My big break was when a CEO hired me to give 5 speeches across Canada. He also asked me to ski with him at Whistler. Unfortunately, he almost died.
We had ridden the ski lifts as high as they went, then took off our skis and hiked up even further, towards a chute filled with jagged rocks. It was his idea, not mine; I was a young guy just thrilled to be there.
As I struggled to catch each breath, my heart pounding madly in my chest, he cut a path twenty yards in front of me. A former college athlete, the CEO was in great shape and anxious to prove it.
The slope was so steep, I was staring at the ground in front of me, rather than looking up at him. His last word was, “Shit!” as he lost his balance, dropped his skis and plummeted down the slope towards the razor-sharp rocks below.
He slid between the rocks and lived, without even a scratch. It took about half an hour for my heart rate to return to normal.
But that day taught me more about speaking and communication than almost any other. If you want someone to remember what you say, tell them a memorable story.
Also, try not to kill the first big client who comes your way.