For Serious Speakers Who Want to Get Much Better

Coaching program for serious speakers only

When you are really serious about improving any skill – you will work directly with a coach.

As the Speech Coach for Executives I coach business leaders to deliver million dollar presentations.

I also needed to learn from others. (Ask your teachers who they learned from.)

I attended the weekend Speaker Boot Camp with Warren Evans and Kit Grant. Both are former Chairs of the Global Speakers Federation. Both have more than 20 years of professional speaking experience including extensive international exposure.

I invested at least three thousand dollars for an intensive weekend of small group presentation coaching. I am happy with the return on my investment. I’m a much better speaker. When you get to a certain level of speaking the only improvements you can make is in the details. Warren Evans and Kit Grant pointed out those details and I’m a much better and more profitable speaker because of their help.

Here is an opportunity for you to take part in the scaled down version of that boot camp.

It’s a one day “Sneaker Camp” with Warren Evans in Toronto on Monday August 22 in Toronto.

Only 8 people can attend. It’s still intense. You get a full day with Warren Evans. You’ll benefit from the best insights that his experience and perspective can offer. He never holds back.

And the fee is only $1,265

That’s a good deal.

Here’s the bonus for you. Tell him that George Torok sent you and you will save $100 off that price.

BTW I receive no compensation for this recommendation – other than a kind thought. Perhaps Warren will buy me a beer – remind him to do that.

If you are really serious about kicking your presentations up for a relatively small investment – attend this “Sneaker Camp”.

Toronto Sneaker Camp for Speakers

PS: Maybe you're wondering why Warren offers this coaching program so inexpensively. It's to raise money for the Laura's Hope Charity.

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

How to Open Your Presentation with Commanding Attention

You have a few seconds to set the tone for your presentation. A good start paves the road to success while a weak opening can slam shut the door to success.

Your opening must do three things for you. Grab attention, set the direction and establish rapport. Without their attention you have a room of non-listeners. Without knowing your direction your audience will feel lost and confused. Without rapport you might have a room of enemies.

You can grab attention with contrast, relevance and credibility.

You can set the direction by answering the question, “Why are we here?”

You can establish rapport by demonstrating empathy, common interest and confidence.

The Marcel Marceau Opening

Use this powerful technique to open your presentation.

When it’s your turn to speak, walk slowly, proudly and smiling to the front of the room. Take your position. Face the audience. Stand tall. Smile confidently. Say nothing. Glance at one individual, then another, and another. Do this silently for up to eight seconds.

This is how you claim the room. It allows everyone to stop fidgeting and focus their attention on you. They will be amazed at your self confidence to look so good and patiently wait before you speak. They will anticipate listening to a powerful presentation. Choose your first words carefully because they will be listening intently.

5 Presentation Opening Mistakes to Avoid

Speaking on your way to the front of the room
Doing this diminishes your perceived confidence and power because you appear unwilling to wait. In addition many people might not hear what you said while walking to the front of the room.

Telling a joke
This was standard advice to public speakers five decades ago. It was bad advice then and even worse today. Don’t start with a joke. In fact you should never tell jokes in your presentations. Most jokes make fun of somebody else and that’s not the way to establish rapport with your audience. A painful example of this was for the speaker to tell a lawyer joke before opening the speech to a room full of lawyers.

Testing the microphone as you open
Perhaps you’ve witnessed a speaker tapping or blowing into the microphone and saying “Is this thing on?” The time to test the microphone was before the meeting began. Get into the room before the audience arrives to test the audio and video equipment.

Before I begin
Think about that statement. The speaker walked to the front of the run and started with, “Before I begin.” That’s like a runner at the start of a race. The starter pistol sounds and everyone dashes off except one person who says, “I’m not ready yet.” The race started without you. Your presentation started when you were introduced.

Reading your opening
Listening to your reading your speech seldom feels authentic to your audience. Reading your opening will feel cold and distant. You won’t connect because your audience is likely to think, “Are you talking to me or only reading a prepared statement?” The worst case of reading your speech is reading your self introduction, “Hello, my name is George.” I’ve seen speakers read their own name. That’s usually the beginning to a boring speech. When you are reading, you are not making eye contact. You’re not building rapport. You might as well be in another room.

Design the opening to your presentation with the care that you should prepare the curb view of your house when you put it up for sale. If people don’t like the curb view they will drive by. Do you want your audience to drive by - or to eagerly embrace your presentation?

©George Torok is the Speech Coach for Executives. He helps business leaders deliver million dollar presentations. Claim your copy of the free Power Presentation Tips and learn about the next free audio class at Arrange private coaching or a presentation skills training program at or call 905-335-1997

More Presentation Skills Articles

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

Should you call out an individual by name?

Question about engaging your audience

I asked the group of MBA students for examples of ways to engage your audience. One student suggested selecting an individual, calling their name and directing a question to that person. He pointed out that this was a common technique used by professors in the university classroom.

“Roger, tell us the issues in this case study.”

An interesting example that I had forgotten, because I hadn’t been on the receiving end of a professor’s or teacher’s attention for decades.

Clearly this is one way of engaging your audience. In the classroom this is an accepted and necessary technique. Professors might attempt to engage their students through interest and inspiration. At some point they might provoke individuals to trigger critical thinking and hence group discussion. Inclusion might require directed engagement to pull in the reluctant or sleepy ones.

Students might not always enjoy this unwanted attention but it is almost always in their best interest. I believe that a good teacher will provoke their students to participate when needed.

In a business presentation you will almost never use this technique.

“Sophia, what do you think about this new marketing strategy?”

Why? Because, when delivering a business presentation you likely don’t want to provoke your audience. If you provoke them, you might provoke the group with your creative ideas. But you will not want to pick on an individual during a presentation. There are many other ways to engage your audience without attacking an individual.

You might not have intended it to be an attack but it could easily be perceived that way.

When presenting in a business environment you are likely attempting to persuade the audience to make a decision in your favor.

This example is looking at presentations. A business planning meeting among equals would have different rules.

When I facilitate a planning meeting, instead of calling out a person, I have asked, “Who haven’t we heard from yet?” I might even make eye contact with an individual, smile and wait for that person to speak.

This is another example of how effective presentation techniques can vary among different environments.

George Torok

Speech Coach for Executives

Presentation Skills Training

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.


Power Presentations Tip 49: Entertain Your Audience

Entertain Your Audience

After you create the content for your presentation, the next step is to sprinkle entertainment throughout.

Why? Because the entertainment grabs the attention of your audience and makes it easier for them to listen to and digest the morsels of content. The more dry and boring the content might seem to your audience – the more important it is for you to include the entertainment.

The perceptions of what is boring or entertaining are relative based on the interest and understanding of the audience for your message.

Notice that even sporting events use color commentary to keep it interesting for the audience.

An old rule of thumb stated that you needed to include entertainment about every seven minutes. That rule was written before Google, Twitter and iPhones. My guess is that today you might need to entertain at least every three minutes.

You don’t need to break into song or dance – unless you are very good at it and that form of entertainment fits with your message and audience.

Here are three simple and effective forms of entertainment that you can easily inject into your presentation.

  • Tell a story

  • Use a metaphor or analogy

  • Play with words

Tell a Story

This might be the simplest and most powerful way to entertain. The story is our most enduring way of communicating from cave dwellers to texters.

Personal stories are the best because you know it and it distinguishes you from other speakers.

Use a Metaphor or Analogy

The simplest way that most of us learn is by relating new things to what we know already. How is this new thing like or unlike what we already know? We constantly think in metaphors so it’s natural for you to use metaphors that link your message to your audience. When you present new concepts you must rely on metaphors to make it easier for people to understand and remember your message.

Likening the World Wide Web to a spider web helps us visualize the linkages of the Internet.

Play with Words

This might take a little more thought and it’s worth it because your audience appreciates the cleverness of your presentation.

Rhyme your words – the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.

Use alliteration – persuade people with Power Presentations

Use a pun – Biscuits and speeches are better when made with shortening. Matt Veinosky

You don’t need to be hilarious, amazing or worthy of an Oscar. The entertainment only needs to lighten the moment and support your message. Don’t entertain for the sake of entertainment only. Entertain to make your message more palatable and memorable.

Entertain people and you will be more like the puppeteer than the puppet.

George Torok

Author of Power Presentation Tips

The Speech Coach for Executives

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.


The Greatest Speech I Never Delivered

I was a shy student but I wanted to be popular – especially with the girls.

I knew that if I became president of the high school council I would become popular.

It was apparent to me that the way to become president of the high school council was to deliver an incredible speech to the school assembly. I noticed that the one who became president delivered the best speech.

So I devised a plan. I would deliver the best speech.

The first part of my plan was to create an incredible speech.

I started to write that speech. It included a strong opening. There were quotes from famous people. I would appeal to the interest of my audience without pandering. I would be bold but humble. And we would end with a rousing chorus of the school song from the band. I figured that I could arrange that because I was a trombone player in the band.

It was a great speech. It would be the best speech that they every heard.

But I never delivered that speech.

I chickened out. I didn’t run for high school president. I told nobody about my dreams or plans. I was afraid to speak. I was afraid to try. I was afraid that I would mess up. I was afraid that they would laugh at me.

I never became high school president. No one ever knew – until now - of my hopes.

It could have been the greatest speech I ever delivered. But it never happened.

I wish I had the courage the wisdom to deliver that speech – even if I failed.

The reason that I share this story with you is that you can’t go back but you can go forward. It took me 25 years to become a professional speaker. Today I have delivered over 1,000 professional presentations. And I coach and train others to deliver million dollar presentations.

It doesn’t matter where you were yesterday. If you want to be a better speaker you can.

George Torok

Executive Speech Coach

Presentation Skills Training

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.