One of my favorite books on presenting is “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” by Carmine Gallo. There are a lot of great lessons in the book from designing your slides to be simple, visual and without bullet points; structuring the presentation around three ideas; having a surprise near the end; and Job’s focus on rehearsing.
But let’s face it, you aren’t Steve Jobs and your employer is not going to give you the resources and time to produce the greatest presentation ever for a 45 minute breakout session at the Logistics Technology Summit in Orlando. That session probably doesn’t deserve the same amount of time and preparation and resources that one of Job’s presentations required for rolling out the iPad or a new iPhone. But you still need to rock your session and have people come away saying they enjoyed your talk and learned a lot.
One of the keys to becoming a better public speaker is figuring out what your personality is on stage and what makes you comfortable. Discovering your personal style and approach – your “mojo” – will also allow you to deliver the best presentation that you can and put you on a path to continue to improve.
In a future post I’ll talk about becoming a student of the game, learning from every speaker that you see – whether they are amazing or are thoroughly disappointing. When you watch speakers who you admire, your goal is not to to say “I want to be like them,” but rather “I want to be the best ‘I’ can be.”
One of my favorite speakers is Scott Stratten, the author of several books including “Unmarketing,” “QR Codes Kill Kittens” and “The Book of Business Awesome / The Book of Business UnAwesome.” There are several things that make Scott a great speaker, including: He is simply hysterical, is a master of using voice inflection, his theme is always simple and relatable and his delivery is just amazing.
Scott is funnier than a lot of stand-up comedians and delivers his lines as well as award-winning actors. Most of us are probably not as naturally funny as Scott, so you probably shouldn’t try to be. But do try to find a style or some schtick that is in your DNA and helps brings out that inner rock star that gives you the confidence to be the best you can be.
Whatever style or approach you use you may find that it evolves and changes over time. When I first started speaking a lot, I would often include anecdotes about my family. Using stories about my family provided a high degree of intimate knowledge and the ability to make a point through something very personal.
This approach gave me a high degree of comfort and confidence. My hope was that the audience would then translate those anecdotes into their own personal or work experience. As my speaking experience and confidence grew, I was able to expand to use a variety of other approaches to bring my ideas to life and connect with the audience.
One of your goals as a speaker is to find your own style and approach that enables you to feel like a rock star on stage. Learn from the best speakers, but focus on developing your own distinct and memorable style.