Public Speaking

One of my favorite authors is Guy Kawasaki. He used to be a Macintosh evangelist. Now I think he speaks and writes about a number of things. I read his article “How To Captivate An Audience” with great interest. This is very relevant to me as I have a presentation with our customer tomorrow morning. My team is truly disorganized. The meeting has been rescheduled a bunch of times. The people presenting, including myself, were not sure who had to attend the meeting. There was no rehearsal or coordination on how we shall present the material. This is how you plan to fail. I suppose we are supposed to wing it.

Guy recommends you change your perspective when preparing for a presentation. You need to ask yourself why the audience is there. You should determine what does your information mean to the audience. You should be passionate about your topic. To test whether you are going to sink or swim, you should get an unbiased opinion on your presentation prior to the real one.

The context of your presentation material must be what the audience needs. The slides should be easy for the audience to read. You have to rehearse a lot. You should tell how you can solve the audience’s problem. You need a strong facilitator on your team to get the presentation in order. I think our team has a very weak one. More evidence that we might be doomed.

Multiple presenters is a good thing. Tension can stimulate the audience. You should in general avoid animation on your PowerPoint slides. The speakers should internalize the key messages. The audiences should only need 3 seconds to scan the text of your slides. This information has been a lot to take in. I bet this is how Steve Jobs prepares for his outstanding presentations. I took some of these recommendations to heart. Tomorrow may be a bloody day for our team. I must do my best for us to have any chance of pulling through. After that, it will be time to point the team to Guy’s article for starters.