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  1. 1. How to Be More Than Merely Presentable© Michael Neaylon 2010PresentAbility is a division of MCME Pty LtdP + 61 2 9331 PresentAbility Page 1
  2. 2. Hello. My name’s Michael Neaylon. As a terrified teenage actor I was abysmal at speaking in public. Sincewishing the stage would swallow me whole over 20 years ago, I’ve gone on to build a successful career asan MC, actor, facilitator and speaker. These are just some of the things I’ve learnt, applied, and reshapedalong the way.Let me start by asking you with 3 simple questions. 1. Would you say you’re presenting at your best? 2. Do you think other people would say that you’re a world class speaker? 3. Would you like others to recognize you as an expert in your field?Personally, my answers to these questions would be… 1. Many of us want to present at our best. 2. People want us to be world class presenters. 3. Many of us are experts in our field.So what’s stopping us from presenting as the world class experts we – and others - know we are?I’m glad you asked. PresentAbility Page 2
  3. 3. World Class Presentation SkillsFor World Class People PresentAbility Page 3
  4. 4. I have no doubt that your present ability is far greater than you think; especially if it’s true that we onlyuse 5% of our brains. Margaret Mead said 6%. Others have said less. But even if we only use 10% thatleaves a lot of grey matter that could matter a whole lot more.I do think, however, that too much thinking gets in the way of a good presentation. Counterproductivethinking. We often worry ourselves with needless concerns far beyond our control:  Will they like me?  Is there enough detail?  Is it the right detail?  Perhaps it’s too much detail?  Have they heard it all before?  Do they care?  Should they care?  Do I? Of course I do. But who the hell am I to get up here and preach?  Why didn’t I just tell them I was sick and get someone else to do it?These are just a few of the symptoms of presenter’s dis-ease. What we’re going to treat are some of thecauses. PresentAbility Page 4
  5. 5. FearPublic speaking is widely reported by many as a fear greater than death. Thereare countless theories as to why. Jerry Seinfeld says that most people giving aeulogy ‘would rather be the guy in the box’. The great orator of Springfield,Homer Simpson, says ‘If I could just say a few words: I’d be a better speaker’.One of the more curious ones I’ve heard is that the mere act of being in front ofa group of people taps into our primal fear of being segregated from a group bybeing apart from the tribe.Whilst there might be truth in all of these statements, each person’s fear will bepersonal to them, that’s why coaching can be helpful. It gives people theopportunity to not only conquer fears but also locate their strengths – and buildon them. Whilst we might not be able to delve into your specific fear here, I findthe most effective fear fighters are the ones that take the focus off of yourselfand onto 3 key things: 1. The audience. 2. The topic. If I have nothing to fear but fear itself, why do I 3. The task at hand. feel so afraid? PresentAbility Page 5
  6. 6. The AudienceWe’ll look at the audience first, because, without a doubt, they are the mostimportant point of focus. I’m sure you’ve worked that out already, howeverthere are a few things that can get between us and them in the process,despite our good intentions.This can be broken down into 3 main areas: ‘You must know how this is relevant to your 1. Lack of Research - find as much out about your audience as you can. audience.’ Survey them, ask the HR Manager about them, google them, know as much as you possibly can about what makes them tick, and most importantly, what they most care about – not just what you think they should care about. 2. Lack of Relevance – you must know how this is relevant to your audience. How will it improve their lives, or at the very least their workplace, where most people spend much of their lives? 3. Lack of Confidence - When I recently voiced my concern over bringing a particular topic to an audience I was reminded by a colleague ‘you areThe Topic what you bring’. It’s true. Bring the best of you to the stage. No more, no less. PresentAbility Page 6
  7. 7. The TopicA surefire way to be relevant for your audience is to have a hot topic. If it’s anindustry seminar, research what’s wrong in the marketplace. Where are the gaps?Where are we falling down? Where could we improve? How could we serve morepeople? How could we create profit and retain integrity?But what if you have no say over the topic? What if the topic’s been chosen foryou?The solution’s easy. If you can’t present a new topic in a new way, present and ‘Find a hot angle.’old topic in a new way. In short, find a hot angle. You actually have an addedadvantage here. As the audience’s expectations are low, you’ll surprise them witha rigorous, fresh approach, automatically exceeding their expectations.One of our clients, Steensen Varming, recently did this in a Presentation SkillsWorkshop by starting their presentation with a scene from a movie. The MD hadrewritten the scene to address an old issue in a new way; he even acted it out. Itwas brave and bold, and it captivated and engaged the audience.The Task at HandAsk others for their perspective on an issue. They’ll appreciate it, and you’ll findbetter material. Google it. Oppose it. Imagine you’re debating the issue for theopposition. You’ll surprise yourself, and engage your audience.You might be surprised If your topic is workplace motivation, rather than try torally the troops with empty ra-ra, could you instead give PresentAbility Page 7
  8. 8. The Task at HandIf you’re the MC, your overall objective would be to fulfil the event brief. Yet yourtask at hand for a particular session might be to energize people after lunch. Thisresults in an outcome: an alert, responsive audience for the afternoon’s speakers.If you’re sponsoring a conference, your overall objective might be to raise yourcompany profile. Your task at hand, however, might be to give the audience acase study. The outcome is you establish your reputation as a trusted source. ‘The outcome is toIf you’re raising money for a charity you’re objective would be to raise money. The establish yourself astask at hand could be to tell a powerful story to touch people with humanity and a trusted source.’humour. The result? They dip into their pockets and give generously.To give you a visual of the task in relation to the objective and the outcome: Objective Task at Hand Outcome MC – fulfil brief Energize audience Audience attentive Sponsor conference to Give a quality case study Positioned as a trusted raise profile resource Raise money for charity Tell a powerful story People give generously PresentAbility Page 8
  9. 9. Surely There’s More to ItYes, there is more. A lot more.Often the best ways to reach an audience is find as many touch points using asmany tactics as you can. Why? What resonates with one person might notnecessarily resonate with another.What we’ve looked are just 3 tools in an expansive toolbox. To be a master ‘What we’ve lookedcraftsperson, you need to keep unpacking those tools, trying them on for size, at are just 3 toolsexperimenting a little and practicing a lot. in an expansive toolbox.’Before we explore some effective ways to do just that, here’s a quick overview ofjust some of the tools you have at your disposal:  Anecdotes  Demonstrations  Interview a GuestAll The World’s a Stage  Analogies  Quotes  Personal Stories  Metaphors  Slides  Stories from History  Case Studies  Music  VideoAll The World’s a Stage  Clichés  Inter-activities  Myths PresentAbility Page 9
  10. 10. All The World’s A StageOne way to conquer the fear of speaking is simply to speak more. Not just on thestage, at the conference or when pitching to clients, but in everyday life. Bypracticing consciously, your ‘speaking’ becomes habitual. Then, when you step uponto stage it doesn’t feel like such a massive leap into a unknown void. ‘Presenting isAs the best presentations are conversations, I invite our clients to practice the art focused speaking – amplified byof conversation at every opportunity. I don’t suggest just idle chit chat. I do your personalitysuggest speaking with focus. If networking is focused socialising, then presenting and expertise.’is focused speaking – amplified by your personality and expertise.To help that process, we often encourage our clients to pick a simple topic or areaof expertise they’re highly familiar with and explore these techniques in:  Heighten & Extend: expand key points of a topic by highlighting key areas, and ensuring those points hit home.  Elevator Statements: distil your message into an elevator statement that gives someone its essence in one or two sentences.  Same, Same, But Different: say the same mini-speeches in different ways.Heighten & Extend PresentAbility Page 10
  11. 11. Heighten & ExtendThis exercise is excellent for testing a story’s impact. It’s tough. It’s fun. It works.This is your opportunity to road test your material for your audience, without themeven being in the room. Simply tell a story from a presentation you’re working onto a colleague or friend. This person is now your story buddy. Using an accuratesnapshot your audience, brief your buddy so they understand the attendees’ keyareas, issues and concerns. They need to listen as if from that person’s point ofview. Then tell your story. But before you do… ‘It’s tough. It’s fun.Your buddy has 2 words they can interject with at any time. It works.’1. Heighten. 2. Extend.If they say ‘heighten’ then this is a cue that they need more detail deliveredin a more interesting or entertaining way. Keep them engaged. Watch their bodylanguage, their face, and adjust your delivery to keep their interest.Once your buddy is engaged, they say ‘extend’. This means you’ve made yourpoint and can keep going to deliver the next points in your presentation, until theyElevator Statementssay heighten again. Keep having fun.Debrief at the end, asking your buddy what worked, what didn’t, and why. PresentAbility Page 11
  12. 12. Elevator StatementsElevator Statements are built on the concept of elevator pitches, made famous inHollywood by scriptwriters who only have a few floors in an elevator to pitch theirconcept to a Producer.Some screenwriters call this sentence the central idea, controlling idea or the spine.Advertisers might call it a tagline. In a business plan the sentence might be themission statement. Whichever of those strike a chord with you, the key is that theline needs forward motion, and ideally, emotion. The line needs to be catchy, active,compelling and concise. ‘The line needs to be catchy, active,Use this line to encourage, uplift, inspire, influence, intrigue or entertain your compelling and concise.’audience. Give it energy. Make it fun. It’s also effective if the line has that effect onyou. In fact I see it as. Here are some other examples:  Rich Dad Poor Dad’s Mission: To elevate the financial wellbeing of humanity.  Coke: The real thing.  This e-book: How to Be More Than Merely Presentable.So, what’s your presentation’s concept? Can you explain it in one sentence?But hang on, is one sentence really enough? Yes. And no. PresentAbility Page 12
  13. 13. Same Same. But Different.Just as you’d tailor a CV for different roles and different companies, you also need totailor your Elevator Statement for different audiences and environments. Thefollowing table is a snapshot of a concept developed by Matt Church and theThought Leaders network, giving the 3 ways you pitch yourself in any situation. SITUATION FOCUS ‘Tailor your ElevatorDinner Party Personal YOU Statement for differentNetworking event Activity IT audiences and environments.’Prospect’s boardroom Outcomes THEMYOU is obviously all about you; who you are, and what you’ve done. IT is about yourarea of expertise or a project. THEM is all about the outcomes you can deliver forthe other person. To tailor this further, think about the appropriate energy level,which can be divided into low, medium and high. As Matt wisely points out, you’rebest not to begin a high energy conversation all about yourself next to some on aplane. Unless you want to be perceived by the other person as the guy in the nextseat who yells – ‘HEY. I’M MICHAEL, AND I SHOUT AT PEOPLE ON PLANES!’ PresentAbility Page 13
  14. 14. In ClosingOne of the areas we work on in detail with many of our clients is the art of closingSame Same. But Different.their presentation. In general, people fall into two camps. 1. They rush the ending. 2. They drag out the ending.From the audience’s point of view it can feel like a badly executed 3rd act of a movie.These are just some of the ways you can finish strong. 1. Summarise – review your 3 key points – or more if you have them. ‘…finish strong.’ ’ 2. Quick Q & A, asking for comments, questions or thoughts. You don’t want to make this the very last thing though, as there are too many variables. 3. Call to Action – a great one for sales, giving people a strong cue for what to do next.So, in closing we’ve covered quite a lot here. We’ve looked at your audience, how toengage them and how to deliver your message in ways that ensure they’ll bereceptive, responsive and entertained. If you have any questions, comments orthoughts please email me at Thanks for reading and all thebest for your presentations. I look forward to hearing from you soon. PresentAbility Page 14
  15. 15. About Michael NeaylonMichael Neaylon is an MC, Presenter, Entertainment Consultant and Presentation Skills Trainer.He has over 20 years in the entertainment industry, many of which have been spentperforming, designing and marketing events. Michael is the founder and director or MCME, aninteractive marketing, performance and training company that supports you in making yourevent, your brand and your people a success.Share ThisDistribute this freely to anybody you like, as long as you distribute it in its entirety, don’tchange it in any way, and don’t charge money for it.Copyright © 2010 Michael NeaylonDisclaimerThe material contained in this report is general and is not intended as advice on anyparticular matter. The author expressly disclaims all and any liability to any personswhatsoever in respect of anything done by any such person in reliance, whether in wholeor in part, on this report. Please take appropriate legal advice before acting on anyinformation in this report. PresentAbility Page 15