This community is the Guru. We want to help our readers build their skills as presentation designers, speakers and coaches, learning from a wide range of our colleagues from across the world. In this unique series, The Guru’s Big Five Questions, we have asked 30 of the best minds in the world of presentations the same five questions about their inspiration, their hopes and their role models in the ever-changing arena of world-class presenting. Today we are delighted to introduce Scott Schwertly.
He builds and designs presentations, and coaches executives to be better presenters and storytellers. He’s worked with a plethora of major companies, including Google, eBay, NBC Universal, Amazon, and many others.
What’s the greatest speech in history and why?
I don’t know if I would classify this as the best speech of all time but one that really resonates with me is John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address from 1961.
The entire theme is about how greatness comes from helping the many which is really inspiring. He utilizes the phrases “don’t ask what the people, country, government, etc can do, ” followed by a “but ask what you can do.” He puts the focus on having a servant’s heart and having a mindset that is about giving rather than taking which I truly love.
What’s the greatest business presentation / sales pitch and why?
The best business presentations are short, easy to digest, and memorable. Great presentations need to be about brevity and keeping messages simple and big picture. For instance, Steve Jobs always spoke at at 5th grade level and his presentations made a radical impact because of it.
Who is the best political/cause orator today & why?
I love any presentation by Daniel Pink, Anthony Robbins, or Susan Cain. All three of them are well researched, very credible, and excellent storytellers. You know you are going to have an experience that inspires you, adds value to your life, and will make you want more.
What’s the one most important thing that anyone making a speech should do more than anything else?
They need to obsess about their content and message. I see too many presenters who neglect this process and decide to focus all their time and energy on how their slides look or how they look with their delivery on stage.
Who inspired you starting out in the business? Who inspires you now?
Garr Reynolds was a huge source of inspiration for me when I started Ethos3 back in 2006. His ideas were so revolutionary at the time. Today, I get most of my inspiration outside of the presentation space, from great minds like Steven Pressfield or the late Jim Rohn.