Presentation Tips from the NSA Keynote Lab

Posted by Kristin Arnold on January 24, 2011

Last week, I attended the National Speakers Association’s Keynote Lab in Las Vegas, NV.   With 146 people in attendance at the technologically sophisticated Meet Las VegasRory Vaden and his faculty, Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE; Bruce Turkel; Mary LoVerde CPAE’ Jane AtkinsonDan MadduxMike Rayburn, CSP; and special surprise guest Brian Tracy, CPAE; rocked the house – which is only fitting for the city that never sleeps!

I usually take notes at professional development conferences, and then type them up as a way to review my “keepers” (thanks Terry Paulson, CSP, CPAE!).  I also add my action items on my “to do” list (I use Things on my Mac).  And I thought I would share some of the presentation tips with you!

Rory Vaden encouraged Social networking by asking the audience to turn on your cell phones and do the following three things:  1. Take a picture.  2.  Tweet out #nsalab and 3. Email a friend

Presentation Eloquence by Mark Sanborn:

Keys to a successful Keynote:

  1. Begin with a strong premise
  2. Create the structure – strong opening to break preoccupation, then build out the what and how – end strong!!!  Design is dependent on the time. Don’t try to do too much!!!!
  3. More educated audience. They don’t want to be talked at.  Have a conversation.
  4. Give enough content for them to internalize it
  5. Look at repertoire of material – what’s most important for you to achieve the objective?

Authenticity has never been more important to audiences . They are very discerning.

Rory Vaden:  Then, now, and how – give this formula in your speech

Preparation is the breakfast of champions. Preparation is the mark of a professional. An audience knows if you are prepared.  That you care about your audiences.  Respect the people who make your life possible.  If you love your audience they can sense it.

  • Entertainment is the tool – not the result
  • Anchor the familiar with the unfamiliar
  • Be relevant
  • Have a broad bandwidth – come up with good questions that are interesting to you
  • Trap the listener to do their own thinking – adapted from a quote from Christopher Marlowe – “Trap the reader in their own thoughts”
  • Eliminate the excess.  Brevity is the essence of wisdom – mark twain

Presentation Pointers from the Faculty:

  • Be relevant helpful and provide edutainment.  Adults only learn if it is enjoyable with stories and humor.
  • Give something of value that they can take home.
  • Start strong to catch the audience and end strong with the audience being happy!
  • Opposite lines – whenever you ask a question, trick em into raising their hands and then drop a funny line as the third option
  • After you have described a “truth”, concept or principle, ask the “you” question e.g. “When have you….”
  • Make fun of yourself first before you make fun of the audience
  • Pausing separate story, idea, important point
  • Pepper your speech with good, memorable, tweet-able phrases

Post Presentation Critique:

Two magic questions to ask yourself immediately after your presentation:

  1. what did I do right?  Write down everything you can think of!!!
  2. What would I do differently next time? Both demand positive answers.

Review your notes often.

Review your presentation video:

  1. Watch it on mute  to check your gestures
  2. Fast forward to see if you have any nervous tics
  3. Watch it backwards
  4. Watch it regular

Mike Rayburn’s PotPourri of Advice:

  • Entertain your audience.  It’s the vehicle vs. the outcome- connecting with an audience and taking them somewhere
  • Study the entertainment side.  Learn from entertainers.  Ask, “What am I doing to maximize my entertainment value?”
  • If your speech is no good, everything else is like polishing a turd.
  • Become a virtuoso. Make it a lifetime ambition to be the best
  • Spend every day maximizing your art form
  • Get lots and lots of stage time!!!!
  • Develop a sensitivity for what works and what doesn’t
  • Write and rehearse daily first thing
  • Get speech coaching
  • Read the book, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
  • Be funny. Hire someone to punch up your speech.
  • Script your program and take out anything that is not funny or relevant take out the fluff. If you can say it in two lines don’t use five.
  • Get feedback. It’s the breakfast of champions. Although painful, you will be better!
  • Be sure to learn from the feedback.
  • Be the expert.  Know your topic inside and out.

Brian Tracy:  Make a commitment to be the top 10% of your field and do whatever it takes to get there!!!!  Invest 5-7 years to get there!!!!  The harder you work the better you get!

That’s about it for the Keynote Lab.  Maybe there is some nugget in there that will help you be a better presenter!

Skip to content