Even a small Bangkok business can deliver a powerful speech
What is the key to effective public speaking?
My job as Lloyds Bank’s Head of Franchising means that I do my fair share of presentations. But whether you’re a banker or best man, student or running a small Bangkok business, there will come a time when you’ll need to stand up and present to a group of people. So learning the tools and tricks can be invaluable.
So what is the secret of a successful presentation? How is it possible to turn a few notes or Powerpoint slides into a punchy, powerful attention grabbing performance that will be remembered long after the audience have left the building? The vital areas that I am going to cover in this article are the importance of good preparation, to establish and reinforce your key messages and to make the presentation interesting to your audience by using relevant stories, examples, illustrations and anecdotes.
For me, the most important element is preparation. It might sound obvious, but there really is no substitute for working out what you want to say before you say it. It’s amazing how many people assume they’ll be able to hold the attention of an audience for 30 minutes or more, without deciding on the points they want to make. I always think of a presentation being like an iceberg – one eighth of the ice is above the sea and seven eighths is below. Similarly, most of the work involved in a presentation is the ground work. Never be fooled into thinking there are people who don’t prepare. Everyone needs to, but the beauty is that once you have one presentation under your belt, the others just become easier.
When you come to prepare, it’s important not to fall into the trap of writing reams of notes. For a great presentation all you need is a few (just a few!) key messages, backed up by lively examples from your actual business in Bangkok. A fact here, a figure there can help too. People rarely remember more than three key points from any speech. Think about when you last heard a funny comedian – they may have told dozens of jokes but do you ever remember more than two or three the following day?
An invaluable tool I have learned to use is to clearly organise all the information you plan to use. There is absolutely no point in making a presentation if no-one can remember a word you have said. To help you make effective presentations you need to understand how our brains work and the way that we ORDER information.
- Opening – We are more likely to remember the beginning of events
- Repeated – Recall falls rapidly without review
- Different – We remember unusual things exceedingly well
- End – We are likely to remember the end of events
- References – Use stories that are appropriate to your audience
As important as what you are saying, is who you are saying it to. Whatever your presentation is about, you should think carefully about your audience. Who is it your Bangkok business is targeting, and are they in the crowd? Will you be talking to subject experts, colleagues, pensioners, customers? What language will they respond to; how much background will they need? And how many will be attending? Remember that the smaller the group, the more likely it is you’ll be interrupted with questions. Finally check your timing as no audience will appreciate a speaker going over their allocated time.
This maybe an obvious point to make but every presentation will have a beginning, middle and end. Let’s look at these areas which go to make up your presentation individually.
This should include an introduction of yourself, your business in Bangkok and establish your credentials to the audience. People are mostly likely to be nervous at the start of a presentation so talking about you is a good starting point to help settle any nerves. Give your presentation a title and put it in the form of a question so that it focuses people’s minds as to why they are there. Tell the audience how long the presentation is likely to last and build in some leeway for you in case it is required. Identify three key points you most want to get across and include them in your introduction. Why should the audience try to work out your key messages for themselves when you could tell them? A good rule is at the beginning to tell an audience what you are going to tell them, then tell them again in the middle then finish up by telling them what you have told them to reinforce your key messages.
Having explained why you’re all in the room, you can start to add detail. And this is where you can start to bring the presentation to life with examples. Use anecdotes, stories and examples from your business wherever possible. They don’t have to be funny but they do need to be interesting. When preparing to write this article I thought about presentations I had attended which had made a mark on my memory. One recent presentation at a seminar for prospective ChipsAway franchisees, succeeded on the strength of some very strong anecdotes about what a new start up franchisee had achieved in their first week of trading and how they went about it. That story effectively drew a picture for the audience of a good example to follow. They will remember that story and the message that it contains long after they forget other points that were raised during the session.
There are certain elements that you must include at the end of your presentation like a summary and conclusion. The summary is a short repetition of the key points you have covered – tell them what you have told them. So in the case of this article a reminder of the key messages are Good Preparation, Reinforce Key Messages and Use Stories and Examples. A conclusion is a clearly identifiable ultimate point so in this case People remember effective presentations positively. Finally end up by asking the audience whether they have any questions and thanking them when you have finished.
Managing Director of Recognition Express and the former Chairman of the British Franchise Association, Nigel Toplis has written an excellent 60 Minute guide to Powerful Presentations with co-author Geoffrey Marsh which is a part of their 60 Minute guide series. The book covers this topic more comprehensively and is an excellent read for experienced presenters and those who are new to it. This guide can be purchased through the publisher’s website.
Head of Franchising
Lloyds Banking Group
Tel: 07802 324018
Richard heads up the Lloyds Bank franchise team and is a regular contributor to trade publications and national press. He regularly speaks at franchise seminars and exhibitions.