3 Ways to Kill It at Your Next Public Speaking Gig: What I Learned from Chris Dessi at Merit Direct’s 2013 Co-Op

Chris Dessi

Chris Dessi Presenting at the 2013 Merit Direct Co-Op

Sure, I’ve seen our CEO, Chris Dessi speak at large-scale events and conferences, like yesterday’s Merit Direct  2013 Co-Op. But no matter how many times I’ve seen him speak, Chris hooks me every time with his presentation style – I always leave so engaged and inspired! In my effort to be a better presenter and speaker, I took notes on how Chris crushes his presentations always leaving his audience wide-eyed and wanting more

1. Slideshows “crutches”, not legs…

Your slideshow is there to support you – not the other way around. Spend less time reading off slides and more time focusing, engaging and creating context around your slides…Think about it: if your slideshow failed, would you still be able to fill up the hour talking about the subject matter you planned to present?

2. In with the pictures, out with the text…

Photos are your friends…The ‘create text box button’? Not so much. Audiences who look at text-heavy slides either spend their time reading them (and not paying attention to the speaker) or furiously trying to copy that text down before the presenter moves forward (and not paying attention to the speaker). See the pattern? Command and keep attention by strategically choosing images that quickly communicate your point. Text distracts, images enlighten.

3. Provide your audience with relevant takeaways…

Social Media Marketing 101: Provide value, right? If we’re doing it in social, why are we not providing this in presentations? Your audience won’t get value if you wax poetic and theorize about your subject matter. Chris provides techniques that users can implement immediately. For instance: When’s the best time to post on Facebook? At Silverback, we mostly adhere to the “Coffee and Cocktails” schedule: post when users are browsing through their newsfeed in the morning over coffee and/or again when they’re out having cocktails with friends. Giving people real, live items helps them to feel more in control, makes you and your presentation more valuable and demonstrates your expertise.

What surefire ways have you discovered to keep your audience engaged while speaking?

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