12 Tips for Better Public Speaking

I recently took a workshop at UCLA Extension on delivering effective presentations. These are my top 12 takeaways:

1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Preparation is everything and the key to exuding confidence. There’s no replacement for mastery of the material that you’re talking about.

2. Be Creative

Before you start planning your presentation, take five minutes to write down every possible idea you can think of on how you could deliver the information. Writing down every idea – even ones that seem off the wall – will get your creative juices flowing and help you deliver a more inventive and engaging presentation.

3. Get the Audience to Move

A tired audience is a disengaged audience. If you sense some sluggishness in the audience before a presentation, lead them in some quick stretching exercises. Guide them in raising their arms over their head, rolling out their neck, and doing some standing twists. They’ll be more awake and retain more from your presentation.

4. Wear What Your Audience Would Wear

Try to wear what your audience would wear if they were the ones giving the presentation. Your goal is to tear down barriers between you and the audience members to form a connection. If they see you wearing something they would never wear, it creates distance. That being said, this is a general rule, which may not apply to every single scenario. It’s a guideline, not an ultimatum.

5. PowerPoint Slides Should Be Heavy on Visuals and Light on Words

PowerPoint verbiage should be like what you see on billboards — just enough to read with a quick glance. You should need to have the presenter to explain the slide for it to make sense.  – The slide should never be compensating for the presenter. As for visuals — well-selected photographs and images can set a mood – use them to your advantage.

6. Have Your Audience Participate Wherever Possible

Pose questions, ask for volunteers to respond. Have audience members raise their hands if they agree with a statement.

7. Control Your Audience

Don’t let questions get you off track. If someone asks something off topic, politely steer the presentation back on track. If appropriate, you may even want to announce before the presentation that all questions will be fielded at the end.

8. Make Nametags

If you want to engage your audience, it helps to call on them by name, instead of asking them what their name is, and then transitioning back to the content of your presentation. If it’s a small group, you can memorize the names of everyone. Otherwise, you can have the group wear nametags or make name placards with a folded sheet of paper.

9. Visit the Space Before the Presentation

You want your presentation to be a smooth operation. You don’t want to be derailed by unusual lighting, tricky projector equipment, or an odd podium. Visit the space beforehand so that you know how to handle yourself in the setting. If it’s not possible to visit the day before, get there early so that you have some time to acclimate and get comfortable.

10. Move Around Your Speaking Space

Don’t stay rooted to one spot. Keep your audience engaged by moving around. This also gives their eyes some relief; it’s exhausting to look at one inert object for too long.

11. Open with a “Grabber”

Start the presentation with a bang. Seize the audience’s attention from the get go. Show a captivating photo, ask an engaging question. Throw out a moving quote.

12.   End with a Call to Action

The point of a presentation is to get the audience to do something. If they learned something, tell them to apply what they learned. If it’s a sales presentation, tell them to buy. Give direction by concluding with a call to action.



The Recruiting Industry

Recently, I was chatting with a recruiter friend of mine, picking her brain about what her work entailed. Maybe it’s because she has such a compelling conversation style, but I was completely captivated in learning about her field. I never realized how diverse the recruitment world was. In fact, there are four main types of recruiter jobs:

1. Corporate, In-House

Typically, once a company has about 200 employees or more, it makes sense to develop an in-house recruitment team. This team is usually salaried (versus commission-based) and is responsible for filling positions at the company. Because recruiters are working exclusively with one company, there is an opportunity for camaraderie and a sense of loyalty to develop.

2. Agency

 Agencies contract with companies that don’t have their own in-house recruitment teams in order to find talent. Recruiters at an agency can be full desk, or responsible only for recruiting talent.

  • Full Desk – these recruiters are responsible both for getting business from companies that need positions to be filled, as well as for finding the talent to fill those positions.
  • Talent Recruitment Only – these recruiters work with an account manager, who is responsible for managing the companies that are contracting with the agency to fill a position. The recruiter’s job is exclusive to finding the talent to fill the position.

Recruiters who work at an agency are typically commission based – meaning that in order to make money, they need to connect talent to employers. As a result, the work life balance at an agency is often less ideal that that of a recruiter working in-house. Burn out is more common.

3. Executive Recruitment – Some agencies specialize in recruiting C-level talent. At this level of talent, the number of individuals in the country who are capable of executing the role is limited – and so must be approached with a high level of polish and professionalism.

4. Solo Practitioner – Once a professional in a particular industry becomes seasoned and well networked, it can make sense to set one’s own shop. There are some solo practitioners – or small firms – that are set up to operate in a niche industry. However, this is a position that you need a lot of specific experience in order to be successful.


The Gen Z Effect – by Keldsen & Koulopoulos

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Generation Z is different. Most are using iPads before they can walk, and many will be running businesses before they can drive. I feel more of a generational divide between myself and someone ten years younger than someone three decades older. So what gives? (If kids even use that expression anymore.)

Well, this book sets forth an interesting thesis. The authors, Dan Keldsen and Thomas Koulopoulos, shed some light on Gen Z. They’re two big-time business consultants with a shared interest in the world’s youth, and a desire to understand them.

So first things first – what exactly is Gen Z? Well, according to the authors, defining them by birth date is gonna work. It’s a mindset, not an age.

But, if you must know – Gen Z’ers are general considered to have been born anytime between the late 1990s to the late 2000s. So anyone born between the 1998 release date of Mulan and 2008 release of Wall-E would be a Gen Z-er by the birth date metric.

Keldsen and Koulopoulos would argue, though, that it doesn’t matter what Disney movie came out the year you were born. As mentioned earlier, it’s all about mindset.

The Gen Z mindset transcends age, embracing the constant evolution of technology, social norms, and means of communication. Gen Z’ers aren’t locked into social hierarchies. They see any person as being a source of wisdom, regardless of age or status. PRogressive companies embrace this principle by employing “reverse mentoring” programs. In this arrangement, more season professionals are mentored by younger employees who are more in tune with the latest trends — and hence, can pass on that knowledge.

Gen Z’ers are also quick to embrace new concepts like “life hacking” or “remote work.” It doesn’t matter what age you are – you can adopt a Gen Z mentality by tuning into current trends and more efficient ways of getting work done and tasks accomplished.

This is a great read for a glimpse into what the coming future holds — and how to stay relevant as it unfolds.