Helping presenters achieve new heights
Eric Bergman, BPA, ABC, APR, MC, FCPRS

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Eric Bergman first became fascinated with the power of the spoken word in 1981. The professor of his presentations course at college was leading a team that was preparing a presentation for delivery in Baden-Baden, (West) Germany. The purpose of the presentation was to convince the International Olympic Committee to select Calgary as host of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games.

“We were given a peek inside the strategic process,” Eric recalls. “I'll never forget the moment I heard the news that Calgary had been selected to host the games. It was a defining moment of my career. I was hooked on the power of the spoken word.”

Eric wrote his first speech for a senior executive in 1983, less than a year after starting his career as a public relations and communication management professional. “It was a retirement speech, so it was fairly low risk,” he says. “But I worked almost five hours to craft that five minutes. I received a lovely note from the speaker, which I still have.”

In September, 1985, to set out on his own as an independent communication consultant. For the first eight to ten years of his freelance career, he wrote hundreds of speeches for executives in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, earning local, national and international awards for his work.

In the early 1990s, he began providing presentation training and executive coaching. His unique and effective program, Present With Ease!, has helped thousands of clients from six continents create and deliver meaningful presentations that inform, educate, influence and persuade.

His approach is unique because he believes that slides should be developed last, not first, for any presentation. He believes that using slideware like PowerPoint or Keynote to develop content for presentations has led directly to the logical conclusion of ‘Death by PowerPoint’.

“When slides drive content, the result is too many slides with too much information on each,” he says. “As many have said, this may benefit the presenter, but it harms the audience. Working memory is overloaded and the audience retains very little, if anything, from what was delivered. Let’s be honest. The vast majority of the thirty to forty million presentations delivered today will be forgotten as soon as they’re over.”

With his book One Bucket at a Time, Eric encourages less presentation, more conversation. The book outlines a conversational approach that is based in science and decades of experience helping clients use presentations to achieve personal and professional goals. His approach is called “ingenious” and “a window to the future of this important human activity” by one of the world’s leading cognitive scientists.

Eric holds a bachelor of arts in communication studies and a two-year diploma in advertising and public relations. He received designations as an accredited business communicator (ABC) from the International Association of Business Communicators in 1991 and an accredited public relations practitioner (APR) from the Canadian Public Relations Society in 1993. In 2002, he was named a master communicator (MC), which is the highest distinction that can be bestowed on a Canadian member of the International Association of Business Communicators. In 2015, he joined the College of Fellows of the Canadian Public Relations Society (FCPRS).

In his spare time, he and his partner enjoy exploring North America on their Honda Gold Wing GL1800.