Thoughts That Cling

Making Speaking Magical: part 2

We’re going to get into the 7 Tricks to Make Speaking Magical, but first we need to make two quick stops. Like going on a road trip and having to get gas and snacks before hitting the highway.

The first stop (Thoughts That Cling) is about the importance of memory and the second (A Wasted Life) will be an example of a quick message that does in fact include all 7 tricks. We'll refer back to that later...and there might be a test...but for now, let's get moving.


Your brain is a vault, though sometimes it feels more like a cabinet made by a blind carpenter, it has the ability to receive information in any number of forms and lock it in its memory bank to be recalled at any moment necessary.

I love the way Inside Out portrayed the importance of long-term memories along with the strangeness of the inner-workings, like why we recall catchy commercial jingles at the most inopportune times.

As a speaker, you can use memory to your advantage: you can help the audience recall an emotional experience (which we will discuss in the next post, Captivate Them), or more importantly, you can communicate with the intention to create a new memory for them. Consider the weight of that - 

you have the opportunity to plant an idea in their mind that was not present before you came along. 

Chris Anderson, of TED, says,
"Your number one task as a speaker is to transfer into your listeners’ minds an extraordinary gift, a strange and beautiful object that we call an idea…Ideas are the most powerful force shaping human culture.”   

As right as Mr.Anderson is, what you and I are witnessing is people using their platform to simply say something, rather than making an idea stick.

If you want something to stick with your audience you need to help make it sticky! 

You are communicating an idea, and if the idea latches on inside the memory it can live there and mutate over time in such a way that eventually these people believe it is their own idea, at which point they will pass it on with the same passion and value you once shared with them.

Making Speaking Magical is not just about using your time on the platform well, but about forming your communication in such a way to activate your audience's brain to want to move this experience from short-term to long-term memory. As you do this you are helping turn information into transformation, and that is pretty magical.

It may sound intimidating if you’ve never thought of it like this before, but I promise you, it can become as easy as filling your car with gas, something you’ll probably never forget how to do.*


Have you ever wasted a day?

This happened very recently for me. Maybe you’ve been sick lately? When I get sick, it knocks me out completely. Like, a few hours in and I begin thinking, ‘this is it…get my things in order, I’m dying.' 

Tuesday morning I woke up with a raging headache, and sore muscles all down my back. I was coughing, and everytime I coughed it hurt, so I was trying to hold back the cough but that hurt more, you know what I'm talking about right?. So, I had some water, my wife told me to go to bed and she would get the kids to school, and I slept. On and off for the entire day. I was awake from 9-11pm, then went back to sleep, thinking ‘well, at least tomorrow will be different.'

The next day, I woke up, same feelings, I made lunches and watched the kids go out the door, then went back to bed and woke up at 12:31! 

With a ton of work to do this week, these two days felt like a total waste of time. Maybe you've had a similar experience?

If you are wearing a belt today, I want you to touch it. Go ahead, just physically touch your belt. If you're not wearing one, put your hand on your waistband, just for a second. 

There is a story about a belt. This belt is amazingly used as a significant symbol of what it means to cling to what you have and use it appropriately.  

Before I tell you a story, I want you to think about this question:

What classifies as a ‘waste of time’? Think of your answer, then read the story.

The Young Man and the Belt

There was a young man who was searching and searching for his purpose in this life. He set off from his home searching for wisdom and understanding. 

At the first village he stopped on his journey he found himself in the home of strangers, telling stories of his life so far. At the next village, the young man found himself in the same situation. Already, he was developing a tiresome rhythm as it kept him up late and he had to wake up early to continue on his search for purpose. So at the next village, when the people hosting him inquired about his journey so far, he declined, and said he must go to sleep. 

At some time during each of his stays, he heard about a wise teacher that would surely be able to help him understand his purpose in this life. And, weeks into his journey he found the village with the wise teacher. 

He walked up to this teacher and said to him, “Oh, my lord, what must I do discover my purpose in this life?”

The teacher said, “Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water.” So, he did just that, and put a belt around his waist. 

Then, the teacher said, “Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to the mountains and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.” So, the young man did just that. 

Many days later, the teacher sent word for the young man and told him, “Go now to the mountains and get the belt I told you to hide there.”

So the young man did as he was told and when he dug it up it was rotten, ruined, and completely useless

“I don’t understand” said the young man as he returned the belt to the teacher. So the teacher explained, “This is what happens when you hide from your purpose. You will be ruined. But you have seen on this journey already what your purpose is, you are a storyteller, you must cling to that, like your belt clings to you.” 

Cling to your purpose - who you are and what you’re made to do. 

Now, it’s time to write down a response — What classifies as a ‘waste of time’? -- write your thought in the comment section.

When we don’t do what we’re meant to do we’re wasting our time, we’re wasting others’ time, and ultimately like a rotting waistband we are wasting our lives!

According to some always-trustworthy-random-internet-sites here are some ways we spend our days; you decide if we're wasting time or not:

  • Women spend 16 minutes each weekday morning deciding what to wear. About 1 year over a lifetime. 
  • The average American currently spends close to three hours a day watching TV,
  • 3.6 years in your lifetime eating. 
  • 6 months of your life waiting in line.
  • 92 days on the toilet.
  • And, 96% of teens report going online daily, with 24% of them going online ‘almost constantly’.

I wonder, in what ways have you ever wasted a day? An opportunity? A moment? -- share some moments in the comment section as well. 

Go, and think of your belt differently. We need you to take what you have, each day as incredibly valuable and do not waste it. May you cling to who you are at your core at the start of each day, like a belt clings around the waist, and make the most of your opportunities. 

Before we get on the highway now and put the pedal to the metal, let's breakdown what just happened:

1 - Captivate them - by telling a story, you can spark their emotions. 

2 - Ask them - by asking questions, you invite them into the conversation.

3 - Involve them - welcoming them to be a part of the process

4 - Teach them - build on authority by delivering facts and evidence

5 - Show them - by visualizing, the brain sparks in many new ways.

6 - Surprise them - something out of the ordinary (I would have snapped a belt to wake you up)

7 - Connect them - by seeing we're in the same boat, it builds credibility

And now, my friends, let's talk about these specific ways to make speaking magical!