I know that sometimes you just don’t want to watch a video. Maybe you’re at work and you don’t want others to hear that you are doing a little (educational!) blog-touring. Possibly you want to scan the info first, to see if it will be worth your time.

So, I’ve asked the excellent David Merrick (my guy for all things online-tech-marketing-ish) to help me translate the video posts into written blog posts, distilling it down to the essentials from the video, using my voice. I think he’s done a mighty fine job of it. So, here is the first translation of the intro video and the first content video in the series.

As always, I welcome your thoughts, feedback and suggestions. In particular, I’d love to know, do you have a preference between video & written? Or audio alone? Or a mix of all three?

Okay, here goes David’s summary of the videos:

I’d like to introduce our “Remarkable Speaking for Ordinary People” video series!

I decided to create this series to help those of us who are not as well-known as Tony Robbins, Steve Jobs, but who do want to improve our content, delivery, and other aspects of great
speaking.
Maybe you are just starting to get your message out into the world in a bigger way. Maybe you want to start speaking, but you’re really nervous. Maybe you don’t know where to start, or you’re not exactly sure how to structure a speech in a way that an audience can take it in readily, easily, and go use it to take action in the world. If so, this series is just for you!

In service of that, I’m going to give you several straight-up tips on:

public-speaking content structure, organization, delivery, research, and more.

I’m also going to venture out and see as many ordinary-ish speakers as I can over these next couple of months. I’ll share with you things that I see in their presentations, like suggestions and ideas that I can provide for you that will make your presentations even better. I’m doing this because I know that, at this very moment, a lot of ordinary people are out there making an extraordinary difference in the world by getting their message out there (and often creating more business in the process). I want that for you, too.

So that’s what this series is about, and I hope you’ll join me in this adventure! I’ll be regularly posting new articles and videos here on the Brazen Soul blog once or twice per week. I invite your comments, your ideas, your suggestions, and I hope that, together, we can all collectively add to the value of this “Remarkable Speaking for Ordinary People” video blog series.

and the second video, on the OSU-Cascades brown bag lunch talk: “Why Not Gross National Happiness?”:

Welcome to the first video of our “Remarkable Speaking for Ordinary People” video series!

I want to talk to you today about a presentation that I recently attended at our local college campus, OSU-Cascades, called “Why Not Gross National Happiness?”. It centered around the question of why we’re using production and productivity, instead of well-being and happiness, as a measure of our success as a society. All in all, the presentation was excellent, and I’m going to discuss the aspects that were really great about it as well as a few ways that the presenter could have delivered a more powerful presentation.

In service of those two goals, I’m going to discuss

what made the content of the presentation so appealing,

and then

what he could’ve done with his visual aid (presentation slides) to make a stronger connection with his audience.

On Content…

The presentation’s content was great because he fully flavored it with all of the appeals– ethos (credibility), logos (logical), and pathos (emotional). He cited credible academic journals with peer-reviewed research by other experts in the fields of psychology, economics, and the effects of financial success on well-being and happiness. He used his own experience, which, on top of its inherent ethos (credibility) appeal, helped to bring us closer to him as an audience. Boosting his credibility also added to the logical appeals in the content of his presentation. Perhaps most importantly, he provided emotional appeals as well with pictures that were very compelling, including one of chickens that were crammed into a pen as he discussed how this was “cage-free” chicken raising actually looks like in practice.

On presentation slides…

The presentation was great, but could’ve been made better through his presentation slide choices. He used slides–lots of slides–which can be dangerous to public-speaking if the presentation slides aren’t done right. Presentations slides are a tool to emphasize a point that you’re making, to amplify your presentation. In many cases in this context, they did, (as in the case of the image of the chickens) but several of
them were jam-packed with words.

When your slides have lots of words, people (including you as the presenter) shift focus to those slides and you lose that vital connection between presenter and audience. The way that
you make meaningful impact in the world, in almost all aspects of interaction, is connection. When all of you are staring at the presentation slides, you miss that critical opportunity for eye-contact and connection with your audience.

This loss of connection negatively impacts your presentation in a couple of ways. First, you lose out on
the feedback that the audience is giving you
. You don’t know if they’re telling you “Yes, I’m
understanding what you’re saying,” by nodding their heads or smiling –  or “No, I don’t get it,” by way of furrowed brows and head shaking. This is essential feedback for you as a speaker to act on. It gives you the signal to better explain a point if everyone looks confused, or to exclude extra explanations or stories if it appears that everyone understands. You also lose out on the potential power of your visual aid because a wordy slide doesn’t look as nice or have the same impact as a powerful image or a slide with a few large, carefully chosen words.

For truly magnificent presentation slide design, I highly recommend using the guidelines Garr Reynolds provides in his fantastic book, Presentation Zen (affiliate link). Essentially, he advises six words or less per slide if at all possible and a big, powerful image that amplifies what you’re saying so each member of your audience can feel the emotional impact and better connect with you. That’s what you want for powerful presenting.

I hope those two tips about the public-speaking presentation content and presentation slides help you in your next presentation.

Until next time, lovely day to you!