To celebrate the latest e-lesson on Presentations, I thought I’d share five moments in my life as a presenter, moments which ‘kicked me upstairs’ in terms of my personal development as a trainer. In no particular order…

1.Plenary at LABCI-ABCI conference

Want to know sheer terror? Seeing five gigantic screens behind a microscopic David Graddol in Sao Paolo as he did his plenary in a room laid out for over a thousand. Gulp. I fled to my room and spent eight hours the following day re-working my material to make it work in context. Need a 20 second-hook to capture the attention of the audience. I found one – the Brazilian wave…..

2. Post-course chat

After one of our courses in Stratford, well-known trainer Seth Dickens stayed behind and spent an hour telling us what makes a good PPT slide. I now fill the screen with my photo, and have become addicted to white text on black backgrounds. PPT will never be the same again – thanks, Seth…..

3. Angst at ESP conference, Stuttgart

Nick Brieger finished his talk and then the computer and projector (sorry, beamer) broke. Just like that. I started my session with no PPT, while someone behind me fiddled with incomprehensible cables. Whatever I do now, knowing what I will do if the technology goes pear-shaped is crucial. Roll on Plan B……

4. De-mystifying digital

Watching my colleague’s presentation on this course made me realise there are two types of people in the world. Those who know nothing about photograph libraries (like me) and those that do. The graphics he used were from a designers nirvana. Slides involving one or two key-words. I really experienced the power of design….

5. Buying a clicker on Amazon

Buying that wireless clicker has transformed my presentations. Like Mark Powell, I have great difficulty in standing in one place and exuding calm and serenity. (Like it tells you in the manuals). I hop around like an epileptic spider on heat, but secretly, in my pocket, nestles my clicker….

I was baffled as to why you try and stick to the rules (give an overview, divide the presentation into five parts…) yet all those great presentations break the rules! So, this e-lesson is about breaking the rules. It is also a homage to a lot of great presentations and presenters I have witnessed over the years which have helped me. You may even guess some of the presenters in there! Hope you enjoy it!

You can download the latest business English e-lesson from Macmillan – “Best Presentation ever…” here:

Five seminal moments in the life of a presenter

2 thoughts on “Five seminal moments in the life of a presenter

  • 2 December 2010 at 20:14

    Hi Pete,

    I also like walking around in my presentations – getting down into the audience and one of my favorite instruments is my long-range clicker :-))

    By the way, not sure if you’ve seen this blog for tips on presentations? It’s really great – many new ideas –

    am also a fan of dark backgrounds and light text although one has to be careful in daylight!

    am also a fan of dark backgrounds and light text although one has to be careful in daylight!

  • 2 December 2010 at 21:37

    Hi Karenne
    thanks for this
    that’s a great title – ‘Presentation zen’
    must get into one of your sessions at the next conference – I wanna see your ‘long-range’ clicker!!!

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