Presentation Skills Workshops
Presentation Skills Videos with Roger Reece
The clips below, drawn from recent Presentation Skills workshops from Roger Reece Seminars, showcase the interactive and engaging structure of our training programs as well as the practical expertise of trainer Roger Reece. As a keynote speaker who regularly presents before audiences of thousands, but first had to overcome a life-long fear of public speaking well into his executive career, Roger has a deep understanding of the sometimes-difficult process of learning to speak in front of groups. Roger is a well-rounded and compassionate coach, with proven success in developing and refining presentation skills at every level.
Please be sure to visit our channel on Youtube for dozens more videos, from programs covering nearly all of the training topics we offer.
Leadership and Public Speaking
A lot of people practice invisibility, and then ultimately complain about being invisible. They're not noticed - because they don't make themselves noticed! They don't speak up, don't make themselves known. If you have a fear of getting in front of a group, your responsibility as a leader is clear: to take on the challenge of conquering that fear. Your fear of public-speaking is a crutch, and it can be a great liability to the progress of your career. Losing that fear is a process - you're never going to change a lifelong habit overnight. But the confidence you will gain by learning to do something that you never thought you could do is tremendous: it will change the way you look at every challenge you face for the rest of your life.
Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking
If you are the last person in the world who would ever volunteer for a public-speaking opportunity, think about it: you're the very person who would benefit the most from the chance! When you hear that voice inside your head saying "No way," ask yourself, "Why am I saying no way?" You're uncomfortable being in front of a group because you don't have a lot of experience with it. But the catch-22 is that the only way to get used to public speaking is to to do it over and over again; but the first few experiences are likely to be so uncomfortable that you will want to avoid it more and more each time. The only way to ever get better is to face the fear and do it anyway.
Practicing Presentation Skills
You never know when you might be called upon to give an impromptu demonstration of your work, or explain a process you are familiar with to a group of strangers or coworkers. You may be very knowledgeable on the subject - after all, your expertise is the very reason people would look to you for a presentation - but if being in front of a crowd is not something you're used to, finding yourself suddenly thrust into the spotlight can be enough to effectively short-circuit your brain; you're unable to access the knowledge you have, right at the moment you really need it. The purpose of practicing your presentation skills is to get yourself comfortable with the experience. Taking advantage of low-stakes opportunities to speak to a group - any group - helps you prepare for those really important moments that eventually come, when you want your brain to function just like it would in a one-to-one conversation with someone you feel very comfortable with.
Presentation Skills: Body Language
When we speak in front of a group, the attention focused on us is much greater than it would be in a normal conversation. Because of this, certain unconscious habits we have when we speak may become a distraction when we give a presentation. Typically, these are small repetitive motions that would go unnoticed in conversation. These habits can only be changed with deliberate practice. Losing an unconscious habit is extremely difficult to do - it is generally much easier to establish a new habit than it is to get rid of one you already have. Because of this, the best strategy for losing a bad habit is to focus on a new habit you will substitute the for the old one. If you can replace a distracting movement that you do not consciously control, for deliberate, conscious movements you can use to emphasize your points, you have gained a powerful tool as a public speaker.
Presentation Skills: Controlling the Room
The content of your presentation is not the only thing worth considering in public speaking. The environment in which you are presenting - the venue, the seating and the resources you will be using - can play a huge role in the effectiveness of your presentation. If you are able to get access to the space an hour or even a day before a presentation, you can give yourself time to consider the presentation from the audience's point of view, and make adjustments to give your presentation maximum impact. Adjust the seating (or take away chairs) to situate your audience where and how you want them. See if you can make adjustments to the lights or the projector for best visibility. Your room can be a great asset to you: a silent partner in the success of your presentation.
Presentation Skills: Setting Goals
Don't present - to anybody, any time or anywhere - unless you have a very clear idea of your goal, your strategy and your message. Regardless of who you're getting in front of, always think about what it is you're trying to accomplish. Whatever the topic or purpose is said to be, realize that what you're essentially giving is a sales presentation. Do you have any idea what it is you are selling? A great many people make the mistake of giving a presentation without ever taking time to be sure of their goal and purpose for speaking. But if you have no idea what your goal is, how are you ever supposed to know you've achieved it?
Presentation Skills: Engage Your Audience
The people in your audience don't have to have their heads on the table to be sleeping through your presentation. Make sure that you engage with your audience when you are speaking. You can't make a personal connection with 20 or 100 people simultaneously, of course - but what you can do is to make eye contact and direct your attention to one individual at a time throughout the course of your speech. Every time you make eye contact with an audience member, imagine that you are having a personal, one-on-one conversation with that individual; do this with as many people in the audience as possible while you present. Reaching out in this way doesn't just spark the interest and engagement of the people you direct your attention to - the rest of the audience notices as well. Another benefit of doing this is that you can, in a way, 'take the temperature' of the crowd: moment-by-moment, get a reasonably accurate picture of how well your presentation is being received by your audience.
Presentation Skills: Message & Strategy
You may have an informational presentation to give to your organization. You may have facts and numbers and research to pass on to your team. But make no mistake - you are not there for the purpose of just giving out facts and figures. If that were true, you wouldn't need to be presenting in the first place - you could just as well give out a spreadsheet. The numbers do not speak for themselves.
What you're really there for is to fill in the blanks that the numbers alone cannot tell. Your job is to show the bigger picture - of your company, or your division, or of your team's project. Every time you get up in front of a group, be clear on your message and goal. Sometimes, you need to spend even more time thinking about the message and goal than you do putting the whole presentation together.
Presentation Skills: Logistics Planning
When planning a presentation, you have a number of questions to answer. After you've firmly established your message and goal (the very first thing you should know), ask yourself: Who will be attending? Do you have any control over making sure the right people will be there? Where will you be presenting; do you have a choice of location? How much can you find out about the venue and the resources available? How will the room be set up - and what can you do to change the set-up to make it more conducive to your needs? If you're presenting as part of a team, have you made sure to coordinate with everyone else to ensure the collective delivery is smooth?
The time that you spend beforehand in ensuring the environment is right is well worth it. Never assume that the people at the location of your presentation will automatically remember to have all that you need. Finally, create an outline, assemble your presentation - and be sure to practice your delivery beforehand!
Presentation Skills: Express, Don't Distract
When you're in a one-on-one conversation with someone - particularly if the subject is one that you're excited or passionate about - your natural speaking style will come through in body language, movement, voice variation, and any number of other ways. These characteristics are naturally you; they express your personality. You may find that one or another of these habits becomes a distraction when you are giving a presentation; if so, by all means, lose that behavior. Review your performance on video, or get feedback from a friend in the audience: if there's even a question of a behavior being a distraction - lose it! But don't lose the part that's you. Whatever you do to express yourself naturally - even those things you aren't 'supposed' to do, like pacing or saying 'um' - is fine, as long as you aren't doing it to the point of taking audience attention away from the content and delivery of your presentation.
Improve Presentations with Stories
We get very linear, sometimes, in our thinking when we do presentations: "I am here to talk about X"; but the truth is, whatever X is, your message will become more alive if you can bring real situations into it. You have a lifetime of experiences behind you - and the way you relate to the subject you're presenting is probably through those personal experiences. If you can share some of those experiences with your audience - if you learn to be natural telling stories onstage - you can take your audience on a journey; put them at ease and maybe make them laugh a little; and bring life to what might otherwise be a very dry presentation topic.
Sharpening Your Presentation Skills
There are several stages to sharpening your presentation skills. Your primary goal is of course to get over any fear you may have associated with public speaking. After that, your goals will probably center on becoming a more interesting and compelling speaker - by bringing more humor to your speaking style, by developing more creative ways to convey your message, or by getting more familiar and comfortable with the presentation tools you use.
At that point, your most impactful objective by far is to learn how to truly connect with the people in your audience. In the course of becoming comfortable with giving presentations and being in front of a group, your focus will likely rest on your material and delivery. But to be a truly effective presenter, you will have to have your material and your message down so well that your focus is not on your material, but on the people you are speaking to. You will have to grow from seeing your audience as one large, mass object, to conducting your presentation as if it were a series of one-on-one conversations, one after another. These will be the most powerful presentations that you will ever do.