Employeneur Mark Robinson from TMC Test & Integration has published his first book which is about presentation skills. I can almost hear you thinking: “A Software Consultant who writes a book about presentation skills?” Yes. This requires an explanation though, we therefore asked Mark some questions about his journey towards this milestone.
MANY PEOPLE THINK PRESENTING IS SCARY. HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN COMFORTABLE WITH PRESENTING IN FRONT OF A GROUP?
No! I used to be terrified and hated every minute of it. During a workshop I followed I was just fascinated by the presenter, Remco Claassen, because he could keep our attention for days. After following his workshop ‘Speaking with Impact’ I started practicing more and more by presenting at conferences and in front of groups. Eventually I even gave a TEDx presentation “How to present to keep your audience’s attention” (TEDxEindhoven) which was a major milestone for me. As you can hear, it was a long road towards where I am today!
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA OF GIVING WORKSHOPS?
My colleagues at TMC gave me the idea. After my TEDx presentation they asked me if I could teach them to present better as well. And I thought, why not? So, that is how it all started.
THERE ARE MANY WORKSHOPS ABOUT PRESENTATION SKILLS. WHAT MAKES YOUR WORKSHOP UNIQUE?
In my workshop, we only give positive feedback. You might think, how can you learn from your mistakes then? But you are your biggest critic, so you already know what you can improve. And you learn by seeing what other people do well. By giving and receiving only positive feedback, people get into a positive vibe and become more confident presenters. And confidence is key to great presentations!
Another part of the reason of my success is that I am an introvert. It inspires people that I can keep an audience’s attention and present well even though I am not an extravert person. Techies especially find my workshop helpful because most of them are introvert as well. So, for them it can be difficult to bring their message across properly. By seeing my journey, they realise; I can learn that too!
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WRITE A BOOK?
During my workshops, I often got the question if I could give a handout or recommend a book. I found it difficult to recommend a book that is in line with my workshop, and since I had collected many materials during the years, I decided to write a book of my own.
The tips and tricks that you learn in this book are not only applicable for presentations. These skills make you more confident, which is also useful during job interviews, personal conversations or even at a date. So that is why the book can be helpful for everybody. The book is written in a very light and fun way, which makes it easy to read. Many people have told me they could not put it down!
IF YOU COULD GIVE A SECRET TIP TO GIVE BETTER PRESENTATIONS AND FEEL MORE CONFIDENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Practice, practice, practice! It might sound cliché, but it really is the key to success. Make sure you rehearse at least ten times, preferably in the room where you are going to have the presentation. And practice it out loud, that is truly different from how it sounds in your head.