Making a Presentation? It’s Not Just About Your Topic

Jerry Seinfeld once quipped, “At a funeral most people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.” Over 41% of people have this fear of speaking in public – that is, giving a speech, report, or presentation. This can be at a business, in an academic setting, in church, your office, or in any organization to which you belong. But there are times when no matter how you feel about it, you have to do it – period.

Most people feel that once they can control their anxiety about speaking – their racing heart, hyperventilation, sweating, or shaking, they are all set to present. Of course, you need to address your anxiety first because you have to be calm, comfortable, and present with your audience. But that is not the most important thing on which you have to focus. You are going to have to know more for your presentation than just your subject.

You are going to have to know who your audience is, why they are there, and what they are likely to expect from you.

You can use the following checklist to see that you are presenting what they need and want to hear in a way that is most understandable and useful to them to meet their needs.

1. Who is your audience? You need to consider what is relevant (age, generation, gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic group).

2. Why are they there to listen to you? Are they just interested in the topic; are they seeking help; do they want to learn something new to add to their working knowledge base; or have they been told to be there?

3. How much do they already know about the subject? What is their information base, their education level, professional level, or experience – personal or work?

4. What are their general and specific goals in listening to you? Are they personal or work-related?

5. Do they have a current problem (personal or work) that they are hoping you can help them solve? If they do, this should be your primary focus. Knowing and understanding this, you can provide them with necessary information to help motivate them to act on their problem.

6. What is it in concrete, specific terms you are going to offer them? Is it facts, useful action-oriented techniques, new relevant how-to information, perspective, reassurance, support, advice, or feedback?

7. What specifically do you personally want to achieve through this presentation?

8. What role or attitude will give you the best chance of making a successful presentation? Are you there to act as a Teacher, Enlightener, Analyst, Expert, Advisor, Supporter, Problem Solver, Inspirer, or Guide?

Following this checklist will help you scope what you are going to do so you can tailor your presentation to the needs and wants of your audience, as well as enhance your credibility and visibility in the process.

David Meerman Scott Online Conference Presentation

David Meerman Scott, author of Game Change – The New Rules of Marketing and PR, kicked off the second presentation of the Vocus online conference “Retweet: Engage or Die!” which focused on the power of realtime interaction and response.


Scott’s main example was based around Dave Carroll’s beef with United after his guitar was broken by some butterfingered luggage handlers on a flight. Carroll wrote a lil’ country song about his frustration with the subsequent “indifference” from United – the video soon went viral on YouTube. United gave no real response, missing a massive opportunity to put things right before their reputation was irrevocably sullied by the ensuing media landslide.

Engaging in realtime is not an unreachable goal – many companies online work in a realtime sense – for example United’s own realtime adjustments to flight information and prices – so why not communicate in the present too? United missed a trick. In contrast, the makers of the Carroll’s broken guitar, Taylor, responded soon after the video’s release with a freebie for Carroll to replace his broken one. Instant press and brownie points for Taylor. Then the “Dave Carroll Traveller Edition” flight case was released by an entertprising company, who struck a deal with Carroll the very same day the video was released. Someone was on the ball and they benefited from their quick reactions.

Working in public relations and marketing, especially online and with social media, we need to be responsive to what is happening right now, and grab the opportunities that will trigger a domino effect of reactions, conversations and engagements.

Earn Attention

Previous methods of PR revolved around looking back into past successes and forward into projected aims – modern marketing needs to operate in the now, in the present, and work in real time.

Scott explained traditional methods of PR to gain attention with the 3 Bs:

Buy it – with advertising, mailing lists, even paying for Scott to put your company’s sticker on the back of his laptop for all at his business meetings/conferences to see…
Beg it – with news releases, press releases and pitches to the media
Bug for it – basically: sales
Earning attention means posting great content, via blogging, e-books, links, micro-blogging, commentary and communication. The media and the public will find you if your story is interesting enough. “On the web, you are what you publish.” Make sure it represents you and engages your audience.

Working in realtime means taking chances and making the most of moments that you can turn to your advantage. Another example Scott cited was the initiative of musician Amanda Palmer (of Dresden Dolls and Evelyn Evelyn), who was stranded in Iceland during the volcanic ash cloud grounded air traffic. Rather than catching a nap or moaning, she asked for ideas and help on Twitter and managed to secure a lift to the Blue Lagoon for a quick relaxing dip, free dinner and drinks and an impromptu ‘ninja’ gig with a borrowed organ in front of over 100 people.

In the age of social media, customers can divulge, discuss and dismiss your company’s reputation just from one interaction. You need to listen to what’s being said about your business, see what works, what people love, what needs fixing, and get involved. Stop a crisis before it gets out of hand. Answer a question and make a customer happy. Broadcast some breaking news. Publicise a great competition. Share some fantastic information. Put right a bad customer service issue. Show that you are there and you care!

Successful Realtime Marketing

Nobody cares about your products (except you) – speak to your customers normally, don’t use gobbledygook and clich├ęs. Give them the information they need in the shortest possible time. (A nice point here was the use of meaningless, overused language in press releases, such as “unique” and “innovative” or “leading provide of…”, and fake images of happy employees and customers. These shouldn’t represent you – speak to your buyers in their language, not yours.)
No coercion is required – the back button is the 3rd most used web feature… because we are constantly lured onto pages which we don’t want to visit. Don’t use hooks or gimmicks to bamboozle customers onto a site which has no real value. Get your content right, and people will want to visit you.
Lose control – don’t worry about your sales. Freebies create traffic and sharing. Scott’s example was the Grateful Dead’s live tour allowing the audience to record gigs, even providing specific space and mics for the purpose, creating thousands of content shares around the world and massive publicity.
Create triggers – back to inspiring content – if you have great content, you immediately encourage people to share, talk, link, get the media involved and make it go viral.
Point the world to your virtual doorstep – Scott used “The Best Job in the World” example, which was a viral hit and increased flight bookings to Queensland by 34%.
Tips and Hints (from the live chat)

>Use social media monitoring tools such as twitter affiliates and searches to keep tabs on and respond to relevant issues and keywords.

>Designate a “realtime communications officer” (and possibly separate points of call for global realtime relations – operating in different time zones and languages)

>Sometimes it’s best to sleep on a decision – reacting freshly can be the wrong action – sit back and see how things unfold a little before you make your move in the best way for your company

>Turn negatives into positives. Great customer service is one of the important aspects of any business, and it’s what customers are most likely to talk about online.

>Respond to the “thoughtful negative” (ie someone who has considered their negative comment and is genuinely displeased) rather than reactionaries (ie someone who is looking for a hotheaded response and trying to rile you up…)

>Fight fire with fire – respond in the same media, eg: don’t respond to a video with a press release.

Well, that’s all from us today – thanks again to David Meerman Scott for a great presentation. Come back every weekday this week for the rest of the webinar summaries, and check the blog next week for our Q&A session comprised of all the questions that couldn’t get answered on the day.

Market With Seminars, Presentation Skills


In trends today you can attend seminars everywhere and business is realizing the dollar value to their company.

When the digital camera came out, we trained Kodak sales people how to write the contents and present the camera to make more sales. The Microsoft kids who wrote Front Page came down for the training. CEOs of Publicly Traded Company take the training. Business professionals can benefit tremendously by increasing their income. The Christian based public do fantastic with this media.

Every product and service should be approached with the modular design concept. Brainstorming around this design approach is completely fascinating and people become totally involved. People in the brainstorming session become the targeted audience and tell the seminar leader what they really want from them. Once the design is complete, you are ready to do the seminar.

If the seminar is a free preview, you sell the product or upsell the full seminar and services at the back of the room.

When there is no charge for the seminar, you can get some very good publicity. Usually the preview is from 2 to 4 hours.

From the writing of the seminar using the benefits vs. features, you can easily design all your adversiting and marketing material. Our training is based on the book “How To Make It Big In The Seminar Business” published by McGraw Hill and authored by Paul Karasik. Paul founded the American Seminar Leaders Association which is an association for those people doing seminars, wanting to learn to do them as well as becoming a coach to sell aditional services at the back of the room.

When you learn you can bring yourself to the front of the room to present, it become fun as well as educational and motivational. Some of the best presenters are the shy ones because they become vulnerable from the front to the room and their audience just loves them.

Think about selling your business of products and services to groups of people rather than one of one. Enjoy this arena and the income you will benefit.

Readers Digest interviewed us and Seminar Leaders were listed as on of the greates careers.

The 5 secrets are: Be Yourself, Design with the modular design approach, do a free preview, Sell back of the room products and get free publicity for yourself and your business.