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Archive for the ‘executive coaching’ Category

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.

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.

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.

So What?

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, executive coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on December 26, 2013 at 9:22 PM

“So what?”so what

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Why should I care?”

“Why is this important to me anyway?”

Though it may sound as if these words are coming from a teenager; these questions are going through the minds of everyone as you speak. It does not matter if you are presenting to a large group or talking one-on-one. The main thing your audience cares about is themselves. They are wondering how what you say proves valuable to them.

When you are planning your presentation, put yourself in the position of your audience and ask yourself the same questions. Why are you telling this to your audience, why would they care, and most importantly – why is it important to them? If there is no reason, then don’t say it as your audience will not be listening anyway.

Most people do not have an intrinsic desire to take in new information for the sake of learning. We are bombarded by information every day and rely on internal filters to control what we absorb.

When you speak, the listener will be unconsciously deciding if the information is important to them or not. Your job is to present your message in a manner that lets them know why it is in their interest to listen to you. It is the speaker’s job to demonstrate why the listener should pay attention rather than to space out or think about something else.

Design your talk from your audience’s point of view. Why is your message important to them? Why is each part of your talk of interest to them? How will listening make their life better? Examine each part of your talk from your audience’s perspective.

If you address these questions in your planning, you increase the likelihood your audience will pay attention and absorb what you are saying. If you fail to address these questions adequately, you will end up with an audience of one – and the one person paying attention will be the person doing the speaking.

With appreciation to Sam Ham.

© 2009 – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. We help people speak effectively and with confidence.

Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

What Are YOUR Words Worth?

In BNI and Business Networking, Business Presentations, executive coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, sales, speaking, Uncategorized on October 15, 2013 at 8:03 PM

https://ispeakeasyblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/mpj0315701000012.jpg

A bar of iron is worth about $5. Take that iron and turn it into horseshoes and it increases in value to $10 even though the raw materials are still the same. Take that same bar of iron and make it into screwdrivers and the value goes up to about $250. If you make needles with the iron, the value rises to $3,000 and if you turn it into balance springs for watches the value soars to $250,000.

The material is still the same limited quantity of metal but the way it is used, the end product, is quite different. The information and knowledge you possess is similar to iron. Its value is based on what you do with it, not the face value of the raw material itself.

What are you going to do with the information you have to increase its value? What can you say or do that will take the information you have come to life for you listener? How can you present it so that it morphs from raw data into something useful and inspiring to your audience? It is the audience’s perception of your words that makes them valuable, not the value you place on them.

In this “age of information” we live in, information is cheap while knowledge remains invaluable. The goal is to take information and present it in a manner that makes your audience say “Wow!”

Use your passion to make your data come to life for your listener. Plan your presentation, determine your singular main message, outline your 3-5 key points, create visual aids that help make your point and you are on the way to turning your bar of iron into watch springs.

The knowledge and experience you possess, that you try to convey to your audience, is worth little until you learn to present it in a fashion that is of interest to others. If you can make what you know relevant to others, the value of your information skyrockets.

 

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  © 2008 – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY.  We help you profit from your words. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

Myths About Technical Talks

In business, Communication, executive coaching, Public Speaking, sales, Uncategorized on October 2, 2013 at 9:22 PM

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.

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Do You Speak The Same Language As Your Audience?

In Business Presentations, Communication, executive coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, sales on September 5, 2013 at 7:53 AM

The man on the other end of the phone was offering to send me fishing lures. Not a single lure, but hundreds or even thousands to use with the learn-to-fish program I manage. I thanked him and explained I was not interested, as we do not use lures in our programs. His offer was good but even for free, it was not anything I could use. He pushed his cause a bit but I would not budge – I simply do not use lures. There was an awkward silence and he suggested I visit his website. Out of boredom or politeness, I typed the URL and was surprised at what I saw.

The “lure” he was offering was not a “lure” as I think of it –it is “bait”. I asked him about his choice of words and he replied it was how he referred to his product.

He was talking about apples and I was hearing oranges.

Instantly my interest in him, his offer, and his product went from zero to one hundred. I have no use for lures, or what I call a lure. I have a high interest and constant need for bait. I like it even better as he is offering me thousands of free samples as of his marketing campaign. Now we have a win-win situation.

I was struck though, at how close to failure we had come simply because we had not agreed on the definition of a term. It was as if we were speaking different languages.

How often are you trying to sell something – a product, service, or an idea – and run into a wall because the language you are speaking, the words you are using, are different from the words understood by your prospect?

Do you use lingo, buzzwords, or acronyms that make sense to you but push your clients away? The words may make perfect sense to you because you are in the business: you use the terms everyday and know what they mean. Do you offer “lures” to clients that want “bait”? Can you identify the buzzwords that motivate your audience?

Take time to practice your presentations – even your phone calls – with someone outside your field. Have them listen to you and then listen to them to see what they heard. It will be a valuable (and profitable) use of your time.

Speaking well is all about addressing the needs of your audience. To address their needs it is important to speak a language they understand.

 

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iSpeakEASY helps people present information in an exciting and relevant manner. Our clients accomplish more in less time. Visit us at www.iSpeakEASY.net or www.iSpeakEASYblog.wordpress.com. Contact us for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

© 2013 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

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 http://www.ethanrotman.wordpress.com.

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Finding A GOOD Speaking Coach

In BNI and Business Networking, Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Communication, executive coaching, Public Speaking on July 22, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Finding a speaking skills workshop is easy. Finding a workshop that helps you become a better speaker is a bit harder.

Have you attended a workshop where you sit in a room full of people, spent most of the time listening, received a binder of information, and are then encouraged to buy more books? If you are like most people, you walked out with your head swimming with ideas. The next day you place the binder on your desk with the intention of reading it. Now that binder is on your shelf, still unopened, and you are doing things in pretty much the same way today as you did before the workshop. It does not have to be that way.

group_interactionSmallA good workshop or speaking coach treats you as an individual. Your thinking is stimulated; you have time to discuss new ideas and are allowed to practice the new techniques. Instead of being overloaded with information, you are feed digestible chunks.  You walk out feeling empowered to continue using your new skills. The end result is a change in your behavior that leads to more effective performance.

If you are willing to take time and spend money to improve your skills, make sure you get the services that are best for you.

A good workshop or Performance Speaking Coach:

  • Places emphasis on YOUR skills, talents, and personality rather than those of the instructor.
  • Involves one-on-one coaching or small group interaction
  • Mixes professional coaching and peer coaching (not peer coaching alone)
  • Takes a flexible approach to focus on your situation, needs, and interests
  • Involves multiple short sessions that allow you to think about what you have learned, apply it, then come back and discuss the results
  • Provides honest feedback in a non-judgmental manner
  • Feels comfortable
  • Offers meaningful interaction with the instructor and other participants

Be wary of trainings that incorporate:

  • Peer-to-peer coaching as the sole method of learning
  • Trainers with a “large personality” who want you to emulate their style
  • Large hotel conference rooms packed full of participants
  • Agendas where you spend more than 50% of the time listening
  • Training companies that encourage trainers to sell product
  • “Pollyanna” trainers that tell you positive things to make you feel good without providing critical review of your work.

If you are going to invest time and money into your professional development, invest wisely so you gain skills and improve as a speaker.

 

iSpeakEASY helps people present information in an exciting and relevant manner. Visit us at www.iSpeakEASY.net or www.iSpeakEASYblog.wordpress.com. Contact us for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

© 2013 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

Early Warning Signs Of A Bad Presentation

In BNI and Business Networking, Business Presentations, Communication, executive coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, speaking on May 23, 2013 at 1:30 PM

I knew I was in trouble as I walked in the room. The speaker had not said a word yet my expectations were low and getting lower.

DeadlyThe room was dry and sterile – nothing inviting about it. It was dimly lit with the ubiquitous blue image on the screen signaling an impending PowerPoint. The room was hard to find – there were no signs to direct me and I was irritated at the cost of parking my car. I noticed the room was devoid of refreshments – including water or coffee. I thought longingly of the last cup of coffee sitting in the carafe at home and the bottle of water on the front seat of my car.

It was one minute to start time and I was already watching the clock. The presenter had shot himself in the foot before opening his mouth.

ExcitingI contrast this with a workshop I attended a few days prior. An email provided me with directions, a map, and other basic information. When I approached the building there was a sign outside directing me to the workshop. I was greeted by an enthusiastic instructor who warmly welcomed me, directed me to a spread of food, offered me a nametag, and took time to introduce me to another person she felt I would “click” with. The room was bright and cheerful and the food delicious.

Yes, it does take extra time, effort, and sometimes money to make your audience feel like a guest rather than a number. However, one of these instructors had turned me off before he started speaking. The other had won me over to her side.

Here are some hints:

  • Use directional signs from the parking all the way to the room
  • Send a welcoming note explaining logistics, parking, and time needed to get from parking to the room
  • Greet guests at the door
  • Provide refreshments (no one learns when they are distracted by an empty stomach)
  • Provide nametags to encourage interaction
  • Have guests enter a well-lit room with the Power Point off
  • Consider aesthetics (e.g. using an attractive meeting room, tablecloth on the snack table, flowers, music, art, or posters on the walls)

Everything you do sets the expectations of the audience and affects their attitude. How they feel will affect how open they are to receiving your information. It is true; the devil is in the details.