Discover five great presentation tips from an Agile expert.

I’m spending a lot of time on Twitter at the moment. Possibly too much. But at least that means I get to spot great pearls of wisdom in real time such as this tweet by Lean and Agile expert Jeff Gothelf:

Screenshot of Tweet: 5 secrets to giving the best presentation of your life. Don't introduce yourself. Tell stories (especially about your experiences). Share at least one practical takeaway. Focus on 1 key narrative. Practice.

And I have to say, I entirely agree – especially with the first one.

John Medina in his book Brain Rules says that the first 2 minutes of any speech or presentation are the most critical because that is the moment where the audience decides whether or not they are going to listen to you. He calls this the cognitive hallowed ground, but with all respect to Dr Medina, I would shorten this time – these days it’s more like 30 seconds rather than 2 minutes. That’s only 30 seconds you have to grab the audience’s attention, and there is no introduction of yourself which compares to a good hook when it comes to grabbing attention.

If I’ve been told I have to introduce myself I keep it as short as possible:

“Hello, I’m Hari and I’m a storytelling coach.”

Keep it short so you can get to whatever attention grabbing content you have as quickly as possible.

If you absolutely positively have to introduce yourself, why not do it at the end? By the end of your speech you have either won over the audience or not – either way they know whether they want to hear more from you. So ending your speech with your name is a great way to ensuring that those people in the audience who do get in touch know it.

If you start your speech with an introduction, unless you have a very memorable name, most people will forget it almost immediately. This can even be a distraction to audience members as during your speech they may be trying to remember what name you said and as a result have stop paying attention to what you’re actually saying.

“Thanks for listening to me, you’ve been a great audience. I’m Hari Patience-Davies.”

Using your introduction as an outro is both helpful (audience members can write it down) and neat (it’s clearly a planned ending and serves as a verbal full stop.)

It may feel like a risk, but if you don’t introduce yourself at the beginning, so long as you have a good hook on your content, you’ll be delivering a stronger speech.


Image by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

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