Can You Give a Presentation Without PowerPoint? And Without Speaking?

So the answer to the first question is easy: yes, you can give a presentation without PowerPoint.

You can use props (human brain, anyone?), drawings and animation (how does motivation work), or nothing at all (perhaps my favorite TED talk of all time).

But can you do a talk without speaking?

That’s going to take some creativity, yes?

That’s exactly what Chris Powers did, though, in this engaging talk on silence. Well, since he didn’t speak, I guess it’s not really a “talk;” it’s a presentation.

Remember: “presentation” doesn’t have to mean “PowerPoint.”

Different gets attention, and you need attention to get your idea across. How can you be different in your next presentation?

h/t SvN blog

Case Study: Build Unstoppable Momentum into Your Speaking and Writing by Tapping into the Power of Collaboration

Jill Savage, CEO of Hearts at Home - Renovate Communication Design, LLCToday’s case study (and our first guest post) comes from Jill Savage, an author and speaker who is passionate about encouraging families. Jill is the CEO of Hearts at Home, a non-profit that seeks to encourage, educate, and equip moms. She has written nine books including Professionalizing Motherhood, My Heart’s At Home, Real Moms…Real Jesus, and her most recent release No More Perfect Moms.

I tend to be a lone ranger.

I’m an introvert which means that I am refueled by being alone. Many introverts are also internal processors. Rarely discussing an issue with others, I think through every angle of a challenge in order to determine how to proceed. My internal processing drives my husband crazy because I’ve been known to internally process a decision we need to make about home and family and then announce to my husband the decision that we—I mean I—have made.

When it comes to my writing and speaking, I have most often operated out of my introvert/internal processor tendencies.

Until this past year.

That’s when I learned about the power of collaboration for speaking and writing.

On February 1, 2013, my ninth book was released. No More Perfect Moms is my first book created by collaboration. Most of the concepts in the book came out of conversations I’ve had with people at my speaking engagements, on my blog, and on Facebook. They asked questions that caused me to think. They shared thoughts that generated creativity. They brainstormed ideas that helped me to formulate concepts. My Facebook followers doubled as a focus group that quickly answered questions I posed during the writing process allowing me to better address an issue than I could have ever done on my own. Collaboration strengthened the message that truly connected to the heart of the reader.

The release of the book was also a collaborated effort. In partnership with my publisher and based upon the principles of Michael Hyatt’s book Platform, we created a launch team of 100 influencers. Over 150 applied for the launch team and we selected 100 influencers we felt could best reach the intended audience of the book. This team received a preview copy of the book and agreed to share about it in their circles of influence. A bonus special of over $100 of additional resources for anyone who purchased the book during launch week gave the launch team something special to share with social media and blog followers. Mix in some strategic media coverage and this teamwork put the book in its second printing within 14 days of its release! Collaboration broadened the audience and enabled us to reach more readers in a shorter period of time than any other book I’ve ever written. Mark Sanborn, author of Fred 2.0, says, “The only thing more powerful than a committed individual is a team of committed individuals.” I certainly found that to be true.

Jill Savage, speaker and author, CEO of Hearts at Home - Renovate Communication Design, LLC - speaker and presentation coaching and consulting

For the first time ever, I chose to pursue collaboration to create my speaking message for the National Hearts at Home conference where I spoke to an audience of 5,000 moms in March. Again, I found the results of teamwork to be very powerful. I did this in three ways:

First, I created a private Facebook group for the book launch team. As the launch team members read the book they shared their favorite quotes, the stories that impacted them, or the way the book was changing their perspective. This helped me to pull out the most essential parts of the book’s message to include in my speaking message on the same subject.

Second, I pulled out my notes from Ken Davis’ SCORRE conference that I attended several years ago. At SCORRE, I learned the art of creating a focused message using the SCORRE method. Even though Ken wasn’t in the room with me, I was tapping into the wisdom I learned at his conference about developing and delivering a focused, dynamic message. Education is a form of collaboration that you can access anytime!

Third, I tapped into the wisdom of Michael and Deanne at Renovate Communication Design consulting group, to help me take the concepts I wanted to share and assemble them into a compelling message that would touch the heart of the audience and motivate them to action. Just two hours with Michael and Deanne took me from my usual “teaching” style to an “inspirational” message that was ready for the big stage. They not only helped me think through the content of my message, but also the visuals I could present on the screen that would enhance the message but be different than my “usual” powerpoint. Nearly a month out from the conference, I’m still receiving daily email and social media messages about the impact that message made on the lives of those in the audience. (Ed. note: Shown below are the notes we made during our session with Jill. Keeping the ideas visible during conversation is especially helpful when planning a talk –Michael)

Speaking and presentation coaching example from Renovate Communication Design, LLC

As a leader, I’ve always been a believer in teamwork. I know that more can be accomplished when we link arms together to accomplish a goal. I had just never applied that strategy to the more solitary parts of my career like writing and speaking.

I’ll probably never be as collaborative as my extroverted, external processing husband. However, I am learning that teamwork is a valuable way to create a strong message, present it in a dynamic way, and reach the heart of an audience.

What about you? How can you bring the power of collaboration to the crafting and delivery of your message?

Why Presenting = Marketing = Storytelling (Borrowing a Riff from Seth Godin)

At their best, presentations are really marketing pieces.

And marketing is simply getting people to know, like, and trust you. Marketing is building relationships and helping people with their problems.

Isn’t that what you do when you give a talk, lead a meeting, or meet with a prospect?

And the best kind of marketing (and presenting) is really storytelling.

When you tell a believable, emotional story that resonates with your audience, you can get them to move.

Seth Godin riffs on this in his post today:

On the path from awareness to a sale, the marketer has to create a vacuum.

The goal of that short film or that sales letter or that invitation to a seminar shouldn’t be to answer every question and completely describe what’s on offer. No, effective marketing amplifies awareness of a problem or an opportunity, a problem the product or service solves or an opportunity it creates.

I know it’s tempting to sell with bullet points and an overwhelming amount of data. It gets you off the hook and requires little in the way of creativity or guts. Storytelling requires both.

When you put your presentation together, you need more than data. Yes, the numbers are important–but more important is making a connection. Numbers don’t connect; story and emotion do.

Want to see this illustrated? Check out Seth’s TED Talk, “How to Get Your Ideas to Spread.” It’s ten years old at this point but it’s still true.

Grow Your Business By Asking Prospects These Questions

Q and A - Renovate Communication Design, LLCLast week I gave you five articles and a video to help you improve your skills at listening and asking questions.

Yesterday small business marketing expert John Jantsch wrote a post entitled, “Why Good Questions Always Trump Even Your Best Answers.”

Here are a few questions John recommends when you find yourself in a sales/marketing situation:

  • Can we get specific?
  • Why is that a problem?
  • How do you measure success?
  • Why is now the right time?

John explains the “why’s” behind each of those questions and offers several more to boot.

It’s really good stuff. Check it out.

6 Links That Will Help You Listen and Ask Questions Like a Pro

In the past, the best listeners have reaped great benefits from their skillset; but now listening well is a life or death proposition. — Tom Peters

The best leaders do it. The best speakers do it. The best consultants do it. The best sales people do it. The best teachers do it. The best parents do it. Your best friend probably does it, too.

What do all these people have in common?

They know how to listen.

Good presentations start with listening. Good sales start with listening. Good employee, customer, and family relationships start with listening.

When you listen well, you understand more. And learning to ask good questions only deepens your understanding. The more you understand, the better you can help. And–if you’re in business–the more you can help, the more you can earn.

Want to improve your relationships and bottom line? Here are six links to help you learn to listen and ask questions like a pro:

Steve Shapiro (video): Stop Being a Know-it-All. Are you a great listener or a great talker? Although he doesn’t mention it by name in the video, Steve approaches the topic with the zen concept of beginner’s mind.

Peter Bregman (HBR blogs): How Not to Lose a Sale. Talking may cost you business while listening can win you business.

Renovate (blog): Insights on Sales and Presenting from Dan Pink’s New Book, To Sell Is Human. Good listeners can help prospects and clients uncover problems they didn’t know they had. Which gives you the opportunity to help solve them.

Brooke Howell (SmartBlogs): Andrew Sobel, on the power of asking questions. People who listen (as well as talk) are more appealing and interesting.

Shane Snow (FastCompany): The One Conversational Tool That Will Make You Better At Absolutely Everything. Learn to listen and ask the right kinds of questions.

Kevin Cashman (FastCompany): How To Ask–And Listen–Like You Mean It. How to listen and ask authentic questions.