A Word From The Pros: Andrew Jennings

One of the many aspects of my business that I love is connecting with inspiring business owners. One of those is Andrew Jennings, Partner at Transcend Leadership Coaching. Recently I asked Andrew to answer a few questions about presenting. I’ve seen some of his work, and know he has a passion for presenting. What I didn’t know is he considers himself a ‘recovering introvert.’ Read more from Andrew…

1. Are you energized by giving talks and presenting? Why or Why not?

[AJ] Yes, I really do enjoy giving presentations. When they go well there is no better feeling than having an engaged audience asking questions and challenging your knowledge on the topic being presented.

2. How do you deal with stage fright or anxiety prior to a talk?

[AJ] Typically I over prepare for the presentation up until a few days beforehand, then I leave it alone and get myself into the “zone” prior to standing up. Typically I do not use notes, so I can be more personal in my delivery, but this does mean having intimate knowledge of the topics I want to cover, hence the over preparing.

3. What is your favorite presentation tool?

[AJ] I still like Powerpoint very much, it may be old, but it is familiar and I have become much better at utilizing it’s potential. Having said that I really do embrace the less is more approach to the slides, so use a lot of pictures and very few words to keep it engaging. I do use Prezy from time to time, but I have not yet got myself into that groove.

4. What was your favorite talk or presentation? Why?

[AJ] Actually that happened recently, when I presented on Effective Meetings. This is a topic close to my heart as we waste so much time in unproductive meetings. It was very reassuring to see the audience really relate and get excited about better ways to use this vital business tool.

5. If you are willing, please share an embarrassing moment you’ve had while giving a talk or presenting.

[AJ] Hmm, fortunately not too many of those, but in my early quest to not use notes, I did manage to completely forget what it was I wanted to say, I think this has spurred me to get a hold of any stage fright as this will kill your creative process when on stage.

6. Do you consider yourself having more of an introvert or an extrovert style in your overall business presence?

[AJ] As a recovering Introvert, I work hard to project a more extroverted persona, however I do still tend to come across as quiet, so thank heavens for microphones!

7. Who is your role model for giving talks and presenting?

[AJ] I think like a lot of people I admire the late Steve Jobs charismatic public presentations, one day I would like to be that good.

8. What is the process you follow to create and deliver your talk or presentation?

[AJ] I sketch a flow on paper, then build the slide deck with blank slides and titles to begin with. After that I search for images that reflect a sense of the point I plan to make. During this visual process, I work through in my mind what I want to say, making brief notes as I go. Once the presentation or talk is complete, I do a series of dry runs, making a note of timings and flow. If the flow is off I re-arrange the content removing, adding or clarifying as I go, until it feels right. My experience is that the success of a presentation or talk is in the flow, does it make sense? does it build a story? and can the audience easily follow?

9. Do you experience creative chaos anytime in your preparation for a talk or presentation? What do you do when that happens?

[AJ] Absolutely! I often find my original thoughts and ideas are a long way from where I wanted to be during the first dry run ,and often go back to the drawing board. Being a visual person, I need to see it all together before I can assess how well it will work.

10. Please share a link to one of your favorite or current presentations or talks.

[AJ] I don’t have any video of me talking sadly.

[LD] We look forward to seeing something in the future, Andrew! 

Anything else you want to share?

[AJ] Only speak or present on topics you truly believe in. The audience will be able to tell, and if they sense you are not being genuine, they will not engage with the topic. Only take as much time as needed to get your message across, and leave time for the audience to ask questions.

Andrew is an international sales, marketing and business development expert, he has over 2 decades of experience in working with and leading people. Andrew has built long-term customer relationships, sales and marketing teams, distribution networks and strategic partnerships around the world, including in Japan, China, India and all over Western Europe. www.leadfearlessly.com