Public speaking with confidence Institute of the Environment and Sustainability www.ioes.ucla.edu
A presentation at UCLA Sustainable Action Research Teams in May 2019 in Los Angeles, CA, USA by Scott Gruber
Public speaking with confidence Institute of the Environment and Sustainability www.ioes.ucla.edu
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability www.ioes.ucla.edu What’s your biggest fear about public speaking? People born in the year of the Rooster are able to sense what the other person is thinking or feeling. They have quick reactions and high EQ. They have foresight and plan everything carefully. People are worried about their voices. People are worried about their bodies. People are worried about technical malfunctions. People are worried about being wrong or being challenged. People are worried about their performance. Give yourself permission to be anxious.
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability www.ioes.ucla.edu Your first job is to inspire confidence. People born in the year of the Tiger are independent and have high self-esteem. They enjoy being the leader and protector of average people. They love justice and never back down in an argument. You’ll seem more confident if you stand up. How to do that? Own the room. Be the authority. Work the room. Walk to where you’re needed. Being on your feet will allow you to walk from person to person. Make eye contact. Don’t look at your slides.
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability www.ioes.ucla.edu Take the audience on a walk on a narrative journey People born in the year of the Dog are conservative and full of justice. Because of their loyalty, Dogs are valued in the workplace. • Landscape: what exists. In my presentation, the landscape was “A lot of web pages load slowly.” • Analysis: what you, the presenter, want to highlight for the audience about that landscape. “This poor performance creates a poor user experience.” • Problem: the core issue based on your analysis. “Studies have shown a correlation between a slow site and decreased engagement, which isn’t what website owners want.” • Options: what we could do. “We could ignore it! Or we could speed up the site in these ways.” • Solution: the best option and how it works. This was the bulk of my talk, walking through all the ways to improve front-end performance. • Reasons: why the audience should believe you. “Completing this work sped up the site by 35% and increased conversions by 7%.” • Bigger idea: why this concept matters even if it seems irrelevant to an audience member’s work. “Even if you think your site is fast, what’s the experience for your users on slower infrastructure, outdated mobile networks, or older devices?” • Excerpt From: Lara Hogan. “Demystifying Public Speaking.” Apple Books.
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability www.ioes.ucla.edu Holding the audience’s attention • • • • Humor Set audience expectations Ask questions Keep em on their toes “Slides act as visual support, set the pace, help you remember where you are in your narrative, and pique your audience’s interest.” Excerpt From: Lara Hogan. “Demystifying Public Speaking.” Apple Books.
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability www.ioes.ucla.edu Practice with your team People born in the year of the Snake are idealists. On the outside, they may seem cold but, deep inside, they are warm and enthusiastic. Giving feedback Topic and technical depth • • • • • “Is the message easy to understand? Are there any confusing sections or missing points? Are any terms unfamiliar or need more context? How does the content line up with your expectations? Does it match the talk description? What do you think the audience will ask in the Q&A? Does this inspire the audience to try something new? Or do more research afterward?” Slide Design • • • • “Can you read everything on the slides? Will people in the back of a large room be able to? Does each slide offer the right amount of info? Are you spending more time reading than listening? Do any of the slides have extraneous content? (Browser window add-ons, dates from email screenshots, irrelevant code in snippets, etc.) Are fonts, colors, and other design elements consistent?” Narrative • • • • • • “Do you feel yourself tuning out at any point? Are there any spots where I get too into the weeds? What parts are most compelling to you? Did any words, slang, references, or jokes catch you by surprise or otherwise distract you? How effective is the bigger idea at the end? Is the takeaway meaningful even if someone already knows the meat of the talk? Presentation style This can be a sensitive topic! Feel free to have your feedback crew send pointers in private. Presentation style
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability www.ioes.ucla.edu Practicing Q&A People born in the year of the Horse are never one to surrender. They are always positive and energetic, pushing themselves forward. • Not knowing the answer to a question (or how to handle not knowing) • Being revealed as an impostor • Facing aggression from an audience member Excerpt From: Lara Hogan. “Demystifying Public Speaking.” Apple Books.
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability www.ioes.ucla.edu Prepare and Pack • People born in the year of the Rat like saving and collecting. They never have hard times financially and live organized lives. • • • • • Wear what makes you feel like a superhero. Pack a go-bag Back up everything Triple check logistics Prepare talk in two ratios: 16:9 and 4:3 just in case
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability Get to the root of the challenge or problem. People born in the year of the Rabbit are gentle, quiet and polite. They are patient, intelligent and chic. Examine the biggest project hurdle. “Was the hardest part people-related or deliverables-related?” www.ioes.ucla.edu
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability www.ioes.ucla.edu Seeing the client as someone you have to please People born in the year of the Pig think logically and are able to fix whatever problem they’re in. They aren’t good communicators, but they’re kind and able to provide for the family. Most of them are wealthy. Their only obvious fault is that they lose their temper easily. They hired you for your expertise not to be your friend. They brought you in to help them accomplish their goal. If you’re unclear what the goal is we have a bigger problem. Your decisions should revolve around achieving that goal, not pleasing the client. Your job is to convince them of your solution based on your insights, research and work. That’s what they hired your for. Never explain what they obviously see right in front of them. They can all see the logo. No need to walk down the page, listing all the things they can already see. Sell the benefits of the work. Sell how the work solves their problems. Sell how the work matches to the project’s goals. Although you did research and data people are irrational animals who don’t make decisions based on data or research. They make them based on stories. So find your story and tell it.
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability www.ioes.ucla.edu Not setting the stage properly People born in the year of the Monkey do things based on interest. If it’s something they don’t quite care for, they’ll do the work sloppily. If it something they’re interested in, they’ll put their entire heart into it and work until they succeed. Everyone is busy. Let them know what their role is. Why they are there. What you’re showing them and what kind of participation you need from them. This is your opportunity to make them feel like experts. Experts in what they do. You are expert in what you do. Starting with an apology Do not start with an apology or disclaimer. No matter how much more you had hoped to present, by the time you get in that room that is exactly the right amount of work. If you’re not prepared better to cancel it and reschedule but you only get to do that once with a client. Not assigning roles You’re too busy giving a presentation to take notes. Ask someone else to take notes for you. Then share your notes to review after the meeting so you and the client can agree you heard the same thing.
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability www.ioes.ucla.edu Getting defensive People born in the year of the Goat have a pure and kind heart. They’d rather suffer silently than argue and ruin someone else’s mood. However, even in silence, they still hold onto their own opinion. You are not your work and your work in not you. It is work product to meet a client’s goals. The client is free to criticize the work and tell you whether they believe it has met those goals or not. You are free to disagree with them. And you are expected to be able to make a rational case for those disagreements. But you are not allowed to get all hurt about it. This is a job. There’s a difference between defending the work and getting defensive. Good people do bad work sometimes. Don’t feel you need to defend your decisions then and there. You also don’t have to promise them anything then and there. Sometimes it’s best to sit on it for a while. It’s perfectly fine to say something like “That’s interested feedback. Let me think about it.”
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability www.ioes.ucla.edu Not guiding the feedback loop People born in the year of the Ox are hard workers and have a strong sense of responsibility. Even if they run into difficulty during work, they’ll persevere through. There is only one question worse than “What do you think?” You need to tell the client what kind of feedback you’re looking for. “This is the kind of feedback I’m looking for today” Here are some suggestions for questions. “How well does this reflect your brand?” “How well does this reflect your users’ needs as we discussed in the research?” “How well does this reflect your current strategy?” Keep the feedback questions about things that they’re the subject matter expert in. Reacting to questions as change requests No need to show all the bad design that got you to that one hour of good design. It should look effortless as if it always existed. No need to show what happened behind the stage or the sausage making.
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability www.ioes.ucla.edu “Do you like it?” People born in the year of the Dragon have hearts full of adventure and romance. It’s hard for people to understand a Dragon’s mysterious personality. At the same time, they are indifferent to things the average person worries about. You need to convince your client that you’re excited about what you’re showing them. Be a scientist when you work, and a rock star when you present. The client didn’t hire you to make something they liked, and something they like may not be the thing that leads to their success. This point needs to be driven home from the beginning of the project. Avoid going down a subjective path.
Thank You https://speaking.scottgruber.me Institute of the Environment and Sustainability www.ioes.ucla.edu