Once known as the “ten-minute talk,” the featured presentation doesn’t always last ten minutes: as chapters grow, the time allowed gets shorter. No matter the length, however, there are some important keys to showcasing your business in front of your fellow BNI members.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare. Make an outline or some note cards. Practice. You will not do better if you wing it. Dr. Misner puts in 40 hours preparing to give a one-hour talk. Choreograph it.
- Be specific and talk about the things you know best. You don’t have to tell the audience everything, but pick a specific example.
- Use handouts, visuals, props, or slides. Look at the book Presentation Zen for inspiration.
- Remember, you’re the expert. It’s your field and your opportunity to shine.
- Be creative. Find a way to communicate that makes you comfortable.
- It’s okay to be nervous.
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Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 367 –
Hello everyone and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, CA. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan. How are you and where are you?
Hey, I am finally back from my trip throughout Europe visiting directors and members of BNI. I had the opportunity to talk to literally thousands of directors and members. It was an incredible visit and I want to thank everyone for their hospitality. It’s truly been amazing. I am back in the US. I am in Austin this week.
You know, I mention this every now and then, Priscilla. You ask where I am and I like that because I want members to know that I am out there visiting. I am not in some big ivory tower. I am just doing what I do. I am doing it out in the field and meeting members all over the world.
That’s great. Wow. So you are going to teach us a little bit about doing a great featured presentation?
Yes. You know, a lot of chapters call it the 10 minute talk or 10 minute presentation, but we’re transitioning that because as chapters are getting bigger and bigger- out average chapter size is going up. It’s not 10 minutes in every chapter. It’s really more a featured presenter for a chapter, a featured speaker.
So I want to talk about that. Let’s say you are going to be the speaker next week in your chapter. What are some things to consider?
First of all, almost every general survey I have seen ranks public speaking worse than dying. It’s amazing. What is incredible, though, is in BNI, I have heard so many say that they have become a better speaker and they can represent their business much more effectively than before they joined BNI.
But doing the longer presentation takes a little more preparation. So I am going to give you a few tips, five tips, in doing a really good featured presentation.
First, I believe you should prepare, prepare, prepare. Don’t wing it. Some people say they do better when they wing it. My experience, Priscilla, is hardly anyone does better when they wing it. I know a business profession who is a trainer and he says he does better when he just goes with the flow and wings it. I have observed him. He’s wrong. He’s wrong. He doesn’t. He thinks he does but he doesn’t.
I am a real believer in preparation. Prepare an outline of what you want to say. Practice it. Use note cards. Write your remarks out on a piece of paper. Do it with large handwriting if you need to. Make it with a bigger font. But have some notes.
Don’t do a word for word script. That is not what I am suggesting. Have some bullet points and then practice. Very important. Listen, I practice. When I do something as simple as a Chairman’s report at BNI conferences, I put in 40 hours for a one hour talk. For a one hour talk, yeah. And when I do a keynote presentation, I put in well over 40 hours preparing a keynote presentation, which is an hour long and isn’t much longer.
I put in time because if you want to come across as professional and knowledgeable, you want to do it in a way that shows that you understand your business. Yeah, you can just do it off the cuff, but if there is a particular message that you want to convey, it is better to prepare.
How do you do 40 hours preparing for a speech?
Well, for most of my talks, I have PowerPoints to go with them. I recommend a book called Presentation Zen. It absolutely changed the way I do PowerPoints. Instead of a lot of verbiage, I do almost no verbiage. I do photographs and a couple of key words. It’s all a matter of timing, knowing what stories you are going to put where, knowing what you are going to say when that photograph goes up.
You know, my presentations are choreographed. Even a short presentation, a 10 minute presentation, I choreograph, and at least a couple of hours preparing. That’s me. I don’t want to scare all the members that you have to do two hours, but you have to put in 30 minutes at least to do your 10 minute presentation. That’s my suggestion.
The second thing is be specific and talk about the things that you know best. You don’t have to teach everyone everything you do. It’s only a few minutes long- eight, 10, 12 minutes, depending on the chapter. But you want to say something significant about what you do- either how to refer you or something specific about what you do in business. So be specific.
Third, I would use handouts, visuals, or PowerPoint slides to support the presentation. It might be difficult in a chapter to have PowerPoint slides. I get that. And by the way, PowerPoint slides can be boring. I mean, they can be really bad. So if you take a look at that book that I recommend, Presentation Zen, you will never do a PowerPoint the same again. Really, it is very great on how to do PowerPoints where they are entertaining, not just informative.
But handouts, some sort of visual- I really think that props, books, slides, handouts, gadgets, anything can help with the presentation. Just don’t make your PowerPoint a crutch. You can make it help your presentation flow.
Fourth, this is an important one. Remember you are the expert. This is your business. In the eyes of your fellow members, you are the expert and they want to hear what you have to say. Most of them are going to be eager to learn something from you- something about what you do, something about who you are and how they can refer you. If you focus on what you know best, you will feel more confident and you will come across as very credible. Believe in yourself and believe in your message. You are the expert.
You know, I have told people that and some of them have been like, I never thought about that. I guess I am. You are. One person per profession. That is your field and your turn to shine.
The last thing that I would recommend is if at all possible, be creative. Find a way to communicate that makes you comfortable talking to a group. Engage them in conversation or start with Q and A.
I had one person who was absolutely petrified with a 10-12 minute presentation. Absolutely petrified. I said, “Look, don’t do a talk.”
She said, “What do you mean don’t do a talk?”
I said, “No. Why don’t you give them a test?”
She said, “What?”
She was an accountant. I said, “Give them a test on tax law. Just true or false. 10 questions. Just say, ‘True or false?’ and then read the question and have them take a vote. How many say true? Raise your hand. How many say false? Raise your hand. Then give them the answer and move on to the next question. Don’t do a speech. This will show how knowledgeable you are about tax law.”
She said, “I can do that. I am not afraid to do that. That I can do.”
You know what was amazing, Priscilla, about that? By question four or five, she was being extemporaneous. They were all laughing. You know what’s one person after five questions and five wrong answers. They were like, they are going to take me to jail. I am getting all of these wrong. They were having a great time.
She actually started to go over time. This was a woman who was petrified speaking in front of a group. I am sure you have seen people in BNI who have really acquired skills at speaking when at first they were much, much shyer, yeah?
Yeah. Definitely. I was thinking about when you said to bring props, there are two members in our group who have brought props quite a bit and it is always a lot of fun and interesting. One is a plumber and he comes with these pieces of pipe and different shower heads and kind of corroded things. The other is an auto repair person who brings in really corroded and broken parts and shows everybody what these car pieces look like, you know. It’s really fun and interesting.
The next and really my fifth point is be creative. If you can do something creative it gets people’s attention. And you say he brought in parts that were broken or parts that-
Yeah, that he had taken out of cars that had failed. You know, they were all corroded and falling apart.
See, I would have never thought of that. That is exactly the kind of thing that you want to do in a longer presentation.
Here is one last additional suggestion: It’s okay to be a little nervous. To this day, Priscilla, right before I go up to speak to an audience, I am nervous. Don’t tell anyone, okay? I’m nervous. I have been doing this 30 years. I am a professional speaker.
If you think, you don’t understand I get nervous, I get it. I get nervous before I speak. The thing is I try to use that nervous energy to my benefit.
I use that nervous energy as a little extra adrenaline because when I have to do a presentation, I am usually in a region supporting the Director, doing a huge event. I feel like I have an obligation to give to that group, to support that region, to knock it out of the park so that members are really excited and motivated when they hear me do the presentation. If I don’t do a good job, there is a lot of work going into that event. I start thinking about that and getting really nervous before I go on.
But I try to use that nervous energy as an adrenaline, and once I go on, I am fine. So if you get nervous, don’t worry about it. It’s okay. We all get nervous. Make sure there is a glass of water nearby in case you need a sip. And by the way, a glass of water is a really good technique for nervousness.
Yeah, because you pause, and it just looks like you are thinking. Don’t say anything. Don’t him and haw. Don’t say you’re really nervous. Just pause as you pick up the glass, have a sip, look at your audience, set the glass down and continue your conversation. Actually, it is a great way to deal with being a little bit nervous on state.
Uh huh. Okay. Good.
And sometimes I will pause when I forget where I am at. And rather than say, “Where am I in my speech?” I will just pause, have a little sip of water and then figure out where I am supposed to be. And off I go.
Yeah. Good. I have heard you many times, and you give these great stories. They are really funny.
Stories are a great way to do a presentation. They really teach people. If you have a good story that illustrates a point- I am not talking about a joke. If you have a story that illustrates a point, stories are a great way to educate and train people. Certainly, this should be part of your presentation.
Those are my suggestions for BNI members. Five points: prepare, be specific, use handouts, remember you are the expert, be creative and as a little bonus point, it is okay to be a little bit nervous. Many people are. I am and I know a lit of people are. It’s okay.
Thank you, Priscilla. That’s it for today.
Okay, great. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.