FaceTime with Phil Waknell


Last week, I was honored and awed to score a FaceTime meeting with the one and only Phil Waknell.  While I was incredibly nervous to meet one of my presentation mentors, Phil was incredibly warm and easy to talk to.  As promised, I wanted to recap our conversation for you.

First, it’s important to note that we scheduled our meeting in the first place to discuss a need of mine: to find a basic introduction to the presentation revolution book for my freshmen-level Public Speaking courses.  I’ve been reading standard textbooks and business books, but nothing has been the right fit for the campus and online classes I teach.  Trust me when I say I’ve read dozens of books.  I’m still at a loss.

Fortunately for me and for my students, Waknell has been working on a book idea for years and has been publishing articles in SOLD magazine to flesh out his content.  His book’s aim – a basic introduction to the presentation revolution book focusing on content, delivery, and design – is exactly what my students need.  We’re all crossing our fingers for a 2014 book release!  I will keep you posted.

Phil Waknell presenting in Paris


In addition to chatting about my students’ book needs, we also talked about WikiStage and Present.me.  According to its website, “WikiStage is about curiosity. It is a collaborative non-profit project of people around the world who think it is important to never stop learning and to stay curious. The vision is to create a free video library of questions where experts address one question in 3, 6 or 12 minutes. The videos are filmed at WikiStage events that anybody can organise” (Source).

Present.me is a website I am truly ashamed I haven’t known about until my conversation with Waknell!   Need convincing?  Check this out.   I can see myself using Present.me in my online speech courses to help students combine the video of themselves presenting with slides in a fast, easy, simple fashion.  This would work well for the students’ final speech in Public Speaking Online, a persuasive speech requiring a slideshow, and for the Ignite presentation in Professional Communication and Presentation Online.  After spending today browsing Present.me, I concur with Phil that this website is a must for any online public speaking and presentation class!

An hour of FaceTime with Phil Waknell was everything I imagined it would be: thought-provoking, inspiring, exciting, and informative.  I am still pinching myself that the meeting happened in the first place.  Thank you to Phil for graciously taking some time out of his busy schedule for me!

If you were given an hour, what would YOU want to talk to Phil Waknell about?


Phil Waknell’s How To Make Your Audience Curious


Bright and early tomorrow morning, I have a FaceTime meeting with Phil Waknell of Ideas on Stage to talk about my needs and wants from a public speaking textbook.  Since I first saw his work in The Naked Presenter, I’ve been a huge fan of Waknell’s work and wise words, and we’ve been in touch since 2011.  Tomorrow, I have the wonderful opportunity to actually meet with him to nerd out about presentations, and this summer, I hope to get the chance to meet him in person!

I will definitely write up a starstruck blog post about my Waknell meeting later this weekend, but I do have a treasure to carry you over until that time.  “How To Make Your Audience Curious” is yet another fantastic presentation by the Ideas on Stage guru, and you don’t want to miss it.  Check out Waknell’s WikiStage Talk below:


To learn more about Ideas on Stage, Europe’s public speaking and presentation expert, click here.  To subscribe to Waknell’s blog, Phil Presents, click here.

Are there any questions I should make sure to ask Phil Waknell during our meeting tomorrow?  What would you ask one of your mentors if given the opportunity to meet and talk with him/her?

Phil Waknell’s Secrets of a Great Talk


Stop whatever you’re doing!  Nothing can be more important than taking 15 minutes to watch Phil Waknell’s “Secrets of a Great Talk.”


Waknell is a presentation expert with experience coaching TEDx presenters.  He founded Ideas On Stage, Europe’s leading presentation company.  I absolutely love the way he not only shares great presentation tips but also shows those tips through his own speech.

What advice from “Secrets of a Great Talk” will you use in your next presentation?

Links of the Week: Oct 28 – Nov 4, 2012


Though this coming Tuesday’s election coverage dominates most of the media, I managed to find some incredible reads under all of the analysis of the Obama versus Romney showdown.

Since I first heard the term “thought leader” two years ago, I’ve been trying to get to a clear, concrete definition.  Leigh Buchanan’s “Become a World-Changing Thought Leader” definitely helped me to do just that.  Buchanan interviews Ned Ward, VP of a New Jersey PR firm, who says, “I would define a thought leader as someone who stands above subject-matter expertise and is an authority in their field” (Source).  A few qualities of a thought leader are credibility and a proven track record; teaching ability so as to train others; passion; and clear goals both in their industries and high above… Ward says thought leaders want to change the world (Source).

The class I teach emphasizes the importance of professional communication, and being able to successfully communicate with others using the written, verbal, and visual mediums allows people to rise to that thought leader status.  Ward says that thought leadership “requires a passion for and a commitment to spreading ideas that can help others” (Source).  The only way to spread ideas and to move people, as we know from Nancy Duarte, is to be able to communicate and present your ideas in a way that resonates.


And Nancy Duarte is one of two people who I think of when I hear the term “thought leader.”  Her website is committed to celebrating her vision and passion.  Her most recent blog entry was written by Duarte Design’s Paula Tesch.  “Get Noticed in a Noisy World” focuses on Michael Hyatt and his recent book.  Hyatt’s ideas give thought leaders a way to stand out in the media-saturated culture we live in and to focus on spreading your ideas in a way that moves people.  Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World is a thought leader’s “how to” guide, and I immediately put it on my must-read list.

The second person I think of when I hear “thought leader” is Garr Reynolds.  Reynolds will be in London this week for the Presentation Zen European Seminar (learn more here).  Phil Waknell of Ideas On Stage published an article this week that proves Reynolds’ status as a thought leader.  Reynolds established a “Tweet up” before the seminar.  Waknell explains the event: “Garr also sees this [time in London] as an opportunity to meet like-minded people, fans etc, so each year we also organize a ‘tweet-up’, which is simply a time and place where Garr’s fans can come along, buy a drink and chat with him. No tickets, no entry fee, nothing formal – just a meet-up, but organized via social media, hence the name ‘tweet-up’” (Source).  The “tweet-up” is an amazing idea that uses social media to bring people together to celebrate big ideas.  If only I were in London this week, I would love to meet both Garr and Phil!  If you’re abroad, click here to join in on the fun.

Who do you think of when you hear the term “thought leader?”  What qualities do you think a thought leader must possess?

In The News… Links of the Week


Twitter provides me with a wealth of information on a daily basis, so I began bookmarking each week’s best news and articles.  This week’s interesting articles come from Phil Waknell, Ethos3, and Inside Higher Ed by way of Chiara Ojeda.

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Phil Waknell has become such a wonderful mentor for me in my personal life; when I was struggling with an important presentation issue, I reached out to him for advice.  He is such a kind, helpful, and passionate person, and with his wealth of knowledge and experience (he’s a TED presentation coach!), if you have any interest in presentation or public speaking, I encourage you all to begin reading his website, Phil Presents, and to follow him on Twitter @philpresents.  This week, Waknell wrote a fantastic article: “Handle With CARE: 4 Keys To Convince Any Audience.”  In “Handle with CARE,” Waknell discusses the four keys to getting an audience to change, and he uses the acronym C.A.R.E. to help us understand these concepts.

Ethos3 is one of my favorite presentation design companies in the world.  These folks are people I would love to meet in person, hang out with on the weekend, nerd out to public speaking philosophy with… They are incredible.  This week, Ethos3 wrote an amazing article called “How to Engage Your Audience.”  Ethos3 Tweeted, “Open a knowledge gap, and then close it in an interesting, unexpected way” (Source).  This is just one of the interesting tips Ethos3 blogs about in “How to Engage Your Audience.” If you have to give a presentation, and if you want your audience to care about your presentation, this is a must-read.

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For all my superteachers, Chiara Ojeda linked me to “Some Students Need to Fail,” an article written by Melissa Nicholas for Inside Higher Ed.  This week, I’ve had so many online student issues that yesterday, in the words of Chiara, my students “broke me.”  After one thing after another after another, I finally got home last night around 7:30 PM and breathed a much-needed sigh of relief after reading this article.

Nicholas writes, “Sally should fail because she did not complete the work; she did not learn what the course proposed to teach; she was not educated. If the university allows Sally to pass, we will be failing her in a much more serious way: we will be failing her as an institution that is deeply committed to learning, failing her as mentors, failing her as human beings” (Source).

No matter how many migraine headaches I have; no matter how many working lunches I take because of student IMs; no matter how many rude and disrespectful student emails I receive, I will never be the kind of teacher who just gives a student a passing grade if that student hasn’t earned every single percentage point.  I believe in higher education, and I will never sacrifice my hard work to get here; my profession; my own education; my beliefs; or my high standards just because a student doesn’t want to fail.

What great articles have you read because of Twitter this week?

Resonate Through Story Changes The World


This summer, Professional Communication and Presentation will move forward with using Resonate as our course textbook.  To learn more about Nancy Duarte’s book Resonate, check out this video:


I’m excited to continue focusing on the three legs of Jim Endicott’s “presentation stool” but to focus on presentation with content highlighted as the most important element.

Yes, visual presentation is still a challenge.  Today, one of my students, a medical professional, argued that visual presentation as outlined by Duarte and Garr Reynolds will never succeed in the medical field because of the importance of the “informational slide.”  When I asked why a handout couldn’t work just as effectively, he asserted the importance of saving cost and staying green.  Unsure about why a handout couldn’t be emailed or sent via Dropbox (this is 2012!), I sent him Phil Waknell’s masterful article “When you think Presentation Zen isn’t appropriate, that’s when you need it most.”  Visual presentation is still a nightmare.

Yes, delivery is still a challenge.  The last PechaKucha Orlando event I went to showcased several presenters simply reading from a script.  Not only are people too afraid of public speaking to detach from their security blanket script or notes, but people running professional public speaking organizations don’t know how to properly train or facilitate proper presentation.  Delivery is still a nightmare.

But content… You would think that this leg of the presentation stool would be solid and unwavering.  Unfortunately, content isn’t strong because most people don’t understand the importance of ethos, pathos, and logos.  Speakers don’t use story effectively or at all.  They don’t implement Chip and Dan Heath’s Made To Stick techniques in order to make a speech resonate with others.  And speaking of resonating, Nancy Duarte’s book of the same name focuses specifically on content and how we can strengthen our messages to actually connect with people.

Have you read Resonate?  What are your thoughts on the Duarte prequel to Slide:ology?

Currently Reading: Envisioning Information and Visualize This


Friday morning, when I returned home from yoga, the library hand-delivered two more treats: Envisioning Information by Edward Tufte and Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics by Nathan Yau.

Hopefully both will offer a greater insight into design, especially information design, so I can teach my students that yes, you can still apply Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen theories and principles even to data and information.  This reminds me of an incredible article by one of my favorites, Phil Waknell of Phil Presents.  Waknell explains that there are 3 situations people argue Presentation Zen cannot apply: 1) a boring subject, 2) a technical presentation, and 3) a review of business results (Source).  Waknell’s article is called “When you think Presentation Zen isn’t appropriate, that’s when you need it most” because even in the three scenarios above, especially in the three scenarios above, visual design as outlined by Garr Reynolds is essential.

Check back for reviews of both books soon!

What are you reading?