Kramer's Arrogance

Kramer’s Arrogance

Remember Kramer’s meltdown at the comedy club? What surprised me about this incident is that a seasoned pro like Kramer, (Michael Richards), succumbed to fear. When you let the fear of rejection defeat you, you will say stupid things. Every presenter must be willing to deal with rejection. That is the number one rule about selling, presenting and comedy acts.

What ever you do some people might not like you. Or you might wrongly think they don’t like you because of what they do or say. Ignore it. That’s life.

As a business presenter you often are under a lot of pressure. It is normal to be nervous when presenting to your clients. And it is normal for things to go wrong. You would be foolish if you destroy yourself. You might be bidding on a $20m project, presenting your idea to the management team or selling your $50,000 proposal.

If it appears that your presentation is not going well – what should you do?



Restate the last thing you said.

Then, pause and smile.

If you said something stupid, correct and move on. If you were distracted by a question, comment or interruption, pause, smile and move on.

Never attack your audience or any members of your audience. Always give them the benefit of the doubt. They might have misheard you and you might have misheard them.

When things go wrong in your presentation: pause, smile and move on.

Never attack your audience. Never! Because you will lose everytime.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives
Presentation Skills Training

Foul Language at the Learning Annex

Foul Language at the Learning Annex in Toronto

I attended the two-day program by the Learning Annex in Toronto. The keynote speakers included George Foreman, Tony Robbins and Donald Trump.

What surprised me? Foul Language and Profanity

Tony Robbins
When did “shit” become a main stage word? Tony Robbins said the word several times during his presentation. At the same time he danced around the word “penis” with the phrase “Mr Happy”.

I wonder why Tony Robbins used these words. They did not help his presentation in any way. As the hero of many profesional speakers why was Tony Robbins so unprofessional?

Donald Trump
Donald never mentioned the word “shit” nor anything about his “penis”.

He did say “frigging”. He said the word “fucking” once while recounting a conversation he had with a banker. And he mouthed the same word while expressing his opinion about President Bush.

In Donald Trump’s case his use of these far more vulgar words fit his message. I wasn’t offended. I expected to be offended by him.

George Foreman
Curious that the most street-tough-punk of the bunch did not use offensive language. Good on you George! Read more about George Foreman's presentation here.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives

PS: What other words should you avoid when speaking?

Public Speaking: People Say Disgusting Things

People say Disgusting Things
People say the most disgusting things. I’m not talking about rappers, shock jocks or foul mouthed comics. They intend to be offensive so it is no surprise that they offend.

I’m talking about business presenters who do not intend to offend but do. These include executives, managers and sales professionals. Not only do these well intentioned business people offend but they often sabotage their own presentation by the stupid things that they say.

Who are these business people? Managers, customer service reps, sales staff and even executives. These folks offend and self-sabotage in meetings, on the phone and in presentations.

What are these self-sabotaging words and phrases that kill deals, derail careers and ostracize the uniformed?

When used as either an answer to a question or as a precursor to your statement, you demean both the listener and the value of your message. It is a sarcastic word.

“Not, never, can’t, worst, won’t, pain”
Avoid or minimize negatives. The exception is if you fix pain and problems – then start with the positive words. E.g.” I help you relieve back pain.”

“I think” or “I guess”
Watch out when tagging these limp phrases to the end of your statement. It suggests lack of confidence and steals your credibility.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend”
The two negatives at the beginning of this sentence steal the power from the endorsement. Try, “I suggest”, “I strongly recommend” or “I recommend”

Through training hundreds of business professionals and coaching dozens of business executives on their presentation skills I have complied a list of 21 of these “disgusting words and phrases.” To discover the whole list click here.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives
Disgusting words and phrases

Bill Clinton a Powerful Speaker

Former president Bill Clinton is still a powerful speaker. Why? Notice the passion and intensity evident in this photo. Long after his term as president Clinton still captivates his audience.

Bill Clinton projects both a down-home charm and intoxicating sense of power when he speaks.

Clinton has a speaking style that eclipses all presidents from the past few decades.

Clinton versus George W Bush - no contest. And Bush senior is not even in the ball park.

Peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter had the down-home appeal but not presidential presence. Ronald Reagan was the Great Communicator because he was folksy and he could deliver a line on que. A result of his acting days. Even when he was shot, Reagan had the stage presence to say, "I forgot to duck."

Then we go back to JFK for a great orator. "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Bill Clinton has them all beat. We might not experience a bettter presidential public speaker for a long time if ever.

Look at the passion in this photo. It is a classic Churchillian pose with one hand on the lectern and the other raised to incite his audience to action.

Who cares what he was saying - it is the passion that persuades.

No wonder that Bill Clinton still commands more than two hundred thousand dollars for a speech and no wonder that folks still line up to see and hear him speak.

The above photo was shot by Brent Perniac when Bill Clinton spoke recently in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives

Brent Perniac is a professional photographer of celebrities
See more samples of his work

Presentation Skills: Your Speaking Voice

Presentation Skills: Your Speaking Voice

Be Heard!

There is one rule above all others when speaking: Make sure that your audience can hear you! If necessary, use a microphone. There is absolutely no excuse for not being loud enough. Practice projecting your voice before your presentation. In general, it is better to be too loud than too quiet.
In my teaching experience less than 1% of my students were too loud. Your aim as a presenter is to be heard and understood. People cannot understand you if they cannot hear you.

Air Intake

It is easier for you to speak loudly and powerfully if you breathe properly. Effective air intake and appropriate pauses during your talk will help you control the volume of your voice. Slow down your delivery if you are having volume difficulty. Breathe from your diaphragm or stomach and not from your chest. You know that you are filling your diaphragm if you make yourself “fat” with air. Practice proper breathing as much as possible before you present.

Vary Your Voice

Vocal variety is important when you speak. Periodically change your speed, pitch, and volume, going neither too fast nor too slow. Do not mumble in a monotone. A deeper tone signals more confidence than a high pitched one. Also, if you catch yourself stumbling or not knowing what to say, slow down and possibly even stop to catch your breath and collect your thoughts. If you blank out or choke, just smile! Only people with great self-confidence can smile, therefore the audience will assume you know what you are doing!
At the time you rehearse, practice using your voice to emphasize certain words and phrases. You should train your voice to deliver on its own so that your brain can concentrate solely on the message.
When we are nervous we tend to speak faster. Rapid flow of words encourages shallow breathing. If you want to reinforce an image of confidence, slow down. It is much easier for you to breathe deeply when you don’t speak too quickly. The audience will also be impressed by the power you project.

The above is an expert from the book, Secrets of Power Presentations.
Reprinted with permission of the author and publisher.

George Torok
The Speech Coach for Executives

The first licensee for Power Presentations

Power Presentations is a registered trademark of Peter Urs Bender