Nail your next presentation

What I learnt from spending almost $8,000 on a speakers boot-camp (and what it feels like to be naked in front of room full of strangers!)

Have you also felt that you’d like to take your presentations to the next level? To walk away 100% confident that your message has absolutely hit its mark?

Over the last five years I’ve coached close to 100 people from 20 different organisations across Australia to improve their skills in presentation design.

I’m BIG on structure. So I make sure each person had a clear process to use to help them in clarifying their message and what they want their audience to do next.

Structure is only part of the deal

Sure, structure is vital. And last week I found out first-hand the powerful impact of integrating story throughout your presentation.

Right now you may be folding your arms and saying, “That’s OK for you Andrew. But my audience is different, they’re scientists! They don’t like stories!”

Think of the words of renowned speaker, Lori Silverman, “Facts inform. Stories Resonate.”

Pow!

What really matters

Back to last week…

In total, I’d invested $7,800.00 to attend a three day speakers boot-camp in Sydney. Not something to be taken lightly.

Even though I coach people in this craft and have given presentations at numerous state and national conferences, it actually took me 12 months from my registration for me to have the courage to attend.

And that’s because every single person attending had to do a presentation naked.Presenting naked

Yep, naked.

No notes.

No prompt screen.

No power-point.

Completely exposed.

Six minutes when it’s just you and a room full of complete strangers waiting to hear what you’ve got to say.

Making it even more challenging was that we had strict instructions to make ourselves vulnerable.

(Yeah, like that wasn’t happening already!)

What’s it like to be vulnerable

Being vulnerable meant revealing something about ourselves that wasn’t easy, or may not have sat well. Something that was going to be hard to share.

This was the barrier that held me back from attending for close to a year.

I didn’t want to open myself up. I like my own secure, protected world.

But looking in the mirror, I knew that if I was to be a better coach of presenters, I had to go through with this.

Get over it

I took the deep breath and got on with it.

Crafting the six minute presentation by focusing on the one BIG idea I wanted to share.

Showing the proof to back my claims.

Including a story that would hold the audience throughout, whilst making sure it connected with the topic.

Giving them actions to take.

Practising until I could barely breathe.

(Note – I do NOT recommend practising a speech aloud in the midst of a 6km run on a treadmill in a steamy hotel gym! That’s hard work…)

Deliverance

On Day Two of the boot-camp it’s presentation day. I’m the last of 25 people in our group to present.

Yep, we’d been at it for nearly six hours and then it’s my turn…

I follow the structure. I tell the story. I am way more vulnerable than I ever thought possible, but I get through.

I get through because I can see and hear that the audience is with me on this. They’re responding, they’re nodding, they’re agreeing and crikey at the end of it they’re even cheering.

The presentation stuck because I gave it meaning from my world into their world.

Your mission

Make your next presentation gripping by:

  • Having a clear structure to follow
  • Including a story that brings your audience with you
  • Tells them what’s next

Want help?

Simply get in touch and do your message the justice it deserves.

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Andrew Huffer

Andrew Huffer has over 25 years experience in working with organisations, businesses, managers and communities and at a state, national and international level. He designs and delivers specialist engagement processes, with a focus on facilitating open decision making processes and skill development of clients. He has delivered presentations and workshops at a number of state, national and international conferences.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Margo O'Byrne says

    Hey Andrew,
    Well done! I’m hanging out to hear that story. Can I buy you a coffee and get the scoop?
    Cheers
    Margo

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