Episode 105: Presentation Myths and How to Reframe Them

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Episode Transcript

Shawn: Intro: Hi I am Shawn Doyle- and across from me is the lovely and talented Racheal Doyle. I am the CEO of Shawn Doyle Training and Rachael is the COO. Glad you could join us. In season one, we are going to be talking about Presentation skills. Today:  Presentation myths and how to reframe them . A fascinating topic for sure.

Rachael: So why do these myths exist?

Shawn: I think it is just what people have heard or read all their life- so they must be true. The stories they have heard all of their life.

Rachael: What interesting is the dictionary defines myth as 1) A usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon 2): A popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone.

Shawn: So we have those about presenting and public speaking. I think historical events probably cements myths in our minds. So today we will talk about 10 of those myths and how to reframe them.

Rachael: So where do we start?

Shawn: With two that drive me nuts!

Rachael: Ok…

Shawn: Here is the first one- start with a joke.

Rachael: The problem with that is?

Shawn: If it bombs or the audience isn’t feeling funny- you have started out at a deficit- really bad. Let’s say I tell my horse joke. ( tell horse joke)

Rachael: Sorry.. cowboy- not so funny

Shawn: That is my point- Unless you are professional comedian or a pro speaker don’t try it.

Rachael: How do you reframe? Don’t do it?

Shawn: Tell a funny story- that is real.

Rachael: Like someone getting to the airport and not knowing where their language went? a real story?

Shawn: That is a good example ( tell story ) if it a real story it can be funny or cute- but also make sure you have a tie in.

Rachael: O.K. you got me… what is a tie in?

Shawn: A “tie in” is how the story we just said relates to today’s topic. Too many don’t do that. If you don’t the audience wonders why you told it- it must be relevant.

Rachael: Wow, great point I have seen that many times.

Shawn: Here is the next one #2- use a podium or lectern when giving a presentation and stand behind it.

Rachael: We see it all the time. At every elementary school, middle school  and high school in the world!

Shawn: Maybe that is where the myth all started! Let’s stand behind  a block of wood and not move. “but.. I have to stand there that is where my microphone is Shawn.” ha!

Rachael: Reframe?

Shawn: Don’t use a lectern- move around- watch professionals speakers, ministers, and priests they all move OUT from the wooden block, to connect with the audience.

Rachael: Many will ask- this so I will ask it for them- what about their notes?

Shawn: Carry them around or go back to the podium to refer to them.

Rachael: Myth #3?

Shawn: I must memorize my presentation or speech. Memorize makes for monotone and a mess and makes you forget- then what? It also strangles spontaneity and energy.

Rachael: Reframe?

Shawn : Outline main bullet points- a few pages. Then you can talk around your bullet points.

Rachael: That sounds much more interesting- what is #4?

Shawn:  That you MUST have Powerpoint! We know everyone loves PowerPoint! UGHHH…

Rachael Where did this come from- why do people think they have to have it?

Shawn: Some clients we work with tell us their company requires every presentation have a deck. That way people who can’t make it can look at the deck and read it. Two big problems- it’s too much and it becomes the presentation (explain both)

Rachael: We have seen it so often. In fact according to research - There are more than 30 million PowerPoint presentations made each day. That in mind boggling.

Shawn: I’ll say- when we free up presenters and have them not use PowerPoint is becomes so much better.

Rachael: Reframe?

Shawn: Don’t use it except when it makes sense- and replace with a short handout people can refer to.

Rachael: What is the next myth?

Shawn: #5- Start with an intro about you- hello my name… is and today I am going to talk about…BORING…!!

Rachael: Don’t people need to know that?

Shawn: Yes but that is how everyone starts and it is not an attention getter. When we start a presentation we have to get their attention- so instead start with a story, an analogy or a quote and then go back to your name and presentation topic.

Rachael: So what myth is next?

Shawn #6 is BUT I have a boring topic it’s very dry I can’t make it interesting or fun.

Rachael: Isn’t that true? How do we reframe?

Shawn: No it’s a myth- you can make any topic interesting ( tell diversity story )

Rachael: So making sure I understand the reframe- it is using all the tools we talk about in our training programs- can make any topic interesting.

Shawn: Yes. By bringing that topic to life.

Rachael: What is the next myth?

Shawn:  #7 is Hold questions to the end.

Rachael: I have seen presenters say that all the time.

Shawn: I understand why – but if people have questions they would like to ask them and you can get more engagement. People are afraid they will lose control – so we have to control how many questions and watch our time. But if you wait to the end, people can’t even remember what they wanted to ask.

Rachael: I am sorry what was that?

Shawn: There you go!

Rachael: What is next? It’s #8- It’s O.K. to read to the audience – a speech or your PowerPoint slides! I have seen this one so many times.

Shawn: We see audiences all fade away when a presenter starts reading to an audience. And reading from slides..

Rachael: Ughh… I mean an adult can read!

Shawn: Yes the idea of reading to adults is insulting to their intelligence and what is the presenter adding? Just give them the handout and they can read it.  

Rachael: So what are the other myths?

Shawn: Here is another one #9- Don’t speak with your hands.

Rachael Is it O.K. to speak with your hands? That is a question you always get.

Shawn: Yes it makes presentation so much better!

Rachael: According top research "When really charismatic leaders use hand gestures, the brain is super happy," says Vanessa Van Edwards, a consultant who studied the TED talks. "Because it's getting two explanations in one, and the brain loves that."

Shawn: That is so true.

Rachael So what is the last one?

Shawn: #10 is ( drum roll ) To be less nervous imagine the audience naked.

Rachael: That would just be really distracting… I don’t want to see that picture in my head!

Shawn: So those are the main myths about speaking.

Rachael: Any other advice?

Shawn: Watch out for and ignore conventional wisdom about speaking and presenting.

Rachael: Here is a good quote: “Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom.” – Sam Walton

Shawn: In our next show we will talk about how to have powerful stage presence- thanks for listening!

Rachael: Have a fantastic day!

Rachael and Shawn Doyle

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