Enjoy a successful presentation by leaving a lasting impression
What can a veterinarian, one-time bungee jumper, and a public speaker offer a roomful of entrepreneurs? A lot, when the message is packaged properly. And there is a lesson in that.
One evening I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Morgan McArthur, DVM, of New Berlin, Wis. Though funny and entertaining, McArthur understood his mission: keep the message meaningful to his audience. As a business owner and budding professional speaker, I gleaned several good morsels from his talk.
McArthur, the 2000 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking, challenged the 150-plus entrepreneurs in attendance to expand their horizons. He recalled how standing on the platform high above a river in New Zealand made him think twice about bungee jumping. He found meaning in the leap he eventually took.
“The edge of the bridge is the edge of your comfort zone,” he said, adding that we should “move from the comfort zone to the learning zone.”
Networking functions are great opportunities to meet people, but go beyond the superficial conversation that normally takes place. Ask probing questions like, “What’s the secret to your success?”
Listen intently when someone is speaking to you, and show genuine interest. “If we want to be more interesting to someone,” he said, “be more interested in the person.”
McArthur, a large-animal vet by training, divides his time between consulting to pharmaceutical companies and public speaking. He reminded the audience of something Dale Carnegie wrote in 1936: “Everyone wants acknowledgement and recognition.”
Make a speech memorable with stories
Our stories become part of our brand, our unique selling proposition, McArthur said. Retelling them during a speech enhances retention of your material, and that “big inventories of stories will create a rich life.”
“Give me something that will stop me in my tracks,” he said.
It’s easy to get carried away with your story telling and concentrate only on yourself. A truly professional person feels comfortable touting the success of others. “Splash the praise around. It’s inevitably going to come back,” he advised.
Afterward, I couldn’t help feeling impressed with the speech I just heard. The mechanics were amazing: great vocal variety, body language, gestures, and eye contact. But more important was that McArthur provided relevant and helpful information.
Occasionally you are asked to give a presentation to an outside group. It could be to business people, city officials, ordinary citizens – just about anyone. Keep your audience in mind as you craft your speech, and you are sure to leave a lasting–and positive–impression.
Were you ever really impressed with a presentation? Tell everyone about it by leaving a comment below. If you liked this column, could you do me a favor and share it with others? Just click on the links below. Thanks, and good luck the next time you need to give a presentation.
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Image courtesy of Stock.Xchange.