Lee Gordon is the director of corporate communications at 180 Communications, and has nearly two decades of experience in media, public relations, marketing and branding. He spent 15 years as a television sports and news anchor at CBS and has also served as a sideline reporter for the NFL on FOX. His career has taken him from Chicago to Tallahassee and Jacksonville, Fla., where he spent years covering
the Jacksonville Jaguars. His reporting and writing have earned him 25 Associated Press Awards.
says, “In business and on stage, you
have to look at the outcome from
the client’s or audience’s perspective.
People buy into the mission: What do
you represent? People don’t buy what
you sell; they buy what you stand for.”
“I love speaking, leading and com-
munications. I study, search for
examples, and my commitment comes
through. You can show your com-
mitment in terms of preparation. For
that client, that’s their one event a
year—everything rests on that. For
me, maybe it’s 1 out of 100 speeches
I’ll do that year, but you need to give
everything you have every time you
take the stage.”
Nothing engages an audience more
than stories. What do you remember
about the nightly news: ribbon-cutting
ceremonies or stories about people?
Truly great speakers captivate their
audiences, and provide moments that
you tell your friends and family about.
“I want to stay relevant and continue to innovate,” Bennett says, “I
have a lot of ideas and content that is
in the works. But the one thing I have
learned through it all is that you can’t
underestimate the power of storytelling. We all have a story to tell and
once you find yours, it’s amazing how
easy it is to connect with people.”
Storytelling Tips for Speakers
Seek connection, not perfection. Perfection is all about you, and it creates frayed
nerves and mistakes. Connection is about the audience. How can you help them?
Have conversations; don’t give presentations. No one likes being talked to; people
want you to talk with them. Are you asking questions and giving people time to
reflect? Make your speech more interactive and less of a monologue.
Keep your stories concise and compelling. Audiences have short attention spans,
so the quicker you get to the take-away, the better your speech will be.
Make your stories struggle to solution. The struggle is the emotional hook and
the solution is the help. Be vulnerable and share the struggles you have overcome.
Showing your vulnerability will make you relatable and credible.
Relive—don’t retell—your stories. Create an experience that your audience feels
and motivates them to take the desired action.
Use dialogue for humor and impact. Mark Twain said, “Don’t tell me that the lady
screamed; bring her on stage and let her scream.” Let the characters in your stories
deliver their lines and it will make your stories dynamic.
Practice your movement. Gestures, posture, facial expressions and the way you
move on stage bring your stories to life.