March 2018 Ditch the script

Lucy Buck's lesson in public speaking

If the very idea of public speaking triggers stage fright, you're not alone. But presenting can be vital for meetings, promotions and pitching for business.

This is certainly the case for Global Visionary Lucy Buck who frequently needs to share the story of her project Child's i Foundation at various events.  "The last presentation I did was a fantastic opportunity but I felt like I was so passionate I lacked structure," she told us.

Enter Michael Trigg – aka the Presentation Maestro – who teaches effective communication to a diverse range of clients, from corporate board level to charities and NGOs. After hearing about Lucy and her project, he very kindly agreed to help.

After watching a video of Lucy in action, Michael agreed with her assessment: "Her passion and enthusiasm are absolutely without doubt. But it was almost all passion and no structure… And she was falling into some typical traps that can leach your authority away and actually lower your credibility."

"It ain't what you say, but the way you say it…"

According to Michael, most people spend too long agonising over writing their presentation but don't think about their delivery.  And first impressions make the biggest impact.

Lucy was already good at varying her pace and tone and making eye contact, but Michael had some tips on her body language, such as her stance and where to rest her hands - things which make an impression and can become an issue with nerves.

The funnel

Now we're not talking about household implements here, but Michael's metaphor for your ideal introduction: start wide to engage your audience and then draw them in to explain the aim of your presentation – something many people neglect to reveal! 

But what about the rest of the talk?

"I try to remember my whole script and if I don't say one word verbatim, then it all goes to pot." Lucy told us. "He basically taught me a secret of how to remember presentations."

Michael's clever method doesn't involve learning words off by heart, but rather structuring your speech around themes, which are depicted with colourful images because the brain remembers these better when stressed.

The result

The new technique was applied first on a new topic - the idea being that Lucy wasn't as emotionally invested – and then finally on her Child's i Foundation presentation.

"The transformation has been considerable – this morning we had passion but misdirected, all over the place."  Michael said. "Now we have directed passion, it's succinct, it's enthusiastic, it's got a definite aim and purpose."

As for Lucy's verdict: "What Michael has done is taught me the most incredible, powerful trick to remember, through visuals.  I've had the best day ever and I'm really looking forward to presenting!"

Many thanks to Michael Trigg for his generosity in helping Lucy – find out more about him on his website: Here

Or read his book Blow Your Own Horn, download his app Ovation, or check out his YouTube channel.

More about Lucy Buck: