01: The 6 Key Elements of Public Speaking
Welcome to the first episode of the Presentation Boss Podcast. Your hosts Kate and Thomas have a combined experience of public speaking over over 25 years and will be kicking things off by sharing the six key elements that any great public speaker needs to master.
What makes a great speaker? What allows some people to blow their audience away while others leave their audience cold? if you want to move from being an average speaker to an awesome speaker, you need to understand these six key elements. In this episode we’re going to introduce them with a little bit of detail.
What You’ll Learn
• Who you hosts are and where their experience comes from
• What the six key elements of public speaking are!
• Where you mentally need to be with your subject matter before delivering.
• The beginning of authenticity as a presenter.
• How to ensure you’re speaking to the right audience appropriately.
• The method for ensuring your audience understands exactly what you want them to understand.
• How your one minute pitch and a keynote start from the same point.
• What physical aspects you need to be aware of when presenting.
• How you can be authentic on stage.
• Should you use PowerPoint or not?
Resources and Links
• How the six key elements interact to make a a great presentation:
• Presentation Boss on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/presentationboss/
• Presentation Boss on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/presentation-boss
• Kate on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kate-norris/
• Thomas on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomas-krafft/
• The Presentation Boss Podcast: https://presentationboss.com.au/podcast/
Welcome to the Presentation Boss Podcast, this’s episode number one, we’re your hosts, I’m Kate Norris and I’m Thomas Krafft. Whether you’re pitching your business speaking at a work meeting or on the stage, we’re here to help you present with clarity and confidence. Today we’re talking about the six key elements that you need to be a great public speaker. Welcome to the first episode of the presentation, Boss. Podcast Really excited that you can join us and over the course of this podcast will be sharing our tips and tricks to help you present the best that you can. So my name is Thomas, and my background in speaking comes from the aviation industry. So I was a pilot for some time, and I spent a long time instructing. And so that’s where my love of public speaking really started. And on top of the standard presentation skills that I love, my particular interest is in visual design and the physicality of presentations that everything that happens on the stage, including PowerPoint. And I’m Kate Norris. I come from a little bit different background, but of a corporate background. I was a data analyst in a former life and had to present a lot of dry information. So my particular interest came from learning how to present numbers and statistics and graphs in an engaging manner. So that’s what I focus on in our business. In Presentation Boss I help experts, especially those with really technical backgrounds accountants, engineers, and people present their information in an engaging manner. And so together we’re Presentation Boss and what we do is corporate training, personal coaching and a podcast, all about presentation skills. And in our experience, we know there are these six elements that if you master those, you’ll be able to present with confidence every time. And that’s what we’re going to start going to kick us off with the first Kate? Sure. So the very first thing that you absolutely need to present really well is expertise and passion. You have to know what you’re talking about in order to present it. Well, there is absolutely nothing worse than someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about giving a presentation on something, or alternatively, they might know what they’re talking about, and they just don’t have any passion behind it. There’s no love of their topic. They’re so I really think to be a great presenter. You need to know what you’re talking about and you need to love it absolutely. And we believe that if something is worth talking about, something is worth presenting, then it’s worth presenting well, and it’s worth being excited about. If you’re being asked to speak about something you know nothing about, then something’s gone horrifically wrong. I think people’s BS radars now really good. You know, there’s such a focus on authenticity, and people can spot if you’re not a true authority on a subject from a mile off. So you need to be genuinely knowledgeable about that topic. Absolutely. And there’s a difference between being knowledgeable and being passionately a passionate expert in the field as well. It’s really a lot of people do, say, a job that they’re good at but not necessarily passionate about. It’s not their particular zone of genius. So if you’re going to be speaking or presenting on something, you really need to be interested enough that you can present with enthusiasm and some energy, so your audience is actually listening and paying attention because nobody wants to listen and people can’t listen, to somebody who is just sort of talking at them. There needs to be a bit of energy behind what you’re talking about, although when we say expert, it doesn’t mean that you have to be a world leader in that topic. It just means that you need to be, if you’re delivering, say a keynote where you’re teaching someone something, all you need to bay is one level above your audience. I think of a simple example. If you’re say, a school teacher and you’re teaching grade six maths, will you only need to be at a grade seven or eight maths level in order to teach grade six math, you don’t need to be a phD in mathematics. You just need to have, the expertise that is appropriate and just that one level above your audience. It’s what is it that you know better than the audience who’s going to be listening to you in a way that you can add value to their knowledge and understanding in that field? That’s sort of what we need mean by expert. The downside of that is we are presentation coaches. Unfortunately, we can’t make you an expert in your field. We can’t make you interested in a topic, but what we can do is help you to understand where your expertise lies. We can help you to identify the stories and the anecdotes and the interesting parts of that field for you to present without bragging or looking like cocky on stage. And when we use the word stage that could be in front of any group of people that’s listening could be a literal stage. Or if you’re just in a work meeting or a networking group, just when you’re in front of a group. Yeah, as you said. When people are looking at you and you’re speaking so number two, what is the second element that you need to be a great speaker? So the second element we know is an audience. Focus is, the very first stage of when you’re preparing a presentation is to ask yourself who is in the audience? So who’s going to be listening to this presentation that might be peers in might be potential clients. It might be superiors in the workplace, right? But who is it going to be, and how are they going to listen to you so if you don’t know who’s going to be in your audience, and I would hope that most of the time you would have a reasonable idea. Unless you’re walking into a strange environmental networking group, if you’re not sure, absolutely find a proxy for that group. If you can find an individual who can represent that group that you can maybe have a conversation with briefly to find out where that audiences understanding and level of knowledge in your field is on, maybe any background that they may know or don’t know as like is your really good information around where you start with your language choice and the level of detail that you present the question. We always like to ask when you’re starting a presentation, you’re starting that planning process is what do they currently know, what they currently know about the topic on which we’re going to speak about hopefully, you know, hopefully you know around about what their understanding is. If you’re presenting technical information and they’re not from a technical background, we know that we have to give a fair bit of context and background before we launch into that information. If you’re speaking to appears about some detailed information, you might be able to start a lot more in the weeds with your detail. So the second half of an audience focus is if you’re using something like humour. Humour can be its own beast a little bit. But there’s two different ways that you can deliver humour or information, and the first way is very internal. Focus, very self focus. And that is, I’m a funny person and you should laugh at me or I’m really smart, and you should admire me and respect me for the knowledge that I have or the audience focus. There is, I think, that you’ll really enjoy this joke or this piece of humour or this information is going to be really important for you to know. So it’s from a place of giving. So that’s what we mean by an audience. Focus is from a place of giving, because when you asked speaking, you are giving people are giving you their time and you are giving them entertainment, information, and I always like to think I always like to think How can I best serve this audience? How can I best serve this and give them, value. We also believe that when you stand on space on stage, you have somewhat of a responsibility to at least in some way entertain the audience. Because just delivering, let’s say information at people is going to have them tune out. Now you need to make sure that they are engaged. That’s because that’s basically your responsibility as a presenter is to make sure that the presentation is worthy of being listened to. And I don’t care who’s in your audience. See, I work with engineers and those kind of people who were generally seen as just people who want just the information, just the numbers and technical. And I so disagree that you just need to deliver the facts. Name anything that you enjoy less when it’s more entertaining. Yeah, absolutely. And I don’t care what type of person you are. Human nature is to enjoy things that are more entertaining. So an audience focus is start with what does your audience currently no thinker and to do? And how can I best serve them as a presenter? Yes. Okay, so number three of six. What is it, Kate? Clarity of Message and this comes down to being able to identify the one main message within your presentation. So the way that I like to think about it is if your audience walks out of that room and they only take away one sentence from what you’ve talked about, what is it? Because that needs to be really strong and really clear. Yes, this is the first sentence of your whole presentation that you bolt down in the presentation preparation process. So how do you go about finding that message? We call it a sticky note message, and it literally is like a post it note. Yes, so it has to fit on the space of a post it note. And it doesn’t matter how complex or in depth your content is. If you’re not able to simplify it down to one message, I don’t think that you understand it well enough, and you’re not going to have enough clarity to actually pass that on to your audience. I’ve not seen yet a presentation that we haven’t been able to eventually bolt down to one clear message and it’s one message, regardless of the how long the presentation is and it needs to have only one. So we use like this episode of this podcast as an example. The one message would be these are the six key elements you need to be able to present. Well, so that’s it. You would write that on a post it note, and that forms the basis of the the entire presentation. It just happens to be a podcast. If this was a keynote presentation or a department update or a sales pitch, that’s the key message. Everything that we talk about as a presenter needs to drive that message a little bit deeper into the mind off the audience member. Yeah, And that goes, if you’ve got 30 seconds just to stand up and say your piece or you’ve got a 45 minute keynote, everything that you say should be driving toward that message. And this is what we actually suggest. When people are putting together their presentations is to literally write it on a post it note and stick it on your computer or your page or wherever you actually getting your content together. You literally have that sticky note at the forefront of your mind physically and mentally, because when you’ve got the sticky notes sitting on the side of your computer monitor, that’s where I always stick mine, is when you’ve got your script and you read a sentence or you read a paragraph where you read that story that you’ve outlined is you can look at that sticky note, you know, and ask yourself the question. Does this drive my message and the same for when you’re building a powerpoint later on is you’re looking at a slide element. Does this drive my message? If the answer is no, it makes a really easy decision to hit the delete key. So the fourth element that we need to be a great public speaker, Thomas? It is physical delivery. So physical delivery to us is everything that happens on the stage, and it could be basically divided down into two different elements. The reason we put physical delivery number four down the list is when you see a really good present, only see really good public speaker. What you’re seeing is the result of a whole lot of preparation. They may look great on stage and command their speaking area and speak with clarity and their gestures. They’re all coordinated. But what you’re really looking at is the result of a huge amount of preparation, like 5% of what happens with speaking happens while speaking at all. A lot of the preparation and everything else drives towards that. So the two areas of the physical delivery is voice that everything that happens with your mouth and your diction and your projection volume, pause, pace, pitch all of the vocal bits. And so how commanding an authoritative you are with your voice and your voice can affect that hugely. If you think about the difference in pace and pausing, we know that pausing can make a huge difference to a presentation when you make a really specific point and your pace and your volume together is the difference between making something very loud and definite or softening up a little bit in making sure that your audience leans into what you’re saying and really listens, it’s the second part of physical delivery is to do with body as two elements. The body one is body language, so what you actually do with what is attached to you effectively on the second part is about the use off stage, and there’s no formula for this. There’s no right or wrong way to do body language and stagecraft and even voice. Now, a lot of it comes from authenticity, so your speaking style might be quite reserved. You might be somebody who uses their voice a lot, and so their physicality is to stand in one spot and just deliver with brilliance. That is absolutely a valid way to go, if that’s your style, if that’s your style and personality. Yeah, and reflective of the content you’re delivering. Or alternatively, you may combine powerful voice with moving around the stage a lot and using a lot of gestures. That tends to be my style. I’m quite energetic on stage in that way, because that’s just what reflects my personality and my comfort when I’m speaking. So it is often said, and it’s believed even by TED, the speaking group, that content should always come before delivery is what do the preparations of presentation first and often we find that when you have your content in your script and all of that preparation done, it actually relaxes you a lot, removes a lot of the nervousness that enables you to then be able to be so much more comfortable an authentic and real onstage. And a lot of the physical delivery kind of comes there a little bit naturally when you’ve got that preparation done. Absolutely. There’s always some refinement and some thinking that needs to go into it. Certainly how we can identify someone style and when we’re coaching someone, once they’re comfortable with their content, we can start to actually identify their natural, authentic physical selves. Yes, and with voice, there’s any voice coach or any speaker will talk about vocal warm ups to get your voice ready and then also having some of some understanding around which part’s the presentation need vocal emphasis or body language? Emphasis. Yes, without it being what I would call performative or pantomime-y. It’s number four physical delivery all about your voice and body and everything that happens when you’re speaking. So the fifth key element of public speaking Kate is expression of personality. Yeah, so this is my personal favourite, because this is where the kind of squidgy organic stuff comes in. It’s where storytelling comes in, and your sense of humour and what makes your presentation yours. What’s your particular personal stamp on it? How can we make you as a presenter come out on stage? Because I think we know there’s nothing worse than somebody who gives this brilliant presentation then, when they step off stage, they’re clearly someone else. So authenticity is a bit of a buzz word at the moment. But this is where it really fits in is if you can learn to be your authentic self on stage. And actually, this is where you’re going to connect with your audience is when you can actually express your personality and show some relate ability, relatability and human-ality. Is human-ality a word. Humility is the word you’re looking for. No, no, I meant like being a human, as opposed to being robotic, I guess. I don’t know humanistic. I think you’re making up words. Quite possibly. The point is it’s one of the six key elements because when you’re presenting, it’s exactly that; you are presenting. How can we make this yours? How can we have a representation of you on stage that demonstrate your credibility and your personality and, like we said at the start your expertise and your passion, bringing the energy and the enthusiasm and the interest that only you have. How is this your presentation? Because we talked about earlier about having a responsibility to be entertaining. And part of that is about being you and being able to bring yourself your humour, yourself to the audience. Because I know you, when you’re hanging out with different or the pub or whatever it is, you’re interesting. Like you wouldn’t have friends if you weren’t interesting in some way, right? You have some commonality. You have interests outside of exactly what it is you do. And it’s quite okay and actually necessary to bring that out when you’re speaking to a group in a more organised or formal setting. And that doesn’t matter how light or heavy your content is. It doesn’t matter what you were talking about. You know, there’s people who share their stories that they might have some sort of quite harrowing stories, their background. But that’s all part of the you and your personality and your story. Yeah, absolutely. And it also if we’re looking, then it presenting a dry, information or technical data it about how can we express your interest and enthusiasm and even the context and understanding that you have around hard data or dry information and bring that to the stage to animate what the audience needs to know in that entertaining fashion. Yes, so that brings us to the sixth and final element that we need to be a great public speaker. And that is our point, which sounds awful, which sounds like very cliche and, like it should be hated. But by PowerPoint, we actually mean any visual aid, so your presentation may or may not have them, but it’s certainly something that you need to consider. If you’re going to use visual aids, then it needs to be right. It needs to be done effectively so generally what is expected and understood, and most used his PowerPoint. So we use PowerPoint. Actually, I personally love using PowerPoint when it’s called for and using it really well. It’s one of like I said in the beginning, one of my areas of the interest in specialty. It’s very trendy at the moment to hate PowerPoint and just to refuse to use it all together. But I think we need to be a little bit more pragmatic about it. It’s generally just hated because it’s done poorly on so it’s become this in vogue idea to hate PowerPoint outright when we actually know that, as with any software, it will just do what it’s told now. I often say it’s not Toyota’s fault that you’re a bad driver and buying a Porsche isn’t going to make you a better driver. It’s literally what you do with the software, and it can be used really well. So what makes good PowerPoint? It comes down to a single question that I always ask myself, when you’re putting together your presentation, and when we say presentation, we don’t mean PowerPoint presentation. We mean the entire thing, the script. Absolutely. You are the presenter. The PowerPoint is just the visual aid. The presentation is what you do. So you might come to a stage when you’re putting together this presentation, your script and what it is that you’re going to do and you’ll think to yourself, I need to show the audience this. I need to show them because remember you can say words. You can speak anything you want, but it’s generally things like infographics, particular images, photos or grass or statistics. They actually need to show them to have a correct interpretation of on that. The point where you say I’m going to use power point is actually the very last stage of preparation that you even open PowerPoint or keynote will decide that you’re going to have a visual aid of some sort. And it might be a simple as a prop. Or if you’re telling a story if you’re describing an experience or something, it might be a photograph, and it might be maybe two or three photographs. It shouldn’t be a collage of photographs or 56 happy-snaps of whatever you’re talking about, it needs to just be really carefully selected so that it does not distract or detract from your presentation. It needs to add something. Yeah, Remember we talked about clarity of message. If every slide in every element is not driving towards that message than it needs to be removed from the PowerPoint, it’s a question to ask yourself with every presentation is what do I need to show the audience what has to go in a PowerPoint or be a visual aid or be a prop you can’t otherwise describe? So might be a case of trying to describe something, and it would take maybe two or three minutes to get that description. Correct. But if you can show a simple image or a simple graph or a simple statistic, then that’s going to improve the efficiency and the effectiveness of your presentation. Because not everybody can look at the screen, see it for one second and have a full understanding of what’s happening in your head. I remember when I was working there was these weird rules that used to come out occasionally, and it would be something like, You shouldn’t use more than five lines with six words in each line, and everybody has a different number attached to it. Yeah, and there are all these rules around PowerPoint. But I think you’re simply asking your question is so much simpler and clear and is going to get you to a better visual aid because there is no hard and fast rule about how many words or whatever should be on a PowerPoint. Really, it comes down to do you need PowerPoint, yes or no? Like what do I need to show the audience if you’ve just got dot points and bullet points up there that are helping you. You’ve dropped the audience focus. So that is the six key elements that you need to be a great public speaker. We started with expertise and passion and making sure that you absolutely know what you’re talking about. Just being that one step ahead of your audience. The second words audience focus. So what does my audience currently no think and do? And how can I best serve them while I’m presenting? Third is clarity of message making sure that you’ve got your little post it notes sticky note message and everything is driving towards that message. Number four was physical delivery and that was all how to best use your voice and also how to use your body and stage movement to enhance your presentation. Number five was expression of personality. So this is where your sense of humour and your storeys and your personality comes out and making sure that you were displaying that authentically in front of your audience. And lastly, number six was a good command of PowerPoint. Do I need to use it? And what do I need to show my audience and not kill them with death by PowerPoint? And so that is the six key elements you need to be a great public speaker and also brings us to the end of the first episode of the podcast. Thanks for listening to today’s show. If you’d like to know more check out presentationboss.com/podcast and we’d love for you to leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you download your podcasts from. At our website you’ll also find plenty of free resources on the show notes for today, with links to anything we’ve discussed.