Archive for: June, 2023

Why the Purpose Should Drive Your Presentation

Jun 08 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Before you allow yourself to start planning a presentation you really need to define and decide the purpose of the presentation.  To help you to do this you can use the mnemonic IMPACT.

  • Information passing
  • Memorability? The Message or me?
  • Pacification
  • Action generation
  • Consultation/ Consensus building
  • Teasing

To look at these in more detail:

* Information passing

If your purpose is to pass information you will want to include that information in your presentation, this may be in the form of slides, or in the form of your spoken content, or in the form of notes and handouts or a combination of these. You will need to ensure that you cover, or at the very least refer to, every single fact that you want the audience to know. You will want to consider whether to use a consistent methodology (ie a whole series of bar graphs) or a variety of methods (ie some bar graphs, some pie charts, some lists, some photos) depending on your audience. You will also need to consider the depth of detail and margin of accuracy, again depending on your audience (is “over 60%” appropriate or do you need to actually inform the audience that it is “61.674%”

* Memorability? The Message or Me?

If it is important that the audience remembers the detail of the message you might wish to include mnemonics, alliterations and repetitions to help the message to sink in. You might want to include pauses to allow reflection or use rhetorical questions and refer to kinaesthetic responses If you want the audience to specifically remember YOU as a person/representative you might want to make yourself appropriately memorable via your appearance or behaviour, you might wish to reinforce your name (or your organisation’s name) repeatedly.

* Pacification

If the objective is to pacify an irate group (say you are representing a developer at a public planning enquiry, or representing management in a meeting with the staff who are unhappy about downsizing) you will need to consider whether the room layout is reminiscent of a historic battlefield (two “sides” facing each other with the “big guns” in the middle and the supporters on the flanks), a patronising approach to the little people (management up on a dais, looking down at people literally), or a peacemaking/conciliatory discussion forum (a round-table!). As below you will need to fulfil each audience member’s WIIFM question You will also need to consider your language; for instance, management speak, jargon, acronyms and ‘blinding with science’ are the language of logic, here you are appealing more to emotion. Inappropriate style will probably have the opposite effect to that which you want.

* Action generation

If you want to generate action, be it commitment to a cause, authorisation of a spend or behaviour change you will really have to appeal to the emotions of the individual audience members. Here the question to ask yourself is “If I was a member of this audience What’s In It For Me?”; this is often referred to as WIIFM! And you will have to get each member of the audience to identify the answer to this question. If you are dealing with a homogenous audience then there is probably one answer for all, for example “You all keep your jobs”. More often there may be a diverse audience and you need to sell the benefits to a more varied range, for example “If you are a shareholder, there will be a better return on investment, if you are a manager this will make your life easier, if you are a staff member this will make your job more enjoyable and more secure.” Remember also that the same person may fall into two different categories; staff may be shareholders, managers are staff too.

* Consultation/ Consensus building

This is a potentially tricky area; are you consulting or creating a democracy? Be very clear in your mind and make this very clear to the audience. You may want to consult the client to ascertain what they think they want from you, but then you may have to tell them later that they cannot have it! It is easy to create unrealistic expectations here. Your decisions at this stage will affect how you run your “presentation”; will you pose questions and explain the feedback mechanism but gather and monitor the feedback later? Or will you ask for input from your audience there and then? Will you expect people to simply respond in plenary to a question? Or will you break the audience into groups and set them specific objectives? Can you offer a “voting” system, or will you make a decision and inform them of that there and then, or later?

* Teasing

Here the overwhelming message to you as the presenter is Less Is More. You want to give them a glimpse but not the whole story; they must be left hungry for more. You may want to fill a teaser with signposts to further sources of information, be they reading lists, website addresses, references to other presentations and seminars, names of organisations that would be of interest or even rhetorical questions “What will you do about this?” or suggestions “You may like to join…….society” As you can see there is a lot of consideration to give to the purpose of your presentation before you start to prepare it!

Comments are off for this post

Using Technology In Your Presentations

Jun 06 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Business presenters in particular often use technology to support them. But too often, the technology, not the presenter, becomes the star of the show.

Here are a few tips on how to maintain control over your PowerPoint presentation.

Be Simple. Don’t overload your slides with elements, logos and colors. Use the Excellence in Speaking Institute rule of 5s and 6s. No more than five lines on a slide and each line should be no more than six words.

Be Consistent. Each page should have an identity (name, company, contact information) and it should be consistent from page to page. If you are using a logo, keep it small and maintain a consistent size throughout the presentation. Do the same for your font sizes, too. A sans serif font like Arial or Tahoma is easiest to read on-screen. One place you can vary is in your charts. Don’t just use one type of chart all the way through. Drop in the appropriate type of chart or graph to drive home important financial information.

Be Error-Free. Make sure you proofread your slides in order to ensure you don’t have typos or silly mistakes. Have someone else take a look at them too. While proofreading look for items you can edit out. Tighter is better.

Be Prepared. Set up your equipment early. Place your screen to your left, the audience’s right. People read right to left and you – not the slides – will remain the focus if you are on their left. Review your slides one last time. Do a dry run with your slides. This gets you comfortable with transitions.

Be In Charge. Face the audience. Never talk to the screen. This means that ample practice is imperative. Also, adjust your laptop so you can easily glance down to review points you wish to make.

Remember, audio visual aids are for your support. You are the show. The slides should not replace the human element.

Comments are off for this post

Christmas Past and Christmas Presents

Jun 06 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Christmas is a time of presents and memories. Growing up, my wife Peg and I had different expectations at Christmas time. I was an only child until I turned fifteen, but Peg came from a family of seven children. Gifts abounded in my family. It was always easier than mentioning love, but it was our way of showing it. Gifts in Peg’s large family were limited, noise wasn’t. Gifts from both families were well thought out, however.

When I wanted cap guns for Christmas I got cap guns … and of course one year Santa brought me a Shetland pony. When I wanted an English Racer bicycle, I got an English Racer. When I wanted a record player, I got a record player and when that was outdated I got a fancy reel-to-reel tape recorder.

We recently talked about childhood Christmases and about our Christmases together.

Peg had two favorite Christmases as a child. One was when she received her doll, Lilly Rose. Peg still loves that doll. Today it sits disarmingly on a small hallway dresser. Her hair is swept up on her head much like Elsa Lanchester in the Bride of Frankenstein. The mechanical eyes of Lilly Rose are a little bit off kilter, but she watches me closely when I walk by. I swear the eyes follow me. I think the doll would do me bodily harm me if I ever hurt Peggy. I’m not really afraid of the doll, but my pace quickens as I pass.

On Peg’s second favorite Christmas she received a game of Chinese Checkers and a world globe. The marbles of the Chinese Checkers fit perfectly in their holes. The mark of bad Chinese Checkers is shallow indentations that allow the slightest breeze to start a marble stampede off the board. Peg could play for hours … much like she plays Spider Solitaire on the computer today.

The globe was a very inexpensive blow-up kind and she was disappointed in that, perhaps even embarrassed, but those feelings meant nothing to her as her fingers traced distances from country to country. And I think she loved dreaming about all the places in the world she could visit. Some things never change. In our home next to her living room chair she has a world atlas. She still dreams.

In our life together we both have the same favorite Christmases. Our first Christmas was at our studio apartment on North Yakima. It consisted of a tiny bathroom, a tiny kitchen and a living room with a bay window that gave us a secluded view of a large hedge and lots of greenery.

Christmas presents came as a shock to Peg. Instead of the one or two presents that she was used to and expecting, I gave her dresses, shoes, jewelry and a number of other less expensive but well-thought out and appropriate gifts. When we visited my parents, she received a double-dose of gifts. She was overwhelmed.

Looking back I was probably wrong in raising the bar for gift expectations, but I love giving gifts and I really enjoy buying her things. My gifts are not just a bunch of presents. They must be perfect. I always try to come up with the perfect gift … sometimes I have to explain why they are the perfect gift … sometimes I have to explain several times, but I always think they are perfect.

Our other favorite Christmas came when the kids were fairly young. Our family was not planned. Our three children were born the first three years of our marriage. Peg was brought up Catholic. I was Methodist. She had the rhythm and I had the method. Together … well, the fourth year we discovered planning and bought a duplex near UPS.

This particular year we didn’t have a lot of money. From the kids Peg received a pasta cooker, which she treasured. Peg and I made presents for the kids. For the three of them I built a puppet theater, while Peg created hand puppets. For Del, the second oldest, I built a western fort, much like Fort Nisqually complete with cowboys and Indians. For our youngest son Patrick, I built a castle with beer cans for towers and turrets and spray painted it all gray. He also got bags of plastic knights and horses. For Andrea, our eldest and only daughter, I built a dollhouse made from a large turquoise drawer rescued from the house that was torn down next door. Peg gathered little furniture and crocheted doilies for floor coverings. Andrea still has the doilies.

The pasta maker is gone as are the puppet theater, the puppets, the fort, the castle, and the dollhouse. When asked about their favorite Christmas memories, that Christmas stands out as the best for each of the children … of course for some Christmases I was known to have worn out the electronic games and radio controlled toys before they were even presented, but that’s another story.

Christmas is a time for giving to family … to friends … to the community and for giving just the right present … and the right memory.

Of all the gifts we give, I think that memories are sometimes the best presents.

Comments are off for this post

Practice Your Presentations — Four Suggestions of Ways to Do It

Jun 05 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

I always stress the importance of “practice, practice, practice.” But, where do I find places to practice?” Good question. Some start by practicing in front of a mirror, but I have always found this to be unsettling and not at all the same as speaking to a group. So, I suggest speaking to a live audience and in this article, I share where to find some live audiences while you are perfecting your presentation skills.

Join a Toastmasters International Club. Attend and take part regularly. Toastmasters’ groups across the world have given members a chance to become excellent and comfortable speakers. You receive a well written manual to work from, positive reinforcement from the group, and a chance to speak in one capacity or another every week. I found the people involved to be some of the finest people I’ve ever met — always willing to help each other improve. There are leadership clubs for the advanced speaker and opportunities to present at conferences (see the next section).

Propose a workshop and/or presentation for your group’s upcoming conference and/or convention. Most organizations and associations have local conferences, regional conferences, and national conventions. I find that most are looking for good workshops for these events, and many are pleased to use members for the presentations. I started by proposing and giving workshops at our Toastmasters’ District conferences. This was a great learning experience and a way to become known as a presenter.

Next, I proposed and presented at several Regional Conferences, so became more comfortable and even better known. Finally, I was asked to present one of the workshops that had been a winner at both the district and regional conferences at the International Convention. By the time I got to this level, I had ironed out the kinks and felt confident about my performance. Since that time, I have given a similar workshop at other group’s conferences.

Volunteer to become a member of a Speakers’ Bureau. I am not referring here to the type of Speakers’ Bureaus that place speakers for a fee. I am referring to group speakers’ bureaus that serve a community purpose. For example, there are speakers with bureaus who share information about an organization, a region, a college and/or college topics, and causes. For example, I volunteered to become a speaker for the Cleveland Growth Association. We auditioned and then, when chosen, were given assignments.

One talk involved a slide presentation about all of the great places to visit in Cleveland with a running dialogue including interesting information about those places. Rather than using and reading the script, I did research and created my own presentation of the slides.

So, get out there and start practicing.

Comments are off for this post

Presentation Skills Training Prepare Your Team To Win

Jun 04 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

In business presenting, it’s often said: “Whoever gives the best presentation, wins.”

But the real issue is: is your team up to the challenge?

In many organizations, there are some naturally talented people who love to present in front of groups. These folks seem to be born with the ability to be relaxed and at ease in front of a crowd.

However, this is not true of everyone who has to give a presentation as part of his or her job. The majority of professionals I meet confess that they get nervous and jangled anytime they have to give a public talk.

You’d be shocked at the people who tell me this! Professionals. Leaders. Managers. Subject matter experts. Even top executives.

Presenting in front of a group doesn’t come naturally to a whole lot of people.

That’s why, for many people, on-site seminars can be problematic. No one wants to perform in front of peers and do a dismal job. It’s potentially embarrassing or humiliating.

If your work environment is safe, open and supportive, this may not be a problem. But if you are in a highly competitive or aggressive workplace, showing a low-level of skill can be devastating.

You may be razzed or teased by your peers endlessly. Hopefully your workplace is not like this. But if it is, it pays to get online training where you can build skills in the privacy of your home or office.

One of the big comments I get from clients is that working virtually allows them to learn at their own pace, and fit training into their schedules. Private learning is of course confidential and a very flexible way to grow your skills at your convenience.

When you are evaluating online training programs, my advice is to look for flexibility and ease.

Here’s my short list of what to look for: virtual classes, unlimited access, instant viewing, interactive webinars, and instant downloads.

In addition, I recommend that you find online classes that appeal to different learning styles. Don’t get stuck with a course that only gives you information to read. You should have a full spectrum of ways to learn: watching video tutorials, e-learning programs, reading manuals, using cheat sheets, and accessing visual blueprints.

No one learns exactly the same way as another person. To get the very most out of a virtual learning experience, you should be able to pick and choose on every level.

Finally, it’s important to include one-on-one executive coaching in your solution. Working with an expert coach can make a world of difference. In minutes, an expert can help you spot small changes that can make a big impact.

This kind of personal coaching is especially valuable to create a grounded experience and practical action steps. It’s easy to know something intellectually, but miss opportunities to use it. Working with an expert coach is a fast way to leverage knowledge into action.

Help your workforce get exceptional results by getting exceptional presentation skills training. Anywhere. Anytime.

Comments are off for this post

« Newer posts