In each edition of Busted, the Ethos3 comic series, a bust of Aristotle is featured as a presentation oracle that delivers snarky, yet inspired wisdom to mere mortals who are battling presentation demons.
As a hat tip to Aristotle, the muse of Busted, and the father of public speaking principles, here are a few presentation tips inspired by some of Aristotle’s most famous quotes:
1. “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
Presentation tip: Know Yourself
Believe it or not, the wisdom that is necessary to give an exceptional presentation begins with many hours of soul-searching. You must invest in yourself before anyone else will invest in you. Take the time to listen to your heart so that when you take the stage, you will know exactly what you want to communicate, and you will communicate with confidence. Journaling is a great tool for self-discovery. Just pick up a pen, and let your thoughts flow freely. It is that easy!
2. “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
Presentation tip: Listen to your Audience
One of the keys to a successful Q&A session is an open mind. Entertain all comments and questions before impulsively responding. If after some reflection you decide that you disagree with the comment or question, you can respond accordingly. The audience will respect you more if you can at least entertain their feedback and questions. They just listened to your thoughts – you can do the same for them.
3. “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”
Presentation tip: Connect to your Audience
In order to truly inspire an audience, a presentation must not only inform the mind, it must also activate the heart. Used wisely in a presentation, a captivating story, as well as unique and meaningful photography can stimulate the emotions of audience members. Also, remember to craft your presentation specifically for the intended audience. For example, if you are speaking to a crowd of senior citizens, pick stories and images that will resonate with elderly people. This seems obvious, but considering the rushed paced of modern business it is tempting to use the same presentation repeatedly, without tailoring the material specifically for each audience.
4.“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
Presentation Tip: Do Not Fear Criticism
If you do anything in this world, you are opening yourself up to criticism. Considering that, use criticism as an opportunity for growth. Criticism will always be a part of being in the spotlight, so get tough skin, try to learn from your blunders, and remember that it is okay laugh at yourself. In fact, if you make a mistake during a presentation, and laugh at yourself before moving on, the audience will likely feel more connected to you as a person.
5. “To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man.”
Presentation tip: Simplify Your Message
Your presentation most likely starts out lengthy, redundant, and full of industry jargon that is meaningless to outsiders. The solution to this problem is: time. The more time you spend reading and refining your presentation message, the more likely it is that your audience will remember what you said – and that is the point, right? Invest the extra time to edit your presentation repeatedly – it is worth it.
6. “The gods too are fond of a joke.”
Presentation tip: Keep a Sense of Humor
Everyone likes to have a good time. Thus, people with a sense of humor have a magnetic charm that attracts and intrigues others. Use this to your advantage. Remember to not take yourself or your presentation too seriously. Yes, what you are presenting is important, but it is more important to connect to your audience. If you do not connect to your audience, you might as well not give the presentation because you are not going to get your desired results. If you need to loosen up and remember that it is okay to laugh at yourself and any potential presentation blunders that you might commit, check out Busted, the Ethos3 original presentation comic series.
Aristotle’s wisdom has stood the test of time, and will likely continue to do so. For presenters, the words of Aristotle can be the foundation for great success if they are properly put to use. Visit the Ethos3 blog often for more inspiration.