Master Presenting

Stop The Awkwardness—Present with Confidence

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My name is Ryan McRae and I’ve been presenting for over 20 years as far as South Africa to remote Afghanistan and was featured on Lifehacker, Mike Vardy’s Productivityist and Small Business Revolution. This site is simply about being a better presenter—going from frightened to confident as quickly as possible.

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The Last Word in Slide Design

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I’ve been designing slides for speakers for over twelve years. I’ve seen my share of good attempts and clunky designs, and I’m here to show you the quickest and easiest way to design slides that look beautiful for your audience. In less than an hour, you can have slides you’re thrilled to show off. Too Many Words You’ve all heard the cajoling, the statements of “slideuments”, and most presenters have a secret of why they have so many words on their slides— Speakers use slides as a script so they don’t forget what they say.  They lean on the bullet points, the many, many bullet points to remember their next […]

The Vital Components of Presenting

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I took my nephew to see his first firework show in Chicago many years ago. We were trying to explain “fireworks” and we struggled with finding the words. “Lights in the sky.”  “It’s like these explosions, these loud noises. . . .”  “The sky gets painted for a bit and then it gets painted again.”  We needed a poet, a poet for four-year olds.  The show started and he quickly jerked back, surprised by the explosion, but once the fireworks filled the sky, he said, “Oh, it’s like magic.”  Yes, it’s like magic.  Sometimes presenting, skilled public speaking and teaching seems like, well, magic.  […]

Brené Brown and the Heart of Presenting

I get asked all the time, “What does it take to be a good presenter? What’s the secret?” I usually scratch my head. In all of my experiences presenting, learning the craft, bombing, stumbling and enjoying the audience, there has never been a secret to presenting, no guru whispering in my ear saying, “This is the secret to great presenting, listen well.” And then he stumbles off into the the night looking for an Outback Steakhouse. But I think there are components of being a good presenter, aspects that run true in speakers that inspire the audience. Brené Brown, in her landmark TEDx […]

A.D.D. and Presenting

I see this more often than not—the skilled presenters, the creators, the ones who have this deep dive connection with their audience have Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D. or A.D.H.D.) as the sky is blue. Being a member of that tribe myself I can understand it. When we present, when we are in front of an audience of 1 or 10,000 our brains light up like Times Square before the ball hits. We find we are “all there.”  Now, this is when our A.D.D. serves us well. We feel the tempo of the audience; we answer the questions with brevity, wit and […]

13 Ways You Can Become a Better Speaker Right NOW

It’s Monday. You have stuff to do. But let’s get you to be a better presenter, shall we? Lets. Practice saying the following phrase, “Thank you for you time. It has been my honor and pleasure to be here today.” Say it sincerely. Agree not to memorize your speech word for word. Break it down into chunks. Have an outline. Here’s a great example of this.   If you are speaking to colleagues, ask one of them to take notes about how you present, so you can be better. If it’s a group of strangers, ask if it can be recorded so you can […]

How Do You Know if You’re Boring?

A friend of mine said, “Man, you’re site is good, but bad speakers don’t know they need it and great ones don’t.” Now, we can always improve, but I get the gist of what he’s saying. It’s like bad fashion or hair. If you’re horrible, at best you don’t notice and at worst—you don’t care.  If you care about how you come across, if that matters in your personal or professional life, this might be a little bit of a “speaking self-aware checklist” that might interest you. Now I’ve broken this up into presenting and conversing. You might be stellar at one, but at […]

The Way of Presenting to the Creative Crowd

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I want to talk a bit about “creative” people and how to talk to them. We can get into some danger because I can hear your outcries already, “Everyone is creative! I wrote three haikus last week! We did a folk art puzzle and then Mod Podged it all night long!” I get that. And I get that your audience or potential audience is creative.  But I’m talking about people who create art every day as their career. Designers. Writers. Web architects, etc. These are people who live and breathe Pantone and grammar. They read Lifehacker and they have already seen that trendy, […]

The Way of Becoming a Great Presenter in 2015

I almost drowned one summer at a camp. As a kid I thought I had the chops to swim across the lake with the other kids. It was a rite of passage to get to the island in the middle. I took a deep breath and dove in. The lifeguards had to take a boat out to get me fifteen minutes later. I wasn’t prepared and one of the directors said, “Little man, you have to start small to get across that lake. People practice all year to do that. It’s not a ‘jump in and figure it out thing’.”  I […]

Commit to Your Bit: Deciding to Believe in Your Voice

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This is a guest post from my chum Joshua Waldman, king of job-hunting and social media and author of Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies. I’m not a comedian, but I know I need to be funnier in my talks. That’s why I hired a comedian last year. I saw auGi tell a story at a show a few years back and my wife and I laughed the entire time. It was about how he broke into his own high school and got caught, and interrogated by the cops. He wasn’t crass making things funny by dropping the F-bomb. The […]

Content and Presenting Wisdom from C.C. Chapman

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While I spent some time in Afghanistan, I read the book Amazing Things Will Happen and it blew me away. Then I noticed that in my Kindle I had Content Rules and lo’ and behold, same fella, C.C. Chapman. We’ve been social media compadres for a bit and I asked him to throw me his best presenting advice. He delivered. C.C., you present far and wide on creating valuable content for your company and brand. How do you start developing a presentation for an audience? I always start on paper first. I like to lay out the ideas I want to get across to […]