference or in front of a meeting room, you are putting yourself in the spotlights. And to most of us (myself included), that’s not our comfort zone.

My guest for this episode is Spencer Waldron. Spencer is the Regional Director Europe of Prezi, the cloud-based presentation platform. A marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience, he’s also a frequent speaker at business conferences across Europe on topics like storytelling and leadership communication.

“It’s not about what goes wrong, it’s about how you deal with it.”

This episode is packed with the lessons that Spencer learned the hard way – by being on stage. How do you best prepare for talks, how do you handle your nerves when being in the spotlights and how do you create a story that people will actually listen to? To top it off, we also explore how you can use these lessons to make yourself heard in smaller settings like business meetings.

This is how Spencer Waldron (right) and I looked after our conversation on one of the hottest days ever measured in Amsterdam.

This is how Spencer Waldron (right) and I looked after our conversation on one of the hottest days ever measured in Amsterdam.


Show Notes:

1:43 – How Spencer ended up on stage

3:04 – Like a duck in a pond: reflecting on his first time on stage

4:36 – Tips for steadying your nerves in the final 15 minutes before you go on stage

5:10 – Practicing with the television on

6:32 – Simon Sinek and positive reinforcement

8:52 – A redundancy plan in case you forget what to say

10:17 – Spencer’s recent technical meltdown in front of 500 people

12:00 – How he picked it up again

13:01 – The Think-Do-Feel matrix: the start of his preparation process

14:43 – The importance of story structure

15:33 – The role of a presentation these days

16:58 – Using the Pyramid Principle to structure your introduction

18:20 – Example of using the Pyramid Principle in a presentation

20:33 – The importance of key messages

21:46 – The first five minutes of your talk are crucial

23:15 – Always start with a story

24:28 – Crafting a narrative and reading it out loud

26:27 – Getting ready for the big show

28:45 – D-Day: enjoying a light breakfast and mingling with the audience

32:35 – YouTube, curiosity projects and talking with speakers: how Spencer got better over time

34:45 – Natural ability versus skills that you can learn        

36:53 – What Spencer learned from studying Steve Jobs

38:00 – Aristotle, Winston Churchill and Boris Johnson: the power of rhetoric

39:30 – How you can use rhetorical devices in presentations or meetings

42:23 – Public speaking lessons that you can use in smaller settings like business meetings. It starts with understanding your audience

44:36 – Using the Pyramid Principle when pitching to executives

45:07 – Why you should always ask for feedback

46:00 – “The person who wins is the one who’s most prepared”

47:06 – Lessons from Nelson Mandela’s father: be the last one to speak

49:19 – Tips for leaders to create a climate of openness and encourage people to speak up

52:23 – How to speak more confidently in meetings

53:47 – Spencer’s book tip (see below) and the power of 3s

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider subscribing and leaving a quick review on your podcast platform of choice. Here are links to find Meeting Strategist on:

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Links to people, books and resources mentioned in this episode:

·      Spencer’s profile on LinkedIn

·      PDF version of The Presentation by Andrew V. Abela, which has the Think-Do matrix on page 10. Spencer uses an expanded version of this model, which also includes what people feel about a certain topic before and after the presentation

·      “I’m not nervous, I’m excited.” A video interview with Simon Sinek

·      The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto. This book explains the structure that Spencer uses to create a powerful opening for his talks

·      Steve Jobs’ 1997 Macworld talk on YouTube

·      Spencer’s book tip “Impossible to Ignore” by Carmen Simon through Amazon

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