At Video on the Net in San Jose this past March, I was standing beside Brian Conley, the man behind the popular internet TV show, Alive in Baghdad. Brian’s a slender man, with glasses, and comes off as quiet until you know him. Just before going onstage, he turns to me and says, “Do you think they’ll get mad at me if I kick over the podium?”
Presenting can be scary to many people, and for others, it comes quiet naturally, but even the best presenters have to break free from their “tried and true” methods and shake up their audience. You know who understands this very well? You know who can change up their act and get people moving? Rockstars!
Disclosure: I wrote about this way back in February 2006, too. Guess it’s on my mind again.
Make First Contact With Emotions
When you go to a concert, bands are pushing your emotion button even before they get onstage. When the auditorium goes dark, your heart races a little. When the lights start flashing and the curtain raises, you feel your adrenalin start to flow. All this before the first note of the first song.
In the amazing-yet-simple book, MADE TO STICK, the Heath brothers remind us that pretty much any topic can be discussed from the angle of how it impacts humans. Reach for that. Look for the best way to connect what you’re discussing with the humans in the audience. And use a HUMAN perspective, no matter the topic. Humans are at the root of most things you’re going to present about. Right?
When a band’s been around a while, they get the benefit of playing audience favorites and still having enough material to stretch their show. What makes playing the favorites so great? People CONNECT to them.
In your presentation, talk from the perspective of what your audience wants to hear most. Lead with the good stuff. Give them something juicy to think about, and then build on it. Only in fiction (novels, plays, movies) is keeping someone in the dark desirable. In presentations, people need to feel “in” and they want you to let them in right up front.
Kick Over the Podium
Watch any live concert performance and you know when the audience goes CRAZY. It’s when the band moves out into the audience in any manner that breaks the “fourth wall” between band and crowd. When the singer or a guitarist hurls themselves into the fray to connect physically with their audience, it always pays off in even stronger attention. (I was once at a New Year’s gig where The Mighty Mighty Bosstones invited the entire audience up on stage with them. Hazard? Yes. Memorable? YES!)
Unless it’s ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, get out from behind the podium. Move. If it’s a big venue and you need a mic, ask about wireless way ahead of time. Most professional events will have them. They may not WANT to rig for that, but hey. It’s your presentation. If that’s the hardest challenge you’ll put them through, they’ll be lucky. And once you’re out from behind that podium, what should you do? Make eye contact. Pretend everyone in the audience helped with your presentation, and talk conversationally with them about the points you’re making.
Wave Those Lighters
Rock concerts are fraught with audience participation. The best of them make the people in the crowd feel like part of the band. The worst make you flip the band the bird. “I can’t hear you” is not audience participation.
Getting your audience to react and act is more than “show of hands” tricks. There are all kinds of ways. A fun one I’ve seen and like emulating is when a presenter prints out nice high-color versions of their slides (should you choose to use them) with numbers on the back (1, 2, 3). Then, when you’re ready for the next slide, get the audience to hold them up and present them. Ask questions that aren’t just hand-waving questions. (Be wary of presentation-hijackers, but otherwise, this makes for good theater).
There are dozens more ways to hack this. Just think it through. How can people interact with your presentation? Do you have data? Is there a physical representation of the data that would look striking in the audience?
Go Home Singing
After every good rock concert, if you’re like me, you sing badly mangled versions of what you just heard onstage while driving home. Rockstars want that desperately. They want to be in your head after you’ve left them. They want you to carry the experience off to others so they grow their fan base.
Do the same with your presentation. Give people something to remember. Give them a striking visual, an interesting turn of phrase, an emotionally-charged moment that hooks together the entire presentation. The best presentations are the ones people talk about days after the fact. Is that YOUR presentation? Do you give them something to sing?
You’re the Rockstar
I know you. Some of you sell out arenas with your presentations (even if only in your heads). You’ve got better ideas than mine. Why not share them? Fill this comment section with YOUR tips on being a rockstar presenter. Tell me I’m full of crap. Give me an anecdote from the best performance…er, presentation you ever gave, attended, or heard about from someone after the fact. It’s how we grow.
No one can live a positive life without failing. However, many people experience a fear of failure, despite its inevitability in life. Failure, as you will see from these 30 success and failure quotes, is the key ingredient for the recipe of success!
Today’s society is obsessed with success and achievement, and failure is definitely NOT part of the equation. Failure and making mistakes is hidden away or seen as a human weakness.
However, if you avoid making mistakes in life, struggle to do everything right, and are obsessed with perfection and order, then living and experiencing a successful and happy life is going to be impossible.
Embrace your failure, whether it is one failure or many failures, because with the right attitude and a willingness to learn from your mistakes, you are guaranteed a lifetime of success. Here are some uplifting quotes about failure and success to help you get started.
1. “Never let success get to your head; never let failure get to your heart.” -Anonymous
This quote is important for those of us who feel downtrodden after every failure, heartbroken, if you will. If you let failure get you down for more than a couple of days, you’re wasting away your chance to bounce back from it.
On the other hand, if you allow yourself to build an inflated ego after every success, future failures may be even harder to cope with. Maintain a sense of humility and gratitude for each success and failure you find.
2. “Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie?” -Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe is spot on with this one. The first person who should be there to catch you when you fall is you. You have to be your own best advocate, the person to build you up when it feels like everything is going wrong. The others in your support system are just icing on the cake.
3. “You always pass failure on your way to success.” -Mickey Rooney
In today’s competitive world, it’s hard to understand that almost no one experiences failure before they experience genuine, lasting success. Failure is what forces you to learn in order to achieve that goal you’ve been working up to.
4. “Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.” -Chinese proverb
Everyone falls. Those who refuse to pick themselves back up, no matter if it’s after two days or two years, are the true failures.
5. “Successful people don’t fear failure but understand that it’s necessary to learn and grow from.” -Robert Kiyosaki
There are many success and failure quotes on this idea, and that’s because it’s so very important. Learning doesn’t happen when things are easy. It happens when things get tough and you have to find a way through challenges.
6. “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” -Barack Obama
No one can escape failure. If you let it keep you down and shying away from achieving your goals, you’ve failed again. If you learn from it and continue on your path toward greatness, it wasn’t a true failure but a lesson.
7. “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” -Og Mandion
Determination is one of the best antidotes to failure. Even if you take two steps forward and one step back, you’re still moving forward with grit and determination. Keep going!
8. “Fear regret more than failure.” -Taryn Rose
At the end of your life, what do you think you’ll feel worst about, failing or never trying?
9. “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” -Nelson Mandela
If anyone has enough insight to offer us success and failure quotes, it’s Nelson Mandela. He learned that that path to success (and freedom) is full of setbacks. His determination, however, led him to make amazing changes in the world around him. Now that’s success.
10. “The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” -Paulo Coelho
Each time you get back up, it will get easier and easier, and you’ll realize each time that those failures are the greatest lessons life will ever give you.
11. “Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” -Napoleon Hill
Unfortunately, many people stop trying after a large failure comes their way. They lose their confidence, determination, and will. However, success usually follows quickly behind these huge failures because you’ve inevitably learned what not to do.
Don’t stop with the huge failure. Take a few more steps and see if it gets you where you wanted to go.
12. I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas Alva Edison
Through his success and failure quotes, Thomas Edison shows us that failures are only truly failures if you don’t learn the lesson they offer.
13. “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” -Bill Gates
Celebrating success feels good, but learning the lessons of failure is where growth occurs, which can lead you to even greater successes.
14. “The only thing that separates success from failure is one last attempt. Try one more time and you will get lucky.” -Apoorve Dubey
Every success comes from an attempt. If you don’t try one more time, you’ll never know if it could’ve been your big chance at big success.
15. “Failure is a detour; not a dead-end street.” -Zig Ziglar
Many people get impatient with failure. They feel that it’s a stopping point, or a road that’s too long to walk. However, the patience to take that new road is exactly what’s necessary to find success. If success is easy to find, it likely won’t last very long.
16. “In the real world, very smart people fail, and mediocre people rise. Part of what makes people fail or succeed are skills that have nothing to do with IQ. Also, the idea that intelligence can be gauged by an IQ test is erroneous.” -Camille Paglia
Failure is not a sign of a lack of intelligence, as Paglia suggests. Failure is a sign of great intelligence and great courage. She also points out the important point that intelligence takes many forms, and it’s often the grit and maturity to accept failure for the temporary setback that it is.
17. “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” -Oprah Winfrey
Queens will always be queens, no matter if they experience success or failure. And you will always be you, so use that to your advantage, and take the risk of failure in order to reach success.
18. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” -J.K. Rowling
Living a life free of failure generally means you have lived a boring, uneventful life. Is it really worth it?
19. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” -Richard Branson
If you’ve ever watched a child learn to walk, you know that Branson’s success and failure quotes are true. Children are determined. They fall, and they get back up. And then they learn, and soon they’re running.
20. “Success or failure is caused more by mental attitude than by mental capacity.” -Walter Scott
Scott knows that intelligence is less of a determining factor in success than determination or ruthless optimism. Set yourself up for success by cultivating both.
21. “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again. That is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan knows failure, and yet we know him as an incredibly successful person. Why? Because he never let the failures stop him from moving on.
22. “There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.” -José N. Harris
The secrets to success are pretty simple, and living a full life is only possible once you learn that getting up after a failure will bring a great sense of satisfaction and joy.
23. “All people fail at certain instances in their lives, the only thing that makes them different is how they manage to stand up or how they choose to fail again.” -Unknown
If you fail, you’re like the vast majority of the world. What makes you different is how you choose to respond.
24. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” -Robert Kennedy
If you aim high, even if you fall short you’ll still likely be ahead of the majority of people. Take the time in life to fail greatly because that’s where you’ll find your true self.
25. “Failure is good as long as it doesn’t become a habit.” -Michael Eisner
If you continue to make the same mistakes, you’re not learning from your failures. This is when it becomes a destructive habit instead of a moment to propel you toward success.
26. “If you are afraid of failure, you don’t deserve to be successful.” -Charles Barkley
Only those who are willing to accept the hard emotions that come along with failure will be those who will enjoy the good feelings of genuine success.
27. “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. It is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end street.” -William A. Ward
In his success and failure quotes, Ward points out something important. Failure is often seen as a death stroke, something that stops our success. If we shift our perspective and look upon failure as a teacher instead, we will likely feel very differently about those moments in our life and see that failure is delay, not death.
28. “Courage allows the successful woman to fail and learn powerful lessons from the failure. So that in the end, she didn’t fail at all.” -Maya Angelou
We’ve been here before. Failure is only failure if you don’t learn from it. Let yourself get a bad grade on the test; you’ll study differently next time. Let yourself fail at a relationship; you know how to build a healthier relationship next time.
Every failure brings a lesson. Learn it and move on.
29. “Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know.” -William Saroyan
If you think of the moments you learned and grew the most, were they easy times or hard times? Challenges make us better, smarter people. You don’t get wise through an easy life.
30. “Don’t fear failure—not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” -Bruce Lee
If you try to achieve something great, even a failure feels like a success. At least you had the courage to try. That’s more than most can say.
More Inspirational Quotes
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