4 (speaking) techniques to convey your story more powerfully

In our survey of keynote speakers, we talked to several professional speakers from the Netherlands. This included Jaap Bressers. He made one thing very clear: the story is what inspires. "Pumping knowledge doesn't do anything for me. Personally, I find there are few speakers who can really inspire me. As a speaker, you have to have something to bring, you have to be able to suck people into your story." So how exactly do you do that? Based on the interview with Jaap, we have worked out 4 (speaking) techniques to get your story across (even) more powerfully for you.


"A personal story or anecdote touches me," Jaap states. "It is valuable for the audience when they can do something with your content. They need to feel that you are engaged with them. I have learned to link my own experiences to challenges that are at play among my audience, so they can better identify with my story and take important take-aways from it."

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When you want to respond to the challenges faced by your audience, it is important to have good pre-conversations, Jaap points out: "I do a lot of customisation and always dig deep during the pre-talk. This allows me to take stories with me based on what comes up in that conversation and to tailor my performance to the audience I will be in front of. I want to offer clients the best story I have for them. I hold nothing back and give everything, even during a preliminary interview. It's incredible what you can achieve with a little sincere attention and interest..."


To tailor your story to your audience, it is important to be flexible with your content. This can also be a useful skill during your presentation itself, says Jaap: "During my performance, I sometimes jump back or forward a bit in my content. This is very important for my story. The presentation I use is not leading, so I don't have to stick to the order of the slides. Follow your audience. If they are extra interested in a particular part, go deeper. If one point is already clear, move on to another valuable part. There is nothing worse than a speaker finishing his slides."


Finally, Jaap gives a tip that may seem obvious, but is far from always so: "Tell from your heart, which is very nice to listen to. Then you can hardly get it wrong. If you are very much in your head, people drop out at the start. Tell about what is close to you, what you are passionate about, what you have lived through. Many speakers have read something and pass it on in their way. Someone else may have read that too, but how you convey it is the challenge. I also like vulnerability on stage, as well as humour. Make it unique, make it yours. Then your story will come across powerfully."

Jaap Bressers


Jaap Bressers (1983) has had one goal from an early age: to get everything out of life. Initially, he does this by preferably working as hard as possible to realise his dream: to become a top manager after studying International Management. At 21e changes everything. A fresh dip in the sea runs into a high spinal cord injury. After a tough rehabilitation period, Jaap decides to give his life a totally different twist.

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