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A video conversation on how to be a great speaker

Aristo, from a Greek name, means “to be the best”.

Here is Andrew Keogh of Aristo talking to Don Harris of Talkback about how Aristo helps people to be the best in communicating, presenting and telling their business story.

Are you nervous of presenting? Perhaps you feel you could do better?

Watch this 8 minute video to pick up some great tips and to learn more about how Aristo can help you.

LESS IS MORE – Shorter, more effective presentations

Less is More

A couple of weeks ago I listened to the BBC Radio 4 interview with Dame Judy Dench, as part of their anniversary of 60 years of radio news.

Dame Judy spoke about what she had learned over her sixty years career.

She told a story of how she played Ophelia in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet in her early twenties.

Ophelia was mad, and Dame Judy, in her own words, explains how she over acted, throwing the ‘kitchen sink’ at the role to demonstrate Ophelia’s madness!

She now says some sixty years later she would play the role in a more measured way, and still get the message across of Ophelia’s madness.

Less is more according to Dame Judy Dench

Great actors are always reducing their script, as they realise they can with a gesture, look, or body movement, impart the message more effectively than words can.

Listening to this interview reminded me of how lots of my clients initially want to tell their audience everything about their organisation, in the hope that one of their messages will stick.

I am prompted, required even, to deliver the same message as Dame Judy

‘Less is More’ …

In sessions with Aristo we often start with 40+ slides for a 45-minute presentation (roughly a slide a minute) and finish with 8/10 slides – far more manageable and engaging for both speaker and audience.

The best presentations (in my view) have no slides, or very few.

I believe you cannot make more than three key messages in a presentation, and, ideally, I strongly suggest you only deliver one key message.

This message can be supported by facts, evidence, stories and examples – all helping to make the key message more memorable and more likely to stick in the mind of your audience.

Getting ready for your presentation …

When beginning your preparation, do not start with a previous slide deck. Always start afresh with some blank pages and write/sketch on each of the sheets the content of the slide, remembering that your audience came to listen to you, not look at your slides.

Watch and learn from the best in your organisation, or study speakers who you know have the ability to deliver an effective message.

Simon Sinek’s TED Talk ‘Start with WHY’ (35 m views) – has no slides. Just a flip chart, still the most effective and immediate communications tool for a presentation.

How do I prepare …

To prepare you need to answer these questions, being as specific as possible.

  • Who’s your audience:

Write down a person’s name, not an organisation.

  • Problem / Opportunity:

What is the problem/opportunity ‘story you wish to tell’, to engage this person?

  • Close …

How will this person be better after listening to you and taking your advice?

Create DESIRE in 3 easy stepsHere’s how you do that:

  1. Firstly, help the person to realise they lack what you can offer them.
  2. Get their agreement.
  3. Then paint a picture in words, so they can fully visualise the benefit of what you are offering.

e.g. “I see you talking to an audience of 500 in an entertaining and engaging presentation.”

 

If you or your company have trouble getting people to DESIRE your idea or products, talk to me. I can help you with that …

Messages from the Bourne Trilogy (Find Your Voice)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently, while on my way to speak to an audience of Bankers, I listened to a Desert Island Discs podcast with the movie director Paul Greengrass, Director of three Bourne Films, the 9/11 film United 93, Captain Philips and numerous other films.

He was inspiring and I took down two notes from what he said which I found very interesting. I went on to incorporate his ideas into my talk to my audience of Corporate and Treasury bank people.

The first note/idea I captured was –

“Drama can take you there in a way that facts cannot.”

By way of explanation, he was saying a good story/film addressing a serious issue is much more likely to make an impact, than some dry facts and statistics.

An example of this would be …

A radio interview with a family member, whose eighty year old mother was on a hospital trolley for 48 hours in A&E, is much more memorable than the hospital’s response that the time spent waiting on a bed is down by 1% this year.

Which comment is more likely to be discussed over coffee or at lunch break?

The other comment which I noted down was that at some point in his life (career) he had found –

  • His voice
  • His stories
  • His way

How lucky is he!

In this really interesting podcast he gives credit to some of the people who helped him to find his voice. Please click here and listen to the podcast if you want to be inspired, like I was.

 

If you need some help in finding your voice, or reconnect with your true voice, please get in touch.

 

Aristo – Connect 2 Grow explained …

Aristo gives people the confidence to connect.
Connect and build relationships.
Relationships build Trust.
Trust leads to growth in you and your business.

Get Started Writing Now! Guess & Go …

Where do you get inspired? I doubt if it’s sitting at your desk or in front of a screen?

Why should you wish to be more creative?

Creativity is as critical as literacy in education
Sir Ken Robinson

One of my favourite TED talks (+ 38 million other people)

I am presently participating in The Artist’s Way programme delivered by Eve Earley, and the first two steps are to take some time each morning to write stuff (anything), which has the great effect of  clearing your head and getting you ready for the day.

The second activity is to have an ‘artist’s date’ each week. This is where you allow yourself the time to do something, or go somewhere that will help stimulate your creative instincts.

Last month I visited the portrait room in the National Art Gallery of Ireland. As a result, I got an idea for an article/blog  (Click here).

Today, I am writing this article in the Central Library Dublin, surrounded by studious people all intent on what they are reading.

When I want some peace and quiet, I also regularly use Bank of Ireland WorkBench spaces.

Note: all of these spaces are free and have good free Wi-Fi if you feel the need to check in every 2 to 3 hours.  I would suggest you put your phone on airplane mode and out of sight whilst you are there.

I have found that the act of writing longhand with a fountain pen or pencil is more fulfilling than using a keyboard.  The slower more relaxed pace also allows you to be more reflective and creative.

My advice to you is put your ideas down on paper while they are fresh in your mind. You can dictate or type into your computer later. Leave a space / time before commencing editing, or, better still, have someone else do this for you.

All great writers have editors who invariably reduce down the content, to improve the narrative.

Here are some tips picked up over the years having thought about writing articles/blogs but managed to avoid doing so, using various excuses.

  • Guess and Go
    The number one excuse for me and lots of people is that they cannot spell. This for me was overcome with advice from Eve Earley who told me that her children, who were educated in America, received the advice to Guess and Go.  If they did not know how to spell a word they were told to have a guess but keep on writing.
    How I wish I got that advice from my teachers.
  • Get your thoughts down on paper is another piece of advice I received from a writer friend of mine. Tell yourself it’s only a first draft and can be changed or corrected
  • All great writers give credit to their editors. Find yourself a friend or colleague who is supportive of your writing, not critical of your output.

Take my advice and get started. There is nothing as fulfilling as being creative and capturing your thoughts on paper. It will also enhance your career and business, just as it has mine.

Please SHARE with your friends and colleagues and read my previous publications for advice on how to be more creative.

The EYES Have It!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having spent a couple of hours walking around the National Gallery of Ireland, I found myself in the hall of portraits. This is a collection of paintings of famous Irish people, both living and dead, by famous Irish artists, also both living and dead.

My observation was that the paintings that connected with me and engaged with me were the ones that I felt the subject of the painting was watching me and looking straight back at me.

I was there as part of my commitment to give some time to art and creativity, one of the requirements when signing up to the Artist’s Way Program with my good friend Eve Earley.

My time in the gallery was both relaxing and stimulating, and got me thinking about the importance of eye contact in both our personal and public lives.

A wet fish handshake is not nice, but not looking at someone when having a conversation with them is a much bigger sin.

Let me tell you why you should look at people when having a conversation with them, be it one, five or hundred in your audience.

Eye contact says, I am interested in you and your ideas. Letting me know what’s important  and allowing a judgement to be made by  observing your body language, gestures, smile, frown, etc.

Most importantly when you take the focus off yourself and put the emphasis on your audience, it immediately reduces your stress levels and helps you to be a more effective communicator.

TIP:  Advice I always give to people I coach is, mingle with your audience 10 to 15 minutes before you are due to speak. Chat and have a coffee with 2/3 people, it will relax both you and them.  You can take this interaction to another level by mentioning them by name during your talk, e.g., “As John was saying earlier …”

For information on my next Presentation Skills Programme click here

You can choose to style yourself on Bob Dylan or Van Morrison and not engage with your audience or, as I would prefer, pay money to see Bruce Springsteen or Coldplay.

Most of us do not have the talent of any of these four artists, but we can engage with an audience, making the conversation more interesting for all parties concerned.

The purpose of a presentation or pitch is for your ideas to stick in the memory of your listener.

Recently, some minutes after six companies had pitched for investment, the adjudicators (me included) had completely forgotten 50% of the pitches; we could not even remember the companies’ names without prompting.

Make eye contact and this will improve your chances of being remembered.

P.S. This means no notes or very few!

My job is to help presenters’ ideas to stick/stand out so they will win sales and investment.

For information on my next Presentation Skills Programme click here

Remove Stress from Public Speaking! Come on a journey with me …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“All poems should begin in delight but end in wisdom”
Robert Frost

If you have an important presentation coming up, or a pitch for business, the above quotation is critical to your success.

Your talk must begin with delight – the audience must be engaged and entertained on commencement of your talk, but more importantly, they must see the wisdom of what you are proposing and how your suggestion will benefit them.

Analogy (one of the most powerful tools in a presenters armoury)

I often use the analogy of ‘planning a car journey with children to planning a talk to a business audience’.

In both cases you need to take your audience on an enjoyable and exciting journey that offers the prospect of an outcome which will be to their benefit.

Let me explain …

Car Journey Presentation Journey
1 Decide who’s going to travel in the car with you, e.g. your children and perhaps some of their friends The speaker must also decide who them would like to come along on this journey with him them, e.g. key decision-makers, etc.
2 There is some preparation required. Fill the tank, check the tyres, stock up on goodies for the journey Room layout, backup presentation on memory stick & computer. Clicker, spare batteries, timer, hard copy of presentation etc.
3 You are all set and pulling out of the driveway and telling the children about the great fun that will have at journey’s end. This is also what great speakers do, paint work pictures of how the audience will benefit from the journey they are about to embark on with you.
4 Shortly you will hear the immortal words ‘are we there yet’.This is where you have to start the first story or game – I spy something beginning with … It’s always best early in the talk to outline the problem you solve for members of your audience. This is often best done by ‘telling a story’ that fleshes out the issues that most concern your audience.
5 You have staved off the first round of ‘are we there yet’; you need to keep chocolates, toys, story books and a stop at McDonalds in reserve if you plan to make it to your destination intact. The opening was a success; you have your audience’s attention. What are you going to do next to hold their attention? I suggest using Analogies, Demonstrations, Examples, Facts, Statistics or Testimonials.Warning: Data overload is the greatest failing of speakers, so use the above sparingly.
6 You are now only 20 minutes from final destination and all supplies and entertainment skills have been exhausted and war in the car is fast approaching. This is where your planned masterstroke is unleashed. You reveal not only that you have ticket to the Amusement park but your tickets allow entry to the most popular ride without queuing!!!! Your talk must end by telling / showing the key influencers in the audience how you will make their lives BETTER as a result of taking your very specific advice. (Not a  bullet point list)
7 Action: Kids to stay quiet for next few minutes allowing you to focus on driving and getting them their even quicker. Action: The # 1 failing of speakers is not agreeing an action with the audience.So decide on the outcome you would like to achieve before ever setting out on the journey.

 

If you would like to know how to create great presentations that include analogies and other great presentation techniques please register here for my next Presentations Programme starting in Dublin on the 27th September.

 

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