As I sit at my desk preparing for the presentation of a lifetime, I reflect on what I have done in the past to pull together an inspiring and memorable talk. The elements are consistent independent of the content you are creating. Today, I am writing what will be the opening monologue for my father’s Memorial Service this week. There’s an added emotional element in this talk which is vastly different from simply standing up and talking about technology, leadership or about sales; however, at the end of the day, it is all about making a human connection with your audience. For those who have heard me speak, you know how much the human connection plays a role in my professional life and of course, it is a natural fit in my personal life.

In the case of my father’s Memorial Service or Celebration of Life, I inherently have a human connection with my audience. The people in attendance know me and know my father intimately. As the officiant of the service, it is my role to paint a picture of my father that resonates with the listeners. The listeners vary in that some are family members, or friends or former work colleagues. Regardless of their connection to my father, I must capture and portray an image of him that resonates with everyone.

I have chosen to speak about his universal appeal, charisma, and authenticity. Throughout my talk, I will highlight examples in stories that will help illustrate the magnitude of his influence on everyone he encountered. He was larger than life and always navigated his journey from a vantage point of positivity and optimism.

Like with other speaking engagements, I will weave a theme throughout my monologue. The theme for this event is love. Through the stories that I alluded to above, I will tie all his actions back to the clear core of his being…love. You could feel his love in everything he did whether it was in the way he spoke, the way he laughed, the way he worked, or simply in the way he smiled. Love is the chosen topic rather than loss, as I want to flood the room with happy memories as opposed to sorrow. My job is to fill that room until it is overflowing with love which is exactly how he lived his life. The glass was never half full or half empty; it was overflowing.

As I wrap up my opening talk, I will invite the guests to join me on a walk down memory lane to celebrate the life of my dear father. Together, we will celebrate his beautiful life and share stories that will connect us through what we have in common…our love for him.

So, when you prepare for your presentation of a lifetime, remember these 5 things:

  1. Create a human connection with your audience
  2. Paint a picture with words to engage and inspire
  3. Tell Stories to make your points memorable
  4. Choose a theme as a focal point of your talk
  5. Close with what you all have in common to unify your audience.

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