As a speaker, your first job is to strike just the right chord with the audience and the occasion. It's all about creating an audience-friendly, occasion-sensitive tone that resonates. Once you've done that, everything else is much easier.
Years ago, I saw a great example of the pitch perfect presentation. It was at a gala dinner to dedicate the new, world headquarters of the PPG Corporation. The event was held in the building's Winter Garden -- a large, all-glass, public space that had been donated for public use by PPG.
The after-dinner speakers -- corporate executives, public officials, etc. -- droned on. But at the end of the program, one speaker redeemed the whole evening.
He was Philip Johnson, master architect and creator of the PPG Building and the Winter Garden.
Instead of standing behind the lectern, Johnson stepped forward and casually leaned on it. He was saying to the audience, don't worry, I don't have a script. This isn't a speech. I'm just chatting with you. He was completely relaxed and spoke in his normal conversational voice.
As he chatted about designing the PPG Building, it was clear that the Winter Garden was his idea -- and the part of the project that he really loved. There we sat, in this wonderful space, as he told us the story of how it came to be.
Although he spoke for just a few minutes, he was in complete command of the audience and the occasion. That evening was almost 25 years ago, yet I remember the tone of Johnson's remarks as if he had spoken last week.
As a speaker, aim for the pitch perfect presentation. It's one that puts the audience and the occasion ahead of everything else.