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December 10, 2009

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Kathy Reiffenstein

Hi John,

Thanks for your comment and providing a link to your post. I love your metaphor -- very clever and memorable!

The one point I might disagree with a bit is the last one...I don't think a Q&A should be a bonus...to be included only if you have time. A presenter should always afford his audience the opportunity to ask questions as a method of engaging them and helping them understand the relevance of the material for their circumstances...if not in a formal Q&A, then by allowing questions throughout the presentation.

Maybe the bonus could be an extra story...which I totally agree is a great way to start a presentation...to wrap up??

Kathy

John Gallagher

Telling a story is the first step to a great presentation. I speak of this in my recent blog post on how to build the perfect sandwich...presentation style. http://www.johngallagherblog.com/2010/03/building-the-perfect-sandwich-i-mean-presentation/ It sets the audience up. These are all good suggestions. Thanks for sharing

Norman Wei

Kathy,

Here is my post http://nobullets.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/a-bald-head/
not sure if the video is still there.

Norman

Kathy Reiffenstein

Norman,

I'd love to read that blog post you reference...can you send me the link? People reading their speeches drive me right around the bend!

Kathy

Norman Wei

Kathy,

I agree with you that rehearsal should not mean memorization. Unfortunately, most people do just that. They practice their talks by memorizing them. In my 30 years in the corporate world, I sat through way too many memorized (well rehearsed) speeches. In my humble opinion, the best speeches or talks are given by people who know the topic of which they are speaking. They can deliver without reading their speeches. In one of my blogs, I showed a so-called expert reading a 20-minute speech without ever lifting his head ONCE. All we could see was the top of his bald head. One last point - I think perhaps Mark Twain was suggesting we spend 3 weeks learning the subject before we stand up and talk about it.

Thank you...

Norman

Kathy Reiffenstein

Hi Norman,

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I both agree and respectfully disagree with you.

You are absolutely right that a story should never sound like it's memorized and I didn't mean to imply that at all. It does need to sound like you're in the moment and "present" with the audience as you tell it.

However, in my experience, I have seen very few business presenters who can tell a crisp, on-message story spontaneously, without having rehearsed it. As Mark Twain said, "It usually takes more than 3 weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech."

I don't equate rehearsal or practice to memorization and stiffness. Rather, as with any professional performer, rehearsal actually gives a presenter the "muscle memory" to know exactly what they want to convey and how they want to do it...and then frees them up to be authentic, and even spontaneous, in the moment.

Kathy

Norman Wei

Practice, practice and practice and do it again! No way....that's the worst way to tell a story. You need to be spontaneous when telling a story. Do you need to KNOW your story? Yes. Do you need to sound like you have memorized your story? No! Do you rehearse your conversation with a friend? I hope not!

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