On Presenting

Lately I’ve given more thought to the issue of presenting – the art of speaking to others. Especially in front of an audience. There were several triggers. The most notable is that I got in an entrepreneur workshop, and there I had (and still will have!) an opportunity to present Plnnr – for the purpose of improving my presentation skills.  The first trigger though was this wonderful talk on TED, about spoken word poetry, by Sarah Kay. When I saw this talk, what I thought was  – “I want to know how to speak like her”.

I’ve given many talks before, on pyweb-il, during my army service, about Plnnr and so on, and I got a lot of practice. I got better at it, but I got better at it without thinking about it. What this talk triggered in me was my analytical self. I started to look at this skill as learn-able by observation – and not just practice. I noticed actual specific things Sarah Kay did that I could do as well. And once I saw it once – I saw it everywhere. Fast forward a couple of weeks – and I was noticing it at the workshop, during Donna Abraham‘s talk on how to talk.

Today I was using what I know on how to present to help my partner Mosi prepare for his presentation of Plnnr to the Tech Aviv crowd. I know we both still have a way to go before we’re presentation experts, but we’re getting there.

In the meantime, I’ve discovered that TED is more than a way to broaden my horizons during lunchtime – it’s a way of discovering more techniques of presenting – and choosing the ones I like. Of course, I’m understating a bit, TED is also an excellent way to get inspired & motivated – but I just now realized – TED is also a repository of excellent speakers, and a repository of excellent talks.

I’ve found that a good way to think about these talks, is to ask yourself, “From where does the presenter take his/her presenting strength?”

Sometimes it’s knowledge and expertise. Sometimes it’s the belief in the importance of the issue. Sometimes it’s the inner strength and conviction. Sometimes it’s practice. Sometimes the speaker can’t even speak very well – but what he/she has to say is so interesting that you can’t help but listen.

I’ll leave you with two good talks that I found really inspiring and full of strength: Caroline Casey – Looking Past Limits and Charity Tilleman-Dick – Singing After a Double Lung Transplant

Happy presenting!

 

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One Response to On Presenting

  1. budowski says:

    Very good post. Good idea regarding TED lectures.
    Specifically, regarding the Sarah Kay lecture:
    She has very good lecturing skills due to:
    a) She plays with her voice (tone and speed), and flows with it (no “ahhmm”)
    b) Good and flowing gestures that actually represent the metaphors she’s currently talking about

    However, this specific lecture wears you down – too many metaphors, too little content.

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