Payam Bahrampoor is an instructional designer, who is involved with improving the quality of life of people he encounters. He trains others in speech and presentation skills using modern educational technologies. He also delves into science-based research, speech anxiety management + ACT psychology and mindfulness.
In this conversation, Payam talks about presentation skills.
Geetesh: Can you tell us more about what got you started with presentations skills? Also, as a presentation coach, how do you help wannabe speakers?
Payam: Ten years ago, I was an energetic, extrovert student in high school and one of my teachers asked me to read a piece of paper in front of 200 students. I was given a day to prepare. I was sure I could do this–after all, this was just a short message inviting others to a summer camp. I read the content a few times and I thought I was ready! Nothing was further from the truth!
When I was called to read the paper, everything changed. It was almost like a slow-motion playback in a scary movie! I couldn’t hear the voice of other students and couldn’t even get up from my chair, and stand on my feet! Grudgingly, I walked to the stage but I couldn’t read the text! My voice was shaky and my palms were full of sweat! I was unable to understand what happened, and all I remember is that when I came back to my seat, everyone was laughing at me, and making fun. It wasn’t an encouraging experience.
When I saw one of the other students talk to the audience confidently, I wondered why I messed up everything?
Something that inspired me was one of the best books on this subject, Speak to Win by Brian Tracy. I started practicing public speaking and presenting, and requested all of my teachers to provide opportunities to talk to others and deliver presentations. With so much practice, I improved quite a bit in six months.
This was ten years ago. Today, I head an educational institute that employs 40 people, and I have presented in more than 200 seminars. I have taught more than 25,000 students online via workshops and seminars.
I have been invited to speak in large events and have shared the stage with many popular presenters, including Nick Vujicic.
About helping wannabe speakers, one of my value additions is to find a personal style for each client. Every individual has special abilities and personal traits which make them unique in the world, so there is no reason to imitate others and make a fake presentation. If you merge your personal qualities into your presentation style, you can be unique, likable and original. To achieve this aim, the first step you need to do is to discover yourself. One of the best tools for knowing yourself is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. After you know yourself, you need to find a way to bring your personality into your presentation style.
Geetesh: If there’s just one thing that readers can do to become better presenters, what would that be?
Payam: Learn from Jeff Bezos! In these years, he focuses on his customers’ needs! So, as a presenter, you should focus on your customers’ needs and know them as much as possible.
Know their physical abilities. For example, based on research, they may not be able to sit for more than 20 minutes and if you make them stand up for a few seconds, their brain earns more oxygen and lots of other benefits. See this video.
Also, know their mental abilities, such as how much information they can remember, what is the best learning style, and how they receive and process information. Know their real wants, especially what they really want from your presentation?