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...
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.
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...
I get asked all the time about the fastest and easiest ways to improve presentations. It usually goes something like this:
Scott, if you can offer the listeners/the audience three tips to improve their presentations…what do you suggest?
You asked. So, here are my three ways to improve your presentations right now.
1. Care More About Your Content
Your presentation narrative is the most important part of your presentation yet so many presenters tend to want to neglect it or just out right ignore it. You can’t do that. Focus on your storyline and try to get all of your content condensed into three main points.
2. Opt for Photos Over Bullet Points
The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text based information (a.k.a. bullet points) So, the tip is simple. Delete your bullet points and choose full bleed photos instead. This means that instead of having one slide with 5 bullet points, you are going to have 5 separate slides.
3. Rehearse, Don’t Memorize
If you are on this web site, it’s probably because you are a high achiever. Better yet, you are a person who understands the importance of delivering a high impact presentation. You know it’s value. You know it’s impact. You know just how dramatically it can change your career - for the better.
You want to focus on the most important items which achieve the greatest success. Perfect. Well, I have outlined the 5 critical skills that every greater presenter should possess. Here they are in no order of importance.
1. A Servant’s Heart
The best presenters understand that a presentation is not about them, but about their audience. They exist solely to add value and benefit to their audience’s life.
2. A Curious Mind
The only way to truly add value to your audience is to understand the world in which you live. Great presenters must be curious. They must understand the world so clearly in all it’s glorious imperfections and complexities so that it can be...
If you look around, you will find that most presenters are not aware. The world is brimming with presenters who need coaching and direction. They seem unaware, almost zombie-like as they attempt to motivate or educate their audiences leaving almost zero impact.
They haven’t tapped into their strengths. They are unaware of how to manage their weaknesses. And most importantly, they don’t know how to create and design a presentation that fits their true style. Their presentations only serve as testament to the all important need for self-awareness.
According to a recent study by the Hay Group, those who are self-aware are generally in the Top 10% of their team or department. Their ability to lock into knowing who they are and what they do best makes them stand apart from the competition. The same is true for anyone giving a big talk or speech. Self-awareness is mandatory.
Presenters, it’s time for an awareness boost. Being self-aware means the following:
I have some sad news. Four out of five us will not complete our New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, by the second week of February, 80% of those who set goals on New Year’s Eve or Day will give up. We will demonstrate a lack of commitment or create excuse after excuse to not carry through with our plans. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Good news. January is not over…yet. We still have a few more days to make things happen. If you are wanting to get that pay raise, close that deal, or impress your boss…you still have time. And, there is no better medium to achieve those goals than the power of a dynamic presentation.
We all know that a presentation can be that make or break moment so if there is one career item you want to focus on this year, make it your ability to give presentations that truly make an impact. Just imagine yourself having the skill set to win over the hearts and minds of any audience.
So, where do you start?
I would suggest starting...
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