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Presentation Tips from 3 American Presidents

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What is the biggest mistake speakers make when preparing/delivering presentations?

Answer:  They say too much!

I will use three former US Presidents; Obama, Clinton and Reagan as examples of really engaging speakers.

In all their election campaigns they had one clear message.
(Enough said about this year’s candidates).

In the case of Clinton every talk was about the economy, no side issues or distractions; the economy was his key focus.
(It’s about the economy – stupid! – James Carville’s advice to Clinton).

In the case of Obama, it was about change. ‘Yes we can!’
(Do you look back with fond memories on the hope this campaign generated?)

My final example is President Reagan, also regarded as an engaging speaker.
Ronald Reagan’s message in all his campaign talks was: “Before you vote, ask yourself have you more or less money in your pocket now than you had four years ago”?

These examples demonstrate the importance of a single powerful message.

Tip:

My advice is to simplify your story and allow all the audience to easily understand the core of your message.

If you need help doing this, please get in contact; opportunities to get in front of the right audiences are hard and expensive to come by, do not waste any more opportunities.

How Steve Jobs liked to Pitch & Present his ideas/products

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Like many people, you will receive presents of books this Christmas. I would suggest you drop a hint for the Steve Jobs Book by Walter Isaacson.

I received a present of this book a couple of Christmases ago. My first thought was, look at the thickness of the book and do I want to spend my Christmas reading this? In early February I picked the book up again and started to read it.

I like to read books with a highlighter in hand; this allows me to review the book quickly and remember important messages and ideas that may be valuable in the future.

On reviewing the book, I realised that a lot of my highlighted ideas were to do with how Steve Jobs and Apple like to pitch and present their ideas/products.

Here are a few pointers which you may find helpful:

APPLE’S DESIGN MANTRA

Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication

This also applies to the presentation of ideas. I spend a lot of my time encouraging presenters to reduce and simplify the content of their presentations.

STEVE JOBS ON POWERPOINT

I want them to engage, to hash things out at the table, rather than show a bunch of slides. “People who know what they’re talking about don’t need Power Point”.

 

I recently helped a Chief Executive reduce the number of slides for an important pitch from 30 slides to less than 10 – and he won the business!

Mike Markkula, an early mentor, taught Jobs to understand that people do judge a book by its cover- and therefore to make sure that all the trappings and packaging of Apple signaled that there was a beautiful gem inside.

How is your pitch/presentation package, is it as innovative as your product, or more likely a series of bullet points on a slide?

Alex Haley once said that the best way to begin a speech is “Let me tell you a story”. Nobody is eager for a lecture, but everybody loves a story. That was the approach that Jobs chose. “Today I want to tell you three stories from my life”, he began. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

There is nobody better in the world at telling stories than the Irish; it’s in our DNA.

I give people confidence to tell stories in a business situation; give me a call if you need to win more business.

Be the person with the Gift of the GAB!

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“The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.” Oscar Wilde, Irish dramatist, novelist & poet (1854-1900)

Irish people are generally regarded as good storytellers; we often tell ourselves that we have the gift of the gab.

I believe we publish and sell more short stories in Ireland than anywhere else in the world; lots of our famous novelists are also great short story writers.

This natural ability to tell stories doesn’t often lead to us being good confident public speakers however.

I believe that the reason we are lacking in confidence in this area is the fact that generally during our school days the teachers focused on what was wrong, rather than what was right. Perhaps our parents were guilty of the same trait, because that’s the way they were educated.

E.g. if you did ten sums and 8 were right and 2 were wrong, were you praised for having 8 right or chastised for the 2 that were wrong?

If you stop and think back to your school days, the best teacher you had and the one that stands out in your memory is the teacher who encouraged you and found the good in you. Am I right?

I often use the analogy that the difference between good coaching and bad coaching is similar to Eastern Medicine and Western Medicine.

In Western Medicine we deal with symptoms; tell your doctor you have a headache and he will give you a tablet, if we have a lump somewhere they will cut it out. Whereas I believe Chinese Doctors look at your lifestyle and diet, to find out why are you feeling unwell?

In parts of China I believe that you pay your doctor when you’re well and you stop paying him when you’re unwell.  The complete reversal to how we do it in the Western world.

Referring back to my analogy, bad coaching is the same as western doctors, they deal with symptoms. Regularly I hear presentation coaches say; stand up straight, put your shoulders back, take your hands out of your pockets, make eye contact, speak up – all symptoms that the speaker isn’t comfortable or confident.

I believe a good coach should focus on giving presenters confidence, filling them full of courage – and when they do, the symptoms listed above will generally disappear and what we will see is an engaging, energetic and enthusiastic speaker.

If it is important in your business life or your social life to be the person who can be relied on to present well on big occasions, please continue to read my blogs, or enquire about Aristo’s upcoming training programmes if you wish, for more immediate results.

Andrew Keogh speaking JCI

Tips to make your customers feel valued

Last Saturday evening I had the pleasure of being the Keynote Speaker at the Junior Chamber Ireland ‘Friendly Business Awards’ for Dublin City.  This event is held annually in the Mansion House and recognises and awards businesses under the following headings:

Customer Care, Shop Layout and Design, Disability Access, Digital Experience

JCI events are always exciting, engaging and full of enthusiastic young people.  An organisation I would recommend young business people to join if they wish to enhance their careers.

My talk was entitled:  Are You Being Served?

The idea was to offer the audience some key thoughts about what makes a difference to customers when they visit somewhere intending to spend their hard earned money. Continue reading

A Radio Interview Packed with useful Advice and Tips to improve your Presenting and Pitching Skills

A Radio Interview Packed with useful Advice and Tips to improve your Presenting and Pitching Skills

After my recent blog post Why are People Fearful about Speaking in Public, Dublin City 103.2 FM asked me to come onto their Business show ‘You and Your Business’ with Don Harris and expand on the the importance to peoples careers of being confident when speaking in public.

Here’s the link to this in-depth interview which enhances greatly the content of my recent blog.

Please have a listen (& download) and let me know if you agree or have a comment about my unique approach to improving people’s ability to present on important occasions, be they business or personal.

How do you identify the key message you want to deliver?

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Many years ago on the Michael Parkinson Show, Michael interviewed Frederick Forsyth, author of, amongst many bestsellers, ‘The Day of the Jackal’.  Michael asked Frederick to explain how he went about writing bestsellers, whereupon he told Parkinson this fascinating story which I like to use as an analogy for what I do.

He said “for example if I wished to write a book on the Mafia, I would fly to Italy, base myself in Sicily and spend six months in the library researching the Mafia. Somewhere in that research I would possibly make a connection between the Mafia and the Vatican.

As a result of that I would go and spend three or four months in the Vatican libraries researching possible connections between the Vatican and the Mafia. From that research, it’s likely there will be a connection between politics and the Mafia. This would lead me off on another tangent, spending another three or four months in some sweltering library researching possible connections between politics and Mafia”. Continue reading

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