I recently asked who needed help with public speaking on Twitter and was surprised by the number of people who reached out. I wanted to give some personal tips that work for me with the hope that they might help you. I wanted to avoid a pile of generic public speaking tips… Last year was my first year presenting at VMworld which was a little scary. The day before I spent some time reading public tips and ran across an old one which is if you are nervous imagine everyone in their underwear. I’ll be 100% honest imagining 150 CIO’s in their undies was about the scariest thing I have ever done in my life… it’s a image I cannot burn out of my mind. Which brings me to my first tip:
Start with something funny, unique or thought provoking:
You need to start with a hook or attention activity. Last year at VMworld my co-presenter took off his mic and played AC/DC’s back in black over the sound system before he would begin the session. It was a great way to grab attention of others. I personally like to ask a question to grab attention and get them thinking. Of late I have been using why are space suits white… Other can do funny… I learn at a early age what I find funny others do not… they mostly think I am weird… You need to tie your element into the total story of your presentation.
A presentation is a story with a moral or point
Everyone has so much to say in a presentation. Technical presentations have so many details. The best presentations invite the listener to go on a journey and have a moral or point. I now start my presentations with what is the point. If I cannot define what I want you to learn from my presentation in 15 words or less I should not be presenting. Allow me to illustrate: I gave a presentation on three things that need to change in IT. I used the example of a road trip and the elements required to be successful. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AHkcS3PzVg&t=2s) The example was weaved throughout the whole presentation and used to provide grounding. The story allows you to follow my insane train of thought.
Remove the extra
When working on your story anything that does not prove the point should be eliminated. It’s really simple yet hard in practice… we have so many good ideas but they don’t always fit the specific point. You have to cut the extra to be successful.
What this does not help me at all!!!!
Almost universally people tell me creating a presentation is not the problem it’s delivery. I personally struggle delivering others presentations… I suck at it. When I create the presentation it’s a personal journey story that I am sharing which right away makes it easier. I can speak from experience and knowledge instead of slide ware… Am I afraid to present in front of others YES! How do I get better at it? By doing it… I started with Church and went to VMUG’s…. now I speak anywhere they will let me… Give me a topic and I’ll talk on it. I
Yes….Yes…Yes record yourself and practice your talk track many times it makes a huge difference. Start making youtube videos of yourself presenting on a topic… It will be hard but will pay of in the end.