LaurenYou may remember that a few weeks back we had the pleasure of hosting world-renowned speaker, Mikki Williams at Catalyst Ranch. We already knew how amazing Mikki was, but her newest presentation, “Speak Loudly and Carry a Big Shtick,” blew us away and left us with some fantastic tips to become better speakers and presenters. Today’s blog is guest written by Catalyst Ranch’s own Event’s Guru, Lauren Smith in reaction to Mikki’s event.

5 Presentation Tips I Learned From Mikki by Lauren Smith

She’s motivational, charming, sensational, inspirational, humorous and, she gave her Mikkiballoonlatest presentation at Catalyst Ranch wearing a skirt made out of balloons. Really, the whole thing! I’ve seen a lot of wacky stuff in my time here but a balloon dress was a first. Mikki Williams is a lady with eclectic tastes and she has channeled her flamboyant style and infectious energy into award winning presentations. This summer, Mikki was inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame, an achievement attained by fewer than 1% of all professional speakers. Catalyst Ranch is very lucky to have Mikki Williams share not one, but three of her signature presentations. Last week I attended “Speak Loudly and Carry a Big Shtick!” and learned many new tricks that I will incorporate into my next presentation.

1. PowerPoint is a tool used to enhance a presentation. Too much information on a screen can make the presentation difficult to read and distracting. Instead of filling each slide with your word-for-word presentation, provide handouts to convey technical information. General rule of thumb for PowerPoint: 7 words or less, interesting graphics, upper and lower case words. Short and sweet!

2. Authenticity is paramount. Be authentic because your audience will know when you’re faking it.

3. Make them laugh. Everyone loves a humorous story and the physical act of laughing feels good. Chances are if you find a situation funny, so will other people. Starting a humor journal is a recommended way to document your stilly moments to use in future presentations.

NSAMikki24. Start with a story. This is a piece of advice I’m definitely taking to heart. Never start presentations with the bland “Thank you for coming” or “Welcome to the…” (Guilty of this one on many occasions!) Setup your point and work up to it by telling a story to get there. Find a creative introduction that will capture the audience’s attention right off the bat.

5. Use anchors and shading to keep the audience hooked. Our attention can wander so it’s important to use anchors to pull the audience back in and focus. Mikki has a tag line and popular phrases that she says throughout the presentation and asks the audience to finish the last few words. Using volume can help stress certain areas of a presentation and set a new mood. More delicate or sensitive moments can use a very soft, slower voice whereas moments of high energy require more volume, gestures and movement to convey that energy

Mikki has challenged me to change my presentation habits forever and I look forward to incorporating these tips into my own style. What are your own favorite public speaking tips?


Want More Mikki? Experience Mikki on February 10th at Catalyst Ranch in “You’ve Got Personnel-ity!”

What is the most critical and untaught skill that you must have today? More and more experts agree: it’s knowing people. Know people – know what makes Walt unique, and understand what Susan wants and needs – and your relationships will change. You will dramatically improve your effectiveness with the people you work with, the people you supervise, the people you’re trying to motivate, your clients – everyone.

 See you there!