In-house public speaking class at Converse European HQ - class review
Updated: Jan 5
In April 2019, we were lucky enough to teach Impact Presenting at the most iconic sneaker company ever, Converse , at their European Headquarters (just outside Amsterdam).
At this 1-day in-house event, me and 4 members of the European marketing team worked on polishing their upcoming presentations due to be given to the entire European sales organization in a couple of months. They wanted presentations with impact.
Together, the 5 of us focused on what audiences want and the best way to give it to them. First we looked at "typical" company presentations, a title slide followed by slide after slide of text and graphs, then we looked at some alternatives.
We all agreed a photoshow was always better than a text slide, especially when speaking to a large audience.
Here are our tips to consider when designing a great slideshow:
Choose impactful photos – Pictures are international and communicate across cultures. Showing photos of your office and team can boost the interest level and put a human face to a product. Photos can also be highly persuasive if they show your product in action or visualize your new plans or beginnings. These might want to include a photo which connects you to your subject (e.g. you may have been directly impacted by the problem your product solves). Or just a pair of really dirty shoes
Use a wireless clicker – This will ensure you’re not stuck next to your computer, and some models even have built-in timers to help you dazzle your audience with perfect time management.
Move around the room – Relevant to any sort of presentation, talking from different locations can boost the energy in the room, help you make eye contact with different part of the audience, and keeps them on their toes.
We then focused on using photos as the lead-in to telling a story. Storytelling in business is tricky, but with the right photos, it becomes a lot easier. For example, one participant
showed a picture of her brand new Converse shoes just before her trip to the mountains of Thailand, and then after (muddy and beat up). And with that image, she told her story about how her passion for Converse shoes led to her to seek out a job with them. Then, she described what was next on her journey, (achieving the company’s targets), and for which she needed everyone's help.
Her photo was used to establish her enthusiasm for the company and its products, helping her establish emotional credibility, which cemented her take-home message in the minds of her audience.
Another participant spoke of one of the sales teams (who would be in the audience for the official event) and their struggle to work successfully with several barriers like location and economic factors, showing photos of them nonetheless persevering.
Everyone could come up with a story which really harnessed the power and enthusiasm of the sales teams. In contrast to the usual feelings of anxiety when getting on stage to recite a lot of data, they found when they shared their experiences, it was much easier and they could smile more on stage which boosts your impact.
The final feedback from their manager, who heard them all speak at the conference, was that there was no comparison between before the class and after and is looking forward to continuing with future follow-on sessions.
Maybe next time I can get some free Chucks as a bonus?
Do you think your team would benefit from training in public speaking? Find more about our in-house training opportunities or contact us for a consultation.