Delivery Inspiration: Chip Kidd’s Designing Books

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In this fantastic TED Talk, Chip Kidd discusses his work: designing book covers.  Does that seem boring to you?  Well, please take 17 minutes out of your day to watch the magic happen above.

Kidd’s delivery is just magnificent.  He’s quirky, nerdy, articulate, and completely comfortable with who he is.  The word that always comes up when my students and I discuss delivery is “passion.”  Kidd isn’t just passionate about designing book covers; he loves books, he loves authors, he loves reading.  You can feel his joy and his connection to his topic.  He isn’t perfect, but he’s real, and that’s what great delivery looks, sounds, and feels like.

My husband is extremely shy.  However, if you get him started talking about his favorite subject, his face lights up.  He leans forward.  His posture changes, he speaks more quickly, and he makes more direct and prolonged eye contact.  My husband is passionate about music.  If you meet him, try asking him about a dozen other subjects before you ask him about his piano, guitar, or drums.  You’ll see a noticeable difference in his delivery.

Speech delivery works the very same way.  When a presenter feels that connection to his or her topic, the delivery naturally becomes more dynamic.  That’s why, no matter how good a public speaking teacher I may be, if you stuck me in a room full of students with algebra books, my delivery would flatline.  I’m obsessed with presentation.  Math makes me want to die.

Along with preparation, the greatest delivery tip I can give you is to pick a topic that you love talking about.  Pick a subject you could talk about every single day and never tire of it.  Use stories and examples that make your pulse quicken, your breath accelerate, and your eyes shine.  For me, that subject is public speaking and presentation.  What is that topic for you?

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