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Chris Anderson is the Curator of TED. His article in the Harvard Business Review outlining tips on how to give a killer presentation is outstanding and definitely worth the read. He also includes video of some incredibly compelling TED Talks.

Storytelling and presentation skills training for business

When I coach groups on storytelling and presentation skills, I always ask the guests to finish these three sentences in their own words:

  1. I LOVE presenting because…
  2. I HATE presenting because…
  3. I FEAR presenting because…

Ninety percent of people struggle to find one single reason that they ‘love’ presenting, but when it comes to ‘hate’ and ‘fear’ they tend to have lots to say!

I hear things like, “I hate presenting because I always forget what I am supposed to say.” Or “I fear presenting because I will look unprepared in front of the audience.”

Most of the reasons people ‘hate’ and ‘fear’ presenting comes down to one simple, time-consuming, unavoidable truth… Not enough time was put into rehearsing.

You might assume that a particular speaker is naturally gifted, confident, and polished on stage. What you don’t see is that it took them hours and hours of practice to get there.

No one, and I mean no one, is born a great presenter!

One of the speakers that Chris Anderson refers to in his article is Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor. She has one of the most popular TED talks of all time! Apparently, she rehearsed 200 times before she delivered it in front of a TED audience. Dr. Jill’s presentation seemed natural, authentic, animated, and conversational. Many people don’t realize that it takes practice to sound conversational.

“But…” say my guests, “we don’t have time to rehearse!”

Of course you don’t if you are slapping it together the night before! Every great presentation requires a timeline that should include at least three days for rehearsal.

The rehearsal should be in front of your colleagues, but in absence of that opportunity, feel free to rehearse in front of your cat, dog, goldfish or car radio driving to and from work.

The most important thing is to rehearse, rehearse and rehearse some more!

Your personal brand should mean just as much to you as Apple meant to Steve Jobs. And if Jobs was scrupulous about every aspect of his presentations, shouldn’t you be?

Presentation skills workshops

Do you need help refining your inner storyteller? Reach out to the Barefoot Brainstorming team today.

practice makes perfect