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Posts Tagged ‘communication’

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.

The One Thing All Audiences Care About

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2016 at 8:06 PM

Work, family, hobbbies, vacation, religion, politics, sexuality – what is your favorite thing to talk about? While not everyone will admit it – most people’s choice is themselves. Likewise, the topic we find most interesting to listen to is again, ourselves.

i-love-me

Use this to your advantage when trying to capture the attention of your audience. Tell them something you know about them, a quality you admire, or an obstacle they have overcome. Cite the good work they have done or acknowledge their efforts – in a sincere and honest manner. Talk about them before you talk about yourself.

When you have done this, the next step is to make a connection between their life and what are going to talk about.

This technique helps grab the audience’s attention and encourages them to listen to you. It is amazing how engaging it is to hear a person talk about us! Many speakers begin by listing their own credentials and experiences – which most audiences find far less interesting.

Have you ever been in a crowded room full of noise when suddenly you hear one word above the roar – that word is your name? Your ears perk up and you focus on finding out who said it. It is the one topic that we are always interested in hearing about – regardless of our mood or what else is going on.

In a speech to a group of volunteers, the mayor of a large city began by talking about the importance of volunteerism, the benefits to the volunteer, and the difference in the world these people are making. He could have talked about his efforts spearheading this  program or the accomplishments of his administration but instead he spoke to the audience about the audience and in doing so, gained their attention, their support, and their loyalty.

A great way to grab and hold your audience’s attention is to speak about something near and dear to them. For example, when speaking to a decision making body (such as a city council) –begin by acknowledging the work the council does in creating a better civic life, When speaking to a potential client acknowledge their successes and the challenges they face.

The next time you are getting ready to speak – put “you” into your sentence before you say “I.” It takes effort to do this, almost as if it is unnatural, but you can learn to do this effectively in a short amount of time.

 If you enjoyed this article, I have a special gift for you….
 

© 2007 – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY.  Call for information on individual coaching or group training.

How Much Time Do You Have To Grab Their Attention?

In Uncategorized on March 20, 2016 at 7:28 AM

 

15 seconds. That is how much time you have to grab the attention of your audience. 15 seconds to prove what you are about to say is important to them! Use this time efficiently and they are yours. Waste it and you can watch your audience fidget, turn away, and mentally leave the room.  In   one-on-one conversations, you will be able to watch their eyes dart about before they divert the conversation to a new topic.

We know the value of being clear on what we are trying to say. Now we shift the focus from us and look at why it is important to them, our audience.

Start your talk with a provocative statement that will capture your audience right off the bat. Think of a rhetorical question, a joke, a story, a statistic or a dramatic statement that will peak interest and make them want to hear the rest of what you have to say. Find something that demonstrates why what you want to say is of value to them.

Think about this: when you buy a book – is it wrapped in a jacket (or cover) that is designed to intrigue you or is it in plain brown wrapping? The purpose of the cover is to make you want to pick the book up and look deeper. Think of your opening statement as the cover of the book – what are you going to put there to make others want to know what is inside?

An all-too-common mistake is to starting the talk with the verbal equivalent of brown paper wrapping – uninteresting background, the usual thank yous, or other irrelevant information. The audience is lost before you have begun.

When you stand up to speak (or walk into someone’s office) – be ready with a good opening line that is to-the-point and captivating. It should be clearly thought out, well rehearsed and directly tied to your main message, even if you are speaking one-on-one.

Try this experiment – watch other people speak. Do they start with something of interest to you or do they begin by telling you things you don’t really care about? How do you react to this situation and what is it that makes you stay tuned?

The first 15 seconds of your talk are critical to your success. Take time to plan it well so that you grab their attention and make your audience want to listen.

 

© 2009 All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links from your blog or webpage are encouraged.

The Most Important Tip To Effective Speaking

In Business Networking Groups, Communication, Public Speaking on August 7, 2014 at 8:13 AM

Know what you are trying to say. Period.

This speaking tip is so basic, that people sometimes laugh when I say it but it is true.

It sounds so basic, but a common mistake is not being clear on what we are really trying to say. Think about it – if the speaker does not have a clear idea of what they are trying to say, how is the audience supposed to figure it out?

We feel rushed or, worse yet, we believe that since we are just “speaking for a few minutes at a staff meeting” or “having a quick word with the boss (or spouse, kids etc)” that we don’t need to prepare.

Speaking without knowing your point can be likened to driving without a destination (except it lacks the romance of the free-wheeling spirit heading down the road). You veer right, then turn left, go straight for a bit, you double back, take a side road that leads you no where. You end up talking about all kinds of things that really are not pertinent to the message you are trying to deliver, the audience tries to follow you but ends up lost and takes a “mental vacation”.

The next time you are going to speak, whether it is in front of a group or one-on-one, ask yourself this question:

“What is the one thing I want them to know when I am done speaking?”

When you can answer this question – organize your thoughts and then you are ready to begin.

Being clear in your own mind on your objective will go a long ways in helping you present your thoughts in a clear and concise manner that will be effective.

Treat every conversation with care and respect. Before you speak, put yourself in the driver’s seat and say, “where do I want this to go”?

© 2010 iSpeakEASY – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY: We Help People Profit From Their Words.

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Interested in improving your communication skills? iSpeakEASY offers workshops and coaching to help you. Click here for information or email Ethan at ethan@ispeakeasy.net

Increased productivity, confidence, and credibility are among the benefits you will receive when you participate in the Speakers Academy. There are still seat available in the upcoming session. Click the link for information.

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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.

 

 

Reasons You Should NOT Improve Your Speaking Skills

In BNI and Business Networking, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, sales, speaking on February 17, 2014 at 3:53 PM

I hear a lot of reasons for why people do not want help with their presentations:

  • “I don’t feel nervous in front of an audience.”
  • “I am only presenting to my peers.”
  • “It is just a staff meeting.”
  • “I know my subject.”
  • “I took public speaking in college.”
  • “I use PowerPoint.”
  • “I don’t use PowerPoint.”
  • “I did not have time to prepare so I will just wing it.”

After their talk, speakers often justify why they are sure they did not need help:

  • “I was not nearly as nervous as I thought I would be.”
  • “No one threw fruit “(yes, they really say this to me!).
  • “My friends said I did a good job.”
  • “They laughed and clapped, they must have liked it.”
  • “There were no questions.”
  • “It felt pretty good – I think I did okay.”

This is all good except nervousness is not a gauge of effectiveness, people don’t really throw fruit (at least in this country), your friends tend to say you do well, and not asking questions probably means they want the fastest way out of the room.

An effective presentation is one where you meet the objectives you set before you spoke.

In sales, this may mean an increase in closed sales.

In management, this may mean changing employee behavior.

As a scientist, this may mean increasing support for your project.

As a parent, this may mean a reduction in household tension.

In non-profits, this may mean more money and volunteers to accomplish your mission.

Before you plan your next talk, write down the answer to this question:

“When I am done, what do I want my audience to do?”

Plan the talk with this answer as your target and you improve the chance you will reach your objective.

The Speakers Academy is designed for professionals serious about improving their presentation skills. This five-part workshop focuses on the key elements of effective presentations: Organization, content, delivery, and visual aids. Graduates leave with increased confidence, are viewed as more credible, have noticeably improved skill, and enjoy greater success with their speaking. Click here for more information.

© 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.

 

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.

The Benefits of Speaking Well

In Business Presentations, Communication, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on January 11, 2014 at 6:14 PM

We all know to how to talk: that comes from having a mouth. But talking and speaking well are completely different.

Speaking WELL helps you:

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

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

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

  1. Enjoy free speaking tips and articles at http://www.ispeakeasyblog.wordpress.com
  2. Talk with a professional speaking or presentation coach
  3. Enroll in the iSpeakEASY Speakers Academy

 

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© 2013, iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved

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.