Here’s a fab guest post from a dear friend of mine – when I heard she’d gone commando I had to ask her to explain! Presentation style of course!

From Sheena Whyatt; Lightning Training Limited

So here’s the thing. I’m an experienced presenter and public speaker, used to getting up and talking to groups of all sizes, industries & seniority. I do this most weeks, sometimes more than once, and most of the time I get paid to do it. I’ve given keynote speeches, intimate personal development advice, motivational seminars, instructional training – the whole shebang. More often than not, I’ve also written the content, produced materials to support the talk, all that jazz.

And then, just recently, I had a bit of an epiphany.

I was opening a seminar track for a major conference aimed at VAs, PAs & Executive Secretaries taking place at ExCel London 2016 in the spring, and had planned my usual pre-speaking preparation plan – scope out the topic, highlight the key points, identify the ROI platform, develop the slide deck – when I suddenly thought

• What would happen if I just spoke?
• Without a slide deck?
• With nothing but an opening slide & a call to action closing slide?
• Effectively, keynote speaking commando style?

Well, the only thing to do, was have a go. So I did.

The AV guy was very confused when I told him I didn’t have a slide deck to load up, just two slides for an entire 45 minute presentation including Q&A.

The seminar host was very confused when I told her I didn’t have a slide deck, and so didn’t need the lectern, just a wireless mic & help with the Q&A at the end.

I’d done my homework. I knew my stuff. I prepped my notes. I practiced. I was good to go.

Five minutes before kicking off the seminar thread as opening speaker, I will admit I got a bit anxious – the audience was filling up, and their expectations were huge – they’d paid for this seminar, so I know I had to deliver.

So I did.

For 45 minutes, without slides.

And then the Q&A session overran too.

The feedback was amazingly positive – some of the comments referred to enjoying not being ‘bombarded with slides’, ‘suffering death by PowerPoint’, ‘feeling like we were included in the session much more than if we were just watching slides’.

What are my top tips for giving this a go?

• Know your audience
• Know your stuff
• Know your timings

And that’s pretty much it. Oh, except to talk to people. Don’t lecture – inform, advise & educate. Be funny (if its appropriate), involve your audience, generate an atmosphere of relaxed enjoyment with them.

What was I speaking about? Presentation skills? Personal branding? Time Management? Nope.

Going commando gave me the opportunity to take a fairly staid topic and make it sing – but don’t take it from me – here’s a testimonial:

‘I attended your seminar on Minute Taking yesterday, can I just say it was really interesting and you are clearly a great facilitator, definitely the most engaging of all the seminars I went to’

Sheena D Whyatt, MCT, MCASI, COLF, MLPI
Managing Director of Lightning Training Limited & Founder of KAPOW!