Mastering Presentation Skills: Tricks You Didn't Know You Need with Brenden Kumarasamy (Episode 82)Nov 11, 2021
A lot of people will probably disagree that mastering video presentation is the easiest thing to do. Not all people fancy public speaking, especially not in front of the camera. But now that video has become the forefront of marketing, the pressure has never been this high.
Welcome to 'Video Made Simple' an easy listen video marketing & production podcast featuring marketers, entrepreneurs & clients who help take the mystery out of video and break through the monotony of day-to-day communication.
In this episode, Chris Schwager (Video Marketer from Ridge Films) is joined by Brenden Kumarasamy (Public Speaking Coach, Founder of MasterTalk) as they talk about how you can become a game-changer by making better presentations and speaking better in public.
"How do you deliver feedback to the people that you manage, so that people leave not just informed but more importantly inspired? And also the way that the answer questions in a sales presentation when you're getting bombarded with questions by prospects and clients? How are you navigating that? Are you just going I'm not really sure I only think about that. Or do you say, Oh, here's the answer. How would the world change if you were an exceptional communicator? Start to see the benefits the positive and you'll rise like a star."
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Brenden Kumarasamy 0:01
How do you deliver feedback to the people that you manage, so that people leave? Not just informed, but more importantly, inspired? And also the way that the answer questions in a sales presentation when you're getting bombarded with questions by prospects and clients? How are you navigating that? Are you just going? I'm not really sure I only think about that. Or do you say, Oh, here's the answer. How would the world change? If you were an exceptional communicator? Start to see the benefits the positive and you'll rise like a star.
Chris Schwager 0:30
Hello video marketing professionals! Welcome to the Video Made Simple podcast that takes the mystery out of producing videos. I'm your host, Chris Schwager. And this week we talk with Brenden Kumarasamy, a public speaking coach and youtuber with over 15,000 subscribers from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, is also the founder of MasterTalk, YouTube channel that teaches how to make better presentations and master public speaking. Brenden's gonna explain how this relates to your on camera presentation. So by the end of this episode, you won't only be inspired, but ready to take action. So here's our conversation with Brenden Kumarasamy.
Brenden Kumarasamy 1:16
Communication is a medium it's a spectrum of different angles. So one of those angles is communication in presentations. Another one is camera presentations. Another one is conversation the way you speak to other people in a podcast or regular conversation. But I think underlying principle is that it's a multiplier effect. As you get better at one, when you go to the next media, it gets easier and easier to master.
Chris Schwager 1:41
How did you get started in all this?
Brenden Kumarasamy 1:43
So when I was in university, I used to do these things called case competitions. Think of it like professional sports, but for nerds. So while other guys my age are playing cricket, or rugby, or footy, I was doing presentations competitively. So you probably won't believe me. But there are literally students at UNSW in the University of Melbourne, who literally take a flight from Australia, all the way to Montreal, in Canada, just to give Powerpoint presentations. And that was my life for three, four years. And that's how I learned how to speak. And then I realized a lot of the information on how to share ideas, how to communicate effectively, wasn't available for free. So that's what led to the YouTube channel.
Chris Schwager 2:27
Nice man. And I like the way you're structuring your responses you keeping it's like, okay, this is good. I'm just gonna give 30 to 60 seconds here, keep it all nice and tight. So he's got something new, I've only got like five questions to ask. But I'm going to fill in plenty of gaps here because he seemed like an interesting dude. And also, you have sync responses. And I think that in a interview situation is important, right? Like, it's important to keep the thing moving, not just to make it my show or your show, but to have it as a conversation. Is that part of what it is that you sort of helped with as well?
Brenden Kumarasamy 3:01
Absolutely. You know, the way I think about it, most of my focus is on executives and entrepreneurs. So it's about how do you master every facet of communication. And for me, and this is going to be great for your audience, I always believe that presentations, the easiest thing to master, because if you get the presentation, right, you'll also see the improvement a lot faster. And then that gives you momentum, who then focus on every other meeting of communication.
Chris Schwager 3:27
It's a very interesting point, you might because I don't want to cut your turf here by any means. But we had a big client who went through our on camera training, and then was like, well, we need this for all of our webinar people, because their webinars are less than ordinary, and they kind of suck and they've never had training, will you be able to do that? And I was like, well, you know, if I'm training to present on camera, it's really not going to help, primarily if their presentation sucks. So I structured a whole program for four hours with each individual and majority of it is on presentation, layout and structure, and making sure that that was right, and then a little bit about how they presented it right. So I did go through a lot of the bits and pieces that you teach. But yet they realized that if that was not working, that they were creating confusion, if they create a confusion, then no matter how good their presentation was really was never going to get through because it was just unclear about what they were communicating. So how much of what you teach is around structural presentation and making sure that that's right first?
Brenden Kumarasamy 4:36
And I love that Chris, and I'm sure the client is super grateful for that as well. You know, one way that that I got from what you share, and it's something I share a lot when I'm speaking on a podcast or in any other medium is that even if you communicate just 20% better than everyone else in your industry, you'll stand out 100% of the time. So even if you're just speaking a bit better, you're structuring a bit more cleaner, you're always gonna stand out a lot more. So regardless, it's always a skill you want to keep working on. So you can keep building that foundation to keep standing out in that industry that you're in. But in terms of the work I do, absolutely, that's definitely a piece of that as well.
Chris Schwager 5:16
So, so many people listening to this would be thinking, oh, yeah, look, that's all fine, what they're saying about presentation, and all of that, but I will never be able to get over my fear of public speaking or my fear of how I look on camera. How do you overcome that component to get people to then look at that 20% go, okay, well, yeah, it's I didn't go from, you know, scared little pussycat to Rockstar, but I am 20% better. How do you convince somebody that that's going to benefit them in not only their confidence, to carry out the tasks, but also ultimately, their career, their profession, being better at what they do in the long term?
Brenden Kumarasamy 6:04
The principle I always use is that as long as the message is more important than the fear, the fear is yet so it's not really possible to remove all of the fear that we can have Chris. So I'll give you an analogy. Let's say it's a boxing ring. One side of the ring, is the fear, the anxiety, the stressor on communication. And the other side of the ring, is the message that comes with it. So the goal is not for the fear to disappear. But rather making sure that when that boxing match starts, that the message gets the knockout punch at the end and wins the match. So when you think about your message, and why you want to be on camera, why you want to present, always think about the ratio between the fear that you have, versus how important the messages. I mean, I've a great example. Oh, sorry.
Chris Schwager 6:55
I mean, like, that's the that's interesting. But like, if I'm pissing my pants, am I am I really conscious enough to consider the ratio?
Brenden Kumarasamy 7:05
Right, but the thing is -
Chris Schwager 7:07
I suppose that's where your, your expertise comes in to coach them and help them through that obviously. Right?
Brenden Kumarasamy 7:12
Right. Like think of it like this. So not on the spot, like in the moment?
Chris Schwager 7:16
Yeah, got it.
Brenden Kumarasamy 7:16
Probably not the best, right? Probably not the best time to do. It's kind of like saying, Oh, right. So I'm going at the sports match. Let me just start practicing. No, you have to practice. So it's more a week or two before that, should having that reflection. So I'll give you an easy example. I started coaching C suite level executives when I was 22. Who in the world am I to start posting communication videos right on Youtube. But when I thought about it, I was like, yeah, I'm really scared to do this. I'm really scared to post videos. There's people on YouTube who have PhDs. But I did it. Because the message of helping 15-year-olds who couldn't afford me, who couldn't afford a speech coach, who needed that information was way more important than the fear. So that's what allowed me to push through.
Chris Schwager 8:05
And is your primary role now just executives and entrepreneurs? Is that your core business?
Brenden Kumarasamy 8:11
Yeah, you got it. So the way I structure it is executives, entrepreneurs, and coaches, but then the YouTube channels for what I call the anti customer. So the anti customer is the person who can't afford a Communication Coach, I still want them to have access like Toastmasters. I'm a huge fan of Toastmasters as well.
Chris Schwager 8:28
Yeah, so that was definitely top of mind when we were getting you on the show was like, well, we've been through all that. And I guess a lot of the points that I saw in your YouTube video, very much sort of reminded me of the Toastmasters thing. And now with those five points, that the five public speaking tips, which I think would be really great if you could take us through and we can kind of unpack those, for the audience. What are the five top public speaking tips that you can give to our audience.
Brenden Kumarasamy 9:03
So the first one is pausing, you know, pausing allows us to emphasise specific parts of our message. And when we don't pause, we keep talking all the time like this, and that and this, we lose the essence of what's actually important. So the way that you've practiced this is what I call the endless gaze. Essentially, what you do is look up to a partner, a friend in your house, and you just stare at them for a few minutes without saying a word. And what this does is it helps you practice pausing for excruciatingly long periods of time, so that when you're in an actual presentation, and you need to pause for two seconds, or one or three, it's going to be much easier for you to do that.
Chris Schwager 9:42
And you're obviously giving people a lot of time to ingest the information and is it relative to the importance of what you're saying? Does that have a prolonged pause associated with it? Because that's, that's a technique I use all the time. I would just shut up for a second. Hold. And then The next word that comes out of my mouth is like golden and like, oh, okay, I get it now. Is that part of what you do is particularly with the entrepreneurs and top level executives? Would that be a technique?
Brenden Kumarasamy 10:13
Absolutely spot on. I completely agree with you, Chris. And and the only point I would add to that exactly what you said, is what we do in the speech. So I have people write out the presentation, just as a beginning to get the training wheels started. And then we intentionally add little pauses in the speech, for the emphasis point that you just elaborated on.
Chris Schwager 10:33
Let's move on to "um" and "ahs". Because "um" and "ahs" are such a pain in the ass. Whether you hear it in real time at a receptionist desk, my wife is a big um and "ah"-rer. And some I mean, it creeps in, and I'm always conscious about it. How do people overcome this excruciatingly bad habit of "umm," "ahhh". No, that's not right. That's not that "ah!" It's not the exotic "ahh." It's "ah." It should be "ah." "Um," and "ah, how do you overcome it?
Brenden Kumarasamy 11:08
Just so hilarious because I love this. But yeah absolutely. So the way that we do this is as we get better with pausing, our ability to remove filler words improves. So I'll give you an example. If you're able to pause outside of presentations for three minutes, and able to hold that most people can't, let's say you're able to do that. What happens is now as you start to give a presentation, you start to speak, and you want to say a filler word, you'll instead replace it with nothing. And that's the strategy is you want to move out the filler words, the "ums", the "errs", the "you know?" "Likes" and replace all of that, with absolutely nothing. And that's this. The Secret by the way that the best communicators don't really tell you is that we can pause forever, without making it seem awkward at all.
Chris Schwager 12:05
Although I have made it seem awkward at times, and I'm not talking in presentations, but in one-on-one conversations with people if someone's talking too much, and I realised this and I realised that it's becoming less and less relevant to me, I'll do a zip my lip and just stare at them and pause until it is awkward. And then they're like, "Why are you staring at me, dude?" I'm like, I was just waiting for you to shut up. You know, I didn't know when it was going to. But you know, like that. That would be an example where a prolonged pause is actually sending another message, say, hey, you're boring me. And I'm just on the verge of walking away here. But I don't want to be rude and say you're boring. But I just want to give you the prolonged pause so that hopefully through my body language, you are getting the idea. Okay, so let's talk about point number three now.
Brenden Kumarasamy 12:56
Absolutely. So point number three is eye contact. And here's the difference between eye contact in the real world versus the online world. So in the real world, you want to split your eye contact between the people in the audience, especially if the audience is small. So if there's 10, or 20 people in the room, you want to try and give as much eye contact and attention as possible. But if you're in the online world, the advice is different. Like the conversation we're having right now, you'll notice for the entirety of today's show, I kept my eyes on the camera lens, even if that's not natural to do, because your face is actually here. But I'm looking at the lens. And the reason is because from the other person's perspective, when you look at the lens, it appears as if I'm looking at you directly. And that's the secret. So I recommend putting a little post it. I like the look here or else one that one's a fun one. Yes, or like a favorite food or parties.
Chris Schwager 13:52
Yes, and one of the things that I've talked about as well is if you're struggling with those key points of your introduction or what whatever your pain point of your presentation might be then include some of those points on the post it note sits directly behind the camera. So the eyeline is not deviating too much away from that, is that something that you would recommend?
Brenden Kumarasamy 14:15
Absolutely, completely recommend that. I think the key is really figure out the in the same way that everyone's motivated by different things like some people need a little reward at the end of a run or etc. So we'll give you a couple one like I like having a favorite food there or a favorite family member there or the whole family right not to discriminate against individual family members, but do the thing that works for you the most and that will make you successful.
Chris Schwager 14:39
Okay, let's go to point number four.
Brenden Kumarasamy 14:41
Right. So point number four is mirroring. So mirroring is the ability to reflect one's emotions onto the people you're speaking to. So I'll give you an example. Let's say everyone looks at a mirror in the morning. There's usually two types of energies that you show up with. "One is wow, I get to Chris is going to be amazing conversation and life is amazing!" Or "Oh boy, I have to do this podcast interview." And those two energies are very different. But in the same way we compared both, as speakers, we are mirrors because we project our own emotions onto the people we speak to. So always think about which emotion are you showing up with whenever you're entering any type of presentation or conversation.
Chris Schwager 15:25
Very nice, very nice. And point number five.
Brenden Kumarasamy 15:30
I believe point number five in the video anyways was posture. So posture was around just making sure that all your shoulders are aligned and your posture is correct, it's a lot less relevant to the online world, I'll be honest, the only thing you have to keep in mind with posture in the online world is to make sure that your body and your face takes up a large majority of the screen, versus you being very far away from the camera. And it not looking as interesting.
Chris Schwager 15:58
Yes, and I'm sure there's a bunch of camera techniques to assist with that as well, like the looking up at you knows from a laptop and all that type of stuff. There was a lot of really great feedback that we got from people that migrated into the online video conferencing world overnight in early 2020. And with all types of varying results, people getting up sitting open up their laptop, sitting in bed, not having a shower, not putting on any decent clothes, or any of that stuff are a really zero preparation. And yet, my wife sometimes goes all out, puts on heels, lipstick, makeup, the outfit and everything, even though she's only been filmed from the shoulders up. Is it as much of a psychological benefit to include all those things so that you are giving your presentation online the best opportunity, and to leave no stone unturned, if you like when it comes to, you know, the critique of your respondent, you know, have them making sure that they see that you are impressionable that you are willing to make an effort. And that goes a long way in the world of presenting.
Brenden Kumarasamy 17:11
I completely agree. I think the key is really figuring out what works for you. So I'll give you an example. Like let's just say I'm not dressed professionally, all the way, all the way. Right, I got my top here by bottle, I guess we'll see what that is. But I think the idea is really just picking what works in the environment you're most comfortable in. But what I do recommend to start thinking about is having more conversations offline versus online. So let's say I have a zoom presentation coming up. One thing I always like to use, I get on a phone call with people in the audience, at least one person so that when I'm presenting I'm visualizing, as if I'm speaking to that person, so I show up more energetically. So in the same way that let's say when I did my first podcast interview, it was really bizarre, because I would stand there and a stranger I've never met started asking me questions about my life. And I said, Who is this person? But after a couple of 100 episodes? Well, now it's like, oh, no, I've been friends with Chris for many years now. That's the way I'm going to speak to him as if I already knew him. And then your attitude around who you show up with changes dramatically?
Chris Schwager 18:14
Is it a case of practice makes perfect? Or do you believe that the fastest way to get to a comfortable point in your presenting career is to very much be coached by someone that can accelerate that process?
Brenden Kumarasamy 18:32
Great question. I would say there's two parts to that. So one part is if you can afford a speech coach, and one part if you can, so let's explore both of those options. So let's start with the I can't afford a speech coach. So what I would do in that case, is it's not necessarily practice makes perfect. I would say perfect practice makes perfect. And I would say in that context, the biggest mistake people make is they're always switching presentations, versus asking yourself, you're an entrepreneur, what is the one presentation I always have to present to my business. So in your business, it would be your video production company, you're always talking about rage and everything, all the incredible things you're doing on a consistent frequent basis. So that's the presentation you always want to keep doing. And then it's how you practice that single presentation that counts. Right doing the intro first, making sure the intro is perfect. Then doing the conclusion, making sure that's perfect, then doing the presentation. If you can't afford a speech coach, the only difference is time, right? You'll just save a lot of time. But if you're someone who doesn't have the budget for that, I would just recommend presenting one thing. Practicing that one presentation with friends and family until that presentation is perfect.
Chris Schwager 19:44
Beautiful. Can you critique my presentation?
Brenden Kumarasamy 19:47
Like your your performance of the podcast?
Chris Schwager 19:51
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Brenden Kumarasamy 20:24
How would the world change, if you are an exceptional communicator, start to see the benefits the positive, and you'll rise like a star.
Chris Schwager 20:32
Or I remember Donald Miller saying, if you can speak, you will succeed in the world, you will succeed in business. And I gotta say, that's a pretty interesting proposition really. And I kind of correlated as well, now we're trying to really push the idea that, you know, if you can present if you're good on camera, you'll succeed. You know, there's nothing worse than having an awkward conversation with somebody that you can tell is just not familiar with. With the on camera, it's, it's, you know, you feel almost for me kind of sympathetic, or I need to kind of like tone, my presentation down and my energy down to kind of mirror match them. So that I feel so awkward, that you refer back to that would keep people kind of focused in on why they're doing it in the first place. You know, I guess that was my very first question like, What problem does? Do you believe you solve for your market?
Brenden Kumarasamy 21:31
I would say for me the problem I solve for the market. For me, it's really about making someone an all rounded communicator. So we don't just focus on presentations, we also focus on how do you deliver feedback to the people that you manage, so that people leave, not just informed, but more importantly, inspired? And also the way that the answer questions in a sales presentation, when you're getting bombarded with questions by prospects and clients? How are you navigating that? Are you just going I'm not really sure you only think about them? Or do you say, Oh, here's the answer in a comment.
Chris Schwager 22:00
Well that's one thing that I've noticed about you is very clear responses, you've stuck to almost a time limit. And you've made sure it's been quite well rounded. Do you have a structured process for responses?
Brenden Kumarasamy 22:13
I would say that the structure is very simple. I mean, when I was on my first podcast as probably 18 months ago, two years ago, and somebody asked me a question like, hey, Brenden, what are your public speaking tips? I was like, oh, yeah, I should probably have some. So the trick is, is actually do the harder thing. Think of all of the questions that anyone could possibly ask you on your subject matter? Because nobody's asking what my favorite color is. Right, Chris? On the podcast, they want to know more about my communication, they want to my story. But once you have an answer for every question, eventually, you'll realise as you do more sales presentations, or as you do more podcasts, that everyone is just asking you the same question over and over and over again. So that's why I'm saying no, but it wasn't like that beginning,
Chris Schwager 22:55
Common mistakes you find with your senior executives and entrepreneurs, what are the common mistakes that you find them in their public speaking?
Brenden Kumarasamy 23:05
So I'd say the biggest one is most people at the top don't have a direction on their communication. So most of us have goals with everything, career goals, financial goals, business goals, even relationship goals and health goals. But who has communication goals? Very few people. So when you're at the top, you're an executive, an entrepreneur, you have so many balls that you're juggling, that you kind of put communication to the wayside, instead of saying, wait a second, communication is really important. So I need to start developing goals. So what we do and your audience can do this as well, is we have them, pick three speakers that they admire, thought leader, stand up comedian doesn't really matter. And just spend an hour a week studying those three speakers.
Chris Schwager 23:47
And final question. How do you believe being better presenting, and the way that you
coach, it can help people present better on camera?
Brenden Kumarasamy 23:59
I would say for me, what's great about the camera, the biggest thing, especially if you still listen to this episode, is not many people want to be on camera. And that in of itself becomes an advantage. Because you're now able to communicate to be at the forefront of spokesperson not just for your company. But in some cases, even your industry, because it's some industries I can think of right now like automobile, manufacturing. A lot of those industries, not many people go on camera and share ideas and thoughts. But if you become the pioneer and you're able to communicate effectively on camera too you'll stand out by 100 kilometers.
Chris Schwager 24:43
Yes, this is this is a competitive advantage, particularly in this world, right? In this world where everything is video, and majority of at least executives and corporate the corporate world are on camera at some point in the day now. It's not still a small percentage of the total workforce, but it is going to be more increasingly, the clarity you get across the more confident that you come across, the more that you nail this and just nip it in the bud, the faster you'll accelerate things like your professional career and the way that people perceive you and climbing the corporate ladder. Would you agree?
Brenden Kumarasamy 25:24
I completely agree.
Chris Schwager 25:25
And there's so many ways we can dive deep into the world of presenting but how do people get ahold of you? What's the best way for them to reach out to you?
Brenden Kumarasamy 25:35
Yeah, absolutely. Chris. So definitely, the YouTube channel is a great place to start. That's MasterTalk in one word. If you want to get free coaching from me, you can attend one of my live workshops. That's rockstarcommunicator.com/workshop.
Chris Schwager 25:48
That's all for this episode of the video made simple podcast. Don't forget, the better you present, the better your videos will become and the further you will progress with your video marketing goals. See you next week.
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