I’m lost, where is the payoff?

I have been a fan of ABC’s Lost since it started.  I was sucked into the stories of the survivors of Oceanic flight 815 and their perils on the island.  The stories were complex and the characters were deep.  There was also an element of supernatural and fantasy that made it just weird enough so that there was always something I just couldn’t figure out.  Unlike most really good tv shows that end up getting canceled because of poor ratings, the creators of LOST decided to plan an ending to their program and next season will be the last.  This seasons finally was last night and the two hour extravaganza revolved around two separate groups trying to save the island and save the people.  And as I watch it finish I was left to wonder, as I have after many episodes, “Where is my payoff?”.

Do your speeches have a payoff?

Do your meetings have a payoff?

Do your stories have a payoff?

Happily ever after isn’t the only possible payoff at the end of a presentation.  In some cases we need an action statement.  In some cases we want to know what happened to the principals in the story.  Sometimes we need to know that everything didn’t work out for the best.  But we always need SOMETHING at the end to show for the time that we have invested in your work.  

Basic speech structure is:  opening, body, conclusion.  The opening is the set up for your story with provides the conflict and the conclusion wraps it up and gives you a payoff.  Take a look at the presentation that you are working on or the speech you just practiced and think if there is something in it for the people in the audience.  The whole idea of professional speaking revolves around sharing something with an audience that gives value to the members of the audience.  That value is the payoff.  

Hopefully next season will be 30 episodes of non stop payoff and resolution of issues (I still want to know about Locke working at the box factory and what kind of powers Walt has), but somehow I don’t think that will be the case.  Instead maybe I will just make sure that the speech I am working on isn’t just a well crafted roller coaster ride, but that in the end it not only provides value to the audience but they get a payoff.




2 thoughts on “I’m lost, where is the payoff?”

  1. opening body close

    is only an initial formula that Toastmasters’ Intl teaches.

    Not the only one.

    get attention
    shock or surprise
    and many other ways…. equal OPENING



    keep sharing
    keep learning
    keep growing
    keep asking

    what else
    how else
    why else
    who else
    when else
    where else

  2. Do your speeches have a payoff?

    Hmmm? As of this August I have given over 3500 presentations ranging from keynote speeches to 60 to 90 min workshops or breakout session,1/2-day, full day to 3 day to 5 day workshops or training programs to stage performances.

    I have been making money speaking since 1976 part-time and then full-time starting in 1984.

    Not all speeches have been for a fee. Many are in exchange for travel, meals, other benefits or being hosted in countries around the world or in various places in the US or even Georgia. I found over the first 8 years of standard marketing efforts that most of speaking engagements came from people who heard me speak. Many of them lead to repeat work year after year from 10 to 26+ years.

    Most speeches, whether for fee or not, have led to future speeches and many of them led to fees and other benefits.

    The greatest benefits from my speaking have been

    1. developing friends around the world
    2. helping people in my audiences or their employees
    3. getting to travel around the world
    4. having people come up afterward and thank me, hug me, offer to help me

    This year I have been in Canada twice, Portugal, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama (very short trip) and I am about to leave for nearly 2 weeks in South Africa (annual trip each years since 1998) and I just found out a marketing company that has represented me since 2003 has sold a two-day program of mine in Singapore once again for this November that will pay my flights to Cambodia and Southeast Asia afterward where I am going to be one of many volunteers who are helping with one of Jimmy Carter’s Habitat for Humanity in Cambodia.

    What have been the payoffs Stevie from my speaking?

    experiences, a life of adventure and fun that has had and continues to have meaning while helping other people

    Added to all those I listed already plus the freedom to live a life that I choose and enjoy.

    Keep writing Stevie.

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