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3 Amazing Presentation Hacks We Can Learn from Zelenskyy's Westminster Speech

They say actors make the best communicators, so shouldn't we be able to learn something amazing from their speeches?

Did you know Volodymyr Zelenskyy was a sitcom actor before he became President of Ukraine? That’s quite a career path.

Nobody could have known how his acting career would prepare him to plead on the world's stage for military equipment to be sent to Ukraine in the darkest of times.

Moments that Matter

I don’t know who wrote President Zelenskyy’s speech, but the one he gave in Westminster Hall on 8th February 2023, was a masterclass in communication, imagery and of emotional intelligence.

For me, the moment that mattered was when President Zelenskyy’s colleague handed the gift of a Pilot’s helmet to Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

President Zelenskyy, read aloud its hand written inscription:

"We have freedom, give us wings to protect it"

He continued, reflecting on his last visit to the UK, in 2020, he recalled thanking his hosts "for delicious English tea". "I will be leaving Parliament today, thanking you all in advance for powerful English planes."

That moment lasted just a few seconds, but it will live in the annals of public speaking history for all time.

Right there, right then, in that moment, President Zelenskyy delivered his Poke in the Eye. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house…certainly not mine.

Bravery takes you through the most unimaginable hardships to finally reward you with victory

President Zelenskyy landed his message.

OK. So What Can Salespeople Learn from President Zelenskyy's Speech?

How can we salespeople use communications mastery like this in our pitches or presentations?

Well, as that famous 1980s TV ad recommended “you gotta practice."

You’ll have to practice - lots - to get anywhere close to Volodymyr Zelenskyy‘s speaking skills but it is possible. Here's how:

1 word: Emotional Intelligence.

Okay, that’s two words but 1 heck of a strap-line

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Daniel Goleman defines emotional intelligence as:

Recognize, understand and manage our own emotions and;

Recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.

Simply put, emotional intelligence means making yourself vulnerable, thereby building trust and rapport between you and your audience.

Your audience could be anywhere from 1 to 1 million.

Okay, so you may not have the brilliant speech writer that the President of Ukraine has, and you may not have the emotional intelligence he has either (few do).

And few of us will ever be involved in anything as grave, or as world changing as defending one’s own country against an aggressor force.

But what we do have is the ability to build trust with our audience (ideal customer profile) and deliver a concise, crystal-clear message with a clear call to action.

So, using the Zelenskyy’s framework what, in your next proposal/presentation/meeting are you going to ask your audience to

  • Say

  • Do

  • Agree

Because if you fail to deliver to those 3 measures, then all your meeting will result in is tea and biscuits.

And Zelenskyy even had that sewn up - his next meeting was some delicious English tea with King Charles!

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