A boy standing on a cliff reaching out to blue sky and the Zig Ziglar quote

Last week I wrote a blog about Earl Nightingale, the highly respected speaker, author and radio personality who I believe gave us a brilliant presentation tip in, ‘The secret to brilliant presenting and perhaps even other aspects of life’.

In my view he was a master in his field, but I also believe that he wasn’t alone.

The late Zig Ziglar was another of my many favourite speakers and whilst I appreciate that not everyone is a fan of motivational speakers I believe it’s hard to argue with what Zig famously said:

“Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.”

Personally, I think that not only is he right, but that it’s something that the world needs more of today more than ever; motivation.

If the idea of being motivated doesn’t resonate with you, how does the belief that it’s your attitude that makes all the difference?

There is nothing new in that of course, but then, like so many aspects of life and success, we often know and understand intellectually what to do, yet we still don’t do it.

That’s why there will always be a place in this world for exceptional motivational speakers; in fact, I would argue that there aren’t enough of them today.

Why are they successful?

I believe that there are four key reasons for the success of great motivational speakers:

1. What they have to share is relevant, personal and powerful.

2. They are thought provoking and challenge us to stretch ourselves, intellectually and emotionally.

3. They deliver there wisdom in a way that it clear and compelling.

4. They inspire not only thought but action and change.

It often feels to me that far too many professionals believe those attributes should be reserved exclusively for motivational speakers who are paid great sums of money to get their audience ‘jumping on tables.’

At Mindful Presenter we believe that whether you are presenting a monthly update, project status report, sales pitch or at a team meeting there is immense value in learning from so many of the great motivational speakers like Zig Ziglar.

In a business presentation your intention may not be to ‘motivate’ but regardless of your objective you will want to:

– Get our audience’s undivided attention from the word go and to keep it.

– Help them to understand your message intellectually and feel it emotionally.

– Ensure your audience remember you and your message.

– Keep them engaged, intrigued and believe in your message.

– Get your audience to do something when you’ve finished speaking.

Let’s see what we can learn from Zig Ziglar in his short presentation ‘Attitude Makes All the Difference’.

Aside from the extremely powerful universal truth that ‘Attitude Makes All the Difference’, here are a few things I believe we can take from the video to help our presentations in business. We teach all of these elements and a great deal more in our presentation skills training courses:

– Opening his presentation with a powerful, descriptive and relevant story that we can all relate to.

– He doesn’t simply ‘tell’ the story but ‘acts’ it out so that we can get to experience it as he did.As he describes in the story how angry someone was as she walked towards him he walks angrily towards his audience. As he talks about her crying he makes it look and sound as though he was about to cry himself.

– He stimulates his audience by moving among them with purpose, making eye contact with as many people as he can.

– He uses the ‘Rule of Three’ to great effect when talking about people he had spoken to in ‘psychology, psychiatry and the ministry,’ raising a finger each time for effect.

– He uses humour appropriate in his storytelling.

– Every aspect of his vocal and non-verbal expressions is not only animated and variable but totally congruent with what he is actually say at each point.

– His voice is generally loud and energetic yet he drops his volume, tone and pace right down when he wants to draw his audience in closer to him.

– He asks a rhetorical question that we can definitely all relate to which helps him to bring his point to life: ‘Have you ever noticed that people who are the problem never recognise that they are’?

– Just when he gets his audience nodding in agreement he does it again: ‘ Have you ever noticed that when somebody is about to lose something they’ve been complaining about, whether it’s a car, a home, a mate, a job or whatever, when all of a sudden it appears they are going to lose them it take on brand new value.’

What better way is there of connecting with your audience early on than by relating to them on a personal level sharing common human experiences.

That’s just in the first three minutes

In this case Zig Ziglar is mindful that he has less than 10 minutes to not deliver a powerful message but to get his audience to feel and act on it too.

Investing heavily in those first three minutes was a major part of his success. He has his audience’s attention, they can see and feel how passionate he is and everything he has done so far is authentic and engaging.

As you will see from the video, his talk continues to build in strength with everything he says and does supporting his key message: ‘Attitude Makes All the Difference’.

I’m sure you will agree that is a powerful mantra for each of us in life in general. Imagine what business presentations would look like if it were also the premise of professionals crafting and delivering their presentations.

I believe that the qualities I have highlighted in Zig Ziglar’s seminar if applied more often to business presentations would not only transform many organisations but make presentations something that professionals enjoy both making and attending far more than many currently do.

Image: Courtesy of flickr.com