Now it is your turn. What did you think of this article? What ideas did it give you? What did others think?
Darren LaCroix learned how to be funny the hard way by experience. He is a keynote speaker with a thriving publc speaking career. He authored books, CD’s, DVD’s, & other public speaking courses. He gives motivational speeches all over the world including Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia
Great article Darren, thanks for sharing. I am a member of FUN Toastmasters and Steele Creek Toastmasters in Charlotte, NC and I am currently working speech projects from the Advanced Storytelling manual. Your tips relative to storytelling were just what I needed. Thanks!
What a fantastic example of looking good, but sounding bad. There is nothing like Toastmasters to fix that bad habit. We, at the Renaissance Toastmasters of Clearwater, Florida, thank you for the wonderful tips you so freely give. Those of us who attended your workshop on “telling stories”, are telling some good ones and coaching club members to do the same. Thank you and Merry Christmas.
Thank you, once again, for thoughtful and practical advice. However, your typos and/or spelling errors kept jumping out at me. When presenting yourself in writing, perhaps it would be a good idea to apply the same basic advice you give to the speakers. An occasional typo or spelling error may easily be overlooked; but when there are half a dozen of them in a brief message, it becomes distracting and weakens your impact – at least it did for me.
EXCELLENT point! I whole heartedly agree. At a business conference earlier this year I was excited to hear a famous actress deliver a keynote. That excitement was very shortlived thanks to her giggling after every second or third sentence. Her “message”? I have no idea.
AWESOME message, Darren. Our High Energy Toastmasters in Charlotte, NC held a workshop on presentations last week and covered some of the same points you gave here. Also last week, our Employee Resource Groups held our year-end luncheon, which was MCed by one of our executives and included a panel discussion by three other executives. While they each made some great points, I was distracted by their “um” and “ah”. I’d love to hear your advise on how to get more executives involved in Toastmasters. Too often, at least here at Duke, its members are “pions”, wishing to gain or improve our overall leadership skills (including speaking skills)and overlooked by those already in leadership who need to improve the speaking/presentation skills to enhance their “book learning”. Thanks for sharing your expertise!
Incredible article. Right to the point. The first impression means so much and there is so much people can do to improve!
It is a great suggestion for people to video tape themselves. Almost everyone I have ever coached is initially afraid to watch a video or listen to an audio of themselves. It is great to point out to them that if they don’t want to watch themselves, why should they expect others to want to. I video all of my seminars and WOW, do I learn from watching myself.
It is a great context to explain that executives already invest so much money in their image. An investment in how they present will last a life time and be with them always! Not just when they dress up, but for any impromptu need. I also invest at least $10,000 per year in training and think it is essential for my growth so I can provide massive value for my clients.
Learning to become Passionate, Energetic, Enthusiastic and Charismatic will pay HUGE dividends. If someone wants to be a leader, they need to inspire their followers, and the best way is by speaking in person, communicating with power, integrity, congruity and passion. Pay attention to what the audience needs to hear. Know where you want to take them. Tell stories to break down resistance and leave a lasting impression.
Thanks for all you do to help the world listen to better presenters!
Scott Braxton, Ph.D., MBA
Excellent Communications, LLC
Darren, thanks for revealing your experiences and being real with us. No sugar-coating. It’s always delightful, informational and inspirational to read your ezines.
Great article. So right. Some people just don’t get it with the over use of slides. A friend of mine delivered a presentation last year in Vegas. The slides! 60 minute presentation – 12 would have been enough. She showed 98 slides in 60 minutes!
Anyhow, the bottom line is, it is worthwhile investing in professional help – no matter how good you look and how well you know your material, it makes little difference if you can’t connect with the audience and deliver the message.
I think we should make you some Toastmasters business cards to hand out next time 🙂
All great points.
Excellent article Darren, and the comments above are just right.
Now what if the audience expects (and has learned to prefer) too much detail, too many slides, and too much information, and frowns on deviation from the “professional norm”?
I’m a commercial lawyer, and I try to make my presentations real and engaging. This seems to have worked for most of my audiences.
Every so often, however, I get an audience feedback comment like “it was too light on detail.” Or “I expect to have the paper slides to accompany the presentation” or “could have had more slides with more information on them.” That’s because many lawyers like other professionals think the “proper” way to do presentations is to give “heavyweight” legal information in detailed slides. The UK legal market is full of such expert talks, that audiences have been trained to expect nothing else. And over 99% of those expert talks I have attended are dull, uninsightful, unhelpful and ininspiring.
How do you deal with conservative professionals? One suggestion I have heard is to give audiences some short “pre-reading” before the seminar date, so that the basic factual information can be assumed, and the talk can stress the ideas instead. Any other thoughts?
Darren, you shared many valuable, practical tips which we can use immediately. They are so good I’m copying your article to share with others, giving you the credit, of course!
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experiece with us, and thanks for encouraging us to do our best and give our best.
Liz Northrop, DTM
Excellent, excellent advice and encouragement to all. You gave examples that hit home with me too. I was at a TM meeting and a bank executive came and gave a 20 minute presentation and had at least 100 ahs and ums and it was truly painful to listen to him present so I stopped listening and wrote a letter. I am in college now and to plagerise is totally wrong and I appreciate it when you said to give credit to those it belongs to. Also I have been to presentations where the speaker looks good and then opens their mouth and you want them to run off the stage. I have also been to presentations where the speaker had a good speech but they looked terrible and they were a distraction.
Your articles are always interesting and fun and encouraging and always giving valuable information. Thank you and keep up the wonderful work because I always learn something from your newsletter articles.
Patricia Cotton, DTM
Lunch Bunch Toastmasters, Houston Texas
Darren–thanks for the very helpful illustrations. One to add: flexibility in terms of number of participants in the audience, especially at academic conferences. It was great advice you gave, to make a run-through of the entire presentation. But when you don’t know how many people will be in the audience, you also have to have agility at toning it down to make it more personalized, more of a one-on-one session. That’s where my comedy background helps immensely,www.yourshiningexample.com Hecklers aren’t always bad, sometimes they can be VERY helpful!
Once again you’ve hit the ball out of the park with your timely coaching for all. I plan to send your message to all my Toastmaster friends. Many thanks.
Great thought! Listening to family members talk about experiences around Christmas Dinner on Christmas Day.
Just what I plan to do tomorrow! And then I will have more fodder for future speeches this coming year of 2009!