Posts Tagged ‘Business Services’

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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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.

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.

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

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.

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

A Really Great Question

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Social Media, Uncategorized on September 6, 2012 at 7:14 AM

I knew I was in trouble as soon as he blurted out “this is probably a really dumb question but…”

I knew I was about to hear a really basic question. The kind I am asked all the time. Something really basic and elementary that my perhaps my dog could answer.

I listened intently as he spoke and when he was done, I smiled as I replied, “that is a really great question”.

As a presenter, I hope the questions I am asked will be intellectually stimulating, challenging, and an opportunity for me demonstrate my credibility. This question was none of those.

In truth – it was a great question. What made it great was the fact that he was asking something that he did not know the answer. He was seeking to educate himself and to learn. This is the reason I speak – to help people see things in a new way and to help them discover new truths.

I watched his face light up as I affirmed the quality of his question. He listened carefully to my answer and from there; the conversation progressed down a related path. The audience appreciated the response as well. They knew they were safe asking a question without fear of belittlement. They saw the kindness offered by the presenter and the excitement I had as I gave the answer.

The response demonstrated that as speaker, I saw the audience as my equal. I did not feel superior to them, I welcomed their questions and inquiries and I was intent on helping them.

In truth, it was a pretty general question. The kind I get all the time. Yet I am so grateful he asked.

The next time you get a question that seems basic; perhaps even ridiculously simply, remember to answer it well. Take time to listen carefully to the question and be clear that you appreciate the question, even if it seems to be a very simple one. Be gracious and excited if not for the question itself, then for the opportunity to help a member of your audience. The manner in which you answer will speak volumes about the type of person you are.

© 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.

A Powerful PowerPoint Tip – Presenters View

In BNI and Business Networking, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, sales on May 28, 2012 at 7:48 PM

PowerPoint’s Presenter View

Speaking Tip #81

Are you interested in moving your PowerPoint presentation from mundane to spectacular? It may be easier than you think. PowerPoint has a variety of tools built in that will help you do this. Most users never take the time to learn PowerPoint and subsequently create second-rate presentations.

PowerPoint’s presenter view is one of many powerful tools built into the program – yet few people know how to use it (or that it even exists!)

Presenter view allows you to see a different set of images and information than what you are showing your audiences. Imagine giving a presentation and while your audience is viewing your slide, you are able to quickly scan through the entire show or read your slide notes.

Presenter Mode allows you to:

  • Quickly black out of the projection screen while still viewing your screen
  • View thumbnails of the slides in show as the show is being presented
  • Navigate to a previously shown slide or skip ahead to any slide in the show
  • View the next slide in the sequence before your audience views it
  • End the show with a single click
  • Know the number of each slide
  • Read your speaker notes
  • See how many minutes and hours since you started the show (egad I hope you don’t need to know how many hours you have been speaking!)

Best of all, this is not an add-on or app – it is in the program you are running right now! The controls (buttons and icons) are all large so you can easily navigate even while speaking and using unfamiliar equipment.

Presenter view works on most current  operating system that supports multiple displays including Microsoft Windows® 98, Microsoft Windows 2000, and Microsoft Windows XP or later.

Your audience sees one thing and you see another.

Using Presenter View

To use presenter view, your computer must:

  • Have multiple monitor capability.
  • Use an operating system that supports multiple displays, such as Windows XP, Windows 98, Windows 2000 or later
  • Have multiple monitor enabled in the Control Panel
  • Have Presenter view turned on

To turn on multiple monitor support and presenter view:

  1. Connect a second monitor (or projector) to your computer
  2. In PowerPoint, on the Slide Show menu, click “Set Up Show”.
  3. Under “Multiple Monitors”, select the “Show Presenter View” check box.
  4. Go to Control Panel, click on the display icon. Under “Settings”, click on “Multi-monitors” and select the monitor you want your “show” to appear in.

When you start your show, your show will be projected on the monitor (or screen) you selected while presenter mode will appear on your desktop.

It is really that simple! Imagine the possibilities!

iSpeakEASY offers coaching and workshops to help you create and deliver spectacular presentations with PowerPoint. Call today to ask about “PowerPoint: The Basics You Never Learned”.




© 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.