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Posts Tagged ‘PowerPoint’

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.

 

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The Last Time I Let An Audience Get The Best Of Me

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on June 10, 2015 at 8:16 PM

I remember the last time I let an audience get the best of me. It wasn’t really the entire audience, it was just one person who was unhappy or angry at the group that I represented. I let him rip me to pieces in front of everyone. I was embarrassed, belittled, distracted and felt quite stupid.

I remember the experience well because I left feeling beat up and angry at the man who attacked me. As I drove home though, I realized my anger was misguided. Yes, he was a jerk and yes he was trying to make me look bad but the real culprit was me: I allowed this happen.

I had the tools to better manage the situation I just forgot to use them. I let him lay a trap and like a fool, I walked right in. It was a good, but painful, lesson for me to learn and it has never happened to me since.
By comparison a year ago I led a meeting where there was a woman clearly gunning for me. This time though, the experience though ended quite differently and I walked out giving myself high fives in my brain. The difference was this time I remembered what I knew and I used the tools I had at hand. I was calm, I let her speak, I asked clarifying questions, and the more she spoke, the more outrageous she sounded to all in the room. I used the audience as my ally watching their reaction to her behavior and then asked if they wanted to continue her conversation of if they preferred to return to the agenda.

The next time you make a presentation, take stock of all your tools and training before you go into the room. Don’t allow fear to guide you, but do prepare for anything that might happen and keep control of yourself. If you sense something beginning to happen, breathe, think, and respond but don’t react. Chances are great you will not have to use all of your tools, but it sure is great to have them handy when you need them.

Tools For Managing Hecklers

 

  • Set ground rules for audience behavior and stick to them.
  • Always be on guard – pay attention to all questions
  • Make sure to understand the questions or issues raised
  • When dealing with a heckler (or possible heckler), allow them to speak freely for a limited time as they will probably dig themselves into a hole
  • Use the audience as your friend
  • Be calm – it is usually not personal
  • Ask for more information as most hecklers expend all their energy in the first punch and have little more to say after the initial attack

This Speaking Tip is one in a series from iSpeakEASY. We help people present information in an exciting and relevant manner. Contact us for information on workshops and coaching for groups and individuals. We take good speakers and make them excellent.

© 2015 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

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

Do You Speak The Same Language As Your Audience?

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

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

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

He was talking about apples and I was hearing oranges.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

© 2013 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

You Probably Do NOT Need Help With Your Talk

In BNI and Business Networking, business, Business Presentations, Communication, marketing, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on June 18, 2013 at 5:11 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, these same 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.”
  • “The audience 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.

A “good” talk is not about “getting through it”, or “conveying information”, or about getting the audience to laugh. A good talk brings about a change of attitude, belief, or behavior. When finished, 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.

You probably do not need help with your talk UNLESS you are interested in increasing your effectiveness. If you are satisfied with the status quo, if you are pleased with the current rate of change, if you are not interested in accomplishing more in less time, the you clearly do not help with your presentations skills.

If however, you are interested in change, improvement, and efficiency – get help with your presentation skills. Hire a coach, attend a workshop, read a book.

Treat your presentations as if you are an archer…aim for the target and each time you shoot, try to get the next arrow even closer to the middle circle. 

Click here for information on upcoming workshops offered by iSpeakEASY.

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

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.

Handouts

  • 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

PowerPoint

  • 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 www.iSpeakEASY.net. 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 www.iSpeakEASY.net or www.iSpeakEASYblog.wordpress.com. Contact us for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

© 2013 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

 

Designing Effective PowerPoint Slides

In BNI and Business Networking, Business Presentations, Communication, exective coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, sales, Uncategorized on March 7, 2013 at 11:08 AM

PowerPoint can be a tremendous visual aid or it can be a tremendous sleep aid.

Many audiences blame PowerPoint for being boring but that is like blaming a car for driving too fast ad swerving.PowerPoint is a tool and it is up to the user to determine how well it is used.

Here are some guidelines to help you be a skilled user.

General guidelines

  • Each slide should contain only 1 message
  • Replace words with images wherever possible
  • Eliminate distracting items from photos
  • Use a descriptive title
  • Use a black “safety slide” at the beginning and end of your show

Text slides

  • Limit slides to six (or fewer) lines of six (or fewer) words
  • Progressively disclose new information
  • Use a sans serif font that is at least 30 points
  • Display ideas – not sentences
  • Check your spelling

Keep charts and tables simple

  • Limit
    • tables to 5 rows/columns
    • bar graphs to 5 bars
    • line graphs to 3 lines
    • Pie graphs to as few slices as needed
  • Include only needed information (Eliminate redundant subtitles, grid lines and tick marks)
  • Use labels instead of keys
  • Place numbers directly on or by bars
  • Emphasize key elements with features, not a laser pointer

Backgrounds

  • Select a background that matches or enhances your message
  • Mix it up – use a variety of backgrounds
  • Avoid using your logo on every slide

Photos

  • Fill your screen with the photo
  • Use one photo per screen

Many of us have developed a disdain for PowerPoint. The truth is PowerPoint is a great tool -it is just tends to be used improperly.

Use these simple guidelines to help you. If you have questions, contact iSpeakEASY or call to arrange for a PowerPoint skills workshop at your office.

© 2013 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 www.iSpeakEASY.net or www.iSpeakEASYblog.wordpress.com. Contact us for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

© 2013 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.