Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Good afternoon, everybody. My passion is public speaking, and I just recently realized that it's been 10 years that I'm involved in championship speaking and public speaking training. I can very vividly remember the very first time that I gave actually session on public speaking. That was in May 2000, in Hamburg, Germany, and the slide that I used was this one. The excitement in the eyes of the audience was almost as big as is yours now. I have to say that since then, I have learned a couple of lessons, but the main thing that I've learned is: public speaking is not about theory, is not about models and complex things. It's about doing. It's about practicing. So what I want to share with you today, are some of the lessons that I've learned when practicing public speaking. I'm going to do that by using what I call the 'speaker's code'. Whenever I look at a presentation, I look at the code: Content. Organization. Delivery. Effect. Let's start with the first one. With content. When you join a public speaking training or communication training, you will hear lots of rules. One of them is a very famous rule: the 55 - 38 - 7 rule. It says, in terms of communication, 55% is non verbal, 38% is how we say it, how we intonate it, and only 7% is what we say: content. I don't believe in this at all. For me, in a presentation, content is king. Content is at the core of a presentation. So I want to share with you a couple of thoughts. You have to research your material, of course you have to dig in, all of these things. But before you take Power Point, Keynote, anything, in your hands, get a pen and a piece of paper, and I would recommend you write down your objective. Write down, "At the end of this presentation I want..." and then what is it that you want to achieve. It sounds so obvious, but so many people don't do it. In order to set a right objective, you have to think of another factor. You have to think of your audience. Who are they? Why they are there? What do they care? What do they know? What do they not know? Here I would like to zoom in a bit further. Because there's something about audiences that is less known. So let's assume you set your objective, you did all your homework, you did great research, you practiced, practiced, practiced. Then you want that the audience looks a bit like this. You want that they cheer, that they love, that they're fans of you. And then you go out. Then you go out on the podium, and I can tell you in 95% of the cases, audiences will probably look a bit like this. (Laughter) What do you do then? Standard advice is, look at the people who smile. In every audience there are some people who smile, who nod, whatever you say, they will go, yes, yes, that's brilliant. But what about her? (Laughter) What do you do with her? In order to deal with her, let me tell you a little story. Two years ago, I gave a session, I gave a session to 60 business school students on public speaking. When I was roughly 20 minutes into my talk, all of a sudden I noticed that a bit in the back they were two grumpy students. The grumpy face on, who look at this, and then they start to talk with each other. I thought, "What's going on, what are they..." ...thoughts were going in my head, "Hm, should I change my talk, should I change anything?" Then I went on, was distracted. Another person was sitting there. More front row, young student. He did the nods, you know, when somebody starts to fall asleep. I thought, "What's happening here?" So I tried to make a break very very fast. So around about after 40 minutes we made a break, students entered the room, and then they came. The nodder guy as well as the grumpy couple came over to me. I was already starting to get prepared for the questions. And then they started, first the nod one. He started, "You know, I noticed that you saw me fall asleep, and I really have to apologize. You now, we arrived yesterday Brussels, nice city, we just went out very long, and I'm extremely tired, and I just want to let you know, I like your talk." And then the grumpy group started, "Actually, during your talk we were discussing, can we use that for a social organization that we do? Can you maybe share some material?" At that moment, I had a revelation, when it comes to audiences. I had all my thoughts for nothing. The key tip I have for you, is: do not try to 'mind read' your audience. There are nodders in every audience, many grumpy people in every audience. People tell me I'm a very grumpy listener. But that doesn't mean I don't like the talk, it just means I'm reflecting. So what I recommend to you, don't try to mind read during your talk your audience. Get some feedback afterwards, but during the talk, just go on. Then some thoughts on organization. It has been said a great talk has a great opening, a great ending, and hopefully not too much in between these two. That is good advice when it comes to organization. Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them what you've told them. But I think there's something missing. Roughly one year ago, I had to give a session on public speaking at a conference, good conference, 100 managers roughly over there. One hour before my talk, we had a break, good coffee break, so I was having a coffee, standing there chatting, and then it happened. Somebody crashed into me, and the coffee spilled all over my shirt. One hour before the session. Question: What do you do then? I had lots of thoughts going on. Buy a new shirt? Not happening. Reserve shirt? I didn't have any. Ask somebody for a new shirt? Didn't really work out, nobody my size was over there. Then I thought, maybe I should enter like this, and just give my talk a bit like this during all the time. Maybe that would work. No. In the end I started my talk like this, with the stain. But my question to you, what do you think would have happened, if I would have started, "Good day, ladies and gentlemen, let me talk about presentation skills today." Almost everybody of you would have thought, "What's up with the stain?" (Laughter) Luckily, in that moment what I call the 'elephant rule' came to my mind. Sometime ago I listened to a great speech by a person named Randy Pausch. Randy Pausch was a professor with cancer, and he gave a so-called 'Last Lecture'. He mentioned something that sticks to my mind. He mentioned something very very profound. He said, "When there's an elephant in the room, introduce it." In his part, that was the cancer. For me, what I did then, is saying what happened. I just told the story to the audience. What happened with the coffee, and that was it. This is what I would recommend. So many speakers just go on and leave the stuff that happened there. If you have any elephant in your room, in your audience, or wherever it is, introduce it. There's a vice-president missing, name it. Microphone not working, name it. Things falling off the sky during a talk, name it and address it. And then, only then, go on. So introduce that elephant. Then we come to the next area, that's the delivery. Delivery, one of my favorite areas to look at. And there are so many things to look at in terms of delivery. People are craving for rule I would say, there are a couple of things that can go wrong in terms of delivery. Just for example, many of you will have sessions, small sessions, 20 people sitting there, and there's a presenter over there who has the pen in the hand. You know that, when some people start with the pen in the hand, that is probably not the best thing you can do in that moment. Then, in general, there're other dangerous objects. I see many of you wear the badges. I see many speakers in the training start to play around with their badges, or necklaces. Or, also a favorite thing, some speakers start playing around with things in their pockets. Like this one here, with the key. Key recommendation I would have for you: empty all of your pockets, get rid of all dangerous things. I do that every time when I give a talk, and that was for demonstration purposes here. Then there's of course the stand. Some speakers stand there, five hundred slides, they will not move, for the whole talk. But then there's also something, what I would call the 'speaker's dance'. Some start a bit more slow, they go from back, forth, back and forth. Up until what I would call the 'speaker's disco fox'. You know, going always back, forth, back, forth. Up until what I would call the 'tiger dance'. Motivational speakers very often do this. They go from back to forth, from back to forth, like a tiger in a cage. Right? Typically, the audience would say, after 10 seconds, "Stop, that gets us on nerves." What does work for me there, walk with purpose. Come natural stand, and then, maybe, if you change your thought, yes, then you can move around a bit and then walk. So, obviously, these were some of the things that one should not do. But let's explore a bit further the top of your body language. Let's look at him. Now he stands there, starts his talk, moves around a bit, hands in the pocket, oh, oh, very bad! Whoa! Second hand in the pocket. What's going on? Then he realizes, take out, take out. So we're all focused on the hands in the pocket. But frankly, I tell you, if we would listen to the sound, and would listen to the whole speech, we might not even have noticed it. And that gets me to the problem of body language laws. I tell you another law that is going on. Like, I read once, in terms of eye contact, one should finish a sentence with one person, after twelve seconds. Whenever I actually do that and actually talk longer than 5 seconds to one person at a time, that person feels rather...? Annoyed, exactly. What works for me, is 1 to 2 seconds at a time, and then move on. So 1 to 2 seconds, that's enough. Like, "Uh, looking at me. But that's enough, please go on." It already shows that some of these laws don't work. I would challenge you and tell you, forget all body language laws. Frankly, one of the best speeches that I've seen, was by a 70-year-old person who gave a speech in Yuma, who couldn't move anymore. And he just gave this speech like this. He was fantastic. Can I tell you, you should stand like that, or very open like this, or never do like this? No. The only thing that I would recommend you, is: find your own natural style. How do you do that?