Public Speaking Thoughts

This morning I had the opportunity to talk at the TAG/ATDC Entrepreneurs group using the material from my Iterate or Die articles. I wanted to say thanks to TAG and ATDC for inviting me to speak as well as say thanks for everyone who attended. As for public speaking, I always enjoy the opportunity to speak in front of an audience and talk through something I feel strongly about, like the need to pivot and change directions in a startup. Here are a few things I try to do when given the opportunity to speak publicly:

  • Develop slides that tell a story with simple pictures and as few words as possible (see Beyond Bullet Points)
  • Respect the time of the event and leave a few minutes at the end for questions
  • Thank the people that invited me as well as the audience for attending
  • Emphasize a theme and takeaway message from the talk (ideally most people will take away one or two items from the talk)
  • Make my email address available for people to ask questions after the event has finished

Of course, there’s nothing revolutionary here but I find that following these simple tactics results in a good outcome.

2 thoughts on “Public Speaking Thoughts

  1. If you enjoyed Beyond Bullet Points, you should also check out Presentation Zen and Slideology. If you had to only read one, I’d choose the former over the latter. Examples you’d get from Presentation Zen would apply directly to several of your slides from yesterday including the stop watch and the road sign. I included an example of what PZ would apply to those two in particular here -> http://bit.ly/bzf6Aq. (I actually already had both those pics in some of my slide decks)

    That being said, the story is more important than the slides, and you nailed that part yesterday. I especially appreciated that you spent most time on where things went wrong in the early phases of Hannon Hill (that are generally applicable) rather than after you figured out your value prop (incredibly specific to HH). At some point, a great follow-up presentation would be the challenges you faced after the business became successful — I think this too could be applied in a very general manner that would apply to a general audience.. especially for entrepreneurs.

  2. Thanks Brian. I’m glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate the comments — I’ll have to check out those books.

    I agree that there’s an entirely different presentation on challenges faced after the business became successful. Hopefully I can put that together in the future.

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