What Transformers 3 Taught Me About Giving Speeches

by drjim on July 26, 2011

Speakers need to find ways to Transform their speeches

Speakers need to find ways to Transform their speeches

A little while back I went out to the movie theater and saw the movie “Transformers 3: Dark Of The Moon”. If you are hoping for a movie review, I’m afraid that I’m going to end up disappointing you. However, it turns out that this movie has a lot of lessons for speakers if you know where to look for them…

What You Can Learn From A Bad Movie

Transformers 3 is not going to win any awards for being a good movie. It’s actually pretty bad. Yeah, yeah, it’s going to end up making a ton of money for the folks associated with it, but when the summer is over, this movie is going to be quickly forgotten.

Why do I say this? The #1 thing that is wrong with this movie is that its plot is just so bad. While you are watching a movie you want to be swept away by the movie. For that brief period of time that you are sitting in the darkened movie theater, you want the cares and concerns of your everyday life to go away while you become one with the movie. While I was watching Transformers 3, this did not happen!

The reason that I’m making this point is that as speakers, we know the importance of public speaking and this means that there is a need to be able to allow our audiences to get swept away by our speech. We need to find ways to allow them to leave their normal lives and become one with our speech. Perhaps we can learn from the train-wreck of a movie that Transformers 3 is.

Here’s one of the key points that throws the audience off track right off the bat. A key character in the first two movies, the hero’s girlfriend, isn’t in this movie (she got fired by the producer). Considering the key role that she played in the first two movies, this is an issue that needs to be dealt with. However, the movie just says that “it didn’t work out” and moves on. Not good enough for the audience – we want to know WHY it didn’t work out. We were invested in that character.

In the previous two movies the hero’s parents played a role as people that things happened to – comedy relief. Ok, I can live with that. In this movie the hero’s parents show up and appear to be poised to once again play a role. However, poof – all of a sudden they are gone, not to show up again. The audience is left confused – why where they there in the first place if they didn’t play a role in the movie’s plot?

Finally, things happen in the movie for no reason. As our hero hides in a building all of a sudden the bad guys start to attack that building for no reason. Yes, it puts the hero in peril, but there is no reason for this to happen except it allows a lot of nice special effects to be shown.

In the end, the audience is left feeling confused. When we give speeches we need to make sure that the plot of our speech holds together. The main point of our speech needs to be there in everything that we say – all of our stories, all of our main points. We can’t introduce topics that have nothing to do with our main point. Finally, everything that we say needs to move our audience closer to our closing – there should be no unexplained parts of our speech.

Why Is This Movie So Popular?

This movie is a stinky movie. However, it’s going to make a lot of money. This bring up an interesting point for speakers: if it’s so bad, why is it going to make so much money?

Frist off, the director used his listening skills to understand what his audience wanted and he got one thing right: the movie has a lot of action. Almost from the get go things move at a break-neck speed. Even though the plot has holes in it that are so big that you could drive an 18-wheeler though, since you are moving so fast you tend to notice this less.

Next, the movie’s hero spends most of his time on the big screen in life-threating situations. You are constantly wondering how he is going to get out of his current predicament. You know that he will, it’s just that you don’t know HOW he will and so you are forced to keep on watching.

Oh yeah, there is that romance thing where its hero gets the girl, hero loses the girl, hero gets the girl. We all like a good love story and so we need to know how they get back together so we must keep watching.

Finally, in all such movies we all know that the good guys will eventually win. We just don’t know how they are going to do it. Therefore we’ll stay until the end of the movie in order to find out.

This is all standard movie stuff. We watch because we get hooked on some part of the story and we want to see how it is going to turn out. As speakers we need to realize that we can do the same thing. This type of control is a bigger deal that just using a few presentation tips. One of the benefits of public speaking is that you control the flow of your speech. In your opening you need to present your audience with a problem or a challenge that you keep coming back to during the speech. Finally, during your closing you need to wrap it up – how can the challenge be overcome?

What All Of This Means For You

So in the end, let’s be honest here. Transformers 3 was a pretty lousy movie. I’m not really sure what I expected, the previous two were not all that good, but this one was by far the worst. It wasn’t the acting that was so bad (but it was pretty bad), but rather the plot.

It turns out that plot really does matter for a movie. Likewise, when you are giving a speech the plot of your speech matters also. There has to be a reason for you to give the speech and that has to form the basis of its plot. You can’t just introduce new characters into stories. You have to tell your audience what happens to the people that you talk about. Additionally, if you choose to include something in your speech there had better be a good reason for it.

A bad movie can still end up making money if it has stars or if it has the latest and greatest technical effects. Your next speech is going to have a much smaller budget than even the cheapest movie. That means that you’re going to have to make sure that the plot of your speech keeps your audience’s attention. Take the time to do this well and you’ll have found a way to transform your next speech!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that your next speech would be more successful if you have a happy ending?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

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