iSpeakEASYblog

3 Elements Of An Effective Talk

In business, Business Presentations, Communication, Public Speaking on October 26, 2017 at 2:27 PM

Would you be a more effective speaker if you knew exactly what your audience wanted? Would you be more efficient in your prep time if you had a clear idea of the target before you began planning your presentation?

There is good news! A recent survey conducted by Andy Goodman tells us just this. Information was gathered from more than 2500 people who both watch presentations and make presentations. This data produced a list of the three qualities audiences most want in a presentation.

Clarity

A well-designed talk is organized and centers on a single main message.  This message is crystal clear and uses up to 5 sub-topics to support it. Audiences are less interested in your data and more interested in your message. Keep it short and to the point. Often in preparing talks, we come up with multiple messages. Write all of these down and then find the one overarching message that incorporates as many of these as possible. Be clear in your mind as to what you want to say and this will help the audience understand your message.

Interaction

Audiences are intelligent! They are more interested in feeling a part of the learning process and less interested in you being the “expert source of information”. More than just the standard question and answer session, audiences want the opportunity to interact with the speaker and with members of the audience. Ask many questions, encourage dialogue, and find innovative ways to have your audience work in small groups to “discover their own data”.

Enthusiasm

Energy, charisma, passion – the audiences interest is perked when the speaker exhibits these qualities. Face it – when the person speaking looks as excited as a bowl of oatmeal, it is hard for the audience to get excited. Enthusiasm is contagious.

Four additional qualities that rated high in the survey were humor, use of stories, relevance, and well-produced visuals.

Clarity, interaction, and enthusiasm are qualities audiences want the most! While this research focused on formal presentations, the principles will work when you are speaking one-on-one or to small groups (such as at staff meetings). Use these ideas to help improve the effectiveness of your presentations today!

 

 

Source: “Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes”, Andy Good and Cause Associates. 2006

© 2007 by iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved. This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. For information on workshops and coaching, contact us at Ethan@iSpeakEASY.net

Intrigue Your Auedience – Don’t Overwhelm Them

In Uncategorized on October 26, 2017 at 2:18 PM

When my children were young, I dreaded going to the store to buy children’s aspirin. I remember standing there at the wall of products completely overwhelmed and very clear that there were many options but not clear at all about the right choice. Aspirin, Tylenol, ibuprofen or store brand? Pills, capsules, chewable, or liquid? Infants, child, teen or adult? Cherry, berry, or grape? Coated or uncoated? With fever reducer or without? 10, 25 or 100? It was too much!

aspirin-aisle

I always worried that no matter what I brought home, it would not be the right choice.

Speakers often overwhelm audiences in the same way. In an effort to fully educate, to tell the whole story, we give too much information and too many options. We give more than the audience wants, can remember, or can even keep straight in their head. Speakers often try to cram what has take years or even decades to learn into a 40 minute presentation.

Given too many choices or too much information, audiences become dazed. Rather than being moved to action, they are more likely moved to a state of paralysis. In a sales situation, this means no sale. In a management situation, this means no change in behavior. In a community forum, it means no change in belief

An effective speaker gives the audience one clear message. An effective speaker supports that one message with 3-5 supporting points, and they are done. An effective speaker keeps it clean and simple.  An effective speaker is able to discern what needs to be stated and what needs to be left out.

Take the time to figure out your one message and find your three to five supporting subtopics, and leave everything else out.

The worst that can happen when you give less is your audience will want more information and ask you a question.

 

© 2007 by iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved. This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. For information on workshops and coaching, contact us at Ethan@iSpeakEASY.net

5 Strategies For Responding To Questions (especially when you don’t know the answer)

In Uncategorized on September 28, 2017 at 9:48 AM

 

(Note:  This is an updated and improved version of an earlier articlequestion-head-with-marks )

The way you handle questions has a large impact on your credibility. You may be asked questions for which you don’t know the answer, you may misunderstand the question, or you may benefit from a small bit of time to consider the correct best answer. Here are five strategies to help increase your creditably when answering questions.

1.       Prepare

Write a list of questions you may be asked, write the answers, and practice delivering these answers before you are in front of your audience

2.       Remember you are an expert

You know your topic, your job, and your project

3.      Buy time (and think)

Use these statements sparingly to help gain focus

  • “That is a great question”
  • “I am glad you asked”
  • “Make sure I understand what you are asking”
  •  “I am not sure I understand what you are asking, can you give me a bit more background?”

4.      Use Your audience

Invite the audience to respond with their knowledge or opinions. You may try to turn the the question into a conversation with a statement such as:

“That is great question, does anyone want to try to share their thoughts?”

5.      Give an answer

If you don’t know the answer or don’t know the entire answer, you still need to respond in confident manner. Use these statements:

  • “Here is what I know about that….”
  • “Here is what I don’t know…”
  • “This is what I will do to find out…”

Keep your answers short and concise, answer only what was asked, and resist the temptation to tell ALL you know about the question. When you are finished, ask to see if you have given the info being sought.

The best way to maintain your credibility as an expert is to prepare. Be ready for all questions, even the ones you do not know how to answer.

 

© 2017 – All Rights Reserved.  iSpeakEASY provides coaching and training workshops. Call or email for information.

If you found this article helpful, consider having a live presentation on this topic for your staff and co-workers. We offer a special 45-60 minute mini-workshop that is perfect for brown bag lunches and staff meetings. Like all our sessions, it is interactive and fast paced.