Blog posts

Delivering Someone Else's Presentation

I was helping a government NGO get their training presentations up to a decent standard so that the learning, which was honestly of national importance (even if the nation might not agree)  was consistent, understood and acted on.

The brief? “We’d like them to be more energetic, more confident, funnier - just better.”

Unfortunately, the presentations were written by another team who had micro-managed them to death. Literally every second was accounted for. “12.41 – slide 27 – bullet point four…. “ - that sort thing.

Why Jokes Matter

The most viewed TED speakers deliver on average one joke per minute in their keynote speeches. The best deliver two jokes per minute.” Jeremy Donovan

Humour is the holy grail of communication. Those who have it are lauded, those who don’t are usually forgotten. Yet it is not easy and can go wrong. You will stand out but standing out means it’s easier to knock you down.

So why should we use it when most presentation skills books tell us to avoid it!? Why should we make them laugh when it means risking our careers?

Bringing the skills of Stand-Up Comedians to Speaking

Jack Milner

“The most viewed TED speakers deliver on average one joke per minute in their keynote speeches. The best deliver two jokes per minute.” Jeremey Donovan, ‘How to Deliver a TED talk’

A great speaker does not need to be famous (although it helps), they do not need to have conquered Everest in a kayak while singing the entire score of Sound of Music (but again it will help), however, more than anything their speech needs:

  • To entertain and amuse – a bit like a stand-up

Speaking So People Want to Listen

Jack Milner

I remember the early Golden Nuggets cereal adverts. It featured Klondike Pete an Appalachian old-timer miner who’d shout, “Thar’s gold in them there hills!”

How Do We Stop Doing This to Ourselves?

“We had a conference last month. 50 of us flew in.” A row of bankers turned to the Whistle-blower at the end of the line. “Two days of PowerPoint presentations. On the first day, after about 10 minutes, as another slide came up I thought, ‘I’ve got two more days of this, how do I cope!?’ Then I said to myself, ‘I’ll put a smile on my face, stare in the direction of the presenter, and think happy thoughts.’ So that’s what I did. I didn't listen to a single word… for two whole days.” 

Being You

Jack Milner

A while back I  was having a chat with another Jack, the husband of my niece, who’s also an actress. I was joking about my (also an actress) wife’s inability to load a dish washer. I cringe a little as I write those words.

Jack said, “Yes Jenny’s the same. But then I think I could be married to someone who’s great at loading dish-washers or I could be married to the amazing wonderful gorgeous Jenny?” I refrained from pointing out that maybe you could be gorgeous and wonderful and also good at loading dish-washers. 

How to avoid boring so people want to listen

Jack Milner

We’ve been there haven’t we, the lights have dipped, highlighting the opening PowerPoint slide; someone has shuffled awkwardly onto the stage holding their pointer, introduced themselves, something along the lines of, “I’m here today to talk to you about…” and we’re away. The second slide emerges in the gloom, possibly an agenda or a list of bullet points. Then you take out your sharpened pencil ready to stab it into your leg about 20 minutes into the presentation.