The Legal Marketing Association Texas Conference “Texas Think Tank” was held November 6-7 in Dallas. Karen Hough, Founder and CEO of ImprovEdge LLC, gave the keynote speech, “Be the Best Bad Presenter Ever!” Taking lessons from the art of improv, Karen shared tips on how to be an engaging speaker and achieve maximum impact in influencing others.
Did you know that your audience forms an opinion in the first 7 to 30 seconds? That means if you are giving a presentation, pitching a prospect or just networking, you had better nail your opening. Not only do you need to nail your opening, but also your closing as people typically remember the first and the last thing they hear.
Much of what Karen taught about being a great business presenter was founded on improv comedy. She outlined four basic principles of improv that legal marketing professionals would do well to abide by:
In addition to adhering by the above principles, Karen explained that the key to all great presentations is to define their purpose and action. In determining the purpose, ask yourself: What do I want my audience to do after they hear my presentation? Fill in the blank: I want them to ___________.
In determining action, ask yourself: How do I want people to feel when they leave? Entertained, inspired, persuaded or motivated to do or create something, etc.? If your answer is to inform, then stop there, cancel your presentation and write a blog or send a memo. Karen believes informing your audience is just a cop-out.
We’ve all received numerous tips about how to be a great presenter, so Karen left us with a few rules to break:
Another important tip Karen offered is to focus more on your body language than the words in your presentation. In a recent study, 55 percent of people are most influenced by body language, 38 percent by the tone of your voice, leaving 7 percent to words. Your body can also influence your brain, so if you look confident you will feel confident.
A few other takeaways that Karen emphasized in her presentation are worth noting: It takes 10,000 hours of practice to be an expert at anything; experience should teach us that it is always the unexpected that does occur; and we are what we repeatedly do.
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