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April 19, 2009



In my mind, he demonstrated leadership. He set a vision for the future, I was inspired even if I didn't understand everything, and he showed energy – all the things a leader should do. Does it mean that everything he said was right, even the things he said about Scandinavia? No, but it doesn't matter. He was so convincing that I believed in him. He inspired me, and I remembered the things that I believe in: how old structures and patterns sometimes trap us from doing the things that are right for us. That's good enough.

Thomas Stack

People get to caught up in technique and performance. Presentation is basically about selling your idea and that is in my mind done with a strong message and emotions. I was very inspired by Shai's talk and I think you are spot on in your coverage. The question people should be asking themselves is are you Detroit or a Better Place...


It's funny you posted about this because I was thinking about something similar this morning. I went to an 8 AM church service this morning which I had never been to. It was at a fairly big church, but this early service attracts very few people (probably less than 20) so they meet in a small room. The minister was someone I know well and I have great respect for her skills as a minister, but I couldn't help feeling that the sermon sounded out of place in such an intimate setting. It was very well spoken, but it felt like she was speaking to a much larger audience, and I am sure I wouldn't have noticed anything if I had gone to a later, larger service. I think it could have benefited from being more imperfect.

Steve Cherches

I'm a public speaking coach. I recently went to a conference and saw one particularly amazing speaker. He was genuine, interesting, dynamic, energizing, bold, emotional, insightful... AND... he violated almost everything I'm "supposed to" coach for. His presentation was, for me, the most memorable talk of the conference. I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Steve L

By this rationale, a rambling and disconnected talk would be noteworthy if the presenter was relaxed and comfortable with public speaking.

Sorry, but I've been to far too many of those! I gave up on the Ted talk because I got bored. It was too disorganised to hold my interest.

He should have followed some of the principles in PZ, or at the very least had some structure to the talk.

Matt "Ikigai"

Hey Garr, thanks a lot for the mention!

The great thing about Shai's speech is that he could have given it sitting around a coffee house, yet managed enough emphasis to enthrall a whole conference center.


>By this rationale, a rambling and disconnected talk would be noteworthy if the presenter was relaxed and comfortable with public speaking.

Did I say a "rambling and disconnected" was noteworthy? I did not. No connection, no communication. I also was not speaking to being relaxed, I was speaking to the idea of naturalness which has more to do with being in that moment with that audience -- the emphasis is on the audience and sharing *with them*.


Hello, Garr. Thanks for this great post. I applaud your emphasis on naturalness, connection with audience and honesty in a speaker. I do training on Public Speaking and Customer Service. A big part of my work involves helping people discover and use "their own voice". This is powerful, compelling, freeing and inspiring. Of course you still have to be organized, know your audience, have something valuable to say ... but adding "your own voice and style" gets remembered. This isn't always easy -- people have ideas about how a presenter needs to look, sound and move like ... but such limiting beliefs can make presenters sound fake and cookie-cutter; like someone else, not ourselves.

Will Simpson

Thanks Garr, I connect with Suzuki's 'expressing yourself as you are'. Good encouragement even for an want-a-be presenter. I've been reading Aitken Roshi's 'Miniatures of a Zen Master' and in it he also emphasises this same kind of intimate expression.

I don't have to give many presentations, yet each month I help physicians with technical presentations and find the work enjoyable.

Your slide inspired my copy. I used one of my own photos rather than one from stock.


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