Archive for November, 2012|Monthly archive page

4 Things Everyone Can Do To Improve Their Presentations

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Communication, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, speaking on November 29, 2012 at 12:14 PM

We all want to be good speakers. We all want to feel comfortable, look credible, and mostly, have people heed our advice when we speak. After all, the reason we make presentations is to change behaviors, attitudes, or beliefs.

There is no magic to improving your presentations, just time and effort.  All speakers, regardless of their abilities or level of nervousness, can improve if they follow these 4 steps.

Make Time To Prepare – There is simply no way around this: it takes time to create a strong presentation. It is easy to procrastinate thinking that since you know your subject and will just be talking; you do not need to prepare. To have a strong presentation, you must allow adequate time to think, create visual aids, and practice.

Organize Your Presentation – A good presentation has a beginning, middle, and an end. It is clear to the audience where you are going and what you hope they will do when you done. Taking time to plan your talk insures you will cover all the needed material while avoiding confusing (and irrelevant) side stories.

Create Compelling Visuals – While it is easy to create text heavy slides and bulleted lists, all they compel the audience to do is space out. Design your visuals so they show the audience in images the ideas they are hearing with your words.

Involve Your Audience – Audiences want to be active participants in a conversation, not passive receivers of information. Engaging and involving the audience makes it easier for them to pay attention and retain information. Asking questions, eliciting comments, and dividing the audience into small discussion groups are ways to engage the audience.

The net result of doing the four items listed is that you will feel more confident as a speaker and audiences equate confidence with credibility. The more confidence you exude as a speaker, the more relaxed the audience will be, and the more they can listen to your words. Confidence alone is not enough to carry your talk – you still need to be organized, deliver your talk well, and have good subject matter expertise.

Your talk will be more compelling, you will feel more comfortable, look more credible, and your audience is more likely to take the action you are suggesting.  It is not magic, it is not rocket science – it is just 4 things you can do to improve your talks.




© 2012, iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved

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Three Things I Learned From This Speaker (and the one thing she was really trying to say)

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Communication, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Uncategorized on November 7, 2012 at 9:14 PM

I learned three things from a speaker I heard at a workshop:

  1. Your credibility (and that of the company you represent) is on the line each time you speak.
  2. You may be full of passion, have a wealth of knowledge, and be the best at what you do, but this will be lost if you lack the skills to present these ideas.
  3. Your competitors gain when you have weak presentation skills.

While this was not her topic, this was the message she delivered. And she delivered it effectively and definitively.

It was very simple what she did and I am sure you could do this too (if you really want to). Here is how:

Start with a weak opening  

  • “I am sorry but I am not used to this microphone – can you hear me?”
  •  “The bathrooms are located…”
  • Talk about yourself and why you are qualified to speak

Demonstrate that your slides are more important than the audience

  • “If this was a smaller group, we would have time for you to talk and share. But since it is so large, I want to make sure we have time to go through all the slides”.
  • Speak non-stop for an extended period of time.

Say things that demonstrate you are not prepared

  • “Is the mic working?”
  • “wow – I have never seen that slide before”
  • “This group is larger than I expected “ (even though many seats were empty)

Demonstrate carelessness and lack of preparation:

  • Have your cell phone ring during the presentation.
  • Once it rings, dig through your bag to find it (curse for added effect)

Use poorly designed slides

  • “I know you won’t be able to read this but…”

Yes – the speaker really did all these things (and more) in one presentation. While her words told a story of the great services her company offers, her actions left a different impression.

Regardless how much new business her company may have gained as a result of this presentation, they would have gained more if they backed up their superior product with a professional presentation that enhanced their credibility. At the end of the presentation, there were still a lot of “undecided” prospects -there was still a lot of money on the table.

I hope you do better in your presentations than this woman and that you better match the words you say with the message you deliver.

Here are 5 fast tips to help you present well

  1. Start strong
  2. Pay attention to your audience and allow time for interaction
  3. Prepare. Walk through your slides and test your equipment
  4. Create opportunities for interaction
  5. Turn your phone off

© 2012, iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved