Posts Tagged ‘Audience’

The Good And Bad Of Visual Aids

In BNI and Business Networking, Business Presentations, Communication, executive coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on April 3, 2013 at 7:37 AM

Your audience is 6 times more likely to remember what you say if you include a well-designed visual aid. We remember very little of what we hear, more of what see, and more yet of what we do. The more involved you get your audience in the presentation, the more attentive they will be and the more likely they are to remember what you say.

All presentations can be enhanced through the use of visual aids. Here is of some of the most common visual aids with their attributes and drawbacks.


  • Can be inexpensive
  • Audience members take it home
  • Easily customized to the group
  • Every person has their own
  • Can be distracting
  • Can be expensive
  • Some people take the handouts and skip the talk

Real Objects

  • Tactile and sensory
  • Memorable
  • Unbeatable in the proper setting
  • Interactive
  • Do not apply to all situations
  • May be distracting

White Boards/Flip Charts

  • Inexpensive
  • Changeable
  • Content is tailored to audience
  • Interactive
  • Makes audience feel “heard”
  • Requires good handwriting
  • May cause speaker to have back to audience
  • Hard to lug around


  • Powerful
  • Can be creative and fun
  • Animation makes it easy to highlight key points
  • Can reveal information bit by bit
  • Video and sound are easy to add
  •  Has a bad (and rightfully earned) reputation
  • Prone to being misused
  • Technical problems can be an issue
  • Overused
  • Requires special equipment

Visual aids are powerful additions to any presentation. Use the right one for your situation and you will have a more interactive and memorable presentation.


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

© 2013 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

Eight “Tricks” To A Great Presentation

In Business Presentations, Communication, executive coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on March 25, 2013 at 3:41 PM

Good presentations do not happen and excellent presenters are not born. A good presentation is one that is carefully crafted and an excellent presenter is one that hones her skills and uses her tools appropriately.

tricks and tipsHere are tricks you can incorporate to make your presentations a success.

1.       Create a clear message – Know what you want your audience to know and do when you are through speaking.

2.      Develop good visuals – Create visual aids that are interesting, clear, and to the point. Audiences often miss the message when visual aids (PowerPoint in particular) are poorly designed.

 3.      Know your 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.      Allow for adequate time to prepare

Preparation is critical if you are to deliver a credible and moving presentation. Create an outline, good visuals, practice; and know how to use your equipment. The first time you deliver a talk should not be in front of a “live” audience.

5.      Make your audience comfortable

Audiences that are uncomfortable in their chairs, hungry, thirsty, in need of a break, or in a room with poor temperature control, will have a difficult time paying attention.

6.      Set up the room to meet your needs

Arrange the seats, tables, lectern and the screen so it works for you and your audience.

7.      Present yourself appropriately

The audience will judge you based on your dress, language you use, and your level of organization. Watch your use of “French”, jargon and technical terms.

8.      Evaluate your work

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


In truth, these are not “tricks” at all; these are tips you can use if you want to present well. Yes, it takes time to create and deliver a presentation that is memorable, a good speaker works to engage and motivate their audience – but is worth the effort.


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

© 2013 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.


Five Bad Assumptions You Can Make About Speaking

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Communication, executive coaching on February 15, 2013 at 8:33 AM

Preparing 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. assumptions
  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 members 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!


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

© 2013 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

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.

Steps To Create A Yawn Inspiring Presentation

In Uncategorized on September 19, 2012 at 6:12 PM

Speaking Tip #83

Creating and delivering a yawn-inspiring talk is easy. So easy in fact, that 82% of all presentations reach this level*. With numbers that high, it is clear most presenters strive to achieve this status.

Here are six easy steps to help you create a yawn-inspiring experience for your audience:

1) Talk mostly about yourself – You are fascinating and everyone is interested in hearing about your life. Talk mostly about yourself and a bit about the work you do. Do not worry about relating anything to the audience. They are grateful for the opportunity to listen.

2) Use PowerPoint at its lowest value – Here are 3 pointers to use PowerPoint as a essential element of a yawn-inspiring talk.

  • Turn out the lights and turn on PowerPoint as soon as you are introduced. This will help you feel more comfortable as no one can see you.
  • Project your notes onto the screen and read them verbatim, preferably with your back to the audience. This allows the audience to both hear and see your presentation. Pictures are distracting and should be avoided.
  • Include complex graphs, tables, and charts in your presentation.

3) Build your presentation around several messages – Presenting a single message is risky as the audience may not like or agree with the message. Presenting several ideas allows each person to choose the message they like. A smart audience will be able to take your disjointed presentation and piece together what you are trying to say.

4) Display your superior knowledge at all times – Answer every question definitively, even if you are not sure you’re correct. You are the expert which is why you are the speaker. Having fast answers instills confidence in the audience.  If an audience member disagrees with you or questions you, it is ok to belittle the person.

5) Wing it – Don’t waste valuable time preparing your talk. Audiences love natural performances that flow. You know your topic well enough that you can just talk off the cuff and still inspire your audience.  Having a prepared talk will stifle creativity and lead to a stiff presentation.

6) Give lots of information –  Even though research shows audiences can only organize and remember 3-5 bits of new information at a time, your audiences are probably smarter than average and your topic is interesting. Give the audience a ton of data, facts, and concepts.

Yawn-inspiring talks require little effort to prepare and save time as the chances of being invited back to speak again are low. As most presentations already fall into this category, you want to position yourself to part of the pack.

© 2012, iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved

*Why Bad Presentations Happen To Good Causes: Andy Goodman, 2006. Request a free copy at

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

Why Should Anyone Listen To You?

In BNI and Business Networking, Confidence/Nervousness, Credibility, Increased sales, inspiration, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Social Media on May 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM

On Credibility and Nervousness

My friend Theresa is a wonderful speaker. She is alive, animated, smart, articulate and people love her. She came to me recently though and told me that while she does well in front of some audiences – other times she totally loses it. She cannot hold her thoughts, rambles, and finds herself finishing 1-hour talks in 10 minutes. She was perplexed as to why sometimes she could be so confident, self-assured, and charismatic and at other times feel like a bowl of jello.

Nervousness properly managed is a good thing – it is a primal reaction that keeps us sharp and attentive. Becoming so distraught that we are unable to focus is, however, not a good reaction to nervousness. While there are many reasons we get nervous in front of a group – understanding the cause is the first step to managing it to your advantage.

As Theresa and I spoke, the cause of her nervousness became apparent. If she felt the audience knew less about the subject than she did, she was confident and self-assured. What made her nervous was believing the audience might know as much or more than she did on a particular topic

No wonder she was nervous – she was afraid the audience would see her as a fraud despite the fact that she has an advanced degree, tremendous passion and more than 20 years experience.

She had not convinced herself she was a credible source of information – and could not therefore convince the audience of that.

The next time you plan a talk, begin by asking yourself (and do write down the answer!):

Why am I qualified to speak on this subject?”

If you are like most people, you might initially draw a blank here. However, think hard. How many years experience do you have with this subject, what work, (paid or volunteer) or life experiences do you have that relate to your topic? Do you have a degree or other training that ties in? Do you have a love or passion for what you do?

In order for your audience to perceive you as credible, you have to believe you are credible. There is a reason you are qualified to stand in front of that group and speak – find it and you will feel your nervousness (or part of it anyway) fading away as your self confidence increases.

Thank you to Dr. Jon Hooper for introducing me to the Source Test.


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


Related articles


© 2007 – 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.

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.

Are You Trying To Change The World (or a piece of it)?

In Business Networking Groups, Fund raising, Increased sales, marketing, Public Speaking on April 22, 2012 at 1:16 PM

It takes more than passion, knowledge. and a good cause to bring about change.

We like to think that if we tell people about our cause, they will want to join forces with us because what we are doing is so right.

  • Saving our parks
  • Protecting animals
  • Helping children
  • Raising money for schools
  • Reviving a community theater
  • Making the community a better place to live

The truth is that truth and knowledge is not enough. Passion is good, but even that is not enough to move people.

It takes a well crafted, properly delivered message to get people off their good intentions and moving in a new direction.

iSpeakEASY offers a special workshop designed for “Leadership” and other groups advocating a good cause.

Words, information, and passion are good, but they are not enough. We will help you put these into a short yet powerful message, train you to deliver them well in less than 2 minutes – the amount of time a City Council will give you to speak under “public comments”.

Make your knowledge and passion work toward change.

Click HERE for information on how YOU can learn to change the world in 2 minutes or less.


Related articles

When Is It The Right Time To Not Speak?

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, sales on March 15, 2012 at 7:14 AM

I am not really prepared for this presentation tonight” the speaker stated as he opened his talk. “I have not been feeling well so did not have time to prepare. I did not want to let you down, so I came anyway.”

As a member of the audience, what is going through your head at this point in the talk?

  1. Great, I busted my butt to get here only to get a second rate presentation
  2. On top of being bored, I will probably get sick from his germs
  3. Maybe I can sneak out the back unnoticed and get something important done
  4. All of the above

The speaker has barely started his talk yet his credibility is already lower than the floor.

There are many reasons for not being prepared for your talk but no real excuses. You knew you would be expected to speak and probably procrastinated on the preparation. Your audience has sacrificed to come hear you and deserve your best. If you can not deliver, consider alternatives that may save your professional credibility.

I am under the weather today and will not be able to deliver the seminar I promised you. I am very disappointed and apologize for the inconvenience, but want to be at my best for you and do not want to risk sharing my illness with you. Let’s reschedule for next week.”

Which feelings do you think you will experience after reading the above email:

  1. Disappointment yet happy to have an extra 2 hours in your day
  2. Appreciative of the courtesy of the speaker
  3. Excitement for the high quality presentation you will get when she recovers
  4. All of the above

The first speaker demonstrated lack of respect for the audience – they were not important enough to him to adequately prepare. His talk should have been planned in advance so that last minute “stresses” would not have an impact.

The audience will judge your professional abilities based, in part, on how well you present. A second-rate performance indicates you are a second-rate professional. A first rate delivery indicates you take time to plan and prepare in all aspects of your life and work.

Your credibility is on the line every time you present. A single bad presentation will not destroy your career and it won’t do anything to enhance it. Presenting is one of the best ways to build your business, gain support for your project, and influence others. The audience is giving you the most important item they have, their time. Honor that by delivering your best to them.

© 2009 – 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.

Fear Of Public Speaking Is Universal

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, marketing, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Social Media, speaking on March 6, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Serge is a Mexican national working in the U.S. as drywaller. He is an artist in his ability to put surfaces on walls.

He attended a speaking skills workshop focusing on delivering a clear message in 30 seconds or less. After the workshop, Serge approached me and said “I knew I was nervous speaking to others. English is not my first language and I am shy. I had no idea that all these other people where just as scared as I am.”

The “other people” he was referring to are white, educated, English speaking business owners including attorneys, accountants, and nutritionists.

Serge had internalized what he felt were his weaknesses and thought that is why he was afraid to speak in public. That day he learned public speaking makes many people nervous regardless of education, ethnicity, or background. For Serge on that day, the playing field had been leveled, at least in his mind.

We All Get Nervous

Fear of speaking is universal. We all fear being exposed as inadequate, of being asked a question we can’t answer, of making a fool of ourselves. We can focus on what we perceive our deficits to be and use them as a block, or we can flip it around and look at our assets and use them as a stepping stone.

For Serge, a man of color working in a wealthy, predominantly white community, he allowed his perceived deficits to make him nervous. That day he realized almost everyone, regardless of country of origin, native language, or skill set, is nervous when they address a group. He felt inadequate as speaker because, at times, he tripped over words. The fact that he is a skilled tradesman, an artist and a hard worker had slipped his mind.

What are your perceptions of your weaknesses? What causes you to be afraid when you speak? When you look at your peer group, what do you perceive they possess that you do not?

Now flip that around. What special skills, training, background, passions, interests and attributes do you possess? What qualifies you to do your job or speak on your topic?

Both lists are real and important – the list of fears can hold you back while the list of skills will propel you forward.

Fear of public speaking is universal. Which of the two lists will you choose to focus on?

© 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.

Related articles