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Archive for the ‘Business Presentations’ Category

A Speakers Golden Opportunity

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Communication, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on August 21, 2017 at 7:33 PM

You have finished your presentation and fielded questions: now is your golden opportunity to connect with interested audience members. Audience members are (hopefully) inspired by your words and ready to take action. They want to have personal contact with you and ask a question or share a story.

Evstanding conversationen though you offered the opportunity for them to speak during the question and answer session, many people are shy or self-conscious about speaking in public. Perhaps what they have to say is personal and they do not wish to share it publicly You may be surprised at what happens when they come to you in this way. You will hear wonderful stories, questions and receive referrals and offers of help.

Sometimes they want a few minutes to gather their thoughts before they speak.

During the conclusion of your talk, tell the audience you will be available to speak. Offer an immediate and safe way they can interact with you in a smaller setting. Use an incentive to get them to approach you such as a brochure they want.

Use these final moments to your advantage. Be available to talk: avoid packing up your equipment or chatting with a colleague Mingle with the crowd or position yourself in a prominent place where you are approachable. Many people will not feel comfortable addressing you in front of others and desire personal, one-to-one contact.

One of the highest praises and audience member can give you is to share a personal story with you related to your talk. This indicates they have heard and internalized your message.

You may notice people standing near you, wanting to talk to you but feeling too shy to approach you. Watch for these people and pull them in. Be ready with a few questions to use as conversation openers.

The time immediately following your talk provides you with an opportunity to make high quality contacts with individuals in your audience. Take a few extra minutes to chat, mingle, and be a good listener to their stories. You may end up with many unexpected benefits such as good stories and new partners to help you reach your goals.

 

© 2007 by iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved. This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY.

Adding Sheen to Your PowerPoint Presentations

In Business Presentations, Communication, executive coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on July 5, 2017 at 1:20 PM

It is fun to watch a professional make a presentation as their presentations go off (nearly) flawlessly and they look like they are having fun doing it. Audiences will make a connection between the professionalism of your presentation techniques and your overall competency. Here are a few tips on how to add professional sheen to your presentations that use PowerPoint (or Prezi).

using-lcd

Before your presentation:

  • Arrive early to set up and test your equipment. Make sure the images look good on the screen.
  • Set up your equipment with you laptop facing you. This enables you to see your show while always facing the audience.
  • Learn how to operate the lights and window shades before your audience arrives.
  • Place a black slide in your show before your first and after your last image. This allows your show to be up and running without your audience seeing your desktop or that embarrassing “end of slide show – click to exit” slide.
  • Ask your host to operate your equipment and handle the lights.
  • Have a backup plan in case there is equipment malfunction. You should be able to deliver your talk without your images.
  • View your show in a room about the same size as where you will be presenting. What looks good and readable on your computer screen will not appear the same when projected in a room.

 

During your presentation:

  • Always begin your talk with the lights on. Introduce your topic, turn the projector on and dim the house lights. At the end of the PowerPoint portion of your presentation, turn the house lights on before turning the projector off. This eliminates the audience sitting in the dark.
  • Stand to the right of the screen and be sure not to cast a shadow.
  • If you use a laser pointer, hold it against your body to steady it, shine it on the screen for a brief period and turn it off.
  • When using a pointer, ground it gently to the screen to insure everyone sees you point to the same place.
  • In case of a problem, calmly work through it without getting flustered. The audience understands and does not need to hear an apology.

If you want to be taken seriously, spend time on the small details of how you present yourself. presenting with your competency in your work.

Contact iSpeakEASY for information on workshops and coaching to improve your credibility through improved presentation skills.

 

© 2006– iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved. You may link to this article without prior permission. Written permission is required to reprint/reproduce this article in any format. Contact us for information.

Myths About Technical Talks

In Business Presentations, Communication, Public Speaking on May 18, 2017 at 12:54 PM

too much data

Myths About Technical Talks

Speaking Tip 100

Talks about technical subjects, especially when delivered to technical audiences, tend to be, well, technical.  Speakers go into great depth on the details of the subject while often missing the one thing the audience is really interested in: what it all means.

Many years ago I was working with a scientist who banded birds and tracked their flights across the Pacific from California to Japan. In his presentation, he discussed the 46 types of transmitters he decided not to use. When I asked him why he did this, he replied – “my audience wants to know about the tools I used”. I explained the audience was more interested in what he learned by tracking the birds, a detail he overlooked.

In 1992, Hewlett-Packard labs in Palo Alto, California conducted a survey to determine what technical workers want to hear from other presenters.

“Contrary to conventional wisdom that says the technical audience is eager for a “data dump”, the survey results reflect people’s preference for talks that are well organized and easy to follow. Technical speakers who try to show how much they know by making their presentation complex would be more successful if instead they focused on simplifying their message. It’s a classic example of ‘less is more’”. *

Rather than wanting more technical detail, techies wanted:

  • More concise information
  • More effective style
  • Better visual aids

When dealing with technical information, rather than give the details, tell your audience what it all means. Avoid explaining the ins and outs, the details, and technical specifications – just tell your audience what it means to them. If your audience wants to know the details, they will ask.

Good presentations focus on what their audience wants to know rather than what the speaker thinks they should say.

* Frederick, Gilbert, “The Technical Presentation”, Technical Communication May 1 1992

iSpeakEASY helps people present information in an exciting and relevant manner. Our clients accomplish more in less time. Contact us for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

© 2013 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

4 Strategies For Answering Questions (especially when you don’t know the answer)

In Business Presentations, Communication, executive coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on February 16, 2017 at 10:08 AM

question-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 four 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. 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.

3 Traits Of Successful Speakers

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Communication, Uncategorized on December 12, 2016 at 11:20 AM

sucess-2

Exceptional presenters/trainers present good information in a setting that makes audience members comfortable, satisfied, and relaxed. The more time you spend preparing your site, making your audience feel welcome, and attending to their comfort, the more focused they can be on your content. Here are three simple things to consider that will help your audience appreciate your professionalism.

1. Start On Time And End On Time (Or Early)

Starting on time sends a clear message expect audience members to be punctual after each break and lunch. More importantly it send a clear message of respect and appreciation to those who are on time.  Waiting for a ‘few more to filter in’ rewards latecomers while sending the wrong message to those who are punctual. If you get in the habit of starting late, you can expect participants to return late from breaks and lunch

2. Make Your Audience Feel Welcome

Long before you begin speaking, your audience will begin forming opinions, attitudes, and feelings toward you and your topic. Attention to the smaller details will help audience members be receptive to your ideas.

  • Did you provide good directions including parking information?
  • Is the site accessible by public transit?
  • Was the path to the meeting room well marked?
  • What did participants see/experience when they entered the room? Was there food and beverage, were they welcomed warmly, was it clear they were in the right place?
  • Are the bathrooms and drinking fountain easy to find?
  • Was the room set up to function in a comfortable manner?

3. Invite Your Audience To Be Part Of The Conversation

Audiences prefer to be active participants in a conversation rather than passive recipients of information. Encourage open discussion of ideas, create opportunities for small group discussion, and make sure to build in ample time in the agenda to foster conversation. The room will buzz with energy as people talk about what you are presenting relates to their life and share their experiences.

This portion of the workshop will spill out into the breaks and will continue after your session has concluded.

Your audience is most likely to remember how they felt about your presentation than they are to remember what was covered. It will be assumed the level of professionalism and customer care you show during you presentation is exactly what they can expect from your work.

This Speaking Tip 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.

© 2015 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

5 Assumptions About Public Speaking

In Business Presentations, Communication, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Uncategorized on February 4, 2016 at 9:16 AM

ask-questionsPreparing for a presentation is difficult as there are many unknown variables. It is acceptable for a speaker to make certain assumptions about a presentation. Here is a list of the 5 basic assumptions a speaker can make when preparing for a presentation.

 

  1. Assume all your equipment will work perfectly. Do not arrive early to do a check, do not call ahead to troubleshoot any compatibility issues. It can be a good idea to boot your PowerPoint as the audience watches this will allow you to share the cute picture you have on your desktop.
  2. Assume you are the expert and the audience knows less than you. You do not need to ask audience members what they know or believe about your topic – assume they know nothing. Speak the entire time leaving very little, if any, time for questions. The faster you speak, the more words you say, the bigger “bang for the buck” the audience receives.
  3. Assume you are more important than the audience. Do not waste time learning about your audience or listening to audience member before you speak. You are the speaker, not them. It is more important they learn who you are as you are the guest. Besides, in 45 minutes you will be out the door and will never see these people again. Anything you may learn will be a waste.
  4. Assume the audience will not care about your appearance. Dress in a very casual manner as this will help audience will see you as a regular guy. Overdressing can make you seem stuffy and unapproachable. Wearing jeans to a business function is good as your relaxed demeanor will help the audience relax.
  5. Assume the audience will forgive you if you mispronounce the name of your host and the organization that asked you to speak. This will demonstrate to them that you believe you are important and will leave them wondering if they named their organization incorrectly.

 

Speaking is often considered a “soft skill” – that is one that is less important than other business or life skills. Many people believe they can “muddle their way through” most any speaking situation without any formal training or even much thought. Research supports this theory as 82% of speakers are fair to poor.

Implement these 5 assumptions you can be part of the majority!

 Mini-Workshop on “Dangerous Assumptions On Public Speaking”

Thursday, February 11, 2016 – Details

This “tongue-in-cheek” speaking tip is provided by iSpeakEASY. Our clients become the 18% of speakers that are good to excellent. Contact us for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

© 2013 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

The Last Time I Let An Audience Get The Best Of Me

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on June 10, 2015 at 8:16 PM

I remember the last time I let an audience get the best of me. It wasn’t really the entire audience, it was just one person who was unhappy or angry at the group that I represented. I let him rip me to pieces in front of everyone. I was embarrassed, belittled, distracted and felt quite stupid.

I remember the experience well because I left feeling beat up and angry at the man who attacked me. As I drove home though, I realized my anger was misguided. Yes, he was a jerk and yes he was trying to make me look bad but the real culprit was me: I allowed this happen.

I had the tools to better manage the situation I just forgot to use them. I let him lay a trap and like a fool, I walked right in. It was a good, but painful, lesson for me to learn and it has never happened to me since.
By comparison a year ago I led a meeting where there was a woman clearly gunning for me. This time though, the experience though ended quite differently and I walked out giving myself high fives in my brain. The difference was this time I remembered what I knew and I used the tools I had at hand. I was calm, I let her speak, I asked clarifying questions, and the more she spoke, the more outrageous she sounded to all in the room. I used the audience as my ally watching their reaction to her behavior and then asked if they wanted to continue her conversation of if they preferred to return to the agenda.

The next time you make a presentation, take stock of all your tools and training before you go into the room. Don’t allow fear to guide you, but do prepare for anything that might happen and keep control of yourself. If you sense something beginning to happen, breathe, think, and respond but don’t react. Chances are great you will not have to use all of your tools, but it sure is great to have them handy when you need them.

Tools For Managing Hecklers

 

  • Set ground rules for audience behavior and stick to them.
  • Always be on guard – pay attention to all questions
  • Make sure to understand the questions or issues raised
  • When dealing with a heckler (or possible heckler), allow them to speak freely for a limited time as they will probably dig themselves into a hole
  • Use the audience as your friend
  • Be calm – it is usually not personal
  • Ask for more information as most hecklers expend all their energy in the first punch and have little more to say after the initial attack

This Speaking Tip is one in a series from iSpeakEASY. We help people present information in an exciting and relevant manner. Contact us for information on workshops and coaching for groups and individuals. We take good speakers and make them excellent.

© 2015 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

ARISE and Speak Quickly On Your Feet

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Communication, Public Speaking, sales on May 21, 2015 at 9:29 AM

There are times when you must answer a question or address an issue with little, if any, time to prepare. A polished speaker handles these situations with grace. They create (or steal) time to produce a concise and correct answer that satisfies the person asking while building credibility. self-confidence-test

The goal is to deliver a short answer that is on point. The norm, however, is to give a long, possibly off track answer that loses the attention of both the audience and the speaker.

There are times when you must answer a question or address an issue with little, if any, time to prepare. A polished speaker handles these situations with grace. They create (or steal) time to produce a concise and correct answer that satisfies the person asking while building credibility. The goal is to deliver a short answer that is on point. The norm, however, is to give a long, possibly off track answer that loses the attention of both the audience and the speaker.

There is a better way. It involves a bit of work and behind-the-scenes scrambling but projects an air of confidence and credibility. Few speakers do this well and here is how you can ARISE to the occasion.

Anticipate – Chances are you know most of the questions that are of concern to your audience. Take a few minutes to write a list of all the questions you think may be asked. Write the answers to these questions, and practice delivering them. Anticipating the questions will help you in most situations.

Re-state – Paraphrase the question before you answer. This allows you time to think and ensures you understand what the person is asking. Keep in mind, it is possible they are not clear what information they are seeking and may have asked the wrong question. This step will help the other person as much as it helps you.

Identify – What is the one thing you want the audience to remember about your answer? What is your point? You must be clear in your mind if you expect your audience to grasp what you are saying.

Speak – Deliver your message in a clear, concise, and thoughtful manner. Make eye contact with as many people as possible and make sure to look at the person who posed the question. Keep your answer short and focused. Avoid adding extraneous information and stick to the point.

Evaluate – When you are finished, ask if you answered the question to be sure you understood their real question or concern.

Your ability to answer questions and respond to immediate requests will go a long way to build your credibility. Your confidence will be an attractive quality and will entice the listener. These situations can make or break your presentation. Making time to plan will help you win over your audience.

This Speaking Tip 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 www.iSpeakEASYblog.wordpress.com.

© 2015 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

If you enjoyed this article, try these:

Presentation Checklist

The Benefits Of Speaking Well

So What?

How Much Information Is The Right Amount?

In Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on March 22, 2014 at 8:21 AM

The topic of the talk was on the 7 key points to marketing. Seven. A good number, but much too high if the speaker expected the audience to remember her points. Instead of giving us 7 points of marketing, most people left remembering few, if any of the points she provided. How did this happen?

It has to do with how people learn. Each of us can retain and organize a certain number of bits of new information when it is received. While the actual number is different for everyone, the magic number for most is 3-5.  Most people can absorb, organize, and remember a maximum of 3 to 5 bits of new information at a time.

You can pour water on a sponge and it will soak it up until it reaches saturation and the rest runs off. With the human brain though, when we reach saturation, it is like someone is squeezing the sponge draining us of almost all the new information we gained.

While her talk was good and informative, while she clearly is a subject matter expert, I left the talk an hour ago and am not sure I could tell you even one of the 7 points. My brain reached saturation and I lost it all.

If her talk had been on the 3 key elements of marketing, there is a greater chance her audience would have left remembering her words.

Effective presentations are built around 1 central theme or message. This message is supported by 3-5 sub topics or bits of information. Any more than that and you will lose too many of your audience members.

When planning a presentation, it is easy to figure out what you want to say. It is very hard to determine what you should eliminate.

In presenting information, less is truly more. But only if you want people to remember your words.

 

© 2014  iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved – We help people profit from their words. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

 

 

Presentation Checklist

In Business Presentations, Communication, executive coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on February 12, 2014 at 9:06 PM

Good Presentations Do Not Just Happen.

They are created.

Do you have:

1.       A Clear Message?

Are you clear on what you want your audience to know and do when you are through speaking?

2.      Good Visuals?

Visual aids should be interesting, clear, and to the point. Audiences often miss the message when visual aids (PowerPoint in particular) are poorly designed.

3.      Knowledge Of The Audience?

Research the group before you arrive. Take time to meet individuals before you speak. During the talk, pay attention to the energy of the audience.

4.      Adequate Preparation Time?

Preparation is critical to deliver a credible and moving presentation. Create an outline and good visuals, practice, and know how to use your equipment. The first time you deliver your talk should never be the first time you deliver it in front of an audience.

5.      Plans To Making Your Audience Comfortable?

If your audience is uncomfortable in their chairs, hungry, thirsty, in need of a break, or in a room with poor temperature control, they will have a difficult time paying attention.

6.      A Room Set Up To Meet Your Needs?

The arrangement of seats, tables, lectern, and the screen in relationship to the windows and doors, will affect the audience’s ability to get the most from your talk.

7.      Appropriate Methods Of Presenting Yourself?

The audience will judge you on your dress, choice of words, and level of organization. Watch your use of “French”, jargon, and technical terms. Speak in a manner the audience can understand and follow.

8.      A Contingency Plan?

The audience will expect, and is entitled to, a great performance. What will you do if your computer crashes, the room is inadequate, or you forget something? ­

9.      An Evaluation System In Place?

Check your success based on the goals you set in step 1. Revise your presentation to improve your presentation skills.

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© 2011 by iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved. This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY.

We help people profit from their words. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.