Public Speaking: Got chops? Charles Greene III Presentation Skills

Is a Keynote by Next Week Possible? Find Out How. Would you discuss quantum physics with Stephen Hawking? Play singles with Serena Williams? Con Ricky Jay? When your moment in the spotlight arrives, will you be ready with enough confidence in your presentation skills? Michael Pollock had chutzpah, but he also had confidence in his talent.

Michael Pollack’s 3 areas of confidence:
1) Make his request known. Michael Pollack was willing to stand up and state his request. He had the confidence to know that this was his moment and that he was ready for it. All he had to do was make a stand and ask a question.

Regardless of how wonderful your idea may be, it requires that you have the confidence to put it out there. There are a lot of people who have great ideas, but they never get heard because of an inability to tell others about their idea. Share your ideas with the rest of the world.

2) Fulfill the request. Malcolm Gladwell has stated that it takes about 10,000 hours devoted to a particular talent to reach a level of Mastery with that skill. Michael Pollack demonstrated that he had put in those hours. When Billy Joel asks “What key do you play it in?, Michael responds, “What key do you want?” That’s Mastery.

With speaking, it can take over 300 presentations to match Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 Hour Theory.” Experience & long-term commitment impacts skill. Practice your presentation skills so that you can exceed expectations of your audiences.

3) Stay within his role. When Michael Pollack sat at the piano, Billy Joel confers with him for just a moment. Michael Pollack then played the song well, very well. He never took over or strayed from his role as the guest accompanist. In jazz they call this “playing it straight.”

In speaking, many presenters don’t “play it straight.” They speak beyond their given time slots. They try to outshine others speakers when on a panel. They break out the thesaurus to impress their audience. It’s always better to “play it straight.” Take less time than your allotted time to deliver your message. Be supportive of other speakers and your audience. Use clear words, especially when explaining intricate ideas.

Confidence without preparation: A plan for disaster
Many people believe that they can “wing” it when it comes to speaking and giving presentations. They don’t put in the time before the presentation to properly prepare, know their audience, select the the best structure for their message, or practice their presentation. Unfortunately, we all know of lots examples of people taking the stage without being ready, without having prepared for their moment before an audience.

“Winging it” is dangerous. Remember Clint Eastwood and “The Chair?” Great actor, but the his last minute decision to try something different, left a lot of people wondering, “What was that all about.? That’s not the impression you want to leave with the your presentation audience.

Polish your presentation skills
Everyone can be a better public speaking. Everyone can improve their presentation skills. To do so it takes time and dedication. You must be willing to practice the small and big things of presenting. You must read the books, blogs, and notes of great speakers. You must present whenever possible so that you can attain your 10,000 hours needed to reach Mastery. Do all this and you’ll have a nice set of highly polished “presentation chops.”

Have thoughts about practicing your presentation skills? Leave a comment below.

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