June 26, 2021

Michael Port on Transformational Public Speaking That Generates Business

Michael Port on Transformational Public Speaking That Generates Business

Michael Port shares the power of speaking to transform an audience and get them to take action. Discover how to skillfully and authentically impress and inspire any audience with substance and style, the best way to sell your services during a speech...

Michael Port shares the power of speaking to transform an audience and get them to take action. Discover how to skillfully and authentically impress and inspire any audience with substance and style, the best way to sell your services during a speech without actually selling, and how to connect with your audience emotionally and intellectually at the same time.


Mo asks Michael Port: What’s your best advice for professional services experts to get great at growing their book of business, growing their relationships, and growing their career?

  • Stop speaking, and start performing. Most people who are trying to share their ideas tend to only share information, which doesn’t generally change people’s behavior.
  • First we have to change how people feel before we can change how they think, and then how they behave. If you are working on a pitch or sales conversation, you have to think about how you want your audience to feel moment to moment, how you want them to think, and then what you want them to do afterward.
  • Trying to stuff four hours of information into a one hour conversation is not a good way to convince someone.
  • There are five foundational elements that exist in any type of pitch or presentation. The first element is the big idea that acts as a through line for the rest of the presentation. A big idea doesn’t need to be different to make a difference, it just needs to be true, relevant, and important for the people you serve.
  • The second is being able to articulate the way the world looks to the people in the room. Changing someone’s mind takes a lot of effort and if the other person believes that you don’t understand them, it gets easier for them to say no.
  • The third element is to have a clear and definitive promise that is associated with that presentation.
  • The fourth element is articulating the consequences of not adopting the big idea and achieving the promise.
  • The last element is the emotional, physical, and even spiritual rewards of adopting the big idea.
  • Most people rely on their expertise when going into a pitch or presentation. If you’re not using a process for the content work and rehearsal, you will fall back onto your preparation, which in this case is minimal. Presenting is like running a marathon; you’re not going to succeed without training and preparation.
  • Communicating your own value is a vital skill to learn. Talent is overrated. The people you are seeing on the stage at the high end of your profession work on their craft. They may have some talent to start off with, but the time they spend rehearsing and practicing is the real source of their success. The ones who excel are the ones who put in the most work into the craft of speaking, not the most talented.


Mo asks Michael Port: How can the audience create and close more opportunities?

  • All sales offers should be proportionate to the amount of trust we’ve earned. When Michael started as an entrepreneur who wasn’t very comfortable making big sales offers so he started thinking about what people responded well to. This led him to the idea of inviting people during a weekly teleconference call.
  • He started speaking about ideas that would help people think bigger about who they were and help advance their professional goals. He found that after six months of doing those calls, they had brought in 85% of the clients he had at the time. The interesting part was that although he made no sales offers during the calls, people were raising their hands to discuss working with him as a natural extension of the process.
  • Rather than trying to sell every time you meet somebody, think about what you can invite them to that would add value to their lives and that you can do on a regular basis. You will start to find that it will begin to create business development opportunities for you.
  • Using speaking as a promotional tool is one of the most effective tools you can employ, because there are very few environments that immediately infer credibility. The mistake that most people make is believing that they should be selling during the presentation, so Michael focuses on helping people deliver transformational speeches.
  • If the audience has a transformation in that period of time while you’re on stage, all they need to know is that they can work with you and they will ask to work with you.
  • If you have a truly transformational product, you don’t need a lot of marketing or selling because the product will do it for you. When you are delivering a speech, you should be getting stage-side leads every single time and if you get those leads, you will get clients and referrals for additional speaking opportunities.
  • You can mention your services but keep it a light touch. Deliver something that people want, and if they want more of it they will book you as a consultant.
  • Speaking live allows you to affect the way the audience feels and that’s the most important aspect of connection.


Mo asks Michael Port: How can people use speaking to deepen relationships?

  • It’s critically important to start by demonstrating that you understand how the world looks for the people in the room. Can you fill multiple pages with their thoughts and perspectives?
  • There is a difference between having someone tell you “you’re right” versus “that’s right”. Too many speakers are driven toward getting the audience to admit that they are right, but the better approach is to share an idea and get the audience to say in their head “yes, that’s right!”. That’s how you create an intellectual and emotional connection.
  • It helps to find an analogy that you can use to demonstrate an idea. People are much more likely to adopt a new idea if they can contextualize it and relate it to something that they already understand.
  • In terms of importance to communication, the most memorable things are stories, with metaphors and analogies towards the top, then data and facts at the bottom.
  • Generally, we want to ask questions of the audience so that they can come to the answer themselves rather than us telling them what the answer is. Questions like “how would you feel if…?”, or “Would it make a difference if you were able to do X?”.
  • Avoid leading the audience with questions that always end up in the affirmative. Research shows that people will resist answering your big idea when they feel led, but if you frame the questions in the negative you will actually increase the odds of getting a yes on your big idea.


Mo asks Michael Port: How can we hack our habits to keep doing things in the long-term even when we’re really busy?

  • Michael doesn’t see himself as particularly disciplined. He tends to choose really intense projects that require a high level of focus and then move on from them when he is One of the key habit changing strategies he’s implemented in his business is using OKRs.
  • Objectives and Key Results changed the way Michael and his team worked. OKRs are all about setting objectives and key results for the future in relatively short chunks of time, which gives Michael the best of both worlds.
  • One of the most important things that Michael has discovered is that sometimes enough is enough and more is not always better.
  • Being process-obsessed is the thing that has driven the growth of Michael’s business the most. The only way to keep his service at the highest level possible is knowing how he does it every single time without variation, the same is true with employees burning out.
  • Every single organization needs to create their own operating system. This codified system allows people to be creative artists who are focused on growth and development within the framework of the processes.
  • The operating system needs to be designed with a growth destination in mind. Develop the system with help from the people you work with. Allow your team to create their own standard operating procedures so it feels more collaborative as a result.
  • You also need a way of measuring key results. Michael uses OKRs and health metrics in his operating system. OKRs are the growth oriented goals and the health metrics are the bottom line numbers you need to see to ensure the business is always healthy.


Mo shares his insights from the habits of Michael Port.

  • Mo strongly recommends that you consider using speaking to grow your business. Like any skill in life, if you have the right formula, get on the right stage, and deliver the right message you will see results. Put in some practice and you can become great at it.
  • Like driving a car, it takes time to learn but when you put in the time it becomes so ingrained that you barely even think about it.
  • Speaking reaps big rewards. Of all the ways you can generate leads, speaking is one of the most effective and has the highest leverage.
  • Speaking allows you to bond and connect with potentially hundreds of people all with one action. Those same stage speaking skills can now be amplified on the internet as well via webinars and online conferences.
  • Speaking also comes with a number of secondary benefits. By getting great at speaking, you grow your skills in a number of other communication areas.
  • Speaking is a craft, treat it like one. You need to practice and if you want to get better fast, hire someone to help you.
  • The major components of a speech that you need to work on are your opening story, the three pieces of content that you want to cover, and the ending. If you nail the opening and really connect with people at the beginning, they are going to stick with you. Try not to put too much content into your speech so you don’t overwhelm the audience. For the ending, leave them with a little inspiration.
  • Mo is going to create a database of the three elements of his speeches so that he can easily mix and match the pieces. When you give a great talk, write down what you said so you have a blueprint for your next great speech to work from.



Mentioned in this Episode: