I am often asked what is the number 1 tip for great public speaking at your company conference. My answer is always the same:
The more senior you become in an organisation the more likely it is that you will be asked to speak at your company conference. Alarmingly, the more senior you become the more material you will probably have to prepare for the event in general and the less time you will have for your own individual contribution.
My top tip is to split your presentation into a series of stories. An audience loves stories more than facts and figures. Is it more interesting to say that the product is 11.1 meters as long or the product is as long as a double decker bus?
Most of your stories will be between 30 seconds and a minute and each of us has a minute to practice a story out loud several times a day, for example when you are waiting for the kettle to boil, when you are waiting for your children to tie their shoe laces, when you are walking between meetings. Try it and see how easy it is.
I thought I would share with you a quick testimonial from a client who understood the value of preparation when public speaking and wrote to tell me about the difference it made to his team’s public speaking on the Big Day.
Although we are barely halfway through our meeting here in Prague I wanted to give you some interim feedback, especially since Fouad and myself completed our presentations this morning !
Firstly, I was delighted with my own one ( and fortunately , so were the bosses !). Your advice picked up in Stourbridge was very useful, especially addressing/capturing the audience, pace, slide structure etc. Although, I was confident of my content and message it was this extra guidance which made all the difference.
However, it was Fouad’s performance today that compelled me to jot this note. As we discussed, a presentation to ca 300 people including the Company CEO is a big deal for all of us and so it should be. However, for Fouad this was a major step-up compared with anything he had done before. As you rightly noted last Thursday the man had been transformed in just a week with regards his skills as a presenter and today he absolutely nailed it ! His presentation was delivered with great gravitas and clarity, and with a warmth for the audience which was appreciated from the start. Perhaps most impressive was the pace at which he delivered his messages, which gave him the time to think and structure his words appropriately – this was down to your input and his thorough preparation.
The guy was a foot taller when he left that stage today and it will be an experience which will stay with him forever !
Paul has also presented excellently and his slides (albeit still being finalized an hour before the ppt!!) were soooo much better due to your intervention !
I am sure tomorrow and Thursday will go equally well but I just wanted today to thank you, on behalf of Fouad and myself, for the excellent support.