From Paula Purtell, Business Presentation Manager, Palio
My sister recently was asked to give a speech about a local agency that supports people with disabilities, for which she is a volunteer. She called me in a panic asking for advice. She had no idea how to begin and, really, neither did I. So, I searched for public speaking to find her some hints and tip. What I found were 6,850,000 sites. An interesting list I found was from from Presentation Magazine. They had their favorite “Public Speaking Experts” share their opinions. I had to share!
In almost every article I read, emotion was the number one piece of advice. Give them passion, be optimistic, excited, calm, energized, curious, happy. Take home was… add your own personality… as long as it is positive!
Make every presentation different: Sir Ranulph Fiennes
- Don’t treat every audience to the same presentation as though they were all mere listening machines. Wherever possible, make each audience think you care about them and you feel lucky or honored to get the chance to address them.
- Don’t go on for too long!
Say what you mean: Tony Benn
• Say what you mean. Mean what you say.
• Don’t make personal attacks.
• Listen respectfully.
• Encourage people.
Give personal illustrations: Terry Waite
• Wherever possible give personal illustrations.
• Speak clearly.
• Be prepared to adapt what you have to say at the last moment to accommodate your audience. Do your homework.
Be optimistic: Martha Lane Fox
• 80% of your speech or presentation will be forgotten! I think the most important thing to remember is your tone and pace.
Don’t be afraid to state the obvious: Sir John Harvey-Jones
• Don’t be afraid to the state what is obvious to you, it may not be obvious to the audience.
Stop digging: Denis Healey
• “When you get into a hole – stop digging” – In other words – if things start to go badly when answering questions, don’t make things worse.
Customize your material: Clive Coleman
• Customize your material to the particular audience. However witty, fascinating, insightful or just drop-dead gorgeous you might be, people are generally even more interested in themselves than they are in you.
• Well-researched and targeted jokes about their world and the people in it (especially the senior people) will warm up a room like nothing else can. It pays off three times.
1. The audience likes the fact that you as an outsider seem to have inside knowledge on the key players.
2. The key players like to be mentioned – there’s only one thing worse than being mentioned and that’s not being mentioned.
3. The audience feel great about their workplace. They like the fact that their bosses can take a joke.
• One word of warning. Thoroughly do your research and never, ever, offend anyone.
This is show business: Rikki Arundel
• The best piece of advice I was given about 10 years ago came from a good speaker friend Wayne (The Mango man) Pickering, who in turn credits it to Grady Jim Robinson
“It does not matter where you are speaking, what you are speaking about or who you are speaking to “This is Show Business.” Any speech much entertain the audience.
• That doesn’t mean it necessarily has to be funny, though that helps, but it has to be entertaining otherwise you might as well write out the speech and send it to the audience to read. And the secret to making a speech entertaining is storytelling – every good speaker must develop the art of storytelling.”
Watch out for the Negative Glarer: Chloe Lees
• “In every audience there will be one person who loathes you on sight. Can’t stand your voice, hates your clothes, assumes you’re stupid. Usually they’re in the front row glaring at you. IGNORE THEM.
• You cannot win this person over, however brilliantly you speak – if you performed a genuine bona fide 24 carat miracle there and then in front of them, they’d sniff at it.
• Yes, it is difficult and unpleasant to feel those negative vibes coming at you but your job is to work with the rest of the audience, who are quite ready to listen. If you focus on Negative Glarer you will try too hard, and you will confuse and lose the normal portion of your audience!
• “Negative Glarer sometimes turns out to be short sighted and hearing impaired, sitting in the front and frowning horribly in their willing effort to listen to you!
• “Most of these Negative Glarers just want to leave the room as soon as possible, not interested in questions, in fact they didn’t want to attend in the first place…
• If Negative Glarer asks a hostile question, make sure you LISTEN, and be ready to gently ask them to say a little more – this gives you time to be sure you’ve understood them properly and time to think of something to say.
• Never ever respond aggressively – even if you’re right, the whole audience will resent you for picking on that poor questioner.
• In the face of gratuitous hostile questioning, invite comment from the audience. Steer hostility away from you.
• Remember most audiences want your presentation to go well!
The unanswered question: Peter Ryding
• Ask the audience a relevant question that they have probably never asked themselves, but now they have heard it they really want to know the answer – and then tease them by only answering it at the end of the presentation.
• For example, at a rugby dinner ask why a “try” is called a “try”, or at an investment function why is the dollar sign a crossed out “S”? Audiences love it!
Remember the three E’s: Jo Owen
• Energy, Enthusiasm, Excitement.
If you don’t have them, no one else will. A little Expertise will also make it easier for you to enjoy the event.
Funny anecdotes: Frank Ryding
• The best funny anecdotes are the ones you tell against yourself – they seldom fail and the audience is on your side from then on.
Get rid of any negative or limiting beliefs: Seven Suphi
• Get rid of any negative or limiting beliefs about presenting – otherwise at best it’s like carrying a big burden which is weighing you down and at worst you will sabotage your efforts.
• Be yourself – create the you brand and image – it’s far easier than trying to copy anyone else and also is a great differentiator.
Title quote by Karen McGrath
Palio is a full-spectrum global pharmaceutical and consumer advertising, marketing, and communications agency that excels in brand creation and specializes in brand strategy, product launches, global marketing, and digital and integrated media.