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An interview with Joni Bais from Great Communicators.

Hi Joni, would you please like to introduce yourself to us?

Together with Bas Janssens I am the founder of Great Communicators. We believe there are a great many stories that haven’t been told yet. Important stories that bring vision, solutions and new ideas. These stories never get told because there is a lack of knowledge on how to share a story. This could be because of a fear or belief that the story ‘isn’t that good’ – or due to the speaker’s lack of presentation skills. We help people prepare and speak up, through training and coaching programs, as well as online podcasts. 

Where does your passion for public speaking come from? 

Eight years ago, we saw the first online TEDx videos and were fascinated by why some stories were so mesmerizing and others were not. What is the difference between a good speaker and an ‘ok’ speaker? That was the start of our research into how to help people become the best speaker they can be. 

What is one of the most common errors when it comes to presenting?

Failing to invest in a good and solid preparation! There is a huge difference between knowing your story and telling it to a big audience. For example, professors who have spent years on a particular research, need months of preparation to be able to tell about it in 10 minutes. It is about knowing your story, building it up in a good way, ensuring a great (visual) presentation to support your story, finding a way to cope with the nerves… and then, in the end: giving a good performance!  

From all the tips you have concerning public speaking, what is your most valuable one?

This is a difficult question for me :-) Practice your story in front of a ‘guinea pig’ audience and let them film you! And something scary: ask for feedback.

We are very curious, what is one of the most powerful online presentations according to you?

I am really enthusiastic about a TED talk giving by Elizabeth Gilbert (displayed beneath). It is not even a very good performance: she is bit nervous and talks quite fast, but her talk has stayed with me over the years. One of her ideas has had a lasting impact on me! I think this is the power of a strong presentation: a story has to stick and, even better, bring about a change in people’s behavior. Performance, presence and outstanding visuals aren’t the most important thing – however, they CAN help achieve your objective. (https://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius/transcript)