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Nervous about public speaking? (long)

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by carri27, May 21, 2007.

  1. Well further to Joelridescbr’s outstanding explanation on ‘How We Make Your Roads’, and D Stump’s further thread on ‘Handy Info’ I thought long and hard about what I had to contribute to the world of my fellow NRs. The reality is that I don’t have the cool mechanical and scientific info that many NRs swap here and I often feel inadequate in my contribution, although I do come out with the occasional cool lymeric, if I do say so myself :wink:

    So here’s the thing. A survey of Americans found that Presenting/Public Speaking is most people’s number one fear. Followed closely by death. As Jerry Seinfeld put it so eloquently, “that means if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than making the eulogyâ€. So while I don’t have great knowledge of physics or maths or bikes, I have spent the last 14 years of my working life making many people very happy because I train them in presentation skills and after 2 days with me they’re feeling a heap happier about the whole deal. Excellent. One less thing to worry about in life.

    So here for Netriders for free, is a quick lesson in how to prepare and deliver a presentation. Mostly my work is focused on business presentations, but, frankly I’ve used the same structural stuff to work out my ‘break-up-speech’ with an ex, so feel free to use it any way you like.

    Therefore, following the structure of my workshop, here’s the four areas I typically teach (the wording has been changed in some areas to protect IP but otherwise many of these concepts are quite widely taught in the presentation skills industry).

    MESSAGE

    Before getting all excited and carried away with all the cool info you want to include in your presentation, a phenomenon we call ‘the crime of passion’, get clear about what the final Message is that you want to get across. There are two questions that typically need answering in any final message: (1) What do you want the audience to THINK or DO as result of the information you’re giving them? (2) What will be the BENEFIT to the audience in thinking or doing what you’re suggesting (or consequence of not doing it)? Then you combine your answers to (1) + (2) to come up with a clear, concise and compelling final message (1 sentence long).

    EG So if I want to recommend that Cheng buys a Hornet 600 as her next bike (not something that should take Cheng a lot of convincing) my final Conclusion might be “So Cheng, bottom line is, I reckon you should go the Hornet for your next bike (what I want her to do), ‘cos it’ll do wonders for your image and your sex life (benefit to her)".

    Not that I want to suggest Cheng needs a boost in her sex-life of course, given that anyone who can do wheelies like Loz is a surefire god in the sack, just that it’s well nigh impossible to separate the subjects of Hornets and sex.

    BUILDING THE ARGUMENT

    Having ascertained the final message I’d like to convey, I next need to build an argument to convince her that this is in fact the correct course of action to take. There are 3 steps involved here.

    1. Agenda

    Typically you should have 2-5 major headings that you cover along the way to break the presentation down into bite-sized chunks.

    EG
    Power
    Handling
    Look

    2. Final Key Points

    For each agenda heading you need 1 Final Key Point that you wish the audience to take away and remember regarding that issue, in max 5 words so it’s short, sharp and punchy. When it comes time to deliver your presentation, these Final Key Points will come at the end of each section in turn.

    Final Key Point - EG

    Power – It’s got all you need
    Handling – It’s light’n’smooth
    Look – Naked, like you like your men (Ok, a bit of poetic license occasionally on the 5 word limit).

    3. Detail

    Now, finally you can get into that ‘crime of passion’ and starting fleshing out the detail. Make sure you include Empirical and Anecdotal Evidence when you do this ie facts, figures, charts etc PLUS stories, anecdotes and analogies to spice it up.

    So your presentation now looks like this.
    Schmoozy Intro: Hey Cheng, you’re looking fab today. Hey, I gotta talk to you about your next bike. I know you’re thinking about a Hornet, and while Loz has no doubt given you all the info you need (at this stage of course I’m wondering why I chose this example given Cheng has more than enough info on Hornets, but bear with me for the sake of this exercise), I thought it was worth considering a couple of specific things relevant for your future riding.

    Agenda: So I wanted to talk about 3 things in particular: the Power, the Handling and the Look.

    Detail:
    In terms of the Power … yadda yadda yadda (insert detailed argument here). So look, the real point to remember about the Power is that IT’S GOT ALL YOU NEED (final key point).

    As far as the Handling goes …. rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb …. So in essence, my experience is that IT’S VERY LIGHT’N’SMOOTH (final key point).

    Finally, in relation to the Look …. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous …. All you really need to remember about it is that it’s NAKED, LIKE YOU LIKE YOUR MEN. (final key point).

    Usually you’d do a quick recap next (of the agenda and final key points) before delivering your final conclusion “So Cheng, bottom line is, I reckon you should go the Hornet for your next bike, ‘cos it’ll do wonders for your image and your sex lifeâ€.




    And voila, instant presentation. I focus a lot on structure, because a lot of confidence comes from having a clear purpose (message) and an easy to follow (for both you and your audience) argument.

    Now for the final 2 elements that require attention.

    VISUAL AIDS
    Clearly in this case I’d show her the bike and take a photo of her on it so she can see how stunning she looks on it.

    I won’t go into a whole heap of tips on slides – you can google those.

    DELIVERY

    When delivering, I have only two tips.

    1. BE YOURSELF - Have a conversation with the audience rather than ‘present’ to them. Just chat, like you do with your fellow NRs at a coffee night…. but NOT how you chat with them on Saturday night at the Phillip Island MotoGP after 27 drinks!

    2. FOCUS ON REALLY HELPING THEM understand the relevance and usefulness to THEM rather than getting caught up in your head with a whole lotta ‘SELF-conscious’ statements like “I’ve gotta be impressiveâ€, “I’ve gotta have all the answersâ€, “I don’t want to make a fool of myselfâ€. Instead consider things like “what’s in this fob]them[/b]?â€, “how can I help them?â€, “what would make this most interesting and relevant for themâ€.


    That’s it. Happy presenting. Over and out. C x

    Ps For the next person in this series I nominate Incitatus to teach us all about planes, and flying them :grin:
     
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  2. I'm convinced! To the bike shop! :D

    Thank you for sharing your skills with us. It makes a lot more sense when mapped out, doesn't it? 'Twill be much useful for the next payrise negotiations.

    And I say again, you give a lot more to NR than you think!

    Warm hugs,
    Cheng
     
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  3. I read that topic and thought it said "nearvous about public spanking?" There would be nobody more qualified than you to help somebody get over that, Carri!
     
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  4. May I add a little more?

    Thanks Carri for handing over the mic.
    Once you have all of this sorted you now know what you want to say.
    How do you deliver it and sound convincing?

    You have to get comfortable with your content. This doesn’t mean you have to memorize it as a script that is completely sorted out word for word. But it also means you want to know it solidly. You wont be having a conversation to jog your memory, so write your self some point notes. Not a verbatim content because then you will just be reading and not engage your audience.

    Sometimes I find it effective to have notes just like Carri has above

    So you have a single word to jog your memory, and if that isn’t enough you can read across to get some more pointers.

    These tools are not because it is hard. The hardest thing about public speaking is facing it. Once you get started it can become easy. Sometimes too easy.
    And this is the one trap I have fallen into. Once it gets to easy you may start under preparing. So Always take note to be sure you know your content, and have your notes (No matter how well you think you have things sorted)

    If you have no microphone there is an other talent to work with, and that is projection & connection.
    How do you speak to a large group of people, and get them all to hear without sounding like you are yelling.

    Always speak with a full lung, speak as if you are talking to someone about a meter over the head of those about ¾ of the way down the audience.

    Move your eye’s around the audience, sopping at intervals, this makes every member of the audience feel that you have taken a moment to be talking directly to them.
     
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  5. Thanks for the tips my love :grin: next time we pass the bike shop, be prepared for the 1-2-3 :LOL:
     
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  6. Carri... Thanks so much for your post!

    I hope you dont mind, but ive saved it on my comp to refer to...
    Such simple info, means so much!

    I never feared public speaking/presenting until one time where i was extremely ill prepared and completely fell apart.
    I still enjoy the art of public speaking and i thank-you again for your exremely helpful advice!

    Do you only work with large companies or do you see individuals?

    Cheers,
    Jamie
     
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  7. Thanks for the feedback Jamie. Pleased it was useful. i do lots of 1-on-1 coaching. PM sent. cheers, c x
     
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  8. Know how you feel :LOL:
     
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  9. Hey guys,just lobbing in my 2c worth :)
    +1 on everything you guys have said.

    I've been teaching first aid for about 3 or 4 years and, because its only a short course I have new students on every one of them, so it's sorta kinda like a new presentation each time.
    Over that time I've learned a lot about what works and what doesn't, well for me anyway and a couple of the companies I work for ask me to train new trainers to get them up to speed. Some of the basics, as well as the very good ones that C and F-L have supplied, that I use are:

    1, Know your subject ie I know about First Aid - I don't know how to build a plane so I wont talk about it unless I learn the topic first.

    2, Have street cred. A student straight out of Uni would not have the experience of a 10 year veteran in the field, the audience will pick this up in a flash

    3, Preach at the level of your audience. No point talking like a rocket scientist if your teaching quarry workers.

    4, Be passionate about your topic if you are your audience will be hanging off your every word.

    5, If you can, avoid weaknesses. I have a poor memory and spelling due to my affliction, which is only going to get worse, so as F-L suggests I use cue's, mine is powerpoint that way I can also almost completely avoid the old chalk and talk.

    Hope this helps and ummm sorry if I did a hijack :oops:
     
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  10. Thats a really good guide there Carri. As a student who has a do at least some sort of presentation a week thats very handy.
    And thanks F-L and wot the also.

    For another 2 cents in the pot theres 2 things I that like to do:

    #1. Try and put a joke in there somewhere at the start. No matter what, the butterflys in the tummy always come about beforehand but I find a joke really settles the nerves. Provided that it is funny and appropriate.

    #2. And try be as spontaneous or 'off the cuff' as possible. Nothing worse than seeing someone reading word for word off a script. If you know the subject well enough then you should be able to talk to the audience in a manner that gets the message across.
     
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  11. I was at a conference a few years ago... the guy who got rated the worst presenter was a canberra pencil pusher who read straight off the page, never looked at the audience, was monotonal for 25minutes, barely had a slide and was just paaaaiiiinful to watch. People up and left during the presentation. The thing was, he actually had a decent story to tell... which people wanted to hear.

    Oh well....
     
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  12. Some useful advice there Carri. Probably better than my usual advice to people to just "not give a f*&k what the audience thinks" :LOL: (although that method certainly works for me).
    Edit: Oh and in addition to Loz's post I don't see how public spanking could do anything but help with a presentation :wink: :LOL: .
     
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