Thursday, 8 October 2009

10 things you can do to build your own skills

Role models, free lessons, blogs and other ways of keeping you sharp

1. Watch the way that TV news (anything but CNN where there’s just too much going on) tells a story with graphics, text and voice.

2. Look at the structure of a story in a newspaper, notice the headline, the grabber first paragraph in bold, the detailed in 3 acts, the summary at the end. It’s a habit that journalists have drilled into them as professionals from the start of their careers. We can learn from them in all of our presentations.

3. Read ‘How to Argue and win Every Time’ by Gerry Spence. Fabulous anecdotes and some great tips about pitching to hostile audiences in a courtroom.

4. Experiment with new things in your presentations from time to time- Tell a story, do a no text presentation where you only use images to convey your message, inject a little humour with a cartoon or quotation, use a flip-chart to make a point, anything that means you’re developing your flexibility as a presenter.

5. Search on the web and for great presenters giving great speeches and notice what they do to engage and inspire their audience- try with Steve Jobs’ Stanford University Commencement speech at - Great stories with a real point.

6. Go to conferences and watch the speakers there and learn from the good, the bad and the ugly. See what works and what doesn’t and copy them yourself in your own work.

7. Volunteer to make a conference speech or an after dinner speech that puts you out of your comfort zone, maybe even on a subject that you don’t know much about but will have to research.

8. Read some poetry and see what real craftspeople do with words to make maximum impact in the shortest possible time.

9. Build up a bank of images, words, quotes and stories that you can use in your own speeches.

10. Have a look at some of the other great blogs on presentation skills and subscribe to them for free updates.

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