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Posts Tagged ‘effective presentations’

Getting Straight With Visuals Aids

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Increased sales, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on August 22, 2011 at 4:29 PM

A picture is worth a thousand words

My chiropractor did an excellent job today. Better than what he did to my body – it was the way he explained the issues through visual aids.

As he spoke, rather than just relying on his words, he had an array of visual aids ready. As he explained the possible issue with my back, he held up a model of a spine, showed me the parts and how they were supposed to work, and what he thought was going on in my back. As he twisted the model, it all made sense to me. He then stepped to a poster on his wall and showed me another possible ailment – seeing the diagram helped me quickly understand what a “disc” is, how it functions, and what happens to make it hurt.

On another wall, he had a diagram of the recovery process. It seemed complicated but rather than explain all of it to me, he simply showed the part of the process important to me: where I was and where I hoped to be.

Now think back to a time you visited a Doctor or even your car mechanic. As they explained the problems using only their words, did you find yourself glazing over, not understanding, but agreeing to what they said just because you did not want to appear ignorant or hear it again?

Visual Aids Add Meaning To Your Words

Visual aids are powerful tools that help make your point. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words – well so are models, sketches, posters, and even hand-drawn diagrams. The next time you have to explain a process or outcome, think of a way to include a visual aid. Is there a model, a poster, a picture, a diagram that can get your point across? If you can do this, you will find it easier to discuss your topic with your audience and they will more readily understand the concepts.

A picture (or model or diagram or poster) really is worth a thousand words and, let’s face it; no one wants to hear those thousand words anyway.

Dr. Doug DeSalvo
is a chiropractor offering help with pain relief, weight loss, auto accident treatment, neuropathy treatment and more. Dr. DeSalvo is a graduate of the  Speakers Academy (but that is not where he learned to be a Chiropractor!) Learn more about Dr. DeSalvo by clicking here.

iSpeakEASY offers workshops on effective use of visual aids (including PowerPoint). CLICK HERE for information.

© 2011 iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved. Links encouraged, reprinting, copying, or reposting requires permission of iSpeakEASY.

15 Seconds

In Attracting New Clients, BNI or other Networking Groups, Credibility, Public Speaking on February 28, 2011 at 9:29 PM

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.

Giving Thanks: An Inspiring Toast For Your Holiday Meal

In Confidence/Nervousness, Credibility, Delivery, Holiday, Public Speaking, Toast on November 22, 2010 at 9:35 AM

It is a gift when you are able to stand and deliver warm, heartfelt words at a gathering of friends of and family. To speak in a manner that makes makes those around you, smile, press against their spouses, hug their kids, and laugh. Maybe you will even bring out a happy tear or two.

As you prepare for your holiday, whether it is at home or elsewhere, take time to reflect on your family and friends, and why you love them. Look around for all the wonderful blessings around you. Think about the holiday and put those thoughts into a short outline.

  • Keep it to three points or less.
  • Practice saying it.
  • Speak slowly and look around the room as you talk allowing your gaze to meet the eyes of each person at your table.
  • Keep it light, keep it postive, and focus on the beauty and abundance around you.

You will amaze your family and friends with a heartfelt toast Thursday that will be remembered for a long time.

© 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.

Choosing A Camera To Make Video For My Website

In Attracting New Clients, Delivery, Public Speaking, Tools and Gadgets, web video on November 15, 2010 at 6:44 AM
Video on your web-site is the rage and for good reason.  It increases the likelihood you will be found by Google (and other search engines), drives people to your site, and puts a face to your business.  Many people take the do-it-yourself approach in an effort to cut costs.  This can work for you but having the right equipment is essential.
 
I asked videographer Alan Fitch for guidance on choosing the “right” camera for the job. Here is his response:
 

“There are plenty of consumer cameras that record good-looking images. Where most cameras fall down is in the quality of the audio, which is typically tinny sounding, distorted, very faint, or all of the above.

If you are looking to create a do-it-yourself video for website distribution, you should use a camera that has an external microphone input along with a separate microphone. This will require some looking around, as most consumer cameras rely on the on-camera microphone – not something you want to do if your video is going to reflect your business. A decent lavalier (lapel) microphone can be purchased from Radio Shack, and will make a tremendous difference in the quality of the video.

Let me emphasize the importance of understanding how your online video is going to reflect both you and your business. This is kind of a no-brainer (I can hear readers saying, “yes – I know that”) but you’d be surprised how many people discount the effect that production quality has on client perception.

If you have a cottage business, and your clients are home gardeners, for instance, then a “down home” video with a shaky camera and thin sound will be less likely to disconnect viewers from you. No problem there – they love the content and don’t care about the delivery.

But if you are a professional, then your video, like all your marketing materials, needs to reflect that professionalism, and you need to make every effort to see that it does. The content needs to have value, you’ve got to grab attention in the first 10 seconds, and you have to do it in such a way that the “container” you’re delivering it in doesn’t distract from the message or bounce the viewer right off your site because it’s so bad.

It’s better to have no video at all, than to have one that fails to portray you and your business in the best light possible.

I hope this helps.”

Alan Fitch of Visual Story Media has been connecting businesses with clients through video since 1987.

If you feel a do-it-yourself video works for your business, then take time to work on your script, set up lighting, buy a good camera, and use an external microphone. If you feel you need to present yourself in a more professional manner, iSpeakEASY can help.

iSpeakEASY is here to help you. We provide Professional Performance Speech Coaching plus Professional Videography to create compelling video for your website. We will even post and optimize your video right on your site for you. It’s fast, effective, and affordable.

Click here for information on how easy it is for you to get professional video for your website.

Click here for a video testimonial from a satisfied client.

Click here for a sample video.

Click here to learn how video can help your business.

Would your Networking group or organization be interested in a free presentation  on “Creating Effective Web Video”? Call 415 342-7106 or write ethan@ispeakeasy.net for details.

 

We make it easy for you to look your best.
 
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Alienating the 2%

In Attracting New Clients, Business Networking Groups, Credibility, Delivery, Public Speaking on November 11, 2010 at 8:11 AM

By Seth Godin

“When a popular rock group comes to town, some of their fans won’t get great tickets. Not enough room in the front row. Now they’re annoyed. 2% of them are angry enough to speak up or badmouth or write an angry letter.

When Disney changes a policy and offers a great new feature or benefit to the most dedicated fans, 2% of them won’t be able to use it… timing or transport or resources or whatever. They’re angry and they let the brand know it.

Do the math. Every time Apple delights 10,000 people, they hear from 200 angry customers, people who don’t like the change or the opportunity or the risk it represents.

If you have fans or followers or customers, no matter what you do, you’ll annoy or disappoint two percent of them. And you’ll probably hear a lot more from the unhappy 2% than from the delighted 98.

It seems as though there are only two ways to deal with this: Stop innovating, just stagnate. Or go ahead and delight the vast majority.

Sure, you can try to minimize the cost of change, and you might even get the number to 1%. But if you try to delight everyone, all the time, you’ll just make yourself crazy. Or become boring.”

You can read more of Seth’s work on his blog.

PowerPoint Pitfalls…

In Attracting New Clients, Business Networking Groups, Delivery, New Techniques, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Tools and Gadgets on July 7, 2010 at 9:36 PM

and How to “Purge” Them From Your Presentations     

by Jon K. Hooper, Ph.D.         

guest author for iSpeakEASY           

         

(This is a series to help enhance your PowerPoint presentations. Each edition pinpoints pitfalls that are commonly faced when planning, preparing, and presenting PowerPoint shows.)                 

       

Pitfall #3: “Accepting PowerPoint’s Defaults”    

Remember the last time you bought a backpack? You slipped it over your shoulders then adjusted the straps so the pack fit your body. You did not just accept the default positions of the straps. PowerPoint comes with the “straps” present; it is up to you to adjust them to fit your presentation style and goals.           

   

Pitfall: Using a “serif” font. The default font for PowerPoint shows is usually Times New Roman. While this is an excellent font for the printed page, the font’s serifs or finishing strokes (such as the feet on a capital “A”) make it difficult to read on a screen. A “sans serif” font (one without serifs) is better for projected visuals because it is easier for audience members to read at a distance.             

To purge the pitfall: Switch to a sans serif font such as Arial or Helvetica.            

Use sans serif fonts to make your slides easier to read

Pitfall:  Accepting default placement of text boxes. The designers of PowerPoint’s templates simply “take a stab” at the positioning of text placeholders (aka “text boxes”). They have no way of knowing exactly what position will create the most aesthetically appealing and properly balanced design for your situation because they do not know how many words, bullet points, etc. you’ll put into the text placeholders. Think of PowerPoint’s templates as blueprints. When designing your dream house, you would always tweak the architect’s initial blueprint. Do the same with PowerPoint’s templates.          

To purge the pitfall: Reposition text boxes to enhance the aesthetic appeal of slides. In the example shown in Figure 2, the default placement of the text box for the bullet points did not provide enough of an “aesthetic margin” on the left side of the image (i.e., the bullet points are simply too close to the left edge). Moving the text box a bit to the right really improved the design of the slide.            

Move text boxes to improve the aesthetics

Pitfall: Accepting default template backgrounds.  You wouldn’t hire a new employee that is “close enough” rather one that is “right on.” The same holds true when selecting a PowerPoint template. Don’t accept a PowerPoint template when you know in the back of your mind that there is one or more aspect of its background that needs tweaking.            

To purge the pitfall:  Learn how to edit the “Slide Master” so you can delete or alter distracting background elements. The example below shows an overall design and color scheme that is fine, yet the key on the left side of the template simply doesn’t relate to the message the slide is trying to transmit. Simply deleting the key solves the problem.            

Change your backgrounds to fit your message

Final Thoughts   PowerPoint’s designers set up the program to meet a majority of peoples’ needs. This doesn’t mean that the program’s defaults will meet your needs. Enhance your shows and make them stand out by tweaking the defaults a bit. Your audiences will appreciate your efforts.           

Dr. Jon Hooper has over 30 years of experience helping natural and cultural resource professionals enhance the effectiveness of their communication efforts. He is a professor of environmental interpretation at California State University, Chico and is the owner of Verbal Victories Communication Consulting.  jonkhooper@hotmail.com.            

For workshops on improving your presentations, visit www.iSpeakEASY.net. We help you profit from your words.

I Don’t Need Help With My Talk

In Attracting New Clients, Business Networking Groups, Confidence/Nervousness, Credibility, Delivery, Organization, Public Speaking on June 24, 2010 at 8:52 PM

 Speaking Tip # 62

 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.

Knowing your target makes it much easier to hit

© 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. (415) 342-7106. www.iSpeakEASY.net

Give Your Best

In Attracting New Clients, BNI or other Networking Groups, Confidence/Nervousness, Credibility, Delivery, Public Speaking on January 29, 2010 at 8:49 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 – 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.

Proper Use of PowerPoint

In PowerPoint on November 10, 2009 at 7:38 PM

Speaking Tip 51

Have you ever found yourself making any of these statements?

  • “My audience expects me to use PowerPoint”
  • “Everyone else does boring PowerPoint, but I am different”
  • “I can’t give a talk without slides”
  •  “I hate PowerPoint”

PowerPoint can be a powerful aid to your presentation or it can be a huge distraction. Many speakers mistakenly believe that audiences expect or want PowerPoint. Most audiences have seen PowerPoint used poorly so many times they tune out before the projector is even turned on.

PowerPoint is a visual aid: a tool to visually show what the speaker is saying in words. Used properly, it supplements your words and helps the audience understand a concept. Used improperly, it distracts and bores audiences as they tune-out the presentation and take a mental holiday.

The words spoken and the images shown should be carefully selected to achieve a specific objective. A speaker needs to carefully decide what to say as well as what not to say to bring the audience to the desired end. The visual aids presented should compliment, not duplicate, the words.

Some common mistakes speakers make include:

  • Projecting their notes or entire script on the screen
  • Showing pictures or images not related to what is being discussed
  • Using graphs and charts with too much detail
  • Believing the slides are more important than the spoken words

Each image shown, each word and line projected, should emphasize, illuminate, or illustrate what you are saying. If it does not, it becomes a distraction.

PowerPoint can effectively:

  • Display an image to help the audience understand what you are saying
  • Highlight key words or phrases to focus attention
  • Show pictures that evoke emotion
  • Demonstrate trends on charts and graphs

A good presentation is built on a theme or message. The speaker outlines and crafts his words, then looks at what type of visual aid will enhance these words. Picking the correct visual aid and using it properly can be a tremendous asset to a speaker. Using the wrong visual aid, or using the right one in a poor manner, will undermine his efforts.

The speaker’s role is to capture and focus the energy of the audience. Use your visual aids to help you.

 

 

 

 

© 2009 iSpeakEASY 

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.