Execute & Engage
That first moment is so critical. I walked on and I said okay everybody, we're gonna warm up. Do this exercise. Was anybody thinking about the presentation? You're all like wait a second. I'm not even considering what presentation is. So I created a first moment where I actually connected with you, and then I moved into some other things. But I gotta practice that. If I can't do the thumb exercise, it's gonna look really weird. Everybody, I'm trying something new. I created a story for you and I told you about that. That's that first moment. It's really, really important. I have energy, I'm trying to have some empathy, I consider myself fairly empathetic, but how do I know that? I asked my audience afterwards did you feel like I was thinking about you? That I understood and perceived what you're actually going through as a presenter? And I smiled. And that first moment is being a leader. There is a huge difference in the way that you actually physically walk on stage. And we see it all...
the time, especially if you have to follow a really good presenter. It's very hard. Someone presents, they get the whole audience warmed up, and then it's your turn, and we see this, 'Cause it's in my head, and I'm like that's a hard act to follow. I literally just made that person leaving the leader. I need to be the leader and take the spotlight and say I'm here with you, this is it, this is what you get. I'm just as disappointed. Right? So I get to be that leader and really take control. So I'm using the tools I have: my body, my voice, and my emotional connection to you. I am telling stories to help you feel comfortable with it. I have not always done this. I was asked to MC a gymnastics event once, and I knew nothing about gymnastics. So the entire event I was like, what is this event called? Okay, and now.... To the point, at some point during the event, a thirteen-year-old gymnast walked by and went (shushes self). (Audience laughter) So I know that I've got work to do. But I use all the tools that I have to be more engaging and to let people know who I am. Very, very critical. So all these things I'm gonna do I'm gonna execute. I've worked on where I'm gonna move, how I'm gonna move, feel comfortable. My voice I've worked on. I've warmed up. How do I execute without warming up? And that's hard sometimes when you're working or you're in a group of presentations. So I might warm up, and then I'm on three hours later. And then I'm like ooo, what just just happened? I also know that if I drink nineteen cups of coffee, that is not an actual warm-up. I like to drink water before I present, but I put a routine together. So my routine is almost the same every time I present. I find a quiet space. I collect my thoughts. You can meditate. The way meditation was described to me at one point was your brain is moving this fast, and then when you meditate it slows it down. And that may or may not be true, but it works for me 'cause I'm a visual learner. So when I meditate I slow down a little bit. I just use an application, and it kinda walks me through a meditation. It slows me down, to stop thinking about myself, and focus on you. So I do that for five minutes. And then I find my neutral position, and I take some breaths. And I find out how my body's feeling today, 'cause it might be a little off. I understand what I'm wearing. What you see today is what I rehearsed in. I didn't buy a new shirt. 'Cause all of a sudden my brain's gonna think about is my new shirt playing? People like the new shirt? Instead of you. So I warm up. And I take some breaths in. And I see how my body's feeling. And now I have to warm up my voice. So I do voices, and I do specific exercises for me that I found out. That I've been trained in. I warm up my mouth. I might do a little bit of this and a little bit of rolling and getting ready. Then I think about the material and I do a really, really nice visualization for me. We talked about this idea of a process visualization and an outcome visualization? I do what is called rationalization visualization. And rationalization visualization is essentially this: I imagine myself in this room having this presentation but I imagine things going wrong. I imagine this monitor going out. I imagine somebody dropping something, or someone screaming at me, I didn't hear that! Or one of the cameras hitting me. So that I can walk through how I would handle that situation. By staying calm. By smiling. By paying attention to the obvious. A barrier comes up immediately if something happens over here. So why would I continue to talk through my presentation when that's happening? I acknowledge it. And I acknowledge it professionally and say oh, someone dropped their coffee. We'll get that. I might make a humorous remark, but I acknowledge it, and then I move on. So I do that visualization and then I also visualize being comfortable and calm and enjoying the presentation. So that when I'm done, and it's only a few minutes, it's not like I'm visualizing for nine hours, be hilarious. Not yet, Chris, I'm still visualizing. (Audience laughter) But what I do then, literally, is I'm preparing myself. I stretch out a little bit, I drink a little water, and then I'm done. And I do that every time I do a presentation. Well, if I'm in a group of presenters, so I was just talking to somebody and they were presenting, one after the other, their company was purchased by a new company, so they were doing presentations to talk about what their department does to the new company. And it was one group after the other, and you're all kinda sitting, waiting to have that happen. You have to be comfortable to say I'm gonna step out for five minutes and warm up. And do a couple of things just to warm up. Otherwise you're a little bit rusty. If you do a presentation first thing in the morning and you haven't warmed up your voice, you're not ready to go. What is the pitch of your voice? It's the vibration of your vocal cords. If you don't practice and warm them up, there's no lubrication in your vocal cords and you don't have that range that people get interested in. So then it tends to be more monotone. So take that moment and step out and say I'm actually gonna go warm up. I'll be back. And shake out a little bit. It's really really helpful to be able to do that. I love that. You're the leader, so you get to go warm up and then you come. People are waiting for you. If you're presenting, I'm pretty sure it's not gonna start until you actually walk on stage. It doesn't mean be arrogant about it, but it means know that when you're ready, you're ready. And if you haven't put together a ritual, then put that together 'cause you'll have more confidence and feel more comfortable.
Does your work require you to give presentations? Are you just getting through them and hoping for the best but not quite hitting the mark?
Are you building decks to pitch your ideas and to present to clients, but feel as though your presentation skills are mediocre at best?
Have you lost out on opportunities because you failed to connect with your audience? It’s time to learn how to improve your presentation skills and to start actually enjoying the entire process.
Join former Late Night with Conan O’Brien performer, accomplished career coach, and small business owner Andrew Whelan to learn how to be an engaging, dynamic presenter.
This class is short, actionable, and something you can always reference before you go into a pitch.
In this class you will learn how to:
- Prepare your story and rehearse
- Prioritize your message
- Improve your vocal strength and physical presence
- Get emotionally connected with your audience
- Keep the momentum going to develop a rhythm
- Read cues, connect with your audience and present yourself as an authority
- Manage anxiety and handle the unexpected