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Presentation Skills Lessons From Chef Bobby Flay
by Gilda Bonanno

I'm a fan of the TV cooking competition, The Next Food Network Star, hosted by celebrity chef Bobby Flay.  The winning chef gets his or her own cooking show on the Food Network. 

The show offers lesson not just about cooking, but also about presentation skills because the winning chef has to be a good cook and effective and engaging on camera. 

 

In one episode, the contestants had a limited amount of time to cook an entrée and then two minutes on camera to demonstrate it in front of a panel of famous TV chefs. 

 

Here are 4 lessons learned from the contestants during their two minutes presenting on camera that can also apply to your presentations:

1.    Don't Forget the Introduction

One chef forgot to give the one-sentence introduction of his name, his food show theme and what he was going to demonstrate.  When you start your presentation, don't forget to clearly and concisely introduce your overall message – also known as the point of your presentation. 

                  

2.    Time Matters

Another chef underestimated how much time it would take to describe each ingredient, so he ran out of time to finish his demonstration.  Sometimes, less is more; it would be better to say less about each ingredient, or each point in your presentation, than run out of time at the end.  (And how do you know how long it will take to present? Practice and time yourself!)

3.    Remember Your Main Purpose

One of the contestants was very nervous about the presentation and spent so much time talking about himself and describing his dish that he forgot to cook something, prompting Bobby Flay to comment, "You didn't cook anything, dude!"  When you present, remember your purpose and what your audience expects – and don't disappoint them.

4.    Non-Verbals Matter

The judges criticized a few of the chefs for their lack of energy, demonstrated by limited eye contact, no smiling and no vocal variety.  In any presentation, it is not enough to have the technical information correct, you also have to engage the hearts of your audience and connect with them.  Even though your in-person audience doesn't have a remote control to change the channel the way a television audience does, your audience can and will tune you out if you fail to engage them. 

The next time you have to give a presentation, remember the lessons from Chef Bobby Flay and give your audience something to savor and remember.

Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people from all walks of life improve their communication and presentation skills.  Copyright (c) 2011