A Look Back at Our First SpeakEasy Intensive

Last year, we came up with a crazy idea. We had been developing and delivering comprehensive speaker development programs to ophthalmologists, technologists, design thinkers, scientists, and innovators from a variety of organizations. Our intention was always the same: guide experts in their field through a process in which they develop a powerful TED-style talk over the course of 8-12 weeks. The program would culminate with a showcase event where each speaker would share their big new idea with the world and the group would connect and converse and engage with each idea.

After a delivering a number of successful programs – with each cohort building upon the learning of the previous cohorts, we had this an idea: what if we could take leaders through this program, from idea to stage-ready in just a few days? We talked about it, evolved the idea, shared the idea, and… SpeakEasy Intensive was born! A program that promised and delivered on the concept of “From idea to stage ready talk in 4-days”.

Last week in Québec City, we delivered our first SpeakEasy Intensive to a group of excited, nervous, but willing participants. This first cohort, a group of carefully selected leaders from across Canada, represented Canada’s diverse sectors, cultures and thinking from financial to technology to non-profit. We congregated at the beautiful Auberge Saint Antoine in the heart of old Québec City for four very full days of workshops, coaching, peer learning and presenting.

Although many attendees had previous experience presenting in front of large groups, none of them recognized the effort required to craft and deliver an exceptional presentation. We covered a lot of ground in a very short period of time. From learning the elements of storytelling to the content development process with our proprietary Talk Canvas™ story building tool to developing a comprehensive understanding of performance and delivery each participant received the tools to develop, connect and deliver a powerful talk.

We welcomed Mark Bowden whose expertise in non-verbal communications and stage techniques helped each participant to up their stage presence and to meaningfully connect with their audiences. Then the real work began, writing and developing their talks, each participant was supported by a series of coaching sprints that kick-started and supported their productivity and accelerated their creative output.

The end results surpassed our wildest expectations. By the end of the third day, we were humble witnesses to nine powerful talks that literally had us cheering, crying, and wanting more! Each presenter not only articulated their ideas with poignant authenticity but also delivered with a powerful theatricality. But that wasn’t the even the best outcome. The group arrived a disparate collection of unique leaders and left as a collective of connected thought-leaders who became friends. They transformed, as one leader coined them, into a “Talk Tribe”.

We will be hosting another SpeakEasy Intensive in November and will announce the date next week!. Make sure you sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop. While we are incredibly proud of our first SpeakEasy Intensive and thought we would leave you with the participant’s words:

“The venue was stunning and inspiring to work out of. The food was luxurious. The people were so incredibly curated, loved them all and appreciated the diversity. The content was new, fascinating and thought-provoking. Talk Boutique team is beyond excellent, a beautiful balance between professional and personal.”

“Strong framework/process which can be replicated (foundational learning) and an outstanding, diverse group of professionals.”

“I learned that speaking can be learned, just like any other skill. A person can become a professional speaker by learning the tools that you gave us that week. I feel like I now have a system to go about building my speaking and coaching business.”

“The importance of Story to frame the talk and the use of guideposts and structure within your talk.”

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