How to hold an audience, without props or gimmicks
If you can make global economics interesting for more than an hour to a non-specialist audience, you have to be doing something right as a speaker.
Hats off to Scotiabank chief economist Warren Jestin for doing just that today at a luncheon in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
And he did it without notes, or charts, or slides.
At the end of the session, at least one member of the audience was heard to say ‘I wish I could make a presentation like that.’
So let’s just look at some of the things that helped Warren Jestin engage with his audience:
- He made sure we knew where he was taking us: the euro crisis, the problems in the US, the Canadian economy, and the prospects for investors. Several times he reminded us of the route map of the speech.
- He was authentic: histrionics and laugh-out-loud jokes are not his style. He’s quietly understated, but with occasional sunbeams of dry wit.
- He used short labels or memorable phrases to summarise his points: ‘mathematically impossible’ for the debt crisis in Greece; ‘no-one’s having adult conversations’ for the inability to drag the US from the brink of recession.
- He knew his audience – interested investors but generally not financial professionals. He used appropriate, conversational language – avoiding jargon.
- He had a logical structure that enabled him to flow from point to point effortlessly.
- He pulled the various elements together at the end to give his audience a succinct and relevant takeaway.
Jestin’s performance was a gentle reminder that we don’t need elaborate props or podium-thumping dramatics to engage an audience.
All you need is a passion for a topic, and a genuine desire to share that passion with others.
As we remind people in Podium Coaching presentation skills workshops – have something to say, believe in it, say it simply, and shut up.