Lessons from a Shark: How to Deliver a Powerful Speech

Do you stay up nights rehearsing your speech weeks prior to a presentation? Do you rehearse every word, smooth each transition and practice timing of jokes so the audience will (hopefully) laugh?

Well, you are not alone. In fact, most speakers will spend hours rehearsing, tweaking and perfecting a presentation so they can deliver it with impact.

Recently I attended a conference that featured a Keynote speaker who has perfected the craft – Daymond John, CEO of FUBU and star of Shark Tank.


Daymond John (photo courtesy of Annette Naif, Forte Events)

This was the first time I have seen him speak and I was impressed by his story, presence and energetic style. Here are the qualities that made his presentation so powerful:

Engage with a personal story

Daymond John shared the story of how he created the FUBU brand from an idea to the billion dollar brand it is today. He was transparent and shared all of the difficulties of creating a start-up including working at a chain restaurant to make ends meet, getting declined for bank loans, and enlisting the help of family and friends to create the clothing samples. His authenticity leveled the playing field and made the audience feel as though he had walked in their shoes.


Daymond has a wonderful stage presence. It’s obvious he speaks frequently and knows how to command the stage. But he added in a few elements to take his speech from good to great. Rather than use text-heavy slides, he used a mix of photos, video and music throughout his presentation. Photos of his childhood home and original clothing samples illustrated the story of how the FUBU brand began. The music made the presentation lively, infused humor and kept people engaged.


So much information is shared during an hour-long presentation that it can be difficult for the audience to remember everything that was said. That’s why it’s important to narrow down your talk to just a few key points you’d like the audience to walk away with. Daymond John did just that by sharing his 5 success tips which he organized into acronym S.H.A.R.K.

S – Set a goal – write that goal down and refer to it often so you can stay focused.
H – (do your) Homework – research the market and understand the needs of your customers.
A – Amore/ do what you love. He believes that if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life.
R – Remember you are a brand. It’s important to boil that brand down to just 3-5 words. For example, Nike’s Just Do It.
K – Keep swimming. Sharks die if they stop swimming, so keep moving towards your goal.

By keeping his talk to five main points, and creating an acronym, the audience was able to remember the most important information he discussed.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your best strategy for making a presentation memorable? Share your thoughts in the comments below.



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