Get Inspired.

Photo by Luca Nardone on

I get inspiration from a lot of things around me – nature, hills, people, and even insects.

Ruskin Bond

We are inspired by different people at different times of our life. What is awesome one day is not so much the next.

I’ve posted below links to a number of presenters who I enjoy listening to and commented on how I’ve found them useful in a presenting context.

You will notice I have tried to exclude actors who “perform”. Whilst they may be highly motivating and contain some great life lessons, I prefer to hear from the original source, from someone who is not performing but being authentic.

Let me know of any others and why you like them.

Sarah Kay – If I should have a daughter….

You will see in this video that Sarah’s poems come from her life experiences and the need to sort through her thoughts which sometimes result in poems. There are many things that I enjoy about this presentation, including the structure, the willingness to be vulnerable and the flawless articulation of her message. But what brings this to life for me during and after the poem are the simplicity of the descriptive gestures – “three things you know to be true” – counted off on three fingers, counting down from five to zeros again with her fingers but in silence. These non-verbal cues make the presentation more engaging and interesting.

In your next presentation think about how you can incorporate more descriptive gestures that importantly have a purpose.

Sir Ken Robinson – Do schools kill creativity?

The late Ken Robinson (1950 – 2020) was hailed as delivering one of the best TED presentations with over 63 million views. Why? Depends on who you ask, some say it was his compelling argument that education is killing creativity. Was it his high level of credibility as someone who excelled in their field and was a successful author. Or was it his very clever and witty impromptu delivery style, that gave you a laugh every few minutes. I think it was all three. What I particularly liked were the anecdotes. We would all like to be able to tell anecdotes as well as he does but for most of us we can’t quite pull it off. One thing I have learnt about telling anecdotes is that you have to practice them and ask someone to give you feedback. Sir Ken says at one point “I heard a great story recently and I love telling it” (about the 3.22 mark) .

Two things we learn from this statement, it’s someone else’s story and he practices telling it. Right there, are two great tips for telling anecdotes.

Aimee Mullins – My 12 pairs of legs.

Where do you start with Aimee Mullins? Aimee is an athlete, actress and public speaker who lost her legs at a young age due to a medical condition. You’ll have to listen to the talk so that you can hear her amazing story. What I liked about her talk was her humour, movement, her pace of voice, the 15 or so anecdotes and her many clearly articulated messages. What I appreciated was her use of pause.

After every humorous anecdote, she would pause and give the audience that couple of seconds to digest what she had said. Even if our stories are funny or serious, we can all use pause effectively to drive our point home.

Steve Jobs – Bloopers

This I guess is not inspiring but more motivational in knowing that things can go wrong to even some of the best presenters. But even when things didn’t go well, he was still able to carry on with the show!

So if your presentation has a miss hap. see if you can quickly rectify it. If not, move on!

Elie Wiesel – The perils of indifference.

Elie Wiesel was a writer, professor, political activist, Nobel laureate, and Holocaust survivor. This talk was named as one of the speeches that shaped the modern world by Alan J Whiticker. Besides the powerful message of indifference or the turning of a blind eye to injustice, there were some other elements that we can learn from and include in our own presentations. He used notes unapologetically but did so in a way that still enabled him to connect with his audience. Small micro-changes in facial expression revealed what he was really feeling. The starting of the presentation with a powerful story, one that excluded grizzly detail, but was just as impactful because of its omission. A slow crescendo that was accompanied by an intoxicating rhythm and flawless delivery.

We can emulate all these attributes by using notes well, using facial expressions such as smiling, using a well-rehearsed and tested story as a powerful opening and not racing through our presentation.

American Rhetoric

This is a great resource for business people scholars and students alike.

Steve Jobs – Best Presentation – one of

Steve Jobs was world-renowned for his entertaining dramatic and visual presentations. In this presentation, he very cleverly uses repetition and teases the audience with his visuals of the iPod, phone and internet connector to launch the iPhone.

We can use this very simple technique of repetition when presenting to drive home the key components of a strategy for example.