What Memory Do You Leave?

In honor of the US holiday “Memorial Day”, a day on which we honor those who have fallen, it’s worth asking,

what memory do I leave behind
after I am gone?

Years ago, I was at the funeral service of a close family friend who had been married for 45 years. Her marriage had been exemplary on many levels, and at the service, the priest said something I will never forget. “Holly and her husband, Maurice, were the PR for marriage.”

What are you

Your speech and your life are limited in time. Neither will last forever. But they will leave behind a memory.

So it’s worth asking, “What is the IMPRESSION I want to leave behind?”

What is your message to the world?

In the speaking industry, it’s often said that the audience forgets a large percentage of your presentation after they leave the room and even more so a week later.  But they will remember something. Sometimes an image, a story, a metaphor, a prop.

What’s the ONE thing you want them to remember?Victoria Labalme - presentation skills.jpg

This last week, I was coaching two senior executives for a presentation they’re giving at a conference in June. As we worked to focus their message, finding what I call the “Through Line” and then an image to anchor that Through Line (the “image system”), one woman remarked on how years after a speech she gave, people still remember only one thing. Fortunately, for her, it was her key message – her Through Line and the visual that supported it.

She’d anchored her message around the image of two people in life preservers, floating at sea, holding hands – and the Through Line that went with it: that in the organization, we need a support system and we need to stick together. She even wore a life preserver as she delivered her presentation. Corny, yes…but it stuck.

No doubt, when people look back on your life, they will find themselves recalling a kaleidoscope of images, stories, emotions, anecdotes…and an overall essence.

This said, as a quick litmus test to make sure your speech and your life are on track, ask yourself this:

“If I could be remembered for only one thing, what would it be?”

Then start living your life or crafting your speech accordingly.

Eagle Flying - Victoria Labalme.jpg
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