Believe the Four B’s of No-Panic Presentations

For five years I served on the faculty of the American Management Association International, traveling and teaching one-day seminars. More specifically, I worked the five-cities-in-five-days circuit. For example, Monday might find me in Denver; Tuesday in Salt Lake City; Wednesday in Boise; Thursday in Seattle; and Friday in Portland, Oregon.

To prepare us for what was sometimes a grueling and definitely jam-packed traveling and speaking schedule, new presenters were required to complete an intense two-week orientation. My training manager at the time shared some of the best advice I received early in my career as a professional speaker. It was a takeoff on the old Franklin D. Roosevelt one-liner:

Be sincere; be brief; be seated.

It’s as simple as this:

Be prepared.

Be interesting.

Be brief.

And then, be seated.

This advice was the ultimate secret to being well received and producing a successful seminar. So, take an honest assessment. Do you like to hear yourself talk? Many executive speakers do.

Do you know people who tend to speak just a little too long, maybe 10-15 minutes after they should have wrapped up their presentation? It’s a common tendency of many business presenters. It helps to think about it from the audience’s perspective. Have you ever been in the audience as a presenter droned on and on and thought: “Enough is enough. Stick a fork in it; you’re done.” You lean to your next-seat neighbor and whisper, “Her presentation was really good—if she had just stopped 10 minutes ago.” Some speakers just don’t know when to stop talking.

No-Panic Pro Tip: Always leave them longing for more.


To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.


Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 


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