An Audience Tip that Changed My Public Speaking

Several years ago I was out to lunch with a mentor and he shared a presentation tip with me I have never forgotten. This was the days before I owned my company, Ethos3, but it had such a positive impact on me that it has become a staple in my presentation training for clients.

It’s so simple yet so profound, and I’m excited to share it with you today. I hope it changes your public speaking lens just like it changed mine.

The 50/50 Balance

When I sat down with my mentor for lunch on that random business day, we began to discussing both our passions for presentations. It’s then he shared with me that in almost any presentation environment you are going to have a 50/50 mix of introverts and extroverts in the audience. Granted, this may change from 60/40 or 70/30 but generally it is safe to assume you are going to have a healthy mix of both. If you are new to these terms, I’ll briefly explain how I was taught the difference between these two personality types.


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The Positive Impacts of Storytelling

storytelling May 18, 2021

Storytelling. It’s a big buzz word these days. Everyone talks about the importance of it, but not too many people deploy it when giving a presentation. And, that is a huge missed opportunity.

The purpose of this post is not only convince you of storytelling’s power, but also encourage you to utilize it in every presentation you give moving forward. It’s an amazing value add and it’s backed by science.

Information Retention

According to research about the impact of storytelling in a public speaking setting, stories can increase retention by 26%. Just think about it. 26% is a big number. That figure greatly enhances your influence on the audience and the probability they will remember what you shared and discussed. It’s a substantial increase and creates a huge advantage for you versus the person who chose to keep their presentation focused just on the facts and stats. This creates a perfect jumping off point to talk about the first reason stories are so...

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How to Structure a Big Idea Pitch

The trickiest part of presentations for most people is content. On the design front, most business professionals tend to be comfortable in PowerPoint. And as for the delivery side of presentations, they have been in front of enough people over the course of their career to say they are somewhat confident. It’s the creation of new material and structuring of that content that gets them frazzled.

The goal of this post is to help remedy that problem and offer up a pitch structure which helps when trying to showcase and pitch any new big idea. I call it “The Big Thing” approach to presenting and it consists of 6 stages to help you win the hearts and minds of any audience. Let’s dive in.

Stage 1: The Big Thing

In this first section of your presentation, you want to discuss the “big thing” in your space that has tremendous stakes and is creating a lot of noise. Let’s travel back in time and imagine a world before the cloud existed. Now, that we...

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A Beginner's Guide to Presentations

public speaking tips May 10, 2021

Presentations can be intimidating for some even kind of scary. It’s easy to get lost in the details that are demanded from a public speaking event so the purpose of this post is to help you reframe your thinking about presentations.

Simply, let’s get back to the basics. After all, you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time. So, before you let yourself get overwhelmed, let’s focus on the three essentials of any presentation. If you can approach your public speaking with this lens it should allow you to chunk down your tasks and priorities into one of these three camps.


The first element of any presentation is your content. This stage is generally the most difficult since it involves you doing research, gathering data, and ultimately constructing a creative narrative to house your findings. Even though we are talking about three separate sections you would think this portion makes up one-third of your talk but it is more substantial than that number. I...

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3 Hobbies that Improved My Public Speaking

public speaking tips May 05, 2021

Today, I want to walk you through the 3 hobbies that really advanced my speaking career and revitalized my presentations. Keep in mind, these hobbies have worked for me and may not be the best for everyone but they are universal enough where you'll probably see some huge wins as well if you pursued them or something similar.


I love to read and it always make me happy to be reminded of that famous Harry Truman quote:

"Not All Readers Are Leaders, But All Leaders Are Readers”

This is crazy true. If I think about all the mentors and best leaders I have had in my life, they were all readers. Every. Single. One. The entire activity of giving a presentation is about output. You are sharing information. You are providing your findings. You are delivering a message. It's entirely about output. Now, in order to have something to output, you need to input. You need to be collecting new information so you can continue to learn and grow. In other words, you need to be...

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How to Have More Authority when Public Speaking

When you think about the topic of authority, most presenters find themselves chasing it when they can simply have it. It's not some elusive gem that can never be earned or found. Rather, with a little bit of careful planning and intentionality, it's easier to obtain than one might think.

Every presenter can achieve and maintain it, you just need to know what needs to be in put into play to make it become a reality. I'll walk you through the best ways to do this right now.

Authority from the Outside

The headline for this first piece of our conversation is to understand that authority is best when it comes from an outside source. In a presentation context, you want to make sure whenever possible to have someone introduce you before your talk. Granted, you can always give your own personal introduction but when the host or meeting leader takes a few minutes to do this it will heighten your level of authority. It will immediately level you up as someone needs to be heard and listened to...

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My Thoughts on Presentation Practice and Rehearsal Routines

presentation rehearsal Apr 21, 2021

The most common question I receive when helping anyone with improving their presentation skills is:

“How should I practice for my next talk?”

Or, I get the cousin of this question:

“How many times should I practice my presentation?”

I’m going to address both of these items in this post by starting with the latter as the framework for how you should do it.

On that note, you should practice using what I like to call the Plus 10 Rule. I’ve explained this in earlier posts but I’ll highlight it here again. The Plus 10 Rule implies that you should practice a presentation the number of minutes of your talk plus ten. For instance, if you are going to give a 20 minute talk on a subject you would take 20 and add 10. Therefore, you should practice that presentation 30 times.

Please keep in mind that this recommendation is assuming you are building something from scratch. I’m not an expert on giraffes but if I was asked to give an informative...

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The Benefits of a Presentation Mentor

Uncategorized Jul 05, 2017

Back in 2012, I failed at my first attempt to complete an Ironman. I logged the miles. I did the research. I improved my diet. I did it all, but it wasn’t enough. So, I hired a coach and a short six months later I finished my very first Ironman.

Hiring a triathlon coach was an amazing decision and one I will never regret. He saw things I could not see. He streamlined my swimming technique. He taught me where and how long to ride. And, he made me a faster and stronger runner by analyzing my diet and fluid intake. He had experience that I simply did not have and that was the critical difference maker. The same is true with almost every other aspect of life. Coaches have experience that will help you obtain results faster and more efficiently.

That’s where I sit in the world of presentations. I have been coaching and training executives on public speaking now for over a decade. I have seen some good ones, and I have seen some bad ones. Some are confident while others are...

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What Presenters Can Learn from Nelson Mandela

Uncategorized Jun 30, 2017

This post is an excerpt from my book, What's Your Presentation Persona?

The day was February 11, 1990 and the location was Cape Town, South Africa. On this day, Nelson Mandela was released from prison after serving 27 years behind bars. Twenty-seven years. There are some of you reading this right now who aren’t 27 years of age. That’s a long time to spend in prison for trying to protect your country from an oppressive regime.

Despite the abuse, the mistreatment, and unfairness, Mandela was still able to focus on his audience rather than himself when giving his speech shortly after being released. Here is a part of his opening:

Friends, comrades and fellow South Africans.

I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all.

I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.


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22 Presentation Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

Uncategorized Jun 26, 2017

I often get asked for presentation tips, tricks, and hacks. You asked, so I am providing. Here are 22 presentations tips to improve your public speaking skills.

1.  Double tie your shoelaces literally and figuratively.

Don't trip over your feet or your unprepared-for presentation.

2.  Squeeze a Lemon

A little lemon juice in your water will help to clear your throat more effectively than just plain H2O.

3.  Empty your pockets before you take the stage.

This will help you resist the urge to put your hands in them and will insure that you're free to gesture like a pro. 

4.  Turn off your cell phone!

Seriously. Turn it off or put it in airplane mode.

5.  Make a list of keywords for each of your slides.

This will help you to reinforce each point clearly and precisely. It also gives you a backup in case you need to deliver your presentation without your visuals.

6.  Never turn your back on the audience.

It's amateurish at best and down right rude at...

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