February 5, 2007

PowerTalk - public speaking extravaganza!

If you're ever in town during the weekend of PowerTalk, I highly recommend attending. This conference was chock-full of excellent speakers providing FREE training on various aspects of public speaking.

The sessions I attended were "Conquering the Fear of Public Speaking," presented by Grace Rachow, "PowerPoint Dos and Don'ts" by Frank Newton (and you know how I feel about PowerPoint), and "Audience Grabbers! Get Their Attention From the Start," presented by Keith Connes.

Each presenter brought her/his own unique style to the sessions as well as useful and practical content.

Grace has a natural and relaxed manner, working lots of audience interaction and dry humor into her presentation. She introduced an effective exercise for relaxing your body before a presentation, a very simple eyes-closed clenching and unclenching of the hands and/or feet that can be done anywhere while you're waiting in the wings to give your presentation.

Frank has an understated and gentle presentation style and voice, with a sly sense of humor that does not overpower his message. His approach to PowerPoint was in alignment with mine, so of course, he was brilliant. :-) The key point of Frank's presentation: brevity. The other key point: check your equipment before you begin! Mentioned twice for emphasis! He made the concept of PowerPoint simplicity easy to understand and appreciate.

Keith Connes brought a silly touch to his presentation that was perfectly in line with his topic of audience grabbers. At one point, he gave an example of a previous presentation of a tall tale, and as he spoke, he donned water wings and a rubber duckie to illustrate the ridiculous nature of the story. As I listened to his presentation, I reprimanded myself for deciding against bringing my angst-filled teen journals to illustrate part of my keynote. Oh well, next time! Keith's guidance on how to use humor, props, and surprise in a presentation was well-demonstrated. He joked about having written his speech right before it was delivered, and if this is true, he's my new hero!

I think this conference would be especially beneficial to people who are beginning to intermediate speakers, but I believe even the advanced speakers in the room benefited from all the workshops. I know I did.

Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to learn about 1:1 coaching with me!

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