Speaking Skills — NSA Presentation and Performance Lab

Here are some highlight keepers from the second and third day of the NSA Presentation and Peformance Lab in Las Vegas, April 11-13, 2008. 

Richard Oberacker, Director of KA, Cirque Du Soleil’s dazzling show at the MGM in Las Vegas, kicked off Saturday morning.

One of the main themes of his presentation and coaching was truth in performance.
     – Everything in performance art comes from truth.
     – If it doesn’t come from truth, the audience will know, and it doesn’t belong in your speech.
     – When speaking, just be yourself.  Remove the obligation to be something else.
     – Take risks.  Don’t be afraid to fail.
     – Allow your audience to enter your program and find their own message.

Patricia Fripp, speaker and master presentation skills coach.
     – Consider every theatrical performance as a learning lesson.  As you sit in the audience, watch other performers (not just speakers) to learn techniques you can adapt to your own presentations.
     – Quoting Ron Arden:  The enemy of the speaker is sameness.
     – Like a movie, in your speech, “grab them right from the beginning.”
     – Transcribe your talk and then edit to elimate the unnecessary words.
     – For another post on Fripp keepers.

Robert Fripp, internationally-famous rock-and-roll guitarist.
     – What ever it is that you do, if you don’t practice it for one hour each day, you aren’t really doing it.
     – Work and surround yourself with better people.
     – Anything within a performance is significant, intentional or not.
     – Everything we are is revealed in our playing.
     – Life is too short to take on the unnecessary.

Dan Maddux, Executive Director, American Payroll Association.
     – Your responsibility is to give an experience ON the platform and OFF the platform as well.
     – Be available before and after your speech.
     – Coordinate the flow of your talk with the IMAG and video crews.
     – Never pass up the opportunity to do a sound and lights check before you speak.
     – You don’t need to be an Audio-Visual technician, but you need to speak the language.

Brian McDonald, Film-Maker, Writer, Story expert.
     – He shared his short-film, Whiteface, a comedy about the problems clowns might face if they were an actual race of people.  Insightful and brilliantly done.  Highly recommended.
     – What can I take away from my talk to strengthen it?  What can I not do?
     – Your job as a storyteller is to be an observer.
     – Stories are not complicated.  They are simple…but difficult to create.
     – Invisible ink is the writing beneath the words.  Most people will never notice it.

D.J. Vanas, Motivational Storyteller, Author, Success Coach.

     – Know your center of gravity, your bottom-line message or point.
     – Don’t re-tell your story.  Re-live it.
     – Stories are meant to be delivered to one person.
     – Hit all the senses.
     – Debrief yourself after every talk.

Victoria Labalme, Theatrical Keynotes and Coaching.
     – Make your spoken word imaginative and more precise.
     – Your body tells the audience what you are thinking.
     – When developing characters in your talk, explore specificity.
     – Don’t force an emotion.  Always come from truth.
     – When you write a speech:  Write it.  Speak it.  Write it.  Speak it.

Scott McKain, All Business is Show Business
     – Some great music is never heard because the presentation is not compelling.
     – Act as if you had a secret.  It adds power to your presentation.
     – What can I do to be distinctive?  If you’re the same as everyone else, you are a commodity.
     – You can’t command respect, you can only attract it.
     – Broadcasters have had more impact by being more intimate; by talking more softly; by pulling back on their gestures; by being quietly confident.

NSA Presentation and Performance Lab Day #1

Upcoming NSA Events:

NSA Branding and Promotion Lab
Cambridge MA
May 2-4, 2008

NSA National Convention
New York City
August 2-5, 2008