The next time that you are provided with the “opportunity” to deliver a presentation, make sure that you get some advice on how to give a fantastic presentation from today’s great business communicators. If you don’t have the time (or cash) to fly back and forth between the East and West coasts in order to have sit down discussions with the best of the best, then you have come to the right place. In this humble blog, we’re going to touch base with four of today’s most powerful communicators and see what suggestions they can offer to you in order to make your next presentation something that everyone will remember (in a positive way) long after you’ve given it.
We’ve already chatted with the first four of these “gods of speech”. Now let’s have a talk with another group of four which includes Michelle Peluso, David Neeleman, Howard Schultz, and Suze Orman.
- What would Michelle Peluso tell you to do?
Michelle is the CEO of Travelocity. Michelle has learned the golden lesson of business management: it’s personal. She is famous for having a personal rule that she’ll respond to an email from an employee within 24 hours no matter where she is or even if she is on vacation. What Michelle understands is that her employees will care about their work if she shows that she cares about them. Michelle’s tip for you is to show your audience that you are there for them. How to do this? How about if you sent out an email to everyone who was scheduled to attend your presentation and told them to send you questions before hand so that you could make sure that they got addressed in your presentation. That would be responsiveness!
- What would David Neeleman tell you to do?
David is the Chairman and CEO of Jetblue Airways. Once upon a time David worked for Southwest Airlines (another very good company). In 2002 he founded Jet Blue and make it very similar to Southwest but added perks like in-flight TV. David flies Jet Blue to a different city every week. He appears at nearly every first-day orientation for new employees. His real gift is that he is an excellent story teller and he likes to share anecdotes about how Jet Blue employees have risen to the challenge and exceeded expectations. David’s tip for you is to remember that we all learn by hearing stories so be sure to tell stories to your audience that inspire them to do what you want them to do.
- What would Howard Schultz tell you to do?
Howard is the chairman of the ubiquitous Starbucks coffee shop chain. Howard really, really, really likes coffee. He is also committed to creating a workplace where all people are treated with dignity and respect. Amazingly enough, Howard understands that there is nothing special about Starbucks coffee – rather its competitive advantage comes from the people that it employs. Howard’s tip for you is to communicate with passion. Make sure that you identify to your audience and share with them what you are passionate about.
- What would Suze Orman tell you to do?
Suze is an author and a TV show host. She is always showing up on Public Television fund drives and she has her own TV show on CNBC. Orman has written six consecutive New York Times bestsellers on personal finance. Suze is upfront in admitting that she’s not really passing on any secret information on how to avoid getting crushed by debt, rather it’s how she communicates the normally dry and technical information that really counts. Suze’s tip for you is to make sure that you express yourself clearly – use simple language to discuss complex issues. Break down complex information into easy parts so that your audience can retain it.
There you go – from their lips (so to speak) to your ears. Your next presentation can only succeed now that you have been given this coaching advice from some of the best communicators out there. But wait, there’s more! We all have our own heros and perhaps I have not yet shared a tip from your personal business communicator hero. If so, the mistake is mine and I’ll take care of it in my next posting…
So have you ever reached out to your audience to get them involved before the presentation happened? What was the result – was the presentation better or worse because of it? Do you feel comfortable using stories when you give a presentation? Where do you get most of your stories from? Leave a comment and let me know.