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How a Top Professional Speaker Uses Powerful Presentation Skills
By Chris King

Even though I listen to motivational tapes, read motivational books and receive and read a plethora of motivational newsletters, I have not attended a live motivational seminar in awhile. When I discovered that one of my favorite motivational gurus, Brian Tracy, was coming to Cleveland to present two three hour sessions this past Monday, I couldn't sign up fast enough. I am glad I did!

Brian Tracy doesn't use PowerPoint or props - he uses an overhead projector. There are no ice breakers or interactive games. There are no handouts - it is up to us to take our own notes. He doesn't tell funny jokes - yet had us laughing often. He doesn't ask us to form groups or pairs and share ideas with our neighbors. He talks fast and didn't give us a break until after a solid hour and a half of words. So, how is it that Brian Tracy had me hanging on his words for six hours? And I could hardly wait for the hour and a half between the afternoon and the evening session to be over so I could get back to listening to him. In this article I will try to answer why I left his seminars so excited and happy that I took the time and spent the money to experience him and his motivating messages.

I am going to cover the qualities and techniques that a top professional speaker in the person of Brian Tracy uses to give power to his presentations. No wonder he is known worldwide and is in demand as a presenter and creator of tapes and books.

Brian Tracy looks sharp, professional, prosperous and self-confident. Even before the session started, while he was working with the crew to get his overhead projector (not a laptop) to work properly, Tracy was calm, assured and impeccably dressed. When he was introduced and took the stage, he immediately portrayed the presence of a leader and someone who cares about everyone. Yes, he is a handsome man with perfectly cut white hair, dressed conservatively in a comfortably fitting dark blue suit, white shirt and red tie. But it isn't his clothes that give him the presence. It is the fact that they are perfect for who he is. During breaks, Tracy didn't rush off somewhere. He was busy talking with people, answering questions, smiling and thoroughly enjoying every minute. Many speakers don't realize how important appearance is along with the interaction before and after presenting.

There was no question in any of our minds about Brian Tracy's sincerity and belief in what he was saying. He positively walks his talk and knows his material because he lives it. It is obvious that he is voracious reader and student of many cultures and languages. He doesn't ask his listeners to do anything he hasn't done, and it is obvious that he believes that each of us can achieve greatness as he has. We must make sure as speakers that we are honest and sincere - that we don't act like someone we aren't or profess to have accomplished something we haven't. And, this leads me to the next topic.

Brian Tracy knows the power of true stories. He started his presentation telling us about his lack of success in school and then how he went from one low level job to another - going lower and lower all of the time. He even made it amusing, but not appealing. Then he traced his career as a struggling salesman to learning the necessary steps of selling to his success of today. He didn't brag - although his career is more than impressive - and he didn't say it was easy or without hard work. He did, however, through his own stories and the stories about others he has been involved with over the years show us that success is possible for each of us. We all have our stories, and stories, well and honestly told, will captivate listeners and spur them to action.

Visual Aids
As I mentioned in the opening, Brian Tracy doesn't rely upon PowerPoint slides, handouts or props. I admit I was shocked when I saw the overhead projector. Tracy used it like a huge white board. He only turned it on when he had a special point to make - our clue that we should write some notes - and then did not have slides. He would write short phrases in a distinctive cursive (not school proper) and when he wanted extra emphasis, he would pick up a red marking pen. This was handled so smoothly and with an assurance that this is the way it should be done, we all appreciated the simplicity and straight-forward approach. And, it did make taking important and helpful notes easy and obvious. Frankly, it was such a relief from the many PowerPoint presentations (and I admit that I give them myself) of this day and age, all of us loved and learned from it. Besides, it was a part of Tracy's style that made us all comfortable.

Brian TracyUp to this point I have been focusing a great deal on techniques, of which Brian Tracy is a master, but I would be remiss if I didn't delve into the best part of the six hours - content. Not only was Tracy's content well organized and valuable, it was also timely, useful and inspirational. As I mentioned earlier, he speaks rapidly and with vigor, enthusiasm and passion. Even though I have many of his tapes and listen to many other motivational tapes, I could barely write fast enough. He had so much valuable information to share. As he said toward the beginning of his presentation, "The questions are the same. It's the answers that are different." Tracy backed up his statements with stories, facts and numbers. He used the power of percentages and survey statistics. He was up-to-date on the news. He knew enough about Cleveland and politics that we related to him. And throughout, he let us know the real Brian Tracy - and, I for one, loved him.

I guess if I were asked to sum up what makes Brian Tracy and every top professional speaker a powerful presenter, I would say that I felt from the first minute an instant rapport - that he knew me and was speaking directly to me - he cared about me. He was comfortable with himself and his own unique style, so we became comfortable - he wasn't trying to be like anyone else. He is a knowledgeable, wise, and positive expert who expects us to succeed and knows we can do it. And, he made us want to take action! And, isn't that what it is all about?

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