Have you ever had the feeling you were not in control of your presentation? Maybe due to technical problems, a room you didn´t know or an audience that seemed bored?
Maybe you feel that much of the outside environment of your presentation is beyond your influence, but there are some things you can do. I’ll give you three short tips to make you feel more in control.
Try to go to see the room of your presentation beforehand and if you can: practice in that room. This gives you the opportunity to get familiar with it and with the equipment. Can you move the way you want? Can people hear you in all corners or do you need a microphone?
Check yourself that all the equipment is working properly. Of course there are things you want to delegate, but if you can check yourself that everything is OK (for example, the projector, the remote control, the microphone), it can give you a feeling of control. You don´t depend on others for the success of the technical part of the presentation.
Practice and control the timing of your presentation. Stick to the time you were giving. If you run over, the audience, the client or the organization might get irritated. Please them and stop on time or early.
Apply these three tips and you will feel more relaxed as you get the idea you are the one in control! Good luck.
Some time ago I wrote a post “where to look while presenting”, about the importance of eye-contact during a presentation. Eye contact is related to honesty, trust and sincerity.
After working with several speakers, I´d like to add that the majority of the people tend to have some kind of preference looking more to the left or to the right side of the audience. That way they “forget” the other half of their public. It is a good idea to record yourself on camera or to have someone to give you feedback in order to raise your awareness and to avoid this.
An example of good and very direct contact with the audience (he even steps of the stage to go into the audience) is this talk of Benjamin Zander in which he talks about music and passion.
We asked the speakers of TEDxValencia the following: imagine that after the event a person asks one of the attendees of the event what your talk was about. What should this attendee remember from your talk? What should he transmit to the other person? That is the objective of your talk.
Chris Anderson, the CEO of TED, says that the number one problem of speakers at TED events, in their first draft, is that they want to tell too many things.
The biggest problem I see in first drafts of presentations is that they try to cover too much ground. You can’t summarize an entire career in a single talk. If you try to cram in everything you know, you won’t have time to include key details, and your talk will disappear into abstract language that may make sense if your listeners are familiar with the subject matter but will be completely opaque if they’re new to it. You need specific examples to flesh out your ideas. So limit the scope of your talk to that which can be explained, and brought to life with examples, in the available time.
The two favourite speakers from TEDxValencia 2012 were Jose Luis Pastor and Alejandro Hernandez. We encourange you to watch the videos as inspiration for your own presentations. Some comments of attendees are added.
Jose Luis Pastor
His talk was very professional, fun and stimulating.
He transmitted exactly what he wanted to express.
Great communicator, with an inspiring, motivating and encouraging message, deeply connected with the audience.
Excellent presentation and original content, using a touch of humor to engage the audience.
He brought new concepts and the message was very original.
He captured the attention of the audience.
Enjoyable, fun, educational and motivating talk.
The talk was well structured and he used appropriate body language; the speaker was experienced in transmitting his ideas.
He transmitted the passion and spirit of TED in an outstanding manner.
Fresh message and full of possibilities for new entrepreneurs.
Today a new tip for a memorable presentation at TEDxValencia: The importance of a good conclusion.
An interesting introduction is important to catch the attention of the audience. As important as this introduction, is the conclusion of your presentation, so that the people remember the most important of what you have told them. They tend to remember the last things you have said.
give a summary
make a connection with your introduction
don´t say “well, that´s everything, thank you”, but think carefully about your last sentence.
make a call for action: What can / should the audience do after your presentation?
We can find a perfect example of a good conclusion in this TED talk of Dan Pink. First he gives a summary, after that a he makes a call for action and he finishes off with a comment connecting with the introduction of his presentation.
As part of the speaker´s team of TEDxValencia 2012 we are in charge of the coordination of the speakers. We have already selected all the presenters and are now helping them to prepare their talks. With the frequency of two or three times a week, we send them tips for the design and the delivery of their speech. On my blog I am going to publish the tips we send them.
The first seconds of a talk are critical. If the introduction is boring and without imagination, the audience will lose their interest in the rest of the presentation. A creative and interesting beginning captures and maintains the attention of the people.
Some classic techniques:
- Tell the audience why your talk is important for them
- Surprise them with a unusual statement
- Tell a story or an anecdote
- Ask a rhetoric question
- Start with a quote
A fabulous example you can find in this TED talk of Andrew Stanton.
Next Saturday the 22nd of June the third edition of TEDxValencia is being held. This year the theme of the event is “rewriting the future“. With the team of volunteers, we are selecting the speakers, preparing the webpage and organizing all the details to create an amazing event!
This year I´m part of the “speakers team” and our objective is to select the speakers and to help them to prepare their talks: the content, the structure and the visual aids if they decide to use them.
What is the most important for the speakers at a TEDx event? The organization of TED has established some ground rules. These are every interesting for everyone who has to prepare a speech, not only for TED-speakers: the TED commandments.
Here we go:
Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick.
Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before.
Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion.
Thou Shalt Tell a Story.
Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Sake of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy.
Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.
Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desperate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.
Thou Shalt Remember all the while: Laughter is Good.
Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.
Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee.
I encourage you to apply these principles to your own talks and I hope to see you at TEDxValencia the 22nd of June!
Last Wednesday, on the 27th of February I gave the following presentation at Ignite Valencia #3:
It was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed a lot the time preparing my talk as well as the time on stage. I recommend all of you to prepare and give an Ignite talk. In this post I will tell you a bit about Ignite and I will give you some tips to prepare your own Ignite talk.
Rules of Ignite:
- 20 slides, every slide 15 seconds
- share your passion
- don´t talk about your book, your project or your company
The Ignite format sets some restrictions. You have only 5 minutes and the images advance automatically. It is a really good exercise to be brief and to the point, to train your creativity and to select images that empower your message.
Prepare your Ignite Talk
How could you prepare for an Ignite presentation? I´d like to give you some experience based advise.
First select the topic and create an objective and a headline.:
Objective: do you want to inform, motivate or entertain? These are the three main objectives to choose from. Formulate your objective as in “I want to inform people about the science behind a smile and motivate them to smile more.” Main message: try to say in one sentence what your presentation is about. This helps you to focus on your main message.
Structure the content
First explore your topic and gather all the interesting information you would like to share with the audience. Then try to structure all the content of your presentation. Don´t go directly to PowerPoint, no!!Draft the structure off-line. You will have to delete, cross out and select the information properly. Think of every piece of information if sharing this on stage helps you to reach your objective and if it´s in line with the headline.
When you have more or less the structure of the presentation, prepare 20 slides in PowerPoint. Change the settings so that the slides advance automatically to the next one after 15 seconds and paste your text in the comments of the slides. In the slides themselves you can quickly write a word or draw a picture of the kind of image you want to show at that point of your talk.
When you have your text and the ideas of the pictures you need, you can start to look for the right images. Check that your images are free of copyright or make sure you are allowed to use them. A good website to start is the one of Creative Commons. I found a lot of images on MorgueFile. Give all the slides a unified look: the same style, the same frame or all the comments in the same colour and fond.
When you have everything ready the most important part arrives: rehearse!!! Practise your presentation as often as you can, especially the opening and the conclusion. You will see you want to change some sentences, maybe even change a slide or modify the order of the slides. That´s OK, but stop making changes two days before the presentation. Practise in front of some people who are willing to give you honest feedback. Another great tool is to record yourself on video and to watch yourself back.
Then show time arrives! Make sure you make contact with the audience, focus on the delivery and … SMILE!
Next Wednesday the 27th of February I am giving a talk at Ignite Valencia 3. Ignite is an event with short talks of exactly 5 minutes, each one with 20 slides of 15 seconds. Ignite is organized in more than 100 cities around the world. The speakers are people who would like to share their idea, story or vision.
As I am very interested in non-verbal communication, I´m going to talk about the science behind a smile. What happens in your body when you smile? And what is the effect of your smile on others?
Ignite Valencia 3 is held at La Rambleta the 27th of Febrero at 19:00.
Most business presentations fail to engage the audience. Why? One of the reasons is that they fail to tell a story. No, it is not necessary to be an entertainer or a comedian. You have maintain a professional approach. But, it doesn’t matter if you are a manager, a team leader or the CEO, you don´t ever have an excuse to be boring. Never.
The human brain learns with stories and people make decisions based on emotions (and use data to justify them). Why shouldn´t we use such a powerful tool for our business presentations? In their book Leadership Presence, Halpern y Lubar talk about the power of stories. During a presentation or a meeting, the audience easily forgets the facts and the figures, but they will remember the anecdotes and stories.
Which tips do they give?
Use personal stories about challenges, failure or success. Start creating a collection of those stories now so you can easily use them in the future.
Use a story as an illustration. For example how to overcome a difficult situation.
Tell stories as if it were happening now. “It is 1984. All managers of the office are together in a meeting. We have to make a decision about…”
If you start using stories, you can use the Story Spine of StoryNet to make sure your story has a clear structure.
Once upon a time … (the platform)
Every day …
But then one day … (the catalyst)
That’s why / Because of that …. (the consequences)
Until finally … (the climax)
Ever since then …
(And the moral of the story is …)
Soon I will write about how to use the structure of a story for your entire presentation.
Some managers and directors tell me that this approach is interesting, but that it doesn’t apply to them as they have to present data. I believe storytelling and statistics are not mutually exclusive. Watch Hans Rosling in this clip below using data to tell us a clear story.