What to bring for the presentation!

Shared the I CAN PLAY message with Breckenridge County football team and their boosters Saturday night.  The formula is Vision, Positive Atmosphere and Risk.  Put them together and you get strong in your self-belief and that belief is the first step to success.

Something else happens when you begin to live the I CAN PLAY attitude.  The energy level increases … and then excitement shows up and enthusiasm catches on.

Here’s how it happens, I bet you will agree.  When we bring energy with us it causes us, and others, to get excited.  It just happens.  Bring energy to a meeting, to a family reunion, to a football practice, to a classroom, to a one-on-one conversation, it bring the level of activity up.  That activity promotes excitement.  People begin to think of the possibilities, the opportunities.  That lends itself to creating enthusiasm.  Individuals step up, open up to new ideas.  They share their beliefs, see possibilities, individuals focus on the goal and formulate the path to success.

Sounds exciting doesn’t it!  It is what happens when we bring energy to the conversation, the presentation, the game, the relationship, the new directive.    Every time?  Perhaps.  Give it a try.  Make the energy rise when you show up.  Think YES and say YES.  Positive people see success negative people see obstacles.

I started the Breckenridge County presentation with a story of coaching 7 year olds and teaching them how to hit the ball.  I suggested to the kids parents they create games in the backyard using a broomstick and plastic balls the size of a golf ball.  Create some fun in the back yard while teaching them to hit.  The kids learn  eye hand coordination and the parents are building a relationship!  It also creates energy that helps a coach build a baseball team.  If they can hit a plastic ball the size of a golf ball they can hit a baseball with a bat!

But the energy is the most important creation.  You can build excitment and enthusiasm off the energy … and the three e’s go a long way in building a team, a relationship and a life.

As I told the story at Breck County I was hitting plastic golf balls with a broom stick.  The balls were flying in the air over and into the audience.  It’s all about energy.  The same energy they want to create for the football team and the boosters.

Bring energy to everything you do and all your presentations … in front of an audience of 50 or an audience of one.  Energy creates excitement.  Excitement gets people listening.

A path to Communication success

At a recent presentation skills workshop I was asked about speaking impromptu.  The question  is often asked because we are often called on to share ideas at work, during a conference call,  at committee meetings or at friends gatherings.   We are often asked to speak ‘off the cuff.’  It would be much easier if we had a formula, or a path to follow.

Well here’s a path to follow.  Here’s the simple formula to plug in  — past, present, future. Just use that formula and insert the subject matter.

Here’s an example.  Let’s use gasoline price as the subject and put it  into the formula and see what happens.  Here we go.

“In the past, gas was only a dollar a gallon .  I didn’t think about it much and it did not have much of an effect on what kind of car I bought.  Today, (present) gas prices are hovering around four bucks a gallon and the high cost causes me to curtail trips around the city and it has me thinking of what kind of car to buy.  I’m not sure where the prices are going in the future, but I am sure that we will continue to see smaller cars on the road and drivers thinking more economically about the trips they take as the cost of gasoline becomes a bigger share of the budget.”

The formula gives us a path to follow and that is key element of  communication.  We know where we are going!   When we know where we are going during our conversation or presentation we become more comfortable …  and comfort shows to the audience.  That comfort helps us become more relaxed and in control.

Use the formula next time you are at a loss for words …. it will put you on the right path!

Start in the middle!

In my broadcasting years it was called, bury the lead, and I was guilty of it more than once.  The most important part of the story was written in the second or third paragraph.   Sometime I thought it needed a set up, other time I was concerned it had to be told chronologically.  No matter the reason the most important part of the story was ‘buried,” not intentionally but it happened.

The same happens in speeches.  The presenter, you or me, think we have to start at the beginning.  Eventually we get to the most important part … the part that we came to tell them … later in the speech.

Here’s a different way of speech writing or speech thinking.  Bring the middle to the front, or start in the middle.  Start with the part that is going to WOW the audience, start with the part that always works!  But Gary, you might say,  we have to give them the background.  Right!  Of course you do!  But I bet you can write around that with a simple phrase like…”let me back up to the beginning,” or” let me share how we arrived at that magical moment.”

I recently watched a video of a very influential person giving a presentation.  He has written three best selling books, has a wealth of knowledge and stories  and commands attention when he speaks.  But while I was watching him he was moving nervously, not sure of what he was saying, he looked at the floor, head down and filling space with ums and ahs!  He was horribly uncomfortable.

After about 7 minutes of this he got into the meat of his presentation.  The Ahs and Ums disappeared.  He stopped moving nervously and stood with a strong foundation.  He looked at the audience while telling his powerful stories.  No longer was I thinking this guy is nervous or uncomfortable.  I was listing to the stories he was sharing, no he was re-living!  He was a powerful presenter because he was sharing the part of the presentation where he was comfortable.   I thought out loud while watching “OH YEAH!”  He had buried the lead.

Well, not actually but it’s a similar concept.  As presenters we should start with something that allows us to be most comfortable.  Move your best stuff up to the top.  Start with the stuff you used to put in the middle.  You will start more comfortably and the audience will feed off your lead.  They feel comfortable.

Try it sometime.  either in a formal presentation or a casual conversation.  When telling that story that is funny or feeling, try to start with the most important part or the most important line.  It will get the attention of your audience and they will eagerly listen for more.  Start in the middle!

Hello 2010

I’ve just emerged into 2010.  Too cold to get out.  I guess that might be a resolution; learn to deal with the cold!

Gearing up for some January events.  I have a Confirmation retreat coming up January 18 with St. Thomas More and St. Nicholas Schools.  It’s always a blessing to work with 8th graders as they prepare to take a step in their faith life.

January 21st I will share the I CAN PLAY formula with the North East Louisville Business Association.  The 22nd and 23rd is a parish council staff retreat with St. Thomas in Bardstown Kentucky and another 8th grade Confirmation retreat on January 30th with St. Bernadette.

I want to share some resolutions and some ideas on making them come true but that will have to wait.  Going to check out another football Bowl game.  Only a few left.

Hope the new year is off to a great start!

Get Passionate about presenting

While we were working on presentation and leadership skills with the AgLead group with Texas Farm Bureau the issue of getting passionate about what you believe popped up.

I teach that passion and excitement are key ingredients in goal setting and in trusting ourselves.  In fact goal setting is pretty simple.  We don’t just jump from where we are to “success,”  we do so in steps… we learn in increments …there are steps to success.  If you are going to be an engineer, first you learn math, second step you study chemistry, then science and so on.  You travel the steps to success!

Now let’s get to the passion and excitement!  As you travel the steps to your goal, or success, you practice what you do.  For instance to learn algebra you work at it, you practice.  Then you put in the effort to learn.  This is where we seperate the individuals who don’t really want to be successful,  not everyone puts in the same effort.

The next key ingredient to reaching success is to dream.  People who dream can see the end result before they get there.  They can see themselves transformed.  They can feel what it will feel like to obtain the goal, they can feel success so they begin acting successful.  That is what dreaming is all about.  You start to become what you want to be.  That is exciting!

Next we address passion and excitement.  Once you begin dreaming you get excited about the success you see and you start acting successfully and you begin to share the transformation and what you can accomplish.  You become passionate about what you believe and you are excited about sharing it with others.

The final ingredient on the way to success is that your life changes.  You have a new intention.  You are re-focused on something that you discovered that you didn’t know before.  Often times it is something you discovered about yourself.  You trust yourself more, you have more confidence and you believe in yourself.  This is the key to success, what I call the ‘I CAN PLAY’ attitude.  If you don’t believe you can do it, you probably can’t.  But if you believe, if you are passionate, if you have self-trust, you have the best opportunity at success.

Back to the AgLead group with the Texas Farm Bureau.  After presenting my “steps” complete with the 1)practice-2) effort-3) dream -4) passion & excitement 5) intention, an individual in the class  had a troubled look.  I asked him to share his thoughts.

“Gary,” he said, “passion and excitement is not our problem.  We are passionate about agriculture and what we do.  It truly is our way of life, but we just aren’t comfortable telling other people about it.”

I understood what he was saying.  Many times I have been passionate and excited aobut something until I ran into someone who believed differently than me.  Then I discovered I was not as passionate and didn’t beleive in that issue as much as I thought I did.  Think about it … if you let someone else tell you what you think about something, you must not be very passionate about it.  The young farmers and ranchers need to deepen their passion, deepen their self-trust and shore up their confidence so that they become what what they believe.  Once they become and live what they believe at all times, that becomes their intention, their purpose.  And they will share their story where ever they go.  With friends, with family, in front of an audience and with people they have never met before.  They will live and act what they believe.

What are you passionate about?