I’ve always believed that being a confident, competent presenter and public speaker is critical to success in almost any endeavour. My kids hear it every year at school speech-making time. My clients hear it when we talk about what it takes to climb upwards in most organizations. Obama got elected because of it (at least partly, anyways – no matter what your politics, it would be hard to debate his prowess here). I wrote about it in my book. Lots of people I like and respect talk about it and offer suggestions. And it’s been part of almost every 360 debrief I’ve ever conducted and every development plan I’ve ever worked on.
So, a critical skill – yet why so difficult to develop? Yes, there are courses and consultants – but dry, dry, dry. Or substantive yet easily forgotten because there’s no ongoing support. Or overcomplicated, theoretical or just old-school training. As a result, most people just fumble along, getting slightly better with experience but receiving no real, practical guidance let alone feedback.
Warning – this is a shameless, wholehearted plug for a product developed by two friends and esteemed colleagues. They do amazing work individually – Michael Bungay Stanier has been an innovator and provocateur in the coaching space since the beginning, and Mark Bowden trains and consults on body language and communications skills at the very highest level (and I liked him even before I knew THIS about him!). So it makes perfect sense that, when they came together (and got trapped in a pub in the Amsterdam airport together for a loooooooong time) they’d come up with something extraordinary.
The product is “Be a Presentation Genius.” The entry level is a set of cards – 108 of them – with the key tips, do’s and don’ts for event, speech, training and presentation success. The cards cover everything you need to know regarding:
- Planning & Design: How to prepare and structure a session for most impact
- Visuals: How to make your slides count (and how not to use slides at all)
- Space: Using the physical environment to help and not hinder your sessions
- Facilitation: Tried and true ways to manage a group
- Self-management: How to stop sabotaging your own performances and be at your best
The top of the line is an online learning program with in-depth modules covering all of the above and more (currently only available for corporate purchase, so get your company to check it out).
No affiliate links here. Just an enthusiastic endorsement for a product that I truly believe can help in the development of one of the most important skills a leader needs to have. You’ll still need to ask for feedback, but if you follow Michael and Mark’s suggestions you’ve got a greater chance of getting feedback you’ll enjoy.