Fred Dunayer: Welcome to the SCORE Small Business Success Podcast Been There, Done That. To get free mentoring services as well as to see the wide variety of resources available for small businesses, visit our website at www.score.org or call 1-800-634-0245. Now here is your host, Dennis Zink.
Dennis Zink: Episode # 25: Effective Presentations. Fred Dunayer joins me today in our studio as co-host, SCORE mentor, and our audio engineer. Good morning, Fred.
Fred Dunayer: Good morning Dennis.
Dennis Zink: Our guest today is Bob Turel. Bob, welcome to Been There, Done That.
Bob Turel: Thank you, Dennis and Fred. I’m glad to be here.
Dennis Zink: Bob Turel is passionate about assisting others with their platform skills either in front of an audience or on camera. As a 40-year veteran professional development trainer and a 20-year distinguished Toastmaster, Bob is fully qualified to coach, mentor, instruct, teach and otherwise offer guidance in communication skills to any interested person. Bob is also a certified SCORE mentor with our Pinellas chapter in the Tampa Bay Area. Again Bob, welcome to Been There, Done That.
Bob Turel: Thank you.
Dennis Zink: Bob, what is an effective presentation?
Bob Turel: I would define effective presentation as anytime you’re wanting to get your message across to an audience and in fact you do. There are a lot of different ways to do it, but the bottom line is your audience has to not only perceive but be able to understand whatever message it is you’re imparting.
Dennis Zink: Why is being able to present yourself in a good manner important?
Bob Turel: If you think about it, from the first minute we start working anywhere, no matter whether it’s our own business or one in which we work as an employee, one of the first things we’re called upon to do is to communicate well. Whether it’s an interview or presenting before a board or an audience or even just running a meeting, one of the most critical skills we have is communications and very often, we’re called upon to present something even last minute. Isn’t it better to be prepared as best you can with having effective presentation skills?
Dennis Zink: Do you have any set amount of time and prep that you would suggest to prepare for say a 20-minute presentation?
Bob Turel: Yes, I do. A 20-minute presentation is probably about average for when you’re speaking before a chamber of commerce or if you’re speaking before some kind of a board or internally toward a committee for a company. What I recommend these days since a lot of us have smartphones is to set that smartphone up in video every time you practice. This way when you watch it you’re objectively seeing what you’re practicing and, hopefully, if you have an audience or someone there to help you, they’re giving you feedback and you’re able to see the areas in which you can improve.
For a general rule, if you’re going to do a 20-minute presentation, you want to be able to practice that presentation at least 10 times. Although it seems like an investment in time, it is, you’re better off running it through so that you really know the essence of your speech or your presentation and you don’t have to look down and read it when the time comes.
Dennis Zink: What’s your opinion on a PowerPoint presentation as opposed to not having the PowerPoint?
Bob Turel: I might get some cards and letters on this or maybe you guys will, but I’m not a big believer in PowerPoint anymore. I’m old enough to have been around when PowerPoint came out and, like most people, I really got into it. Now my philosophy is, if it supports the speech or the presentation, use it, but sparingly. Let me say that again with emphasis, sparingly, and not with all the frills and fancy stuff that happens with flying in and again transitioning out. Really to me, PowerPoint should be graphical and it should only support the points you’re making occasionally, infrequently throughout your presentation.
Dennis Zink: I see PowerPoints with so much verbiage on the slide it’s just ridiculous so I know exactly what you’re talking about.
Fred Dunayer: You know it’s interesting because sometimes you want to just put the bullet points of what the presentation is about up there to just help guide the audience through the presentation, but sometimes you actually want to give them a handout that has the information in it, in which case you want to put more on it. I guess it depends on the situation and what you’re trying to convey.
Bob Turel: It does, Fred. That reason is why we always say, “No more than three bullets and each bullet shouldn’t really have more than four or five words.” The point is they are prompts. If I say we’re in a podcast today I’m going to put a podcast and more than that I’m going to put a picture of you Dennis and you Fred. I’d rather have them see your personalities, your persons and then I’ll explain who these guys are, what they do. They don’t need to read the slide. I’m the show. I want them to watch and listen to me.
Fred Dunayer: I guess if you want to have the detail for them to take with them you put that in the notes section and make sure they just get the notes as opposed to putting it on the slides and the bullets.
Bob Turel: Absolutely.
Dennis Zink: One of the things that we’re asked about all the time is making an elevator pitch or an elevator speech. Could you comment on doing that properly, in what, a minute and a half, a minute, something like that?
Bob Turel: To be honest with you guys, even a minute is too long. You really want to grasp and get ahold of the concept of 30 seconds because just as you’re doing in this podcast, you have about 7 seconds or maybe 10 at the most to grab your audience’s attention. If you don’t do it by then, by the time you get to 30 seconds or, for goodness’ sake, all of a minute’s time, they won’t even be paying attention anymore.
The idea is to condense your thoughts, to be crystal clear and concise as possible so that what they’re doing is, “Hey, I’m paying attention to you Dennis and then a little bit later on I’ll get more information from you.” Fred and I were talking before the podcast to be able to say, “Get me to the next click, get me the next question, but don’t spend a lot of time just pitching yourself or you’ll never make your point.”
Dennis Zink: One of the big things today is Tedx and Ted Conferences, and they’re somewhere around I’m just guessing 17, 18 minutes, they’re limited to that amount of time. I know that in preparation you’re supposed to make it perfect basically, you’re supposed to practice until you get it 100% memorized. What’s your opinion on that memorization as opposed to having it all not planned out?
Bob Turel: Like an effective actor if you memorize your lines, if you really know them Dennis, Fred, then what you’re do is you’re able to get the essence of them, not necessarily read them line for line or even remember them that way, but what you’re able to do then is use your face, your body, the tone in your voice to really emphasize the entire point you’re making all throughout your presentation. The whole purpose of memorization is to not sound like it, but to have that in your gut so that you’re able then to speak with aplomb, speak with variety, and speak with some passion about your subject.
If you don’t know your subject then you’re going to be looking down at piece of paper saying, “Hold on a minute guys, I need to refresh where I am.” It’s better to memorize, it’s better to practice as I’ve indicated before, and then you walk onto that stage as I’ve done with one fellow I coach and you’re speaking from your heart, your soul, wherever you’re coming from.
Dennis Zink: In looking at people that our listeners might be familiar with, certainly President Obama is known to be an excellent speech maker. He’s always using teleprompters, at least that’s what I think. If you could comment on using teleprompters if they’re available to you, how to use them, does that make sense to do? Do you have to be a professional to use teleprompters?
Bob Turel: Teleprompters can be very effective in helping you with a speech or presentation. You need to be careful though about looking like you’re reading from that teleprompter. When I work with people and do videos for them I set my teleprompter up directly under the lens. The most professional type are right over the camera lens so it never seems to appear like you’re reading them.
But if you’re making a speech before a live audience and a teleprompter is lower or around the lectern height your head will look like it’s appeared to be down, looking down and your prompting yourself. That’s when you’re going to lose your audience, because you want to be able to prompt yourself, that is get a fix on the sentence or the bullet point you’re speaking about, look at your audience, look into your audience so you’re making your point with the same passion you have for that subject. Using a prompter needs a lot of practice. But once again, the keyword is prompt and then look at your audience.
Dennis Zink: When you look at your audience, are you looking at anyone in particular and constantly focusing on them? Are you looking at one or two people, or the back of the room? What are you supposed to do?
Bob Turel: It’s an interesting concept in looking at people. When you look at your audience I always divide it into three. I pick someone in the right field section you might say to use a baseball analogy and I look at that person. The concept is if I look at you Dennis and there are 10 people around you, they all feel like I’m looking at them. Same thing goes if I were looking to my left at Fred, whoever is around him would feel like I’m looking at them as well. You pick a person, you look into their eyes, you don’t spend a lot of time there, but it makes it look like you’re making a sincere attempt to communicate with that person and the people in their immediate surrounding area.
Dennis Zink: What do you think the biggest challenges are facing a nonprofessional speaker in facing an audience?
Bob Turel: The biggest challenge in nonprofessional speaking is the fear. I’m sure you guys have heard it over and over. “I’m just scared. I’m going to get up in front of 20, 200,” however many people, “and I’m not going to remember a thing. Even if I’m holding papers in my hand they’ll probably drop. That’s how nervous I’ll be.”
What I recommend is one of the things I’ve done in my life and that’s join Toastmasters. You want to be able to practice on a consistent basis with people that are going to give you supportive feedback. Nothing helps you gain control like practice. If you think you can do it and you’ve never done it, you’re going to find a real nervous energy about it. But if you practice, that’s what helps you become better at it, not necessarily professional.
Dennis Zink: How does one overcome nervousness about speaking in public?
Bob Turel: I prefer instead of using the word overcome Dennis is to use nervous energy. Let me repeat that, use. If you’re willing to look at fear and say, “You know what, that’s just energy, that’s just me being a little bit flighty because I don’t usually stand in front of 200 people.” But if you’re willing to move, use your mobility, if you’re willing to learn how to breathe, if you’re willing to do things that are going to help you relax and actually transform the fear into powerful energy, once again through practice, you won’t have to overcome it. You’ll actually incorporate it.
Fred Dunayer: You know that’s interesting because there’s a lot of situations in which speaking can be intimidating. I think that’s the basic problem, right, is that you’re intimidated because you might be in front of 200 people. But you might face that same intimidation in a boardroom where maybe you’re the junior person and making a little presentation to the six or seven people on your board or the management of your company or something. It sounds to me like a lot of these techniques that you’re talking about would be just as appropriate for those little small groups as they are for large crowds.
Bob Turel: In fact, if you think about the first time you’ve ever gone on an interview Fred and you too Dennis one of the things we used to laughingly call the inquisition, there might be five people facing you. You’re sitting there trying to answer questions and you’re thinking, “Gee, they’re all looking, staring, and gawking at me.” So what it does is it trains you to be willing to speak in front of people, even if you’re in a seated position and use that same fearful energy in your mind as well as some physical attributes to transform it, to make the fear become part of your power.
Dennis Zink: I see in meetings people going around the room introducing themselves. Some people stand. Some people sit. Is a recommendation from you to do one or the other?
Bob Turel: I recommend standing because if you think about powerful breathing, we often talk about how to make our breath more full, that is to take a deep breath into our lungs. If you think about trying that at some point you’ll find you have more power when you speak. It also helps relax us. One of the things I use as analogy is when you get home tonight Fred and Dennis think of yourself in a recliner. What’s the first sound you make as you kick back and you think to yourself, “Thank God the day is over.” What does it sound like?
Fred Dunayer: A sigh.
Bob Turel: Yeah, a sigh and a deep breath. So if you think about breath it’s always connected to relaxation, “Thank God it’s Friday. Thank God that that day is over.” If we learn how to breathe while we’re doing presentations, that very same breath can assist us in becoming powerful.
Dennis Zink: I often see people making speeches and they are walking back and forth pacing. I’ve seen that. Then I’ve also seen people lift one leg then the other and they really do look nervous. What would be your suggestions for them?
Bob Turel: One of the things I always recommend to people I coach is yes, walking is fine, just don’t look like one of those things at the county fair where we’re going to shoot you with a 22. The point is to pace yourself, that is take a few steps, pause, look at the audience like we talked about before Dennis and then present. Pace, pause, present. This way you have a reason for walking over, you stop, you take a breath, you present, and you do the same thing when you come back to the left. That means you’re walking with purpose Dennis as opposed to looking like I’m really nervous so I’m just walking around up here on stage.
Dennis Zink: Do those same things pace, pause, present work for your speech pace?
Bob Turel: Yeah, they probably would because what you want to try to do is if you know the essence of your speech well enough you can then pause by taking a breath. A lot of us get so nervous, we do nothing more than say um, and another thing Fred, um, and then there’s so and like, and we put all these filler words in because we’re nervous, as opposed to even now in the middle of a podcast if I want to stop, take a breath, that breath is going to be heard on the audio track but it’s not the end of the world. It just means I’m taking a breath.
Dennis Zink: And fortunately we can edit you out.
Fred Dunayer: I’ve taken out a lot of ums in my time.
Bob Turel: There you go.
Dennis Zink: Oh yeah, it gets really annoying when you hear that. My son, if he listens to this, he says like all the time, it’s like this, like, like, like, it’s just like. You may want to cut some of that out.
Fred Dunayer: I don’t know. I like it.
Dennis Zink: What about video? It’s likely that at some point a business professional for example might need to speak in front of a camera, either a video or live TV. If you can comment on that please.
Bob Turel: I not only think that that will happen to most professionals these days where we have a lot more access to video. But as I was saying to Fred before the podcast I recommend that people use video, even if they just lean their smartphone up against something, because there’s nothing like visual feedback Dennis, and especially if you have a coach. This way I can say, “Dennis, you know, you’re turning your head away from the mic,” and if you don’t think you’re doing that but I can show you that you are then you’ll be able to say, “Oh, he’s right, I’ve done it at least seven times in the last few questions.” That’s the whole point of video, is it can be used for constructive feedback and for progress to become a better presenter.
Dennis Zink: And what about live?
Bob Turel: Live is even more important because if you’re going to work a camera and you’re going to have an audience as well, there’s an art and a science to looking at the camera and as well looking at your audience. You can’t leave one out. If you watch a Today Show or any other newscast program, they do both, and they do it in a way that says, “If you’re out there, I want to make sure I’m looking at you, but I want to get most of my attention to the camera.” So it’s a dual role, but unless you practice and those are the kinds of things we practice in Toastmasters you’ll hardly ever get it.
Dennis Zink: Politicians who often are called to speak very frequently especially you notice this on TV, they don’t really answer the question that they’re asked. They answer the question they want to answer. Is that because they’re so skilled and adept to doing that, or what’s your opinion on that?
Bob Turel: That last part that may be one opinion for it Dennis, but I really think it’s called avoidance and distraction. In Toastmasters when we practice something called impromptu speaking, we have a fall back. We say, “Gee, if Dennis asked me a question I can’t answer, maybe I’ll shift over and remember one of the ones Fred asked me and I’ll comment on that.” It’s not really true to the purpose of the presentation because you asked me a specific question. What we train ourselves to do is to be ready. If I didn’t know what questions you were going to ask me I’m trained in, let me think, let me process, and now I’ll answer. In other words, I’m preparing myself to answer a question I don’t even know is coming.
Dennis Zink: What are some of the keys that you would say to speaking with a pre-written speech?
Bob Turel: Some of the keys are it’s better to write just notes about what you’re saying. I know people think, “I got to write every line, I have to read every single word.” Here’s why it’s better not to. If I write prompts about my experience today it’ll look like it has holes in it but it won’t because what I’m doing is trusting my imagination, trusting my gut to remember all the parts of this podcast, so what I might put down is introductions, I might put down adjusting the mics, meeting Dennis and Fred. What I do is I fill in the gaps from those and allow myself to use my imagination, not strictly adhering to what’s on paper.
Dennis Zink: What are some of the keys to giving an impromptu speech?
Bob Turel: Impromptu is almost improvisational and it’s really helpful to practice that in your life. Think about some of the examples both you and Fred brought up. I’m in an interview and somebody says, “Hey Fred, tell us a little something about yourself,” the classic question. Seven minutes later some people are still talking about dogs and cats and their aunt Tilly. If you’re not careful, if you don’t limit your comments and know how to practice an answer in two minutes, you’re not going to get the job so to speak, you’re not going to get your point across to the people. Impromptu speaking is something we practice. The more you do it the more you concentrate on even though I only have a minute I need to make an opening, a body, and a close.
Fred Dunayer: Bob, can you speak a little bit to how you use these presentations skills in marketing? I’m referring to for example videos on a website or others parts of a marketing strategy where presentation skills can be effective.
Bob Turel: As I try to talk to some of the business owners I work with when I coach them about presentations or on video I try to make sure they understand how conciseness is more important than the message itself. The message will come across, but as we spoke about it’s important that they greet and that they get the message across generally, and then get somebody for the next part of their website or the next part of the script that they have. If you try to do too much all at once on video it becomes boring, it just simply becomes too long. I teach people to speak almost in 30 or 60 second increments. That really is the most effective way to get to your next point.
Fred Dunayer: As a little bit of background what Bob and I had been discussing was the idea that most websites right now are very static. The idea is what about putting a little bit of a video on that website so that you can start to build a relationship with your customer, because they can click on that little video and the president of the company or the head of marketing or somebody can go on there and have a little chat, a one way chat with the viewer. We know that marketing is a lot about building relationships. What Bob is teaching seems like if you can convert it to a small video they put on website you’ve taking a step in the right direction in marketing.
Dennis Zink: If you’re going to do that Bob, do you do that with a program that you buy, have, that’s online for free, that’s one of the streaming programs? What’s the best way to do those videos?
Bob Turel: Well there’s two ways these days. We all know what a selfie means, so someone can take their video out, their camera and their cellphone and make their own little video. The problem with that is just as you guys concentrate on making this audio high quality, most cameras unless they’re equipped for microphone input will not have good audio. What I try to do is show them that audio is just as important as the video. When we talk about video we need lighting. Now we’re getting into the professional realm of let’s get you set up, let’s get the right voice over done if you’re using one, let’s get all the professionals involved so you don’t have a schlock presentation, you have something that says, “Fred, if I land on your website, things are going to look polished and professional.”
Dennis Zink: What kind of tips would you have for networking, going to a meeting, meeting different people. Maybe you’re with the person for just a couple minutes then you’re meeting somebody else. How should you present yourself that way?
Bob Turel: I always recommend presenting yourself first through questions. “Hey, Dennis, how long have you been in this business? What did you do before you started podcasting?” Questions like that. I want to get you involved in a conversation with me before I start selling you, before I start monologuing you, even though that might not be a word. The point I’m trying to make is it’s a dialogue. By the time you get to the point where they ask you questions, then you’re at that impromptu stage where you can say, “Well, I’ve been this kind of a trainer Fred. It’s helped me to become a Toastmaster.” You keep your answers short but you keep them based on what the audience wants and needs to know.
Dennis Zink: Can you talk about the concept of mirroring where you’re following what the other person does to get in sync with them?
Bob Turel: Yeah, mirroring or even pacing as some people call it is really a lot to do with paraphrasing. When you ask me a question Dennis I almost repeat in my own words what that question is. That shows I not only heard you, but I understand the question. What that then does is it signifies to you that I’m on the same track as you, the same wavelength, so when I answer, my answer hopefully is coinciding with the question you have and a little bit more aligned to the answer you’re seeking. It’s not easy to do until you become aware of it, but once you do it, it becomes the way we say we’re on the same wavelength.
Dennis Zink: Very interesting. What about Toastmasters? I know you’ve been involved with Toastmasters for quite a while, quite a long time. I’ve never been to a Toastmaster meeting. I don’t know Fred if you have, but what goes on in a meeting there?
Bob Turel: If you think about one of the ways and either one of you have ever practiced and got good at something the keyword there is practice. Fred and I were talking about the IT industry, computer industry before the podcast. The way you get good at anything is to practice it. Think about Toastmasters as continuing education Dennis. It’s an opportunity for you to go and to meet fun people, friendly people, supportive people that are going to help you achieve your goals, and at the same time you get to help them achieve theirs. It’s all about continuously practicing.
Fred Dunayer: Bob, obviously listening to you, there’s a lot that the average person doesn’t know about presentations. We all think we can get up there and make a speech or talk or maybe we don’t, but some of us do. But there’s obviously a lot more to it. How do you go about finding resources, either for just learning to speak publicly? Obviously Toastmasters is one outlet. But if you want more one-on-one coaching, or you want to learn how to make a video and make a video, where do you find those resources?
Bob Turel: Well if you don’t mind a shameless plug from me that’s one of the things that I do in my job, that’s bobturelpresentationscoach.com. That’s one long, long word there, long, long phrase. But that’s what I do for a living. I’m really involved in presentations coaching. Then as a side bar, if they’re interested in marketing Fred, they’re interested in doing something a little more powerful then the video comes into play. But as Dennis and you have pointed out, they could be in a meeting, they could be in an interview, so my coaching becomes get ready, get ready for what the world’s questions are and be a powerful presenter on the spot, which is where most of us live.
Dennis Zink: Bob, what about a situation where you’re at a formal dinner both from the standpoint of just dinner talk at the table? Is that any different than just taking to somebody as you network?
Bob Turel: I don’t think it is Dennis. In fact, I think people appreciate concise, clear, and very brief answers. It’s kind of like repeating concise, but people don’t want to listen to long winded speakers or people that are just chatting. The more you practice effective presentations the more I think the better you get at just chitchat, conversation, which says Dennis asked me a question, I answer it, and we move on maybe to Dennis’ question or another question. But the longer you linger people are just going to go, “Is he still talking?”
Dennis Zink: I noticed that I was at a Kentucky Derby party a couple of days ago and I met someone and they asked. We were talking about real estate. I kept going on and on and on about analysis and I looked at them and I saw I lost them. I even said, “Gee, I apologize for going on and on. I went too far.”
Bob Turel: We all learn that tangential discussion is important. The key is, and this is what happens when you practice, you learn to minimize it so that people can say, “Oh, I didn’t think of that,” or as you guys do right here in your podcast, “Hey, that begs a follow up question.” Allow people to get, once again, get to the next question or the next click.
Dennis Zink: I’ve been told that I’ve been relational, whatever that means. I guess that means I relate to people well because I could talk about all kinds of things. That’s maybe why I’m doing this series.
Fred Dunayer: Bob, is there anything that we didn’t talk about in this discussion that you would want people to think about?
Bob Turel: Both you and Dennis have really been complete in your questions. What I’m hoping though is as a takeaway they will realize how important the practice is. I know that that’s not a favorite thing of a lot of us, but the more we practice anything the better we get. So whether we’re using our cellphones, whether we’re using a camera, whether we’re using people that are around us to help us give us feedback, the point is do something to practice to get better because the more you do eventually the better it will feel.
Dennis Zink: Bob, thank you for joining us today and enlightening us on making effective presentations.
Bob Turel: Thank you for having me gentlemen.
Fred Dunayer: Thank you Bob.
Speaker 1: You’ve been listening to the SCORE Small business Success Podcast Been There, Done That. The opinions of the hosts and guests are theirs. They do not necessarily reflect those of SCORE. If you would like to hear more podcasts, get a free mentor, view a transcript of this podcast, or would like more information about the services we provide you can call SCORE at 800-634-0245 or visit our website at www.score.org. Again, that’s 800-634-0245 or visit the website at www.score.org.