After witnessing one of my first professional presentations, my boss called me aside.
“To succeed in the advertising agency business,” he warned, ” you must be good on your feet.” It was a nice way of saying, “You sucked.”
What to do?
I took classes, read books, videotaped myself, used breathing exercises to avoid stage fright. I even took acting classes at Second City in Chicago. I got pretty good at standing up straight, keeping my hands out of my pockets, and hiding my fear. But still, eyes would glaze over whenever I would speak to a group.
Today, I’m an accredited public speaking coach, and I conduct programs that help leadership and sales teams become more influential, inspiring and motivating presenters. The programs I conduct have been used by companies like Microsoft, IBM, Boeing, Wrigley, Capital One, SAP, Coca-Cola, and many many others.
Somewhere along my 35-year career path in advertising, I discovered a set of tools that changed everything for me. These tools helped me more than anything I gained from a book or a presentation workshop. I credit these tools for my progressing to become the CEO of a major advertising agency. And for giving me the opportunity to address 1000’s of people as a keynote speaker.
This may surprise you, but what I teach is a skill that people already have. I just show them how to use that skill purposefully and appropriately in a business situations. The skill I’m talking about is storytelling.
We are all natural born storytellers. We use storytelling to explain or clarify things and to share experiences with others. If you’ve ever gossiped about someone (either positively or negatively), you already know a great deal about storytelling. Yet, when it comes to business presentations, storytelling is rarely used. Instead, we throw out facts, numbers, show charts, and use well-worn cliches, The reason? From having taught many on how to capitalize on the power of storytelling as a presentation tool, I submit there are two reasons for this. Either it’s because people don’t know how to use storytelling appropriately in a business setting and/or they believe that storytelling is for stage performers, not business presenters.
The tools and methods I teach quickly dispel these beliefs. And by the time my workshops are over, participants walk away feeling the confidence they need to put them to work.
I am thrilled at the prospect of giving people a shortcut to the long road I’ve traveled. For me, there are few greater rewards than seeing managers, change agents and salespeople truly connect with their audiences.
You can read more about my programs throughout this site. Feel free to call me for a free consultation at 312-545-4903. I would love to help you or your team unleash their natural abilities to command an audience.