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Simone Caporale: How to Prepare for a Public Talk

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Expert

Simone Caporale is one of the most prominent figures on the English bar scene. To Alex Kratena, he is a faithful companion and partner in the former's spectacular talks and innovations. In the past, he was the senior bartender at Artesian, and today he tours the world with his lectures and master classes.

01

How do you start preparing?

There's no one magical formula or rule to follow when preparing a talk. Try to do something new with every talk, without sticking to a uniform plan.

Remember that all you need in order to make a good impression is to be prepared. Before you start, you have to clarify:

  • your audience's background: beginner, experienced, or professional
  • your guests' market: on-trade or off-trade
02

How long should the talk last?

The meaningfulness and result of your talk don't depend as much on the time spent on your speech as on its main goal. For example, videos for a YouTube channel should be short, informative, and full of content – think 2-3 minutes.

With master classes, everything is set up completely differently. First of all, the audience can't exceed 20 people; otherwise everything will turn into chaos. Secondly, you have to try and get the audience as physically active as possible. Let the participants mix, taste, and smell. Set up experiments and get people as involved as you can.

Today, many people still have a firm belief that the quality of a talk depends on its length. This is not the case: 45 minutes is more than enough to do something memorable.

03

What is the best way to start a talk?

The key is to always conduct an open dialogue.

To be honest, there is a simple and cheap way to excite an audience: adding a little bit of drama into your talk. People like it, since they get an intuitive understanding of the fact that they're not the only ones dealing with the problems at hand. But I personally prefer to keep my talks positive.

Try to speak concisely, use examples from everyday life, and give your listeners something to think about: force them to make judgments. Of course, make sure you look at the people sitting in front of you.

04

What storytelling style works best?

Practice as much as you can. Even if you have to speak in English, don't worry. Nobody makes as many mistakes as I do. The main thing is to be sincere and say what you believe.

Practice behind the bar as you talk with your customers. Learn to be sure of yourself – experience helps dispel fear. Reading literature helps enormously, along with studying examples from history and cinema. Rewatch "The Godfather." Listen to Bill Clinton's speeches. Read Joe Navarro's "What Every Body is Saying." Prepare your "plan B." It's possible, for instance, to forget your text out of nervousness, and in such moments, a backup script never hurts.

05

What do you need to account for before going on stage?

You can, of course, drink a quick gin and tonic before you go onstage, but then you risk losing the thread and forgetting your speech. Better to speak sober.

Be calm, be sure of yourself, and breathe. Incidentally, if there's a microphone on stage, better to breathe with your mouth. Breathing through your nose when using a microphone makes an awful noise.

Keep a glass of water at hand so that your mouth doesn't dry out. In order to avoid this, some professional speakers even put a thin layer of vaseline on their gums. Top models do this, too, when they have to smile a lot.

06

What can you absolutely not do?

Don't copy the style of a dictator. Without serious communication skills, they manipulated crowds through the use of fear and negative emotions. Talks by great people shouldn't lead to war.

Don't ever let yourself be imperious. The only thing that elevates a speaker above their audience is the height of the stage they're standing on. Be yourself, and rest assured that every speaker will connect with what you're saying and find themselves in your talk.

 

Expert: Simone Caporale
Journalist: Mary Allison
Photo: Bar Magazine
07
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