Seven Questions from ethos3

Posted by Barry Flanagan on Aug 6th, 2008
2008
Aug 6

 

Ethos3, the winner of last year World’s best Presentation Contest on SlideShare.net and the driving force behind the recent Presentation Design Tennis, asked me last week to do a blog interview with them.

Here are the Seven Questions -

 

1.  What was the inspiration behind Public Speaking for Geeks?

2.  You obviously have done a lot of public speaking in your 15 years  in the technology field.  What is the greatest public speaking lesson  you have learned thus far?

3.  How important is story as it relates to the world of presentations?

4.  What is your definition of Presentation 2.0?

5.  Who is your favorite presenter?

6.  If you could offer one tip to a person who is opening PowerPoint  for the first time, what would it be?

7.  How important is right-brain thinking in your left-brain industry?

 

 

Follow this link to read "Seven Questions with Barry Flanagan".

 

 

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The “Last Lecture” Lives on

Posted by Barry Flanagan on Jul 25th, 2008
2008
Jul 25

 

Randy Pausch, well known for his "Last Lecture" he gave at Carnegie Mellon University after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, has died at age 47. My condolences to his family.

 


You can find the site for his new book "The Last Lecture" here.

 


"The Lact Lecture" presentation by Randy is one of the most moving, motivational, inspirational and powerful presentations I have ever seen.




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Great Message + Great Delivery = Powerful Impact

Posted by Barry Flanagan on Mar 9th, 2008
2008
Mar 9

 

You may have seen this already, or you may have missed this story completely as I did. My wife forwarded this video to me.  Randy Pausch is a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. You can read a short summary of his story on WikiPedia.

 

This is a powerful talk. It is also a fantastic example of how to use visuals (and PowerPoint) to support your message. This is a short 10 minute version of "The Last lecture".

 

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tIyt8oSLVs]

 

I found the full version of  "The Last Lecture" on YouTube.

 

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo]

 

This message is not new, of course. The popularity and impact of the message to "really achieve your childhood dreams" is driven by more than the message.  The context and how Randy chose to deliver this message drives the impact deep inside the audience.

 

 

There are many lessons to learn from this talk of course.  Choose to be a Tigger instead of a Eeyore. Be humble even if you have won the Bronze Star.  Break through the brick walls in your life. People are much more important than things. Show gratitude. Don’t complain, just work harder. If you live properly, the dreams will come to you.

 

Great advice, and each had a relevant, moving story behind it supported by pictures and visuals. The stories and visuals hammer home the points in a very powerful way. There are many things to learn about life and speaking from Randy Pausch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drilling Down into the Six Rs – Results

Posted by Barry Flanagan on Feb 20th, 2008
2008
Feb 20

First, have a definite, clear practical idea; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.

Aristotle

 

If you want your audience to follow you, you must have a clear vision of where you want to go and the path you want to follow. You have to answer one question for yourself and your audience – What’s In It for Me? What is the one most important goal for you, what action do you want to take? What problem is your audience looking to solve, or what goal are they striving to reach?

 

You must have a firm grasp on the reasons your audience will be motivated to follow you down the path you map out to your ultimate goal. Many technical speakers do not have a clearly defined goal, and never consider the goal of the audience. This story from " The Story Factor by Annette Simmons is a fantastic example of a speaker who understands where he wants to go with the audience and what it will take to get them to follow -

 Skip looked into the sea of suspicious stockholders and wondered what might convince them to follow his leadership. He was 35, looked 13 and was third generation rich. He could tell they assumed he would be an unholy disaster as a leader. He decided to tell them a story. "My first job was drawing the electrical engineering plans for a boat building company. The drawings had to be perfect because if the wires were not accurately placed before the fiberglass form was poured, a mistake might cost a million dollars, easy. At 25, I already had two masters’ degrees. I had been on boats all my life and frankly, I found drawing these plans a bit …mindless. One morning I got a call at home from a $6/hour worker asking me "are you sure this is right?" I was incensed. Of course I was sure — "just pour the damn thing." When his supervisor called me an hour later and woke me up again and asked "are you sure this is right?" I had even less patience. "I said I was sure an hour ago and I’m still sure."

"It was the phone call from the president of the company that finally got me out of bed and down to the site. If I had to hold these guys by the hand, so be it. I sought out the worker who had called me first. He sat looking at my plans with his head cocked to one side. With exaggerated patience I began to explain the drawing. But after a few words my voice got weaker and my head started to cock to the side as well. It seems that I had (being left-handed) transposed starboard and port so that the drawing was an exact mirror image of what it should have been. Thank God this $6/hour worker had caught my mistake before it was too late. The next day I found this box on my desk. The crew bought me a remedial pair of tennis shoes for future reference. Just in case I got mixed up again – a red left shoe for port, and a green right one for starboard. These shoes don’t just help me remember port and starboard. They help me remember to listen even when I think I know what’s going on." As he held up the shoebox with one red and one green shoe, there were smiles and smirks. The stockholders relaxed a bit. If this young upstart had already learned this lesson about arrogance, then he might have learned a few things about running companies, too.

 

Communication can be defined as “the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information”. Exchange is the most important word in that definition. If the audience does not understand your point, you have not successfully communicated. Have you ever heard a speaker who seemed to wander aimlessly through a topic with no clear path or destination? A speaker with no obvious goal in mind confuses himself and the audience. As the Roman Orator Cato once said "Grasp the subject, words will follow."

 

 

The most important step to becoming an effective speaker is to ALWAYS have a clearly defined RESULT in mind.  After you have created crystal clear RESULT for your presentation, it is much easier to create your opening and closing, choose your main points, and build your content. Your RESULT is what you want your audience to conclude (and act upon) when you are done. When you start at the conclusion, it is a much simpler task to create your opening, main points, and then tie everything back into that conclusion.

 

A well defined RESULT needs to be specific, attainable, and focused on the audience. “Describe our new product features” is not a specific RESULT for your audience. “Grasp the problems that are driving our new product features, and see how these new features solve those problems while providing a fast return on the upfront investment” is a specific, attainable RESULT for your audience, as opposed to the generalized and speaker focused first example. The second statement articulates exactly what the speaker wants to achieve, and lays out a roadmap for how to achieve that RESULT so the audience gets it. Answer the question "What’s In It For Me?" for yourself and your audience, and you will be on the right path to creating a clear result for everyone.

 

 

 

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