Episode 105: Presentation Myths and How to Reframe Them
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!