15 October 2014

3 Presentation Lessons from Singer-Songwriter Caparezza

Last week Italian songster Caparezza performed in London. I was lucky enough to be there to enjoy his show. For those of you who don’t know him, Caparezza is a talented artist from Southern Italy. Everybody knows him for his hair style, but trust me, there is much more than that. I’ve got curly hair as well, but that doesn’t allow me to consider myself an artist.
He is not only a great singer—he is a fantastic performer as well. He knows what to do to create memorable shows. Thanks to his concert, I’ve come to understand there is something in common between a singer and a speaker, even a business speaker. Here are three super serious presentation tips from one of my home country’s craziest singers.     
(1) Focus on how you say it
Caparezza always tries to come up with new ways to communicate his songs’ meaning. It’s not only what you say, but also how you say it. His new album Museica includes a song called Cover. It’s a story that he tells going through some of the most memorable album covers in the history of music—from The Queen’s Innuendo to Bob Marley’s Legend to Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon. Instead of just singing, last week he had all of these covers hanging from a whiteboard and showed them one at a time as he was singing. His words were in perfect tune with the “visuals” and that amplified both the song and its meaning.
Lesson for presenters: Content is king, but communication is its queen. [Tweet this] It doesn’t matter what you say unless you communicate it effectively. 
Just as Caparezza used album covers to bring his song to life, you should find ways to amplify your content. Here are three tips:
(2) Have fun
Caparezza is 41, yet he is still a child on stage. He enjoys the gig as much as his fans do. He is artist and audience at the same time. You can see it by simply looking at his smile. It’s authentic. He is not pretending he is having fun—he is really super excited about his show. 
Lesson for presenters: Don’t take yourself (or your topic) too seriously. Even if your topic is businesslike, a bit of humour may help. If you look at the world’s best speakers, they often use humour in their talks. In How Schools Kill Creativity—the most popular TED talk of all time—Educator Sir Ken Robinson made large use of humour to lighten up his speech. According to Carmine Gallo, “humor lowers defences, making your audience more receptive to your message. It also makes you seem more likable, and people are more willing to do business with or support someone they like.”  
(3) Connect with your audience
Caparezza is great at connecting with his fans at a personal level. He even knows some of them—the ever-present ones—by name. Last week he invited Fabio to jump on stage to help him with his performance. He surprised all of us with something that none of us would have expected. 
Lesson for presenters: Your presentation is not a monologue, but rather it’s an opportunity to engage your audience with a conversation. You can ask them questions and encourage them do to the same with you. Who said Q&A must come at the end? Remember, a presentation is a conversation, not a sermon. [Tweet this]     
Lessons are everywhere, as long as you keep your mind open to learning. If you want to master your public speaking skills but you don’t have £500 for a training course, go to a concert, have fun and the skills will come.  

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Album Covers from YouTube
Caparezza at BassFestival via Flickr
Caparezza at Koko London via Facebook