The pre-show rituals of singers can sometimes provide useful tips for aspiring speakers. Maybe the best was Elvis Presley and his “1000-yard walk”. When singing at a large venue, he insisted that his trailer was parked exactly 1000 yards from the stage. Continue reading
My public-speaking blog thread is relatively new, so it is an under-populated country at present; but that will change. This morning (13 Sept) I delivered a talk to the Rotary Club of Bristol Bridge. The title was: “Thinking on your feet”. It had a positive response, which confirmed my view that this is a topic of interest to many people and many organisations. Here’s a summary of the topics I covered:
- “The lion story”. (Sorry, no room here: but it is a good one. Book me to speak at your club or business and you can hear it!).
- My subtitle: “What make a good presentation?” (not “good presenter”, as even good ones sometimes underperform)
- Kipling’s key questions: What, Why, When, How, Where & Who.
- Where and When are already known (that’s part of the problem), which leaves:
- What are you going to say?
- To Whom are you going to say it? (what do you know about them?)
- Why are you going to say it? (Type of presentation? Desired outcome/s?)
- How are you going to say it? (“the $64,000 question”)
- These basic questions produce 12 “elements of a good presentation.” We focused on three:
- Knowing your audience in advance (the why and the how thereof)
- Speaker aids / resources on the day
- Confident delivery, how to achieve / develop
- Backgrounds & expectations of listeners?
- Expectations ditto? Is there a fit?
- Meet the meeting arranger / facilitator?
- Get attendee list: e-mail them with mini-survey: their wants and needs from your presentation.
- Script: OK as comfort blanket and template for next time but …
- Don’t read it!
- Visual aids: helps re multiple learning styles
- PowerPoint? Limit no. of slides & amount of info per slide
- Cue cards: my previous default but use registry tag in case of drop!
- Mind maps: now my default aide-memoire.
- PA: can you avoid by better projection?
- If can’t avoid PA (size of room / audience), avoid handheld microphones.
- Strong start & strong finish; memorise both, use cue-cards and /or mind maps for the “meat” in the sandwich.
- Stress management, create positive expectations via two methods of visualisation:
- Muhammad Ali and “future history”
- NLP: method of “anchoring” positive past experiences
- Move, and focus on audience, while speaking: both help reduce tension
- Improvisation skills? If not, rehearse rehearse rehearse!
- Last-minute prep: can we learn from other types performers (When and Where are known)? e.g. popular singers: Chris Martin, Stevie Nicks, Robert Plant, Leonard Cohen; finally …
- Elvis Presley and the thousand-yard walk
- Arrive early; set up resources; ensure water available; walk round the block.
Last word: “Most people will forget what you say; even what you do. But they will never forget how you made them feel.” How will you use that fact? How will you inject feeling, not just facts?
WANT TO KNOW MORE? If you ‘d like more information about my talks, or would like to discuss booking me for your organisation, please send me a message through this site or e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Just got back from three wonderful weeks in British Columbia. While there, I was invited to speak at the Rotary Club of Trail, BC.
My subject was the art and science of public speaking. As most Rotary Clubs invite speakers on a regular basis, I figured that their members would all have their own views, so I phrased my title as a question: “What makes a good speaker?”
I included two of my favourite quotes on the topic:
On the importance of having a passion (or at least some enthusiasm!) for your subject: “Most people will forget what you say and even what you do. But they will not forget how you made them feel.”
On the importance of being clear why you are making the presentation: “When Aeschylus speaks, we say: ‘how well he speaks.’ But when Demosthenes speaks, we say: ‘let us march against Philip.'”
I enjoyed it greatly. More importantly, as far as I could tell nobody fell asleep.
It was also a useful dry-run for a talk I’m giving on the same subject next month, at the Rotary Club of Bristol Bridge (UK). Looking forward to that!