Last week, I had the amazing fortune to have been invited back as a featured blogger at the World Business Forum at Radio City Hall in NYC.
The speakers were world class, including people like Charlene Li, Jim Collins, Al Gore, Jack Welch, Steve Levitt, Nando Parrado, James Freakin’ Cameron, Martin Lindstrom. All were charged with not only holding the attention of, but mesmerizing the audience of 5,000 CEOs and top-level business leaders from around the world.
The content was, for the most part, fabulous (which I rarely say coming away from a conference), but the real gift for me was the chance to absorb how the best real-content (not schtick-fest buy-my-stuff hawkers) presenters own a stage and inspire an audience the size of Radio City.
I took notes on some of the content, more on that in a later post. But I also took notes on presentation technique and distilled it, along with some of my own awakenings, down to the following list of 10 things the best presenters had in common.
So, without further ado, here are my…
10 Commandments of Suck-Free Speaking
1. Give a damn – If you don’t they’ll know…and you’ll suck.
2. Tell great stories – Craft ones that engage, entertain, educate and inspire.
3. Practice…A Lot – With rare exception, speakers are made, not born.
4. Co-create the experience – Empower your audience to own and guide it.
5. Bullets kill – Use slides only to expand and illuminate, never as a crutch
6. Simplify – You don’t need to prove you’re smarter, they already know you’re not.
7. Be generous – It’s about them, not you.
8. Create a script – Then throw it away, the magic is in the process, not the product
9. Lean into the fear – It means it matters to you, that’s a good thing.
10. Focus and flit – Speak to one person at a time, then another, then another.
Bonus Commandment – Don’t be a butthead. Fly your freak flag, but not for affect and never out of arrogance or anger.
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