Raised around America’s Space Program, Alan Hoffler has earned degrees in aerospace engineering and applied mathematics, but his true passion is teaching. At some point in his 25 years of training technical corporate audiences, instructing in the college classroom, teaching public high school, and speaking nationally to pilots about flying safety he became passionate about helping others communicate with excellence. With a coach’s passion, a teacher’s heart, and an engineer’s mind, his blog reveals his desire to improve himself as well as his clients.
In this conversation, Alan discusses his keynote at the upcoming Presentation Summit 2015 series.
Geetesh: Alan, you are doing a keynote this year at the Presentation Summit called What Not to Say: The 10 dumbest things speakers say. You are also doing another session, When It All Goes Wrong: Making your speech good when your situation turns bad. Can you tell us more about these sessions, and what takeaways can the audience expect?
Alan: The What Not to Say: The 10 dumbest things speakers say session will be a light-hearted look at all the phrases you hear pop up by well-meaning presenters that are detrimental to presentation success. When you hear them, you’ll be amazed at how often they creep into our speech and wonder why you never questioned them before. It’ll be fun, and some people will probably take offense to at least one thing I say. My goal is to get us (me included) to THINK before we speak.
The session on things going wrong will offer a practical rubric to handling any situation that comes up. The speaker is always aware of more than the audience, and many of these very practical interruptions can derail a perfectly good talk if we let it. This session will give some proactive tools to be prepared for the unpreparable.
Geetesh: Can you tell us more about yourself – and about your upcoming book, Presentation Sin?
Alan: I’m a teacher, plain and simple. I’ve taught math, basketball, aviation safety, multi-tier server deployments, and how to be a grateful teenager. But Presentation Sin is about the past decade’s journey to teach others how to be exceptional on the stage. I believe it’s trivially simple, but it must be really hard, because so few people are good. It used to bother me that our culture allowed (and perhaps condoned) mediocrity when presenting. Now it inspires me to be part of the change – to rid the world of lousy presentations.
The book is really a composite of the model that we teach in our workshops, with over a hundred examples and tips for how to excel. It’s a light read—you’ll see people you know and perhaps even see yourself. The goal of the book is to get presenters to give a long look at their skills and change the way they present for the better.
What is the Presentation Summit?
For many years now, Rick Altman has been hosting the Presentation Summit, a highly popular event that is geared towards users of PowerPoint and other presentation platforms.
Date: September 27 to 30, 2015
Location: Astor Crowne Plaza, New Orleans, USA