Monthly Archives: February 2009

How did the speaking business change the last year ?

This is the interesting questions I just discoverd on the internet. Three top speakers and presentation coaches were interviewd : Jim Endicott, Julie Terberg and Nancy Duarte. All three of them known in the States as giants in the field of creating effective and compelling presentations. Nancy Duarte and her team designed the slides for Oscar winning ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ of Al Gore. I have summarized what intrigued me most and that is this : there is hope for boring presentations ! Why ? Well, first of all, these past few months they have experienced that more and more people are willing to use more visual slides in stead of bullits or text slides. People they have coached experience, as I have experienced with people I have coached, that it is so much more fun to present with these simple slides. You feel free and not forced at all to use all these words on the slide. Not only these people have experienced that, I have experienced it myself, and so have these three ‘giants’ apparently. Because they are keynote speakers as well who walk their talk.

On top of that a new generation is slowly entering businesses. A generation that was raised with computers. Even my 5 year old can work with a computer already as he works with it at school ! These people have been using PowerPoint for presentations at school. And when they join a business they will probably not want to change their presentations into the well known text presentations. So I’m an optimist and I truly believe that there is actually hope and we can stop writing protests like ‘Death by PowerPoint’ (which is great by the way…)

You can listen to the whole interview at

Eye contact

Last wednesday I gave a training to a company and one of the participants struggeld with his eye contact. In his first excercise he looked at only 1 or 2 people in the audience and the rest was ‘neglected’. In his second exercise I asked him to lean against a table so he did not have to worry about how he ‘stood’ in front of the audience. And I asked him to focus on eye contact and to look at everyone even without speaking. Again this was very difficult for him and he kept on focussing on some people. He mainly looked at me, probably because I was the one filming him…In the next exercise we did not focus on eyecontact anymore. It was all about how to introduce your topic in an interesting way and this time he chose to walk around. He came very close to the audience, he moved from one side to another…and automatically his eyecontact followed and he actually looked at everyone in a very natural way. So in fact, the closer you come to the audience, the easier it is to have REAL contact with the audience and the easier it will be to grab their attention.

Make sure you have no time to be stressed…

This morning I heard something great on the radio. Two women were interviewed who were training to be in the next winter olympics in 2010 with the for us fairly unknown discipline bobsleighing. Their current top speed was 130 km per hour. The interviewer asked whether they were ever scared racing at this high speed. And one of the girls answered ‘just before the race I am scared but once I’m in that sleigh I just don’t have the time to be afraid, i have to focus’. Take this advise and use it for your presentations as well. The only reason why you are nervous is because you have the time to worry and the time to focus on yourself. There are different ways to change that focus like meditation (which actually needs a lot of practise) but you can just talk to people in the audience just before your presentation as well. In fact anything will work that prevents you from thinking and worrying. Make sure you don’t have time to worry !

No PowerPoint makes you focus on the audience

Last thursday I was at the HR award of Schelstraete & Desmedt (being an ex employee of the executive search office). At the reception I spoke with two professors of Ehsal who told me that they too used PowerPoint everyday when teaching at university. One of them told me this however : a while ago there was a technical problem and he could not use the PowerPoint he had prepared. And this is what he said ‘I think it was one of my best lectures. I was not looking at a screen because there was nothing to see. I really spoke to my students and they listened to me and it was just great…’