You say your stand-up routine has gone
stale? Here's how to zip up your presentation (and a little
advice for the eventual flub).
Presentations are your lifeblood. Sales presentations to clients,
reports to upper management, speeches at industry conferences. You
know, then, all the basics of public speaking: Keep it short, make
eye contact, and do whatever it takes to avoid the white-knuckled
grip on a podium.
But your act needs something extra, a little punching up, let's
say. And you live in fear that disaster will strike the moment you
step on stage - and it will eventually - so you need a few exit
strategies. Read on, then, and get three of each from some of
today's most exciting speakers.
FIRST PUNCH: Connection
How about running onstage to the strains of Alanis Morissette's
"You Learn"? It works for John Kilcullen, creator of the Dummies
series of books, who speaks to various organizations around the
country on achieving success. He invites audience participation by
tossing Dummies pens, golf balls, candy, and T-shirts off the stage
to those who'll throw out answers to questions he poses. Use your
own company's giveaways. Everyone's a sucker for free stuff.
Using a more subdued presentation style is fine as long as you
establish that essential connection between yourself and the
audience, says Lilyan Wilder, author of 7 Steps to Fearless
Speaking. Try making eye contact with specific audience members.
Ask them to respond to questions or call for a show of hands. Your
interest will help persuade them that you're not just giving a
SECOND PUNCH: Sound Bites