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Presentation Blogger

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This was a terrible idea.

Archie swallowed hard, took one step towards the stage, and froze.

300 sets of eyes peered at the stage. Awoken by the movement in the shadows behind the bright lights.

Archie Benedict looked down one last time at his notes.

How had his business partner, Jeff, considered, even for a split-second, that this was a good idea?

Archie had a strong aversion to speaking in public. So strong, he’d done everything in his power to make sure Jeff was fit and able to deliver this critical product development keynote.

Archie had made sure Jeff’s secretary had booked him on an early flight back from New York, just in case there were delays. He’d called Jeff this morning to confirmhe’d woken up in time to catch his flight.

Archie hadn’t counted on maintenance staff striking and blockading the airports.

No more Jeff.

He’d barely looked at the presentation content. Wasting time making sure Jeff could getback to do it.

Archie thought about escaping. Scurrying away to the sanctuary of his quiet office.

He looked behind him, preparing to run. There was Jeff’s secretary motioning for him to hurry and up and get out on stage.

Archie gulped. What a nightmare!

He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and timidly walked on to the stage.

Have you ever felt like Archie?

Speaking in public is terrifying. Three quarters of us fear public speaking more than death.

It’s possible to overcome your fear and do standout presentations. It’s even possible for Archie to deliver a great presentation, despite having not prepared.

Here are the 10 ingredients of knockout presentations:

1. Treat your presentation like a conversation

Imagine you go out for a beer with friends.

Imagine one of your friends is speaking. He’s talking word perfect. As if he’sreading from a script.

As he talks you notice the pauses are unnatural or nonexistent. What he’ssaying sounds too rehearsed. The tone and associated body language just doesn’t gel.

This is what most presenters sound like.

If your friend talked to you this way, it wouldn’t be too long before you excused yourself from the conversation. The same happens every day in business presentations… We excuse ourselves by switching off.

Good presentations are natural and conversational in nature (watch any TED talk as proof) so don’t focus on perfection. Focus on knowing what you want to talk about and what you would like the audience to take away from your talk.

Be conversational and you’ll be listened to.

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You know when you are talking to someone and something feels a bit off?

Good stuff! This is what I teach my Sales Clients who think all the value is in the product, and beating back objections. WRONG! I deliver, “Improve Your Selling Skills when You Improve Your Speaking Skills” as part of my VAMP protocol. Gotta say, I did a #3/#10 combo some years back when I was presenting and completely blanked on my next point. It was gone from my mind, and I was in the midst of a no-notes presentation. #3 was in play, so I dialed up #10 to handle it. Afterwards one of the attendees complimented me on my dramatic pause! LOL, yeah, I can use fewer of those unintentional dramatic pauses…. Good article, sir!

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Thanks for your comment, Jerry! Your enthusiasm for presenting comes through in your writing. Nice!

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pat gorman says

Thanks for the simple, organized reminder! Consider including a sentence or two up front about finding out who your audience is and what they care about (culturally, professionally, personally) before deciding what they need to know.

Reply

Pat, your point is very important. In a presentation, knowing the audience can make the speaker and listeners’ job much easier.

Reply

Chris Marrington says

One small thing I’d add which has helped me personally: if you make a mistake, turn it into a joke or a quick story. One I use is to recount the time my partner and I arrived after a two hour flight for a new business pitch each thinking the other had the flash drive with the presentation loaded on it. Everybody out there in the audience has done something equally dumb and little asides like that can help build empathy and rapport..

Reply

Aijaz Ali Khan says

Well written! Good check points before a presentation. I believe one of the most important factors is to create a flow of your presentation in line with the interest of the audience. Small quotes, stories and events sometimes liven up the room. Number 9 is not impossible if one believes in “the more the effort, the more the satisfaction.”

Reply

Marie Etzler says

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Artificial intelligence doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and this is perfectly obvious to Topbots, whose content covers AI’s applications across business, design, marketing, and customer service as well as technology itself. A great choice for those with a vested interest in AI for its use in industry.

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I take a look at the top five most shared articles of the week, adding my own thoughts and opinions, as well as some links to my own writing and other stuff on the TDMB blog where applicable. Then there’s also usually a section of my top 10 articles of the week for you to enjoy. It’s all quite non-technical and easy to read, and I like to think it’s a fun newsletter in general.

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Michele Baker is the Senior Content Strategist at TDMB. She began her journey into tech marketing via a Masters in Creative Writing, evolving from a prize-winning poet and short story writer to a futuristic content guru. Michele now writes endlessly about all aspects of technology, hosts the TDMB Presents… tech podcast, and speaks at numerous tech and marketing events.

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