‘Start with an Earthquake. . .’
Tim Stockil's new book on Presentation Skills was published in August 2013.
Listen to Tim talking about Start with an Earthquake to Jay McKeever of Cincom Systems on Expert Access Radio in Cincinnati

Start with an Earthquake. . .

Written by Ci: Creative intelligence’s Director, Tim Stockil, and based on his experience working as a director in the theatre and on 25 years of training business people to deliver high-impact speeches, Start with an Earthquake. . . explains how to deliver creative, memorable presentations using a wide variety of tools and techniques.

If you ask what it is that people pay attention to when listening to a presentation, most people reply ‘the content’. But if you actually get people to record what made an impact on them while they were listening to a presentation, it turns out that the content is much less important than other elements. Mostly people pay attention to the way that a speech is delivered – to the vocal variety, the emphasis, the changes of pitch and tone, the energy and passion and enthusiasm shown by the speaker, the gestures and facial expressions, the humour and the emotion. And when it comes to the content, the way that language is used is much more important than the facts. In fact, facts are rarely seen as important unless they are quirky or unusual or shocking.

Since many speakers concentrate almost entirely on presenting a series of facts, this insight into what actually has an impact on an audience should give them pause for thought.

Equally important is the need to debunk the myth that PowerPoint helps. It doesn’t – or, at least, it very, very rarely does. Tim shows how to use PowerPoint well, but he urges presenters to ditch it in favour of a more compelling and creative approach.

Tim’s approach starts with deciding not only on the topic of your presentation but also on your objective. Whatever your subject is, you need to decide how you want your audience to feel about it and what your want them to do as a result of your presentation. A presentation should never just be about passing on information; there should always be an emotional intention. Coupled with that is the importance of delivering a presentation that answers the needs and wants of your audience, and not just your own.

Tim expounds his brilliant way of constructing a presentation, using Post-it notes, which many participants on his presentation skills courses have found invaluable; and he explores many ways of making your presentations creative and memorable.

He explains why rehearsing properly is crucial to the success of your presentation and how to prepare yourself, physically, mentally and vocally, to deliver a top quality performance. And, last but not least, he goes into the use of language and rhetorical devices like anaphora and the rule of three to show what sort of language works in a presentation (and what sort of language doesn’t). To round off the book, he quotes at length from a very good contemporary speech to show how the writers put some of these linguistic techniques into practice.

This is what a couple of experienced business executives, who read the book pre-publication, said about it:

‘Genius. . .Tim has captured in one short book what a career’s-worth of presentation training has failed to do. . .focus on how you want the audience to feel. This should be a standard text on all MBA courses.’ Ben Rhodes, Head of Marketing, Royal Mail.

‘Even the most experienced speaker will be a little humbler and a lot wiser after reading Tim Stockil’s thoughtful and practical guide to a successful presentation. Do not even contemplate making another presentation before you have digested every morsel of his advice.’ Barnabas Hurst-Bannister, Non-Executive Director, London Insurance Market.

Published by Matador, an imprint of Troubador Publishing, in August 2013, 'Start with an Earthquake. . .' is available from all good bookshops, direct from the publishers (troubador.co.uk) and from Amazon at a price of £9.99. Or contact us directly at timstockil@creativeintelligence.uk.com