Powerful talk tracks replace slides as story anchors for virtual speakers

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A collection of slides are often the story anchors and visual support to deliver speeches at physical events. However, for virtual events, slide collections are not your best bet. Instead, we need a tool closer to what actors use in delivering a cinematic experience. This post will help you frame your stories in talk tracks that you can use in various virtual delivery formats. 

Two different approaches to frame an engaging story 

The slides play a crucial role in physical presentations, both when it comes to preparing and delivering. Great slides make life easier for a speaker, enabling focus on delivery and managing questions and answers.  

This format tends to be boring for virtual deliveries, where speakers hide behind slides or get marginalized in the corner as a brief stamp-size picture. However, you can make the experience more exciting by relying more on each speaker and their abilities and insights. 

Good speakers can grow by mastering talk tracks as anchors for virtual deliveries. A well-known tool for Executives and sales professionals using short briefs summarizing vital topics ahead of internal, customer, or board meetings. A concept that can serve as a starting point for delivering great cinematic experiences at virtual events. A good aspiration is to frame a virtual session on a page without cheating by using a 6-point font. 

Understanding the anatomy of a powerful talk track

The key to inspiring virtual speeches is memorizing well-written talking points, like actors learning movie scripts. But, of course, a movie script is a good metaphor as we as speakers target to deliver a cinematic experience. 

Consider the following building blocks when putting a template for talk tracks supporting speakers at virtual events: 

  • A broader theme is framed in one or two words that anyone in your target audience is familiar with
  • A crisp title name, think event program already at this stage 
  • two to three-sentence summary of the key messages you want to deliver
  • The three to five target personas you have created the talk track for 
  • Topics to cover, one topic for every 2-3 minutes of virtual stage time, resulting in 15-20 minutes covered on a page
  • 3-4 points to make on each topic, carefully worded, rich in facts, and including powerful one-liners that stick
  • Add a suitable metaphor for complex subjects, making it easier for all personas in your target audience to grok your ideas. 

Strive to find a format for these seven foundational aspects of a talk track that support your way of memorizing. Then, once you have nailed it, it is easy to quickly develop a talk track for a new theme and prepare ahead of a virtual event session. 

Tips and tricks that make your talk tracks stand out from mediocre ones

Screenwriting and the writing of talk tracks is an art and a profession in its own right. But there are a few simple things we all can adopt to write better talk tracks daily. 

  • Think about exciting session titles already when you write your talk track, which will guide the sentences you formulate and the data you look for to give your sentences life. Test it with a blog post headline analyzer and aim for 4-8 words in length. 
  • Speak out loud when you write. The delivery form is always the spoken word, and you can test it as you write.  
  • Topics and talking points are what make or break your talk track. Few people can grasp follow if you jump too quickly between topics. Two to three points are sufficient to make your point on a topic.  

Word each point carefully, so a speaker can memorize it word by word and come across as natural. Include at least one point with an eye-opening number under each topic, with explicit reference to the source. Aspire to include one quotable one-liner under each topic. One your audience will remember, a journalist covering an event will pick up, and the influencer in the audience will post on social media. 

How speakers take advantage of your talk tracks 

Talk tracks are in play from the early planning stages to the delivery of virtual sessions. It can be a clear description to event organizers to get speakers qualified for a speaking slot. In addition, it can serve as the base for titles and topics to include in session descriptions to promote an event.  

Speakers use it reviewing and memorizing ahead of rehearsals and deliveries, and when possible, speakers can have the talk track up on the screen when presenting as a supporting tool. 

A sound talk track can support multiple delivery formats for one or multiple speakers. You reach the full advantage of talk tracks when you invest time creating great ones for a theme you expect to be in high demand for your virtual deliveries. 

Suppose you are a frequent speaker with monthly or weekly performances. In that case, you might want to have a portfolio of a handful of talk tracks that reflect what you see as vital to influence and that you revise continuously—adding a new important talk track each quarter and phasing out one that has gone stale. 

Talk tracks are great as a base for creating derivative assets 

Beyond being an excellent tool for speakers, they are great as a foundation for derivative marketing assets. A talk track can serve as:

  • The message and fact base for a comprehensive blogpost or by-line article
  • The foundation elements for creating a powerful slide 
  • A script for recording a 3-4 minute video on a topic, on what you would say in a virtual session 
  • A base for a 30-minute interview with a journalist, where each topic matches the questions agreed in advance
  • A brief to a podcast host on what you jointly plan to cover

Questions for you as a speaker and your speechwriter 

  1. In which way do I usually memorize what to say? Speakers have different ways to learn, where your visual, verbal, or numeric memory plays different roles. 
  2. What talk tracks do I use today, and how can they be refined? 
  3. How can I combine the ideas in this post with my thoughts for what my personalized talk tracks should look like? Expect preferences to vary between speakers. 
  4. How do other great speakers in my company work with their talk tracks? Look among Executives and sales professionals for best practices. 

Additional reading suggestions 

2 thoughts on “Powerful talk tracks replace slides as story anchors for virtual speakers

  1. Pingback: Six quick wins all virtual/hybrid speakers should consider | Tweeter Linder

  2. Pingback: 24 key insights from two years of virtual speech deliveries | Tweeter Linder

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