Weekend Language

Ben FortePresenting

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Imagine being able to present even the most boring of topics and still have your audiences enjoying every second of it!

As you may know I am presenting at the Google Education on Air Event in May. Google provided the presenters with a copy of Weekend Language a book by Andy Craig & Dave Yewman which will help you to be a better presenter by presenting with more stories and less powerpoints.
The book had me hooked from the title Weekend Language. “Think about it: on weekends, we’re all great communicators because our default is storytelling.”

I read half the book on the first day! Then I was lucky enough to get to do a Google Hangout with one of the author Andy Craig.

andycraig

It was great to read an inspiring book and then get to see and speak to a pro in action.

The theory behind a successful presentation inWeekend Language boils down to a simple acronym:

STORY

S – Suspend PowerPoint

T – Tell a Story

O – Organise Your Narrative

R – Remember Mehrabian

Y – You Must Prepare

The book then goes on to cover in detail each part of STORY.

Lots of what the book says you will already know from watching great presenters. You only have to watch a few TED videos to notice that the best presenters use all the techniques featured in this book.

Ditching PowerPoint (temporarily) is a great idea it can only be great for improving your narrative to many people rely on PowerPoint (other presentation software is available) to prompt them and even provide all the details for their presentations. I know I have been guilty for putting lots of details into my presentation slides but I often did this so that people who didn’t attend can still get all the info from the slides. The tip in Weekend Language is to hide the detail slides from the presentation so you don’t present them but they still exist if you share the presentation after.

Story telling is an art but it is definitely essential when presenting. It really is the key to leaving a lasting impact from your presentation. It is often one of the only parts you remember in enough details to retell your colleagues or friends after.

Organise Your Narrative is all about making sure you are getting your point across using what Weekend Language call the “So what, who cares?” test.

Dr Albert Mehrabian carried out a famous study that showed how vocal and nonverbal communication can account for as much as 93 percent of message understanding, so the use of pauses, body language, pacing, eye contact and position on the stage are all critical to being a great presenter.

Preparation is the final point and probably the most simple! Great presenters are always well prepared, often the presenters you think are so relaxed and feel so spontaneous are actually the ones who practice and rehearse the most.  Weekend Language recommend practicing in front of a camera and watching it back or simply in front of a mirror.