25 lessons from The Presentation Doctor
25 lessons from The Presentation Doctor
Posted By admin |11 Feb 2020
Now if this were a list of the human race's greatest fears, public speaking would be right at the top. Whether it's forgetting your lines or thinking you have a tail of toilet paper hanging out of your trousers, fear of public speaking really boils down to the fear of being ridiculed, rejected, and publicly humiliated. Yet whether it's presenting keynotes, running workshops or speaking up in meetings, public speaking is key to career development and business growth...So we called in the Presentation Doctor, Gavin Meikle, to help... --- Having braved Storm Ciara and happily ensconced in the Old Customs House in Gunwharf, we started by telling Gavin all of the things we find difficult about public speaking: How do you avoid the feeling of being judged, what do you do with your hands? how do you engage the audience? how do you avoid waffling on? What do you do if you make a mistake? How do you balance being practised with being passionate? He took all of our questions in his stride and drew a little mind map on the flip chart to help facilitate the session...PSK means Public Speaking Skills. Firstly it's about being true to you. Just look at the great tech leaders of our time and their different communication styles - compare Steve Ballmer to Steve Jobs. They have very different ways of presenting but both are authentic to them. Steve Ballmer is the classic salesman - energetic, dynamic and loud! Direct and boisterous, he differs significantly from his predecessors at Microsoft. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I14b-C67EXY Steve Jobs led through both intimidation and inspiration, sharing his vision not only for the way people interact with computers and technology but also for how they lead their lives. It really worked for him. https://youtu.be/YM4If6YHN3s Lesson 1: Things don’t always go well. Mistakes happen and if you give enough presentations or speeches, the odds are that you will stumble at some point. Don’t let the stumbles get you down. They are part of the process of all public speakers and very few of them are fatal. Learn from them and move on. Lesson 2: Perfection isn't connection! Being open and honest is much easier. If you make a mistake, be honest about it and say "hold on, I made a mistake there." If you want to make it a bit funny, take a side step and point to an invisible man and say "Did he really say XYZ?! I think what he meant was..." and continue. Lesson 3:People often think the more information they give in a presentation the better but we're simple creatures and we start to suffer from information overload. Don't firehose people with facts. Think of your presentation like a loaf of bread. If you were feeding someone a loaf of bread would you try to stick the whole thing in their mouth? No. You'd cut it up into slices, you'd make sandwiches with it and you should do the same with your presentations. Less is more. Lesson 4: Giving a good presentation—a truly good presentation—takes time and effort. You must understand the material, how it relates to your audience and what is most important and why. And then you have to design the presentation—with or without slides—so that it hangs together and conveys the message with impact. Most people look at presentations as a form of survival - how do I fill this slot of time without look like an idiot? But it's better to think about what you want people to do/think/feel as a result of your presentation. It's about them not you. Lesson 5: Too many presentations become bogged down when speakers try to do too much. You have a limited amount of time and your audience has a limited amount of attention. Choose your key points carefully and ruthlessly cut out everything else. If the subject matter is vast and there is more for your audience to know, prepare a handout or direct people to where they can go for more information. War and Peace makes for a good read but it makes for a lousy presentation. Lesson 6: As a presenter, you must cut through the details and complexity and distil your message to its essence. Taking the time to think carefully about your subject and your audience beforehand will help you design a simple, effective presentation. Learn a 7-minute presentation, then think about what you'd say if you only had half that time (3.5 minutes) then think about what you'd say if you only had 90 seconds, or even just 30 seconds! Practice it so you can be flexible to your audience's needs and the time restraints of the event/meeting you're speaking at. Lesson 7: Arouse curiosity. If you waste those precious opening seconds with an apology, housekeeping details, a string of thank-yous, or a rambling pointless paragraph littered with “ums” and “uhs,” your audience’s minds are likely to drift, and you may not get them back. You, your message, and your audience deserve more than that. Use questions to pique curiosity - these can be to encourage audience participation or just rhetorical ones. Lesson 8:Feel free to use props (there was a story about a guy bringing a rusty bike and garden shears to a presentation. He didn't talk about them for an hour but everyone was hanging on his every word to figure out why they were relevant! Spoiler alert, they weren't! Your local president once used a box metaphor whilst actually holding a real live box. Novel idea right? and it worked because...
- Immediately the audience want to know what's inside the box.
- It visually stimulates and reinforces the metaphorical message
- It brings the audience repeatedly back to the ideas held inside the box.
- It says you’re in control. It’s proof that you’re both confident enough and comfortable enough in what you’re presenting, that silence itself underscores the points you make.
- It can act as powerful punctuation in a presentation: It can serve as an exclamation mark … an underline to a critical point… Used in the right way, and at the right time, there will be no doubt in your audience’s mind about what the silence is saying.
- Most people don’t pause enough. Their minds are consumed with the content they are to deliver. You know the feeling. You’re up under the spotlight, everyone’s looking at you, you just want to get through it as quickly as possible and return to the safety of your seat. Pausing can calm your mind. We’ve all sat through rushed presentations that are just a jumble of words with no spaces in between. How do those speeches make you feel? It’s not comfortable. It wears you out. A speech without a break is like an out of control train. You feel the need to catch your breath – and you’re just listening!
- It gives the audience time to digest information.
- Emphasizes a point.
- Reduces Nerves. These small blocks of silence give you an opportunity to breathe during your speech. You can check your notes and calm yourself which helps you stay in control.
- Allows time for questions.
- A great substitute for ums/ahs and other filler words.