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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Crushing Your Next Interview by Presenting YOU


Many of us, when asked to talk about ourselves, we can come up with a quick story or an elevator pitch that is concise and brilliant. We have a cute anecdote and a tale along the lines of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Others of us scratch our heads, shrug our shoulders and despair because we don’t have anything interesting to say. When it comes to interviewing, having something not only interesting, but captivating is what gets you a handshake, a “Welcome to the Team” and a trip to Human Resources to fill out that wonderful stack of paperwork. “Would you […]

Your Story Might Be Dangerous

My friend tells the story about when his little boy outgrew his nightlight. “I don’t need that anymore, daddy. I’m not afraid of the dark anymore since I know you’re here,” the three year old whispered in his dad’s ear.  When he tells that story everyone cries in the room. Everyone.  And here’s what my friend says, “We need to enjoy those moments when our children grow. Treasure them. They will gone in a flash—an instant.”  He’s right. My friend is completely 100% right.  Here’s how he could absolutely shipwreck his speech and ruin the moment. If he said the following:  […]

The Best Slide Design Advice I’ll Ever Have

I’ve sat through tons of presentations and in about 70% of them I think, “Your pictures are horrible.”  You’ve seen this over and over. The picture is too small or its grainy. Maybe the picture isn’t really a cat, but a cartoon of a cat (and don’t start on the “it’s not even a cat! It’s a representation.” Thanks.) Someone asked me why clip art got invented and I said, “It’s what they used before you could take a picture and put it on the internet.”  The Age of Clip Art has Ended. There is no excuse for it. There is […]

It’s the Three Buck Solution You Already Have

I’ll hear presenters and writers (and other humans) say to me, “Man, where do you come up with the stories you tell? You must just have 100 stories off the top of your head.”  No. I don’t.  I don’t even know where my wallet is right now. I’m dead serious. It’s either in my car, on my kitchen table or in the hands of someone about to buy 1,000 lattes.  My memory is a sieve. I don’t retain much information about the previous week. I’m sure I had lunch, but I’m not sure what it was or where I was. […]

Present Like a Zombie Slayer

Most of us have had this conversation that starts with—“The zombie apocalypse breaks out. What do you do? Where do you go?”  We talk about what we would do to survive. We probably head to Costco because you need a membership card to get in. (Don’t go to Costco—about 80% of the people think of that destination. You don’t want to be in a crowd, friends.)  It all boils down to the essentials and these essentials are the same when it comes to presenting. If you get these wrong, it’s your audience that become members of the undead, growling and […]

Starting a Presentation From Scratch (Part 1)

cover photo for presentation

I’m working on a presentation for the Orland Park Library in my town about Afghanistan. I’m doing a little experiment to see how fast I can do it.  So the first thing I have to decide: What do I want to say?  Now, I talk about this in my 30-day class (20 lessons over 30 days!) and I’ve decided to call it:  When Burnout Led me to War: My Year in Afghanistan. It’s succinct, let’s you know where I’m headed and peaks the interest, I believe.  Taking Notes I jotted down my ideas of what I wanted to talk about. […]

The Key To Presenting: Becoming a DJ

presenting, DJ

I once heard a speaker ask a crowd, “What is the purpose of a DJ? What is the DJ’s goal? Discuss with the person next to you.” There was a buzz of discussion around and we knew we easily had the answers to the DJ’s purpose. How hard could it be? We’d all been to parties and weddings.  “Play great music!” “Know the best bands/singers.” “Have the best equipment out there.” “Mix stuff!” We shouted out these answers and more and the speaker just shook his head after each one. No, no, no.  And then with a smile, the speaker […]

Preparing for Trouble When Speaking

Photo Credit: Gideon Tsang via Compfight cc

If you opened my trunk, you’d think that I was preparing for all kinds of trouble on the road. I have a hoodie in there, my Trader Joe’s bags, some water, two blankets, and some odds and ends. Usually two of my work shirts that are clean in a bag can be found there. I’ve been known to eat Chipotle burritos in a non-awesome way and they make a distinct guacamole impression on my shirt. But I like being ready. I have a bag at home with all my travel stuff inside it already—I have $30 hidden in that bag in […]

The Tiniest Step in Presenting


I get you. I really do. You want to go out there and share with the world. You have something to say. It’s powerful! It’s like a phoenix rising from the ashes to banish the vampire legion that has descended upon the orphan village that looks particularly snack-y right now. But here’s a litmus test to see if you belong up there in front of people just yet. And this might freak you out. This might actually make you forgo the phoenix and yell, “Well, just DINE on those orphans and see if I care!” You care, you do. Admit […]

The Three Questions to Know Your Audience

Your presentation is awesome, but we’ve talked about this—you know, we went to that really great coffee shop on Market St. Yelp said that the chai was amazing and I had my doubts—you did too. We tried it and it lo and behold—the chai blew our minds. It was a great day. You know what’s great about chai? It’s great anytime. It’s a little piece of comfort. Your taste buds are fooled every time. Hey, I bet this is coffee, they say. BUT NO! It’s delicious-anytime-chai. But your presentation isn’t that marvelous, spicy chai. You have to augment that presentation to […]