Archive for the ‘BNI or other Networking Groups’ Category

Making Your Presentation Forgettable Is Easy

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Networking Groups, Communication, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, speaking on October 31, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Speaking Tip 99

Making a forgettable presentation is so easy that 80% of speakers achieve this lofty goal. To help you bring your talk in line with the majority of speakers, I offer you these tips and attitudes – embrace them fully and you can literally watch members of your audience lose interest and drift off into space:

  • The role of the speaker is to talk and the role of the audience is to listen
  • You do not need to prepare if you are just presenting to your peers or at a staff meeting
  • Information alone is all that is needed to change opinions and gain the support of your audience
  • The air needs to be filled with words…YOUR words and lots of them
  • You have a lot to say and your audience wants to hear it all
  • Your jokes are hilarious
  • Eliminating breaks and pauses gives the speaker more time to talk and insures the audience will learn more
  • The audience NEEDS and wants to hear all the information the speaker has on a subject to gain a better understanding of the issue
  • It is better to give too much information than to little
  • You are the source of information and audience members are empty shells waiting to be filled
  • Talking faster allows you to give your audience more information in the same amount of time
  • It is best to put the script of your presentation on slides and show these to the audience
  • The audience likes looking at your back as you read the words on the screen
  • The speaker is the most important person in the room which is why everyone is looking at you
  • Make sure to accommodate YOUR needs as speaker first, and don’t worry about the audience
  • Small fonts are on the screen is easy to read, especially if your audience is over 40 and sitting far away
  • Audiences love slides with bright colors and fancy fonts as they make your presentation more fun
  • Long lists of “tips” are helpful and easy to remember

The best part about forgettable presentations is they take very little time to prepare and it does not matter what the speaker says as no one is listening anyway! These tips are free so use as many of them as possible in your next presentation – that way you will more effectively help your audience learn more in less time.

This “tongue-in-cheek” article is one in a series from iSpeakEASY. We help people present information in an exciting and relevant manner – usually by helping them avoid the mistakes discussed here. Contact us for information on workshops and coaching. Visit us at

© 2013 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

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Maybe I Should I Have Asked More Questions Before I Agreed To Speak

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Communication, executive coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on August 1, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Asking the Right Questions

Imagine this scenario:

You have agreed to make a presentation at a staff meeting. You take time to outline your talk, prepare your handouts, and create effective visual aids. You practice. You confidently walk into the room wearing jeans and a button-down shirt expecting to see a table with 6-8 people. As you enter the room though, you find there are close to 80 people sitting in an auditorium. They are dressed in business attire. There is a lectern on the podium with a microphone and a large screen behind. The paradigm of your presentation suddenly changed. It requires different preparations, more handouts, and an entirely different presentation strategy. In an instant, you go from feeling confident and prepared to scared.

questions 2Your mind flashes back to when you were invited to speak. You wonder what you were told, what you heard, and suddenly wish you had asked a lot more questions.

The very first part of preparing for a presentation is to define the parameters.

Think about how the situation described above could have been different if the following questions were asked:

  • How many people will I be addressing?
  • How will the room be set up?
  • Who will be in the audience and what is their background?
  • What do you hope to accomplish by having me present to your group?
  • Is the audience a group of strangers or do they know each other?
  • What other speakers are on the agenda and when will I speak in relation to them?
  • What type of AV equipment and software do you have?
  • Will there be technical assistance available?
  • What is the appropriate dress for this occasion?

Some additional questions that may be of help include:

  • Will alcohol be served? (This is to gauge the audience, not for you to drink!)
  • What is an emergency number I can call the day of the talk in case I have a problem?

Don’t assume you understand the parameters of a presentation. Make sure you ask the right questions. Find out as much about the situation as possible before you begin preparing. The more you know about what to expect, the better prepared you will be. Your confidence and credibility will soar.

© 2010  iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved – This speaking tip is one in a series provided by iSpeakEASY. We help people profit from their words. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops. More tips can be found at

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Create A Yawn Inspiring Presentation – Join Us For Speakers Night Out

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Communication, Education, executive coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on February 15, 2013 at 10:10 AM

At iSpeakEASY, we are constantly looking for new and innovative way to help you, the busy professional or the fast-paced business owner be more productive when you speak. Speakers Night Out is a tool to help you improve your business.

Sometimes the best way to learn is by watching others.

Observihappy audienceng other speakers provides us with insights on what “works” for an audience. We view the presentation from the outside and are able to distance ourselves from the content. This helps us see what really works as a speaker while picking up valuable ideas on what we should do (and not do) when we are the one at the front of the room.

At Speakers Night Out you will observe a presentation and be asked to offer your professional insights. You will discuss the presentation with the speaker and other audience members and engage in a discussion on techniques of presenting well. You play two roles: that of the expert and the learner. Everyone participates – everyone gains.

The presentation is not a “pitch” for the speaker or a 10-minute commercial – it is an opportunity for the audience and speaker to engage in conversation on how we can all improve our presentations. In the end, the speaker walks out with a more polished presentation and you walk out with new ideas on your speaking.

As Michael Scott of Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company put it – “This is a win-win-win situation”.

But that is not all. There is more to the evening

The evening has three parts:

  1. A workshop to improve the effectiveness of your speaking
  2. An interactive activity with other professionals
  3. A presentation and follow up discussion

Participants at Speakers Night Out are actively involved– not empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge.

Click HERE to register for the next Speakers Night Out

We begin with a presentation by iSpeakEASY owner Ethan Rotman on “Creating A Yawn Inspiring Presentation”.

You will then work alongside other professionals and business owner to learn and network.

The final activity will be to observe a presentation by a client of iSpeakEASY.

All this in a short, fun, fast-paced session. You will leave smiling, full of ideas, and ready to approach your next talk in a new manner. You will have new skills to help you make your point and close that deal, get that client, convince that person to follow your lead.

We are so sure of the value that we guarantee it. If you leave dissatisfied, we will give you your money back

Monday June 10th

5:30 to 7:30 PM

Inn Marin, Novato

$35 advance, $45 at the door

Click here to sign up for Speakers Night Out

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

Call or email for information on how to create and deliver presentations that capture and inspire your audience.

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

Becoming A Perfect Speaker

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Uncategorized on October 25, 2012 at 9:18 PM

A client told me she was disappointed in the speaking skills training session as she did not feel her skills had improved as a result. Listening to her, I did have to agree. She had attended a 1-hour introductory talk and applied little, if anything, to her repertoire.  Her expectation was that if she attended a single session, she would have the magic elixir needed to bring her to perfection. Even the best speaking coach cannot deliver that level of excellence.

If you believe you can attend a speaking skills workshop and become a “perfect speaker”, forget it. Please don’t attend as you will leave disappointed.

It would be better for you to sign up for your local Toastmasters group where you can attend weekly meetings and receive lots of positive feedback on your speaking skills. In time, you will come to believe you are, indeed, perfect.

If you participate in an iSpeakEASY workshops (or one lead by another speaking coach), you may learn that speaking is a complicated art with many variables. You may walk away at times frustrated that there is so much to learn. You may realize that much of what you have been doing for so long is not right. You may learn that speaking well takes work and concentration. You may discover that you will never become a “great speaker”, you may however, become a much better speaker. You will become a person that has knowledge and skills that when applied, can reap great benefits.

iSpeakEASY workshops (and the workshops of all credible speaking coaches) provide a foundation of information and ideas. You will be exposed to new ideas and new ways to think about your entire presentation. You may discover the importance of small nuances, or that what you want to say has little bearing over what the audience needs to hear.

You may never become excellent – you should however, expect to become much better than you are right now. You should expect to see an increase in your effectiveness (by whatever means you choose to judge), you should expect to become more engaging, a bit more relaxed, and able to enjoy your speaking.

Perfection as a speaker, as in all things is a goal to strive for. You may never reach the goal but you will get much closer to it the more you learn and try.

Of course, if you want to learn to be a better speaker…enroll in the Speakers Academy.


© 2012, iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved

The Tremendous Advantages Of Being A Good Speaker

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Uncategorized on September 8, 2012 at 11:04 AM

We all know how to speak – that comes from having a mouth. But speaking and speaking well are two entirely different things. We all know this as we listen to others talk all the time.

Speaking well helps you:

  1. Improve your professional and personal reputation
  2. Increase your influence in decision making processes
  3. Be concise and on target at all time
  4. Gain the trust and respect of others very quickly
  5. Deal with difficult people
  6. Come across as sincere, authentic and reliable
  7. Increase your success business
  8. Be seen as an expert
  9. Make strong first impressions
  10. Conduct effective business meetings
  11. You attract people – people want to be with dynamic people
  12. Enjoy the rush of public speaking (even if you fear it)

Speaking is easy and we all do it everyday. Speaking well is learned skill. Effective speakers are able to get things done in a more efficient manner. It is that simple. Improve your speaking skills today.

Here are three things you can do to start the process of improving your effectiveness and credibility:

  1. Enjoy free speaking tips and articles at
  2. Talk with a professional speaking or presentation coach
  3. Enroll in the iSpeakEASY Speakers Academy

© 2012, iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved

Call or email for information on how to create and deliver presentations that capture and inspire your audience.

Preparing for the End

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on July 31, 2012 at 2:03 PM

Imagine making it through the first 26 grueling miles of a marathon and tripping and falling just before the finish line. How frustrating! All the preparation, all the work, all the sweat and you never reach your goal.

Oddly enough, this is where many presenters fail – at the end. They do a fine job of preparing, creating great graphics, practicing, presenting and then lose credibility during the most useful and treacherous part of the talk – the question and answer period.

During all other parts of your presentation, the speaker controls the content but during the question and answer period, the audience has the advantage. Whether speaking to a large audience or one-on-one, preparing for questions will help you maintain your credibility.

Tips for success:

  • Brainstorm questions you may be asked and practice your responses.  Ask others what questions they think might be asked. Keep your answers short and to the point.
  • Allow your host to field questions from the audience as this will diffuse potential hostility.
  • Repeat or paraphrase questions back to the person asking. This affords you time to think, insures you answer the right question and tells the entire audience what question you are answering.
  • Listen. Many speakers cut off the question before the person asking has finished.
  • Watch the person who asked the question while you speak. This will help them feel you are speaking to them and will provide you with feedback on your answer.
  • When you are done with a particular answer, ask if you have addressed their question.
  • Be honest when faced with a question you do not know the answer to. Encourage the person asking to write the question down so you can research it and get back to them. Try asking if some one in the audience knows the answer.
  • Prepare a closing remark for when you have finished answering the final question. You get the last word – make it count.

Whether you are talking to an audience of 1,000 or speaking one-on-one, being prepared for the questions will increase your personal credibility and help you reach your desired end.



“Good Speakers are born. Great Speakers are trained. Click HERE to learn how you will benefit by attending the Speakers Academy .


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© 2007 – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. You are welcome to link to this page but reposting or printing this article require prior permission. Call for information on individual coaching or group training.

Comfortable Speakers Are Not Always Effective Speakers

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, marketing, media, Public Speaking on April 26, 2012 at 8:54 PM

“The KEY to being a good speaker” Kurt told me, “Is to feel comfortable in who you are – to feel comfortable in front of a group. I have been through years of Toastmasters and read Dale Carnegie – that is what I learned”.

A few moments later, Kurt was introduced as our speaker. He sat in his chair at the front of the room and he looked very comfortable. He rambled for about 20 minutes without really saying anything of substance. He did not address the topic that was promised, he bounced from idea to idea, and no one in the room looked enthralled. But Kurt was comfortable.

Kurt confused his comfort and lack of nervousness with being effective. A speaker should have a goal, or a reason for speaking.  At the end of the talk, there is something the speaker wants the audience to know or do.

If Kurt’s goal was to impress the audience that he was comfortable speaking in public, he succeeded. If he wanted us to know that he was a good speaker, that he was competent in his work, that his company was worthy of our business, or that we should follow his advice, he failed wonderfully.

An effective speaker feels comfortable because they know they have a strong presentation: a well crafted message that is expertly delivered. They know they have a reasonable chance of changing attitudes and behaviors with the audience.

As a speaker, when you know your topic, have clear goals for your talk, excellent visual aids, and are well practiced, you will feel more comfortable in front of an audience. When a speaker believes lack of nervousness alone makes them a good presenter, they are suffering from Kurt’s syndrome: confusing personal comfort with effective speaking. The speaker’s level of nervousness has little to do with their ability to motivate an audience to take new action.

Kurt is good at his job and he works for a very reputable company. I hope one day he learns the benefits of speaking well. He will be seen as credible, competent and his business will thrive.







© 2012, iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved

This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. Call for information on individual coaching or group training.

All Artists Are Self-Taught

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, speaking on April 15, 2012 at 8:37 PM

“Techniques and skill and even a point of view are often handed down, formally or not. It’s easier to get started if you’re taught, of course.

But art, the new, the ability to connect the dots and to make an impact–sooner or later, that can only come from one who creates, not from a teacher and not from a book.”


Seth Godin


“There is an art and a science in public speaking. Any one can learn the the techniques of being a a good presenter just as anyone can learn to stretch canvas and mix paints. Few of us, however, will become a Picasso.

But it never hurts to strive for betterment!”


Ethan Rotman