Why you may be planning that next presentation in the wrong way, and how the right tech can transform training — public speaking guru Andrea Pacini from Ideas On Stage reveals the tricks of his trade.
I ended up helping professionals create and deliver memorable presentations because most business presentations suck: that’s the reality.
Have you ever been in a situation where you get up in front of an audience and you can’t get your message across, you can’t grab and keep people’s attention? And afterwards, nobody remembers anything about what you said. Worse, nobody does anything — nobody buys anything. …
Tell me about your public speaking journey?
If we go back to 1979, I’m a young man on my way to becoming a bank manager. The personnel manager there explained that if I wanted to be a manager, I needed to join the British Junior Chamber of Commerce, which I did. Three minutes later, and they said: “We take part in national public speaking competitions, and you’re going for the training.”
So at a young age, I was catapulted into national level public speaking competitions — really scary at the time. …
What was your public speaking journey?
I was a professional actress for 16 years; first I was speaking other people’s words and was firmly convinced I had nothing to say. Then I started improvising and started saying things that I thought somebody might say. Finally I started saying stuff I wanted to say.
So my personal journey wasn’t around how to hold a space, or looking confident, it was recognising that I had thoughts and opinions inside me that had legitimate value to the world.
Do you think everyone has the potential to be a great public speaker? …
The Virtually Word Perfect journey began by accident.
I discovered virtual reality at a Google-organised technology conference in London back in 2016, where Cardboards were handed out at the end of the event as conference swag.
Reluctantly, I tried Google’s cheap-and-cheerful VR viewer — and instantly realised that its potential was huge, extending way beyond gaming. Once home, I began researching its existing applications, and soon came across mental health research highlighting clinical trials that showed really impressive results from using VR in practice.
I became fascinated by the technology’s applications in addressing mental health issues, which I see as among the biggest challenges we face as a generation. …