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Thoughts you don’t want audiences to think #4

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Have mercy, be interesting.

#4 “Boring!”

Audiences are generally very forgiving though there is one unforgivable
sin – being boring.

You need to grab an audience’s attention and keep it throughout your presentation. That’s why those first minutes are so

It’s when your audience will devote more of its attention to you than at any other point in the presentation. Don’t waste it.

Be funny, be provocative, be candid, be contrarian, be excited – just don’t be
boring. The worst thing you can do is to look as if you have been sent by your
boss to deliver the presentation on her behalf.

Look like you want to be there – whether you want to be or not. Remember that no matter how dry your topic, how important the content nor how much information you wish to convey everything goes down better when audiences are interested.

Hootville is running a public Presentation Savvy workshop Thursday December 7  for everyone who needs to improve their public speaking whether it be to audiences of 1 or 1000.


Keynote prescribed for medical students

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Maybe one audience member can sort Brett’s back out while he’s there.

Public speaker Brett de Hoedt will present a keynote address to 90 selected medical students at the National Leadership Development Seminar organised by the Australian Medical Students Association in Canberra Tuesday September 15.

The conference draws together a select group of future leaders from the world of medicine with a focus on developing their advocacy and campaigning skills. As always, Brett will be the least educated person in the room.

Brett will deliver his keynote  Embracing your inner media tart which he recently delivered to 650 young medicos in Perth at the Global Health Conference. Here’s his feedback from that performance:

Dear Brett,

Thank you for your fantastic contribution to the 11th Annual Global Health Conference! Thankyou for being such a pleasure to work with. Your plenary and workshop were among the most popular of the entire event. The glowing feedback from the delegates was unprecedented.

Daniel Dorevitch, Academic Convenor
Global Health Conference (GHC) Perth 2015

If you want Brett to speak at your next event, conference, expo or forum contact us today: 0414 713 802.


Brett goes west to turn medicos into tarts

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Global speakers on global issues.

Brett de Hoedt, speaker and emcee at large will cross the continent to persuade the 650 or so young medicos at the Global Health Conference in Perth that if they really want to save the world they’ll need to engage the media.

His keynote title? Embracing your inner media tart.Find out about this and his other presentations.

Many event organisers complain about a lack of attendees. There’s always something to explain the low numbers. Well this event is run by full-time medicine students who have an overworked and impoverished target audience yet the event goes gangbusters year after year, even when located in a rather remote location. Go figure.

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Black and white is always flattering.

Organisers even created a fetching sketch of Brett for the program.

It is likely to be just one in a series of modern touches that will leave Brett feeling old.



Public speaking – 11 thoughts you don’t want your audience to think

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Too few public speakers make the most of their opportunity and very few in Australia take any public speaking training. It’s easy for public speakers to think that their presentation went well as very few audience members express their true feelings. Event managers are often more concerned with punctuality and logistics than content, so presenters can live in a bubble.

However if we delve into the minds of audience members we’d often find thoughts like those featured in this series:

Thoughts you don’t want your audience to think.

Whether you speak to conference rooms or board rooms, to policy advisers or prospects, avoid these thoughts by attending our upcoming our public Present Savvy workshops or book your own today.

Thought #1: “Duh!”

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Tell them something they don’t know.

There’s a fine line between explaining what needs to be explained and teaching people to suck eggs. Many public speakers are worried about bringing the audience along with them so they explain everything from the ground up. They give background, they show organisational flowcharts, they treat audiences as students rather than fellow professionals. Don’t do this.

A client of ours recently ran through a presentation that she was planning to make to a room full of nutritionists. The thrust of the presentation was about how a low socio-economic school compensated for the poor nutrition kids were getting at home through their breakfast plan and other means.

Our client opened up by explaining the link between good nutrition and good student learning. You know the deal – as a well fed tummy provides the ability to concentrate so students get the most out of each and every class. That’s fine but she went on to explain this in great depth and at some length in the context of a 30 minute presentation.

I gave her feedback that a room full of nutritionists do not need to be told of the benefit to students of a healthy diet. They already get it. The nutritionists really wanted to learn about her school’s program so they could steal ideas and recreate its success.

Be careful not to tell your audience what they already know. It takes only a couple of minutes for an audience to sense that you are underestimating them. This is usually interpreted as a sign of disrespect and they disengage accordingly.

Of course you may have to cover some old ground or find some common understandings but liberal use of phrases such as: “you already know this but…” or “I hardly need to tell a room like this that…” show that you understand and respect them. It also makes audiences feel smart.

Hootville is running a public Speak Savvy workshop Wednesday November 11 for everyone who needs to improve their public speaking to audiences of 1 or 1000. 

Thought #2: “Is she ever going to shut up?” 

Public speakers need to find a way to involve their audience whether they want to or not.

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Make them believe you care about them.

I like to have some degree of continuous interaction with an audience which can take the form of short, sharp questions such as:

  • Has anyone else here experienced that?
  • Anyone here in violent disagreement with what I just said?
  • Has anyone read that book/seen that documentary/used that software?

Your audience can respond via a quick comment, a show of hands or with a low murmur. It’s a small way to show that you give a damn about your audience and you just might learn something from their response that you can reflect in your presentation. You must find a way to let people in your audience participate. Q & A at the end isn’t enough.

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A book your audiences will love.

Serious about being a better speaker? You should be. Better speaking = better career.

Download our free PDF eBook Speak Savvy and book in to our workshop Present Savvy.

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Books for marketers: Talk Like TED

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Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo. Recommended: for speakers who take the craft seriously and TED talk devotees.

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The foul-mouthed bear? Ted Turner? Big Ted?

There is something a little irksome about Carmine Gallo’s book Talk Like TED. Perhaps it’s the shamelessness of writing a book that is entirely dependent on the efforts of others, perhaps it’s the blind faith the author has in the TED talk formula or the repeated plugs for his own speaker coaching skills.

Still, if you want to improve your speaking or are fascinated by the globocult that is Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) this book is for you.

TED talks have redefined what Westerners expect of public speakers. We want work-perfect presenters who win our hearts with personal stories, wow us with slick visuals and walk the stage looking good every step of the way.

In many ways this has lifted the bar for non-TEDsters, though it has created a template that some of us might wish to ignore.

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When TED Talks, people listen.

Gallo knows the formula inside and out. This comes from watching every TED talk, timing it, transcribing it, breaking it down into its constituent parts and interviewing many of the (less famous) speakers. He has even plotted their hand movements.

Surely we didn’t really need to have Al Gore’s presentation presented in a two column chart with his words on one side and a description of his hand movements on the other. Surely he hired an intern for all this bollocks?

The result of this industriousness is a book that promises to “reveal the nine public speaking secrets of the world’s top minds”. Oh dear. Undoubtedly there is wisdom to be gained.

While Gallo may be a great speaking coach he is a writer in need of an editor. Talk Like TED has a convoluted format. Not only are there nine “secrets”, there are groups of secrets within each secrets, there are many quotes from the greats, TED notes, subheadings, and breakout boxes.

There is an absolute acceptance that the TED talk formula – and it is a formula – is the definitive way to present to groups of people. Nowhere does Gallo seriously suggest that you do things your way or acknowledge that those of us who are a little less famous, who speak in spotlights a little dimmer, may not have the same options available to us. To Gallo, the more YouTube hits you have, the better the speaker.

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Public speaking tip: launch new iPhone. Wish we’d thought of that.

Gallo Carmine has history – his previous work was: The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. Clearly he too has a formula, knows when he’s on a good thing and sticks to it.

Few of us are philanthropist rockstars, hero pilots, silicon valley CEOs or bloody Malcolm Gladwell but we can heed Gallo’s advice to tell a story, to be brief, to incorporate levity, to deliver one killer statistic, to ensure that we teach people something they did not know.

The book also provides plenty of insights into what goes into creating and delivering an 18-minute Ted talk. It’s a cult we tell you! Run!

Ironically, for a book that praises TED’s brevity Talk Like TED is repetitive and far too long. Like so many books it cherry picks neuroscience, talking about attention spans, recollections and visual processing. Whatever!Just be interesting and of value we say.

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A book your audiences will love.

Still, if you want to improve your public speaking Talk Like TED is a worthwhile read that will give you food for thought and some specific ways to lift your game. To Gallo’s credit there are dozens of pages of notes footnotes. Or maybe that was the intern.

Why not book our new Present Savvy workshop for the TEDwannabees in your life?

You can also do worse than download our free e-book speak savvy which is free, short, practical, and yours within minutes.


freakonomics books for marketers

Read it. Think it.

And read our rave review of Freakonomics – a must-read for marketers everywhere.

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Straight to video: put thyself in the story

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Time to premiere (unleash?) another video. This cinematic masterpiece is aimed at public speakers and media spokespeople.

It’s all about the value of putting yourself in the story. World Vision CEO Tim Costello does this unfailingly. You should too. Watch and learn what we mean.

So much depends on your spokespeople’s ability to present persuasively. On their public speaking skills hinge your donations, members, staff and policy decisions. So…when was the last time you developed your messages and presentation skills?

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A book for our time.

If you want you and your team to be better presenters book a Speak Savvy workshop today. Call Brett 0414 713 802. And download our Speak Savvy the free eBook.



Dr Stan is good talent. Listen and learn.

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Good talent makes journalists weep with joy. It also leads to lots of call backs and further media opportunities. Brett recently interviewed Dr Stan Rodski about his new colouring book Colourtation which is for corporate grown-ups. Dr Rodski is very good talent. Listen as we deconstruct him.

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20,000 copies sold and counting…

0.38 He has his opening statement ready. Colourtation isn’t a book – it’s “a way to relax quickly and easily in our very hectic days.”  He’s positioned this wad of paper with patterns as something we all want.

1.20: Dr Rodski has positioned his simple colouring book as a solution to aneurysm and dementia. Long bow? Who cares?

2.03: Dr Rodski positions his simple book as an easy, simple alternative to all those tricks we know that we ‘should’ do – meditation and relaxation. Anyone who has failed to chant their way to a peaceful mind will be pleased to hear this.

3.31: He plugs his practice but more importantly places himself in a story which demonstrates his authority.

4.00: Dr Rodski explains the science of it all so clearly and  simply. Lots of examples. He does this immaculately at 6.25.

He’s relaxed and comfortable isn’t he? He takes charge but in a friendly way. Everything is easy, simple, certain, reasonable.

Ice breaking, trust building, show offing

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Brett de Hoedt will act as facilitator of a networking / ice-breaking session at a conference of the Anglicare Australia flock in September at the Hilton on the Park. The session aims to mix and mingle the audience which is gathering from across the far-flung nonprofit’s operations.

Brett has pledged to network the audience and build trust without the aid of laughter therapy or human pyramids. The theme of the day is: “Strength to strength, ideas that transform.”

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What that 7.7%'s beef?

Brett – who emcees and speaks at such conferences across Australia – will also deliver a 90m session for newer professionals looking at career-building communications skills.

A similar session he recently delivered to young professionals for LG Pro received favourable reviews as measured on the left.