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  • 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.