Public speaking tip: Shock ’em

From Tom Antion

When I was planning for my recent all day presentation I was considering the post lunch sleepiness that most audiences experience. I wanted to do something totally different that I knew would shock them out of their afternoon low.

So I bought a muskrat trap. I was talking about the “traps” AKA deep trouble you could get into by spam email marketing.

I set the trap with great care. Then I put a pencil into the trap to set it off. The pencil snapped showing the trap to be real . . . This got their attention.

I then reset the trap and talked about how learning what I was going to teach them in the next section would keep them from getting hurt in the email spam trap.Then, with lots of suspense building as I approached the trap, I set it off with my bare hand, I let out a fake Karate-like scream, the trap slammed on my hand and I held it up hanging from my fingers. . . . Believe me this got their attention!

DO NOT TRY THIS! DO NOT TRY THIS! DO NOT TRY THIS! I know how to do this without getting hurt. I am not responsible if you break your finger or get hurt in any way !!!

There are many other ways to shock people. You could put a needle through a balloon, you could stick a knife through one of their coats. Stop by any magic or gag shop for tons of ideas. Just don’t get too outrageous and scare people unnecessarily.


public speaking

Overcome your fear of public speaking with mental preparation

Mental preparation is a vital part of the process of overcoming the fear of public speaking.  It is one of four processes successful speakers use to make sure they lose their fear and use their nerves for success.  Read on …

public speaking

Make numbers work for you

Speakers can use numbers to support key points. But too often, speakers use their data in place of key points, piling on number after number and, in the end, driving their audience to despair. Here are a few tips on how to use numbers to good effect

. Read on …

public speaking

Public Speaking Success tip

Eye contact with your audience is vital because it reinforces your sincerity. If you are nervous, choose the most responsive, supportive faces.  If the audience is large, focus on three or four people and maintain eye contact with them. 


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Get the presentation edge – learn design

“We are all designers,” says Tom Peters. “Presentation of a financial report is as much a ‘design thing’ as is the creation of a sexy-looking product.” Presentation design is worthy of our “extreme obsessive study,” as Peters says,

Read on ….

public speaking

Public speaking – Adding Golf To Your Topic – even if you’re not a golfer

Adding Golf To Your Topic — Even if you’re not a golferI’m not a golfer, but I can tell you one thing for sure. Manypeople in your audiences are nuts over golf.I’ve seen some speakers do their entire presentation using a golfmetaphor. They would say things like, “In golf if your swing isoff, you’ll hit the ball into the woods . . . just like if yourleadership technique is off you’ll be in the “rough” .. .  and alot more is at stake than just a bad scorecard.” etc.I’ve seen speakers carry their golf bag on stage and pull outsome clubs just to have something to do with their hands.I’ve seen speakers get audience members on stage to have aputting contest.I’ve seen one speaker at a resort ride into his speech on a golfcart.You don’t even have to like golf to add a little bit about golfto your speeches. I tease the golfers in the audience about alltheir crazy gadgets.
Tom Antion, Publisher “Great Speaking”


How to prepare your presentation from conception to rehearsal to handouts

“I’ve said it before here and here, and I’ll say it again. Your PowerPoint file is not your presentation; what you say before an audience is your presentation. (Exception: if it’s a self-running presentation at a kiosk, it’s your presentation, but then your slides need to be much more complete to be effective.)

Therefore, before or after you create your slides, you still need to write your presentation.

If you create your slides first and then your presentation, expect that you’ll find that the logic of your content will lead you to change (and improve) the organization of your slides.”

Read on …


The Microsoft method of presentation

This post from Zen Presentations inspired me with its focus on the power of simplicity.  
It evaluates the use of PowerPoint by Microsoft executives and concludes …
“Microsoft says the sky’s the limit for us consumers. Work can be creative. We can help. I want to believe them. Really I do. Yet, when given the opportunity to show how one of their most visible products can actually be used practically and harmoniously to help their own speakers present important ideas, they revert back to PowerPoint-as-usual. Uninspiring…and typical.”   Read the whole blog post


public speaking

Powerpoint goes to court

“It may not be news that PowerPoint is becoming more common in courtrooms today, but it is news when someone uses it exceptionally well. Attorney W. Mark Lanier presented his closing arguments Monday in a Vioxx trial in New Jersey, and the presentation generated extensive coverage by the Associated Press, New York Times, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal.  “