Yesterday I was invited to speak to 200 students at Monroe College in New Rochelle New York. I was invited by the Associate Dean, Karenann Carty. She told the students that part of Monroe's mission is to bring in successful business owners who can teach them skills for success and also serve as role models. My one hour talk was How to Give a Knockout Presentation. Students learned the top public speaking mistakes to avoid and what confidence looks like, sounds like, and how to speak the language of confidence. Administrators selected a number of classes that are usually held at this time, and made my presentation their class for the afternoon.
In order to give them real world experience, I pulled up a few volunteers. They learned how to use PowerPoint without reading the slides, and they learned how to make a confident entrance. One female student asked how she could get rid of her ums and ahs. She was surprised when I pulled her up in front of 200 students to practice pausing, but she did it in spite of her self-consciousness. What I've learned over the years in working with audiences - especially students - is that you must keep them engaged. Especially when attendance is mandatory! Out of 200 students, I only saw one sleeping - but not for long. He was suddenly interested when students began coming forward to speak in public and they were vying to receive Knockout Presentations boxing glove key chains.
The students learned that gifted speakers are born, but effective speakers are made - and that every one of them could be an effective public speaker. The presentation was a success. The students walked away with skills they could use immediately, and a couple professors are even considering using my book, Knockout Presentations, as a text. I'd say that was a knockout day.