The WOW Factor: How to Stand Out As A Speaker

26 Jul

You’ve been in that terrible position.  That dull, mind-numbing state of being that we call the boring presentation.

Lemme guess.  It’s in a dark room.  There’s a projector showing a handful of abysmal graphs and an endless list of bullet points.  These things are bad, but the worst part is that your speaker is droning in a monotone fashion.  It’s a show we’ve all seen many times before, and yet nothing changes.  We continue to experience these run-of-the-mill catastrophes because speakers are focusing too much on the information and aren’t thinking enough about their delivery.  Without at least a clean and clear delivery, your audience won’t care enough to listen to the content.

Remember: Content is King, but Delivery is his Queen.  The king makes the decisions, but the queen gets the people’s attention.  He is powerful, but she is beautiful.  You need both to rule the kingdom.

So, what to do about this problem?  How do we transform a boring speaker into a master of style and confidence?

Well, great speakers possess certain attributes that give them the spark that audiences crave.  At Big Fish Presentations, we have come up with three qualities that we believe will make you a memorable and exciting presenter.  These three things combine to give you the “WOW” factor.

The WOW Factor means you’ve got to be:


In order to appear confident, you’ve got to actually be confident.  The best way to be confident is by being a know-it-all when it comes to your topic.  Practice, practice, practice.  Then, practice some more.  You want to be able to relax and breathe properly while you speak, which you can’t do if you’re visibly struggling to remember certain points.  Audiences are smart.  They can easily tell if you know what you’re talking about or not.  Become extremely comfortable with your material beforehand, and you will have no problem presenting to crowds of any size.  Pretty soon you’ll be a well-oiled machine, ready to rock any venue like a true boss.


The problem with many inexperienced presenters is that they lack originality.  They get by in their presentations by repeating the same jokes, using the exact same words and speaking like they always have.  It seems as if they just go through the motions, not diverging from habit.  Whether it’s because they are scared to leave their comfort zone or because they are too busy or lazy to change the routine, the fact remains that their audiences suffer.  Once again, audiences are smart, and they can tell if you’re just going through a process.  Now, this attribute might seem contradictory to the first point: being well-versed.  However, being comfortable with your material and simply repeating the exact same words over and over are two very different things.  Being well-versed means that you have done your research and are able to answer any question that comes your way.  Being unoriginal involves the memorization of lines, sounding forced as you speak and not truly delving into the subject matter, but skimming the surface with your old routine.  The point is that you should be fresh and innovative in your approach to presentations.  Give your audience a new, exciting show every time you present.  If it is new to you, it will be even newer to your audience, which excites and entertains them.


I know what you’re thinking.  “Why would I want to be weird? That’s weird.” Here’s the way I look at it. Wouldn’t you rather be different than be normal?  The average presenter is someone who goes under an audience’s radar.  If you want to be a great speaker, you’ve got to break away from the norm.  You’ve got to be unique enough that people can’t help but be captivated by your energy and your passion.  Keep your audience guessing by livening up your delivery and putting a fun spin on your content to make it more easily digestible.  Don’t let any type of information remain typical and boring.  You can’t afford to get too comfortable with your delivery.  Your audience deserves better than that!

Having the WOW Factor isn’t difficult to acquire.  You’ve just got to do some thinking about your material, your delivery and most importantly your audience.  You are like a host at your very own party.  You don’t want your party to be drab or boring.  You want to have the best parties with the best activities and the best personalities.  Your parties are awesome because you give your attendees something of value, something of true worth to them that makes them want to come to the next one.  So, make your presentations the best that you can by “wow-ing” them at every point in the presentation.

Was this helpful?  Do you want to know more about having the WOW Factor?  Please don’t hesitate to contact us, whether through the comments below, on our Facebook or Twitter pages or via e-mail at!  Check out our YouTube channel to see the latest Big Fish news and projects.  We’d love for you to stop by!

Presentation Design: The Rule of Thirds

25 Jul

Have you heard of The Rule of Thirds?”

Unless you’re a designer, photographer or an artist, you probably don’t hear about it a lot.  It’s a standard in the design world, used by professionals in many fields in order to achieve harmonious, clear placement of a variety of design elements.  It’s a basic rule that, if followed correctly, greatly increases the value of images and text in any piece, (including a presentation) and the good news is that ANYONE can do it!

So, what is it?

Concerning presentations, The Rule of Thirds relies on the science of the human eye being attracted to certain “power points” (yes, this is just a strange coincidence) on the slides.  Below is a four-line, nine-square grid that is used as a guide for placing the various elements along lines and at points on the grid.

You can use the lines and points in a variety of ways.  For instance, you can place images or text along a vertical or horizontal line to showcase a very simplistic structure.  This option is best for basic imagery with little or no text.  In presentations, this style works very well for title slides, introductory slides or transitional slides.

You can also insert images or text directly on a power point to ensure that your audience’s eyes dart for the intended object or set of words.  This technique allows for an off-centered appealing style that places a huge amount of importance on the primary focal point.  Use this layout to make one very significant point to your audience.  This is meant to blatantly push your message out there, so choose your image wisely.

You can also insert text or images at a “common” point that intersects the vertical and horizontal lines in order to use multiple angles to declare your message.  This is a very useful way to combine words and pictures to fully illustrate a point while maintaining simplistic design.

Presentation guru and blogger Garr Reynolds weighs in on the issue on his blog, saying:

“The “rule of thirds” is a simplified version of the golden mean. The rule of thirds is a basic technique that photographers learn to frame their shots. Subjects placed exactly in the middle can often make for an uninteresting photo. The golden mean would be wonderful to apply when taking snaps, but obviously this is not practical. But a viewfinder can be divided by lines — real or just imagined — so that you have four intersecting lines or crossing points and 9 rectangles that resemble a tic-tac-toe board. These four crossing points (also called power points, if you can believe it) are areas you might place your main subject, rather than in the center.”

In order to properly obey The Rule of Thirds, you must first choose the right images to convey your message.  Then, you’ve got to determine the hierarchy of your images, meaning that you need to analyze the importance of the image as it concerns the entire piece.  Once you know what is most important to your central message, then you can designate where the element will be placed and how The Rule of Thirds can best bring out the meaning of each element. Now, all you’ve got to worry about is how the image will play along the power points and lines to be aesthetically pleasing.

So, what’s the best way to incorporate images into your presentation?

Well, there are 3 easy ways you can insert great graphics and text into your next presentation.

1. Find the image that already follows The Rule of Thirds

Most of the time, the image that you have in mind will not be your ideal choice for a design element due to size and quality restrictions. However, you may come across the correctly sized and positioned image, which makes the work that much easier.  As you go through images, just remember that the image must be cohesive with your message while resonating with your audience.  Always keep the feel and flow of your presentation in mind as you go through image selection.

2. Crop or scale the image to follow The Rule of Thirds

Whenever you come across the image that has your subject matter within its frame, but does not fit as a whole into your presentation, you will have to manipulate the image to fit into the frame of your presentation.  You can easily adjust almost any image to fulfill The Rule of Thirds unless the content of the image is too busy, resulting in a condensed, unusable version of the subject matter.  A simple image is a very versatile element that can be used as a supplement to your speech.  Use a striking or drastic image that works as a symbol to your message in order to make your words stronger.

3. Combine images and text so that one or both follow The Rule of Thirds

Using a combination of images and text allows for a flow of information and visuals to simultaneously enrich the slide.  You can place a set of words along a horizontal line, a single important word on a power point, or even the focal point of an image at a power point with accompanying text along an intersecting line.  There are tons of different directions you could possibly go, but just remember that the placement of images and text in The Rule of Thirds says a lot about your message.  In the end, it’s all about connecting with your audience.

So, there you have it.  This is an introductory explanation of The Rule of Thirds.  It is a very powerful tool that anyone can follow in order to provide an aesthetically pleasing slide while effectively showcasing and explaining your message.  Don’t hesitate to experiment, to try different images with bold text in new, exciting ways.  Always, always remember that your presentation needs to be an experience for your audience, not just a display of information and pictures.  Make them excited for the next slide.  Be wacky and crazy at times.  Be a riveting entertainer. Be bold!

What do you think?  Do you need any help following The Rule of Thirds?  We’re ALWAYS here to give you any tips or instructions whenever you need us!  If you’d like to see some of our work, contact our CEO at or view our YouTube channel.  Also, check out our Facebook page, tweet us or leave some comments below!



Our First Guest Post on Forbes: 5 All-Star Techniques You Can Use In Your Next Speaking Gig

21 Jul

Our First Guest Post on Forbes: 5 All-Star Techniques You Can Use In Your Next Speaking Gig

Big day for us…our writers at Hook-Line-Sinker are now guest posting exclusive presentation articles on Forbes. Please check out our first and not definitely last blog post on Forbes called “5 All-Star Techniques You Can Use in Your Next Speaking Gig.”

This articles shares with common audiences how star presenters like Steve Jobs, Chris Rock, Martin Luther King Jr. Tony Hsieh, and Bill Clinton work their magic in enchanting audiences.

Feel free to leave comments here, and if you’re new, please subscribe to our blog for the latest presentation updates and all things Big Fish Presentations.

Preparing Presentations: 5 Ways to Practice ’til Perfect

20 Jul

“Practice makes perfect.”

We’ve all heard it.  Many, many times, in fact.

Although it has been repeated many times over your lifetime, it still rings truth.  In any skill that you choose to pursue, if you practice it enough, you will be nearly perfect at it.  There’s no way to get around it.  Unless you are naturally talented at something or get extremely lucky, odds are the only way to “sharpen your sword,” so to speak , is through repetition.  Now, we’re not going to lie to you.  It takes a lot time and dedication to be a disciplined practitioner of anything.  However, if you can sit down, focus and try your best, you will see clear results.

This mindset also applies to presentations.  For most people, presentations make them nervous, which is natural.  However, you can significantly decrease your nervousness by taking certain steps, carefully preparing yourself for the event to come.  At Big Fish Presentations, we encourage our clients to practice a variety of methods that ease nerves, which makes them more successful and confident in their presentations.  So, we’ve gathered five of these tactics to share with you today.

Here are five ways in which you can practice your presentation skills.

1. Rehearse in front of a crowd

Standing in front of a group of people, giving your speech and seeing their reactions is a great way to boost your confidence in your material and delivery.  Whether it’s a small group of your friends, co-workers, family or even a random group of strangers, the action of giving your presentation allows you to see reactions and get natural human feedback.  This will calm your nerves and make you more comfortable with the entire experience.  Many times, you’ll find that your worst mistakes will surface on this first go-around, leaving you with plenty of time and feedback to correct mistakes and re-organize your thoughts.

2. Take notes

As you practice, it’s very useful to stop immediately whenever you notice a mistake or an uncomfortable moment and jot down a few notes.  In any practicing situation, don’t hesitate to analyze and re-analyze your presentation as you go.  After all, this is why you’re practicing in the first place.  You can write down things like cutting down on time on certain parts, making sure you enunciate tricky words or refining the structure of your talk.  You’d be surprised by how many issues you can find when you take the time to look at yourself closely.

3. Experiment

Don’t keep repeating the same lines over and over again if you think it sounds boring or awkward.  Let loose and find ways to make your presentation exciting for your audience.  Experiment with variations of words, include a funny story, make a joke or two.  Relax!  Remember, the two most important things in your presentation are being clear and being relevant.  Use the stage or props to your advantage.  Ask a particular audience member a question.  Keep your audience guessing.  You can have a lot of fun if you free yourself from the boring presentation structure and have a little fun out there.

4. Time yourself

Timing is crucial in presentations.  It takes practice to nail down a solid time, but the general rule of thumb is to keep it short, simple and to the point.  Since your goal is to decrease time while maintaining quality, practice trimming your message to include the most important and relevant information without the fluff.  Set up a goal of the amount of time that you think is appropriate for your audience, then refine or beef up your talk accordingly.  The more comfortable you are with your time, the more flexible you can be as you give your presentation.

5. Record yourself

By hearing and seeing yourself, you can judge the inflection, speed and enunciation of your voice.  You always want to put yourself in your audience’s position, seeing and hearing yourself as they would see you.  It’s not so much about perfecting your orating skills, although that is important, as it is about showing your personality through your words.  In order to come across original and confident, you want to show your true character and that you’re comfortable in your speech.

All in all, it comes down to carefully observing yourself and constructively criticizing the elements of your speech.  You’ve got to take the time to truly grade yourself before you can expect to deliver a solid presentation.  The true masters of presentations, such as TED speakers, train themselves and prepare extensively in advance for their talks.  If you want to truly engage your audience, be yourself, but most importantly be comfortable with yourself. It’s all about blending your personality with your message and finding the happy medium between your goals and the outcome.

What do you think?  Was this helpful?  Do you have any additional tips or guidelines about preparing for a presentation? Let us know what you think in the comments below, on our Facebook page or tweet us!  Also, subscribe to our YouTube channel for more awesome content from the Big Fish team!

Presentation Breakdown: Rich Mulholland “Escaping Educational Legacide”

18 Jul

This week’s presentation breakdown features Missing Link CEO and former rock star roadie Rich Mulholland.  After operating lights for bands like Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, Mulholland started South Africa’s first presentation company, Missing Link.  He is also an outstanding speaker and education activist.

In this TED talk, Mulholland speaks about his proposition of reinventing the educational system.  He believes that people should never stop learning.  The traditional model of education, one in which we attend school until our early 20s, then rely on this education to fuel our careers and minds for the remainder of our lives, is a flawed system.  Let’s take a look at the structure of this fun, engaging presentation!


Mulholland opens up the presentation by greeting the audience, but then he jumps right into a declaration of his personality.  He says that he always wanted to join the circus, but that he never wanted to actually follow them on stage.  This gives us a brief glimpse into his personality, which we will come to recognize as being light and humorous, but with a sincere glow.


Now, Mulholland jumps right into a new idea. Notice how directly he addresses the audience and how lively they become when he speaks to them.  He is very unorthodox in his approach at humor, especially for a TED talk.  Within the first minute of his talk, he has made the audience laugh, while truly engaging them in a scenario that he begins to play out.


As we dive deeper into this scenario, which is an interesting one I might add, Mulholland is amping us up with suspense about the “catch” of this “gift.”  He is clearly going somewhere with this, but until he finally reveals the punchline, we are clueless, but enjoying the ride.  He delivers the “catch,” and gets the reaction for which he was hoping.  The audience plays right into the joke.  However, it isn’t simply a joke.  We have been taught something through the joke, and we will spend the rest of the TED talk delving deeper into this idea.  He shifts into the topic of how things change.  Now, we will get to the meat of the piece.  He addresses this shift with the mention of education.


Once we have made the shift into the “real” topic of the piece, Mulholland is keen to run with it while he has our attention.  He doesn’t drag it out, waiting for us to wonder too much.  We’ve had a little of that already.  People want to get information when they want it, not when someone decides to give it to them.  By using the clothing scenario, Mulholland has opened our minds to this possibility, and now he has given us a token of wisdom concerning innovation.  He says, “Innovation isn’t about doing something new.  Innovation is almost always about stopping doing something old.”


Mulholland turns to giving us some visuals that we can use to compare and follow the points he is talking about.  He shows two graphs that differ drastically.  We see his points clearly and he conveys his message in a humorous way.  Then, he gives us some insights into his personal life as well as his father’s.  He backs up what he is saying by addressing his past.  We believe in this idea, we are on the same page because we see a an analysis of his life running parallel to his points.  He is living and working the way he says that most people are living and working.  After he has convinced us of this, and we see his point clearly, he moves on to another point by addressing the idea of Experience vs. Expertise.


Now, we’re getting into the heart of the presentation.  Mulholland digs deeper into the current problem of age and salary. While the former system meant that the older you are the more money you make because of the experience you have, the newer model suggests that expertise, not experience, is the more valuable asset for a company to have.  People are retiring earlier because they have been replaced by younger, more specifically talented and trained new employees.  After showing two more graphs that illustrate his point, Mulholland explains the bigger idea in terms of a real, current problem.  He directly tells the audience that they should be afraid of what’s to come.  By doing this, he is preparing a call-to-action and  instilling a tiny initiative into the audience in order to promote action.  We will see the development of this idea later on in the presentation.  As he makes the declaration, “I think every 30-year-old in the room should be crapping themselves,” the audience begins to laugh loudly, to which Mulholland responds with more humor.


Mulholland goes on to explain that everyone is plateauing earlier, including himself.  People in their 20s are so excited to learn and update their skill sets.  They eventually become less valuable to their companies due to more and more specialization by other, newer employees.  At this point in the presentation, Mulholland is once again bringing his personal struggle with this issue into play.  We are invested in the idea because we see that our speaker is also personally invested in the subject matter.


We are on the backward slope of the issue at this point.  We have come across the main topic, discussed and setup the climax and then revealed the true problem.  Now, Mulholland is explaining the effects of the problem, and how we can begin to come to terms with the issue.  He puts into perspective the central message: all of the rules have changed.  We can’t keep looking at our careers in the same, traditional way.  He is setting the audience up for a solution.  He uses passion and exciting body language to keep us interested in the subject matter, which will be crucial for him to do as he in the next few minutes.


Mulholland has reached a solution.  He has clearly stated the answer to this problem.  We have experienced the build-up of the issue, and now we are about to take action in order to solve it.  Mulholland displays a clear slide with the sentence, “We need to shorten the distance between education and execution.”  The structure thus far has been consistent.  Mulholland has given us examples of how each portion of the problem affects our lives, and now we come to see a possible resolution to the issue.  He proposes that we stop schooling earlier, begin working and then integrate education into the remainder of our lives.  We never need to stop learning.


As we wrap up the presentation, we are given a thorough, clear understanding of the necessary steps to change the system.  He gives us an original set of instructions that can be used to change the “business model” of educational institutions.  There are three main points: 1)Sell-by Date for degrees 2)Subscription model for learning 3)Relevance is Key for maintaining functional, efficient employees.  Now, we have a few concrete rules that we could follow in order to fully integrate education into our working adult lives.  Then, Mulholland seals his proposition with a quote.  This is a very good technique for concluding talks because it not only gives the audience a tangible piece of information, but a relevant quotation encompasses the essence of the overall idea.  It reminds and reinforces the goals that the speaker has laid out.  Mulholland closes the presentation in a quick, simple manner, which makes his last words easily digestible for the audience.

So, there you have it!

This piece is rather short, but informative, and most importantly, fun.  Mulholland is a lively, passionate presenter who goes in a clear direction, not stopping or lulling the audience to sleep.  He keeps the energy flowing and the thoughts brewing for his audience, and we are enchanted by his fresh approach to an engaging topic.  Overall, this presentation gives us a chance to experience and learn in a thrilling environment, and we walk away feeling refreshed and informed with a sense of joy at having been a part of it.

Now, the real question is: how do you feel about this presentation?  Are there any key points that we have missed or that you would like to discuss?  As always, subscribe to our YouTube channel, leave us some feedback below or on our Facebook page, or tweet us at @BigFishPresCo!

Intern Video 4: New Office Might be Haunted

16 Jul

So good news is that we recently moved into a new office facility to better support our growing team and video production needs…bad news is that it might be haunted by an ex-intern. See below if you’re a non-believer:

We don’t know what’s creepier, the haunting or the sound at the end.


 Note: If you have time to kill and love the comedy series The Office, we suggest you go to the “Videos” tab of this blog and catch up  on our popular video series, “Luke the Intern.”

You won’t be sorry.

Download our latest white-paper – Seven Ways to Rock Your Next Presentation

15 Jul

Kenny here. Today, I’d like to give our loyal blog followers, a nice little present from the Big Fish Presentations team.

You can now download our newest white-paper Seven Ways to Rock Your Next Presentation by clicking on the picture above or clicking the link here. It’s our first white-paper, and I personally am rather proud of it. But that doesn’t mean you should hold back on your thoughts. Feel free to leave us any comments, thoughts and opinions, as we’ll be looking to update this whitepaper within the next couple of months.

If you’re new to our blog, feel free to subscribe in the right hand side and get dibs on the latest presentation news and offerings from our team at Big Fish.

Happy presenting!

– Kenny Nguyen, Big Fish Presentations