Leaders tell stories Here's why

The power of story

Thanks to neuroscience we have learned a lot over the past few years about just how powerful stories can be.

We now know which brain chemicals cause us to pay attention and which chemicals help us to connect with others. A great story releases a rush of brain chemicals like Cortisol (which helps you to handle stress), Dopamine – the brains reward neurotransmitter and Oxytocin – The love, bonding and trust hormone.

The most fascinating research into stories uncovered that the same brain chemicals can be released when we think about doing something as when we are actually doing it.

Have you ever dreamed that you were driving a fast sports car and woke up feeling excited and pumped? Those thoughts activated parts of the brain that would have been activated if you were really driving that car. Depending how great your imagination was of course at the time.

When the brain sees or hears a story, its neurons fire in the same patterns as the speaker’s brain. This is known as neural coupling. “Mirror neurons” create coherence between a speaker’s brain and the brains of audience members. Wow!

 Storytelling is art, science and practice just like presenting.

If you tell a story well, your audience will get lost in the storytelling moment and stories will synchronize the listener’s brain with the storyteller’s brain. 

Can you get addicted to stories? Absolutely!

Have you ever been distracted by constant thoughts of your favourite TV show, after a cliff-hanger the night before? I thought so. 

Telling stories isn’t just for fun, we can use stories to learn, to persuade, to lead and to bond and we have been doing it for thousands of years. Long before power point, data dumps and workbooks took over our classrooms and conference platforms

It’s time to get back to sharing our stories.

Are you using stories to connect better with staff, customers, team members or in your presentations? Are you leading with stories?

The best storytellers are passionate about the stories they share, they are clear about the purpose and the moral/message of the story they are sharing. They plan, craft and rehearse their stories to ensure they make an impact.

Some keynote speakers have a signature story and their whole speaking career is based around that one story, others like myself have a catalogue of stories. A whole bunch of stories that can be called upon and used to emphasise a point, help others learn or to inspire an audience.

Stories can make us laugh, make us cry, make us pay attention and yes, they help us to learn.

When teaching the art of storytelling, the most common concern I get from the participants, is that they don’t have any exciting stories to share.

You all have stories to share.

Stories do not have to be remarkable, stories do not have to be amazing. A story is about sharing an experience and some of the most unremarkable experiences have the most powerful lessons behind them.

Your stories are created every day. I bet that even today, just waking up and getting off to work could have a hidden story in it that could help others learn from your mistakes or experiences. Did you sleep through the alarm? was there enough milk in the fridge for your morning coffee? did you trip over the dog getting up out of bed or did you nearly drive through a red light because you were tired or distracted?

For each of these events, a compelling story could be crafted and embedded into one of your presentations, training courses or influential conversations today. What you may consider is your boring life, can provide fantastic content for a great story.

Creating your brand story (narrative) for your business/organisation is also another skill that can make a huge difference to your marketing and client engagement. So, what are you waiting for?  

Want to learn more about Presentation Intelligence ® Powerful Presenting and Stories?

Paula Smith CSP - Leading expert in powerful presenting

Paula Smith is a leading expert in powerful presenting, adult learning and leading from the front of the room. Paula is a CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) and has been a trusted advisor and educator in her field for the past 30 years. Paula is available for keynote presentations, master classes and private coaching.

Her next public programme is Present on Purpose - Neuropresenting (a unique blend of professional presenting, neuroscience principles, influence and adult learning.

Perth May 3rd - May 5th visit PRESENT ON PURPOSE INFORMATION to find out more and register $1,995.00 per person - Unbelievable value for 3 full days of training at this level


Welcome to IMPACT - workforce development magazine

IMPACT magazine - Paula Smith

Welcome to IMPACT.
My training company The Global Institute of Training and Presenting (GITP) published a quarterly workforce development magazine.

It's filled to the rim with stories, articles and tips from expert contributors across the globe.

You can enjoy the magazine here and you can subscribe to your complimentary subscription so you don't miss another issue.

Enjoy the read

Click here to read, enjoy or subscribe 


3 Must Read Tips to Help You Overcome Your Public Speaking Nerves

No need to avoid presenting any longer

Overcome Public Speaking Nerves with Paula Smith CSP
No need to avoid presenting any longer

You have been asked to present at your next industry conference. Woohoo!! Or maybe not. The thought of standing in front of 400 people is terrifying and the self-talk starts in your head.

  1. I have no idea how to put together a presentation, what was I thinking?
  2. No way am I going to put myself through all that stress
  3. What if I get up there and I forget everything and completely fall apart?
  4. What if they all hate my presentation?
  5. What if they all hate me?
  6. My reputation, credibility and career is ruined forever

Does any of this sound familiar?

Presenting is one of the MUST have skills in business, in fact in life. You will be constantly asked to share your view, your message, your products, your services or your story throughout your career. So, stop avoiding the inevitable and get on top of those presenting nerves and that self-sabotaging mind chatter.

Yes, you should at some stage learn how to structure and prepare a powerful presentation and yes, the more you present the easier it becomes but if you have that presentation next week and need some quick tips to keep those nerves at bay try the tips below.

Power pose – You may have heard this one before, but it works. Dr Amy Cuddy’s research on Presence discusses that our body can shape our mind and our mind can shape our behaviour. So, you can prepare to be confident with your body as well as your mind. When you are feeling anxious or challenged you react and end up in a fight, flight or even a freeze moment. By just slowing your breathing down for example can change what your nervous system is doing, and by standing tall with your head up and your hands on your hips can change the way your brain is reacting to the situation. Amy suggests you fake it until you become it instead of faking it until you make it. In other words trick your mind into thinking you are calm and confident. You will start to believe it. So, do that power pose in the bathroom mirror in the morning and before you walk on stage, then walk onto that stage with strong strides, head up and smiling at your audience. Just the way you hold your body can increase your confidence and the belief in yourself.

Prepare – The preparation is always evident. Never wing it. So many times, I have seen presenters crash because they don’t know their audience or even their own presentation well enough. Do your research about the audience, the outcomes and of course know your presentation inside out. This doesn’t mean rehearse word for word, far from it. Just know the content and your area of expertise well enough to be of service to your audience. If you think you are going to forget anything, have some strategies in place like notes, props, pre-prepared flip charts, key words on your slides. (no palm cards please) and be okay with not being perfect. Even seasoned presenters forget something they wanted to say from time to time.

Positive Mindset – If you have prepared your presentation and you know your stuff everything else going on is in your head. Think positively about your presentation. What gift will you be sharing with the audience? You’ve obviously been asked to present because somebody believes in you, you just need to believe in yourself. When you are comfortable and having fun you give permission for your audience to feel the same. Don't confuse good nerves with destructive nerves either. I always get a few excited butterflies before any presentation. It just means I care. I then turn them into positive energy.

So, we are now ready to go. This is your new self-talk.

  1. The day has finally come, I am looking forward to it
  2. I am really excited to share this new research
  3. I am sure I will meet some interesting new people before and after the presentation
  4. This is great for my positioning in the industry and my organisation
  5. I can’t believe how many times I have said no to delivering a presentation
  6. I hope I get asked to present this again as I am so prepared

Now look into that mirror, hands on hips, head up and say out loud

“you’ve got this”

If you don’t need to present next week and have a little more time to prepare and want some help to become a speaking superstar register for my next Exceptional Presenter One Day Master Cass or talk to me about working in-house with the key people in your organisation. Thousands of attendees have attended Paula's workshops over the past 30 years. I would love to help you to feel calm, confident and charismatic in any future presentation or training session.

Register for an upcoming public master class or host your own for the key people in your organisation.

Paula Smith CSP is your expert in Presentation Intelligence. Speaker, Author, Master Trainer and Coach in all things presenting and communication. Paula has been helping experts, entrepreneurs and organisations harness the power of speaking for the past 30 years. She is also the developer of the first and only certification and Australian Diploma qualification in Neuropresenting.

More information on Paula's programmes are at www.paulasmith.com.au


10 Big Presenting Mistakes to Avoid

10 big presentation mistakes to avoid if you want to nail your next presentation

We've all been to those presentations. Presentation Mistakes to Avoid - Paula Smith CSP - Your expert in Presentation Intelligence

The ones where we stare in horror at the presenter who lacks any presenting skill or worse, the presenter who just doesn't know how to behave appropriately from the platform, boardroom or training room floor. Yes, that same presenter who has been hired to inspire, educate or influence us.

So here are a few mistakes or 'don't dos' to avoid when you next take the platform so you don't have to be 'that presenter'

1. Don't start boring - your opening should get the attention of the audience and incite curiosity. Be creative and relevant.

2. Don't ask the audience to do anything before you establish trust - you know the presenters who want us to raise our hands, stand up, sit down, or hug someone before the presentation has even begun.

3. Don't get off topic - If you are asked to speak on a topic, design and deliver on that. Just because you know lots of other stuff - save it for next time.

4. Don't steal time - You go over by 10  minutes, you have just stolen 10 minutes from the next presenter and now all the morning tea has gone cold all because you wanted to talk some more.

5. Don't data dump - Tell stories, interact, share, inspire and give great examples. Too much data hurts our brains and your audience won't remember it anyway.

6. Don't present too fast or too slow - Present at a pace that is brain-friendly and enjoyable to watch and listen to.

7. Don't wander around - There is something quite powerful about stillness. If you do move around make sure you move naturally and with purpose not because you can't stand still.

8. Don't sell from the platform - unless you have permission to do so. You don't need to hard sell to get buy in from an audience who wants more of you.

9. Don't complain - Never complain about anything from the platform. You're bigger than that. Not even about the room, the organisers, the catering, the audience, the previous speaker or the Manager who booked you. Yes, presenters do it all the time, unbelievable.

10. Don't let anyone else have the last word - Remember the primacy and recency effect. Your audience needs to leave with your key message ringing in their ears, not the audience member asking when the toilet break is.

Okay I'm on a roll and can't stop so if you want 2 more tips stay put. Hmm that's a bit like stealing time isn't it. Thank goodness you're  still here and morning tea is late.

11. Don't talk about yourself too much - talk about your audience and how your key message will benefit them

12. Don't be a copy of any other presenter - You are a 'one of a kind' presenter with a unique message - embrace your message and your authentic presenting style.

There are a few more but that's a start.

Which ones are you guilty of? Even the professional speakers get it wrong sometimes. So perhaps you just needed reminding. 

Now you know what not to do - if you would like more tips on what you should be doing visit my website www.paulasmith.com.au or book into one of my signature programmes.

Paula Smith CSP is your expert in Presentation Intelligence (TM) and has been helping leaders and business owners to master their presentations to grow their business and amplify their brands for the past 30 years.

Next Perth Exceptional Presenter Master Class November 14th and 15th

Next Brisbane Diploma of Neuropresenting (world-first and only certification and qualification - brain-friendly train the trainer for purpose-driven presenters) December 1st - 5th - More information here

Or talk to me about an in-house solution for your key people.


Does your audience remember your presentation? The primacy and recency effect.

A quick and easy tip to help you plan your next presentation.

The most critical parts of your presentation are your opening and closing.

Apart from your presentation opening needing to grab the attention of the audience right from the start, you need to ensure your critical key messages are communicated at the beginning of your presentation or very close to and reinforced at the end of your presentation. Your audience will remember the first and last things you say to them so make sure your powerful key messages are communicated in the places where your audience is more likely to retain them.

The law of primacy and recency (also referred to as the primacy and recency effect suggests that we retain information first presented to us and information presented to us at the end of a presentation or conversation but we tend to forget much in the middle.

A 2013 study also found that the primacy effect is prominent in decision making. Great news for those board meetings and sales presentations. There is a large importance of the first reward on subsequent behaviour. The reward in a presentation may be a piece of exciting news or mind-blowing statistic or the unveiling of a new product in a sales presentation. This will prime the audience for more rewards as you continue.

Your audience should be able to recall the main point of your presentation with ease long after the presentation has finished so they can either share the information with others or take any action suggested from the presenter.

With this is mind, don't wing your opening or closing. Craft a clever opening that gets attention and arouses curiosity that is aligned to the purpose and key message of your presentation.

When it's time to close your presentation loop it back to your opening statements, phrases, actions or message and make sure the last words they hear you say are the ones you want them to remember and repeat.

How much work do you put into crafting your opening and closing?

Are your presentations memorable?

Paula Smith is the leading expert in Presentation Intelligence (TM) and the developer of the world-first National Diploma or Certification in Neuropresenting (TM)

Professional Speaker CSP, Master Trainer, Author and Business Consultant helping experts and organisational leaders to grow their business and their brand by harnessing the power of speaking for the past 30 years.

Paula's next Presentation Skills Master Class - The Exceptional Presenter is in Perth on November 9th and 10th - More information and registrations here

or contact Paula to arrange an in-house programme for your key people.

www.paulasmith.com.au


The Pros and Cons of Training and Presenting

The results are in from the Great Training and Speaking Debate

Paula Smith - CEO of GITP hosts the Great Training and Speaking Debate I am a little bit obsessed with quality training and presenting. For the past 30 years I have been helping trainers and presenters to step up, step out and share their expertise through a variety of different modalities. It is my belief that you owe it to your participants, clients or attendees to develop your presenting and training craft not just your topic or skill area. Earn the right to take that platform, boardroom or training room. Only when you bring your whole self to your presentation by mastering the art, science and practice of quality training and presenting can you truly be a treasured gift for your audience.

As CEO of the Global Institute of Training and Presenting I had the great pleasure of hosting the Great Training and Speaking debate last night with our GITP community.

The key topics that were explored and debated over a lively discussion and 3 presentations were:

  1. Accredited training (Nationally Recognised) versus non-accredited training
  2. Keynote speaking versus training/workshops
  3. Your Intellectual Property (IP) or off the shelf materials and resources.

Our 3 speakers (RTO Owner and VET Expert Janet Curran, Keynote Speaker and Leadership Expert – Suzanne Waldren and Master Trainer and Team Development Expert – Louise Kelly) brought to the room some of the pros and cons to each of the debate topics and we were also moved and delighted with the personal journeys they shared with us from their experience in the industry.

After 3 thought provoking presentations and a lively audience debate and discussion, it was time to vote. The voting paddles started waving after every question was laid before them. There was much  laughter and some groans and grumbles when they realised that couldn’t sit on the fence, a vote must be cast.

This proved much harder for the group than they thought as there are so many variables to be considered in such a diverse industry and so many more modalities that professionals can use to make an impact and solve problems for their clients. However, the last paddle was waved and the results were in.

Before I reveal the results, below are the 3 top pros and cons from the room for each modality. There were many more presented to be discussed and debated but dessert and hot coffee was calling and it was evident from this passionate group that if we didn’t stop for a break the list would just keep growing.

Accredited Training

Pros:

  1. National Standards and Regulation
  2. Evidence of learning and skills acquisition
  3. Credibility in the market place

Cons:

  1. Heavy Compliance
  2. Not as flexible
  3. VET Industry isn’t perfect

Non-Accredited Training

Pros:

  1. Can make bespoke solutions for clients
  2. Only accountable to your client – not regulated
  3. Can get products and services quicker to market and charge accordingly

Cons:

  1. Lack of standards across the industry
  2. Less access to some government funding options
  3. Credibility in some sectors

Keynote Speaking

Pros:

  1. Large audience reach for a big impact for shorter amount of time.
  2. Higher fees for professional keynote speakers
  3. Travel to wonderful places for work

Cons:

  1. Harder to build relationships with attendees
  2. Bureaus may not want you at the start of your career
  3. Sometimes difficult communicating your value and the time/expertise it takes to plan and develop a keynote

Delivering training/workshops

Pros:

  1. Bespoke solutions for clients
  2. Great relationships with participants
  3. Deeper level of learning/skill acquisition for attendees

Cons:

  1. The time needed to plan, prepare and deliver the training
  2. Quality of some trainers/workshop leaders in the industry
  3. Accessing quality training materials

Develop you own IP

Pros:

  1. Complete control of your message and the quality
  2. Positioning yourself as a category of 1
  3. Can leverage, license and re-purpose own IP

Cons:

  1. Time to develop your IP
  2. Skills to develop materials, models, resources and systems
  3. Expert positioning needed to communicate value of new IP

Buying IP off the shelf

Pros:

  1. Save time
  2. Variety to choose from
  3. White labelling or co-branding options

Cons:

  1. Quality of materials
  2. Other trainers using same material
  3. On-going costs

 

The caffeine and sugar levels were now adjusted and the results were announced.

  • Non- accredited training won by a whisker over accredited training
  • Keynotes won by a thread over training
  • And develop your own IP was a clear front runner over buying off the shelf.

But after another healthy discussion it was unanimous that the key statement agreed by all was the real winner.

“It all depends”

It depends on the outcomes needed, the timeframe, the location, the experience of the presenter, the branding, the business, the budget and the list went on and although the debate was over we continued to chat over a glass of wine or whiskey and it was clear that this conversation or debate was never going to be over.

There are pros and cons for every delivery mode of sharing your expertise, whether it be training, speaking, coaching, consulting, publishing and even curating it’s all about the impact you make on an individual or organisation that counts not always about the modality you choose.

Just ensure your very best self turns up to share because your audience deserves it.

Paula Smith CSP, CEP is your expert in Presentation Intelligence ™ 
Speaker, Master Trainer, Author and Business Coach helping indiviudals and organisations to grow their business and brand by harnessing the power of speaking and powerful communication

Developer of the world-first programme in Neuropresenting which is now a National Diploma Qualification
Conatct Paula to organise an in-house programme for your key staff or enquire about our public programme calendar and other amazing courses, workshops or keynotes.


Presentation Skills - Executive Speaking - Yes it's Scientific

Presentation Skills - Executive Speaking - Yes it's Scientific

Do you want to get the boardroom addicted to your story? How about your staff or your clients?

Thanks to the latest findings in Neuroscience we now know what brain chemicals make us stop and pay attention. So, can we use this information to engage our listeners and make them pay attention by sharing stories? This is all part of Presentation Intelligence ™

A great story can trigger the same brain chemicals that cause us to pay attention, chemicals like cortisol (help the body respond to stress and danger), oxytocin (love and trust) and dopamine (the brain's reward and pleasure centres).

Inspirational Leaders tell stories. They know that emotion trumps logic and a presenter needs to touch a person’s heart as well as their head.

By carefully crafting your business stories and mastering your presentation skills, you can connect at a much deeper level. You can get your clients and staff on board with your vision and that can be powerful.

Business is rapidly changing and to stay connected in a rapidly changing market we need to master the art and science of communication, influence, presenting and storytelling. Our clients and staff are more sophisticated than ever and see through the old ways of ‘selling and telling. We now know how and why people are inspired by our stories so we have no excuse to bore everyone with hundreds of power point slides filled with data and charts.

Educate, inspire, inform, motivate, influence and even train others by getting our audiences addicted to our cause, our why, our stories.

3 Tips for a great story:

  1. Use the rule of 3 where possible
  2. Make people care about your facts and figures
  3. Never be the hero in your own story

Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx is the youngest self-made female millionaire in the world sold 10 million products without spending a cent on advertising. She leveraged the power of her story and people found it irresistible. What’s your story?

Next time you are planning a boardroom pitch or perhaps a staff induction, choose the best stories that really demonstrate the point, then add a dose of data if you must.

Paula Smith is your expert in Presentation Intelligence

(Speaker CSP, CEP, Author, Master Trainer and Business Consultant)

Helping experts and organisations grow their business and their brand by harnessing the power of speaking for the past 30 years.

Developer of the first Australian Qualifications in Presenting and now the world-first programme and qualification in Neuropresenting™


Train The Trainer - Spice Up Your Training and Meetings Boardroom

It's time you 'Spiced It Up'

Spice up your Presentation Skills

How many boring meetings, boardroom pitches or training sessions have you been to?

I am sure you are running out of fingers on your hands to count by now.

It’s very easy to ‘Spice It Up’. I am amazed that people still go into meetings, pitches or training unprepared or with little or no skills in this area when there are so many resources available to help them.

And sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars can be at stake if you miss the mark.

Here are 5 easy to implement tips that are sure to spice it up:

  1. A hot opening – The purpose of an opening is to incite curiosity and get attention. Give those meetings an opening that they don’t expect so they sit up and pay attention right from the start.
  2. Explode the senses - The more senses we engage the deeper level of recall/learning. Bring colourful charts, stunning images, props, short video clips, things to feel and taste (if appropriate) and even you are a visual resource so ensure you dress the part.
  3. Introduce lots of flavour – Mix the method up. Don’t just talk at them. Get them involved too. Share a story, ask and answer questions and keep them engaged.
  4. Offer 3 coursesEntrée – The facts/history to date, Main – the key messages facts, figures and content, Dessert – How can they use the information to benefit their organisation, find that sweet spot.
  5. Reveal the secret spice – That’s you or your team. The secret ingredient that will make it all come to life. They don’t want to miss out on that.

Spice it up for a win-win

If you need help to spice up your presentations contact

Paula Smith CSP- Your expert in Presentation Intelligence (TM) Speaker, Master Trainer and Author of Speaking in the Shower, Powerful Presentation Principles and Sell Your Story

Paula is also the CEO of the Global Institute of Training and Presenting and the developer of the Diploma of Neuropresenting (TM) The world first programme and diploma qualification in Presentation Intelligence.

Next 2 day Exceptional Presenter Programme Perth September 7th -8th $995.00

Diploma or Certification of Neuropresenting Perth October 9-13th and Sydney Oct 23rd - 27th - From $2,995.00

Or book an in-house professional development workshop or programme for your organisation.

 

 


7 Presentation Myths That Need to Die

Presentation Skills Myths

You may have been to many public speaking courses over the years and received some great advice. Getting tips and advice from other professionals is a fantastic way to grow your knowledge and skill base but what about all the advice that hasn’t serviced you well?

Here are a few presentation myths that if used on the platform could have the potential to make your presentation go sour.

 

  1. Open with a joke. (Jokes are generally designed to offend somebody. You don’t know your audience as well as you think you do. Humour is a must in most presentations but steer away from the cheesy jokes.)
  2. Don’t read your slides (This one is a tricky one. Definitely don’t design your slides to read from them and never read your slides instead of speaking to the audience but your audience is very well trained in eye contact so they follow your eyes. A little more difficult with a very large audience but in a smaller presentation, if you want your audience to look at an image on your slide, you can look too and guide your audience to where you would like them to focus – If you wanted them to look at your feet, you would look too right? So, if you are watching a short video or referring to a special photograph, be a part of the conversation. Give it a try)
  3. Introduce yourself and the topic with a polite opening (Boring! Give the audience what they don’t expect. An opening should get attention and incite curiosity, sure, introduce yourself and your topic soon but be a little more creative with those opening words or actions.)
  4. Prepare a speech (A conference full of attendees or a boardroom filled with decision makers are not wanting to hear a perfectly crafted speech – They are looking for a conversation from an expert. You can prepare some great content, you can prepare relevant stories and examples and you can structure and rehearse your presentation but save your one-way speeches for a speech competition or a perhaps a political platform.)
  5. Facts and figures are what counts (A business presentation supported by the facts and figures is expected but if you want a powerful presentation tell stories too, share your why and connect with the person who is listening to you speak. People like to do business with people they like and trust. People invest in people. Your presentation should have the right balance of both.)
  6. Always finish with questions (The law of primacy and recently suggests that people remember the first and last things they hear. Let’s hope the last thing your audience members hear is your key message, not the irrelevant question the ‘challenger in the room’ just asked. Questions should be embedded into the last parts of your presentation but always end with your key messages, calls to action and the powerful words you wish the audience members to repeat.)
  7. Give as much information as you can (How can you possibly share 20 years’ experience and knowhow into a 60-minute keynote or 2-hour workshop?) you can’t! so stop trying. One piece of relevant information delivered well that impacts the audience enough for them to make a behavioural change is more powerful than you trying to prove you know it all. The power is deciding what to leave out, not what to put in. If you get this right, you will get asked back to share more when the time is right.

Then there is the rule that says 'there are no rules'.

I have witnesses very raw presenters, with no training at all just speaking from the heart, and having the entire audience in the palm of their hands and I’ve seen professional speakers with 20 years conference speaking experience bomb with the same keynote that was a huge hit the day before. Sometimes it is just all about the right message for the right audience at the right time.

More often than not though if you are winging it, the chances of a successful outcome could be limited. It’s just not worth the risk.

Take the time to learn about the art, science and practice of presenting for business.

This is Presentation Intelligence ™

Book into Paula's next  Exceptional Presenter 2 day Signature public workshop or book an in-house programme for your key people

Paula Smith is an expert in Presentation Intelligence (TM)

Speaker CSP, Author, Master Trainer and Business Consultant. Paula has been helping individuals, experts and organisations to grow their business and their brands by harnessing the power of speaking for the past 30 years.


When a speaker cancels at the last minute

Presentation Skills - what would you do? 

I used to always joke that I hoped a speaker cancels at the last minute so I can jump up and say 'I'm ready, pick me' but when it happens Oh My Goodness. On Monday night about an hour before our big launch one of the 6 speakers  decides after 2 months of preparation and marketing that she just can't make it. We promised 6 speakers so at the last minute I had to step up. This was not any presentation though this was a PechaKucha presentation that sometimes takes weeks to prepare as it has to have stunning  visuals and be perfectly timed and rehearsed. I had an hour, not to mention I was also running the event. So be careful what you wish for. Lucky for me the heavens shone down on me and I didn't have time to stress, I just had to get it prepared and presented. I chose one of my favourite speaking topics "The Power of Story" so it was easy to display my passion about the topic. I will embed the presentation when I get the video back.

How to prepare for an Impromptu Presentation

Can you really prepare for an impromptu presentation?
Yes you can

1. Don't panic. If you panic and get stressed about your presentation, you will not be able to prepare and organise your thoughts.

2. Confidence is key. The more you speak in front of an audience, the more comfortable and confident you will be if you are approached to speak without notice.

3. Use a structure. Once you know and are comfortable with a structure you can use that structure at a moments notice.

4. You are always ready. Have a few of your slide presentations on a memory stick or in a drop box so you can access them anywhere at any time.

5. If you have to start from scratch (Like I did last week) Speak around one central idea that you are really comfortable speaking about and sequence it so it is engaging and informative.

So next time someone asks 'can anyone here stand in for the speaker?' your answer will be 'Yes of course'

Paula Smith (Speaker CSP. CEP, Author, Master Trainer, Business Consultant) is an expert in Presentation Intelligence (TM) and has been helping experts, entrepreneurs and organisations to grow their business and their brands for the past 30 years