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The best presentation I’ve ever seen

How do you know when you’ve just witnessed the best presentation skills you’ve ever seen?

Two weeks ago I sat among 18,000 at a Las Vegas conference watching John O’Leary.

Aged nine, he played with fire.

A petrol canister exploded.

He was left with 100% burns to his body.

Yet in his 45 minutes on stage, he made us laugh, as well as cry.

You know it’s the best you have seen when you want to tell everyone you meet all about it.

best presentation courses scotland man with megaphone.

When his Dad first saw him in the hospital, he braced himself for an almighty row.

Instead, his Dad said he loved him and that he was very proud of him.

“Maybe,” he told us,

“he hadn’t figured out it was me who accidentally blew up his garage!”

His pace was slow.

His emphasis tremendous, knowing when to pause and when to underline his message.

But it was his ability to tell a compelling story that stood out.

And that’s the essence of great presentations.

He had a powerful message supported by an awe-inspiring story of courage in the face of adversity.

John O’Leary was expected to die in that hospital bed.

Instead, he tours the world, inspiring audiences to change a victim mindset into a victor mindset.

Victim vs. victor in your presentation

best presentation courses scotland victor in boxing match.

Three questions defined his initial victim mindset

“Why me?” (what did I do to deserve this dreadful luck?)

“Who cares? (that I’m stuck in this bed waiting to die)

“What more can I do?”(because this situation is hopeless)

But he asked the same three questions with a victor mindset and produced very different answers:

“Why me?” (why was I chosen to make this incredible journey?)

“Who cares? (that this has happened because I will win through)

“What more can I do?” (to get better and better each day)

We all have a story

best presentation courses scotland old man with story.

On presentation skills courses run mainly from our Glasgow studios, we ask clients to create three things:

A vivid story.

A strong message.

A great delivery.

That’s what John O’Leary did, creating the most powerful presentation I’ve ever seen.

Now you can do the same.

Few of us will experience what John O’Leary did.

But we all have a story within us.

A focused story that explains our business case.

We’ve written extensively here on how to create a great story – full of heroes, villains and strong messages.

Create yours today.


Bill McFarlan is Executive Chairman of  Pink Elephant Communications in Glasgow.

You can view his full profile here.


Photo credit: Foter.comchris.chabotFlamsmark via / CC BY-SA

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