How Brave Are You?

Presentation style needs to match the audience. But we should all try and remember not to get stuck in just one style of presenting.

This Ted talk by comedian Jill Shargaa may be a bit too ‘bonkers’ for a corporate meeting, but it’s an exaggerated example of what makes a awesome great presentation.


  1. She has a good opening and draws her audience in straight away with her enthusiasm and passion
  2. She maintains this level of enthusiasm throughout her talk; I wanted to hear more all the way through and you can tell the audience did too
  3. She made me think (about her presenting style and about what I would personally add to my awesome list!)
  4. Her slides are visual, simple and have impact
  5. She kept things uncomplicated, with lots of repetition and her vocal energy, body language and eye contact is great

This lady is a comedian so she’s braver than most in terms of talking to an audience but we can still learn a lot from her style.

How about trying out a fun presenting style for an internal conference? Are you brave enough?!

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Watch Jill Shargaa’s Ted talk below.


‘Mel’s Bowels Swing Into Action’

I don’t often read autobiographies but couldn’t resist Sue Perkins’ new book ‘Spectacles’ – I love her sense of humour and was keen to find out more about her life and how she got into comedy. I’m now half way through and I’m so glad I did – I’m a sucker for an eye-catching cover and her writing style is incredibly readable and funny.

One of my favourite chapters in the book so far is when Sue meets her comic partner, Mel Giedroyc. She talks about their worst four performances at the start of their partnership, back in the 1990s; a long time before they started saying “Bake!” on our screens.

The tales are hilarious (in their awfulness at least!) This is partly due to the types of audiences they performed to and partly due to the description of what happens to Mel when they are about to go on stage and she has to deal with her nerves. Sue says,

“It is exactly at that point, on the cusp of starting a show, that Mel’s bowels swing into action.”

Not 5 minutes before, when they had time to prepare (and were near the toilets!), but at the exact point when they are being called to go on stage. Good timing!

It could be just the same when you are about to present at work – how do you deal with your nerves? Do you prepare yourself for how your anxiety will affect you? Or do you leave it until the last minute like Mel?! We have put together a ‘Manage Your Presentation Nerves’ checklist as part of our Big Checklist Series – with some essential tips on how to manage your nerves when you present – click here for the PDF.

I hope you find these tips useful. Enjoy your presenting, and maybe put Sue’s book ‘Spectacles’ on your Christmas list?! I’m personally looking forward to one of the final chapters, ‘I Am Become Cake, the Destroyer of Midriffs’! Buy the book on Amazon here.

On our presentation coaching courses, we blend brain science, positive psychology and advanced communications skills to help leaders make this a reality.  You can work with us one to one or in groups. Contact us to find out more.


It’s the Way I Tell ‘Em

Frank Carson’s great catch phrase ‘It’s the way I tell ‘em’ is true. Like all great comedians he knew that the magic lies in how you deliver the material.

Go to a few local comedy stand up gigs. It’s easier to see what works and what doesn’t as they learn their craft. In particular, notice how they use pauses, pace, how they construct the story and really talk to the audience.

As a presenter, it will show you many of the techniques to tell your story well even if you are not using humour.

As a start consider how you use the simple pause and pitch.

  • Pause before you start to speak.  Look around and make eye contact with the audience.  Are they listening now?  A comedian can make you laugh before they’ve even started.  You can use it to demonstrate your relaxed confidence.
  • Decide where you pause in your material – audiences likes pauses. It gives the audience time to think and it signals that you value their opinion.
  • If volume is a challenge – focus on energy in your voice and releasing energy instead. See what happens!

And finally, dump the word ‘presenting’. What you are doing is having an interesting conversation!

You can be an exceptional communicator.  It’s absolutely possible.  Find out more about our presentations, personal presence and gravitas course here.