Hearing and Watching Anthony Pangilinan talk was definitely time well spent. It was just last night when I found myself braving the crazy roads of Manila through Recto. I didn’t want to be late but the traffic and Google Maps was getting me nowhere.
It was my first time to step on The Bayleaf hotel near Intramuros. It was a simple hotel, nothing too fancy but it was definitely class.
I met with Anthony on the 3rd floor at the bar/restaurant area. He was practicing with a notebook filled with scribbles of his notes. It’s as if his notes were going to be gesturing with him towards the audience through the talk.
I sat down, opened my laptop to send a little something via email.
He was still murmuring words when he stopped to look at me and smiled.
It’s not uncommon for speakers like him and me to still be practicing and cramming minutes before the talk. We want to perfect it – to feel it all throughout. I find myself doing the same thing almost 100% of the time.
Anthony is not afraid to practice with his gestures. As his mouth murmurs, his hands wave around trying to speak what he wants to bring to the table.
A few minutes later and it was showtime.
We went to the session hall where there were around 50 people looking to hear him speak. Almost all of them in managerial position.
Anthony’s talk was about “How to Innovate yourself” which was a very interesting and generally useful topic.
As he went and started to speak, I took note of his speaking styles and strategies. Here’s what I found:
He is narrative and heavy on his personal story in the beginning of the talk so it’s easy for people to relate. The opening story was about his relay triathlon race with his family and how his son and daughter pushed him to level up his game. Consequently, they won the gold medal.
Anthony takes a funny approach to speaking. The people felt light the entire time because he also laughs naturally himself. And by naturally, I don’t mean a modest, respectful laugh. I mean a real laugh – as if he’s having a great time with his friends!
He uses the ‘tap the shoulder’ technique really well. I’ve noticed this strategy again and again in Francis Kong’s talks – apparently they both use it extensively and masterfully. This engages the audience with each other. It also makes the audience laugh – which is good because a laughing and cheerful audience is fertile soil that is ready to absorb the wisdom from your message.
He has packed, relevant stories and videos that he uses to inspire his audience.
He uses Etymology quite masterfully in the parts of his talk when he unveils the true origin and meaning of the word(s). Something I have yet to incorporate in my talks. He dissects the definition of the word(s) to emphasize its meaning in a different, overlooked perspective.
He uses gesture and voice tone really, really well. In fact, there’s a part in his talk when the mic wasn’t really near his mouth as he spoke because he was using his hands to emphasize a point. I found it a little unconventional but also brilliant.
His presentation style is still based on his notes mostly. He would go back to his notes once in a while to recall where he’s at. So his Powerpoint deck has more or less just 20 slides. I’m more of a Powerpoint based presentor so mine usually has over 70. I even have 130 slide deck because I rely on the combination of my Powerpoint’s visual design and my tone of voice and gesture for my audience’s memory retention rate to increase.
Anthony’s wrap-up, conclusion and exit was also satisfying. The only thing missing is a brilliant Powerpoint design – which we’re working on getting.
Overall, it’s a good learning experience even for me.
Now I’m thinking that I ought to listen to other speakers more often. Haha!