Powerpoint tips

The Presenter Center has a myriad useful PowerPoint tips.

This is just one …

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Thanks OliviaMitchell

The Tipping Point

This was the start of a nightmare. A painstaking presentation was taking place. I was trying everything known to man to stay awake. For 5 minutes I scrolled through my blackberry looking for distractions. When that proved to be futile I began thumbing through my notebook looking for an interesting story or factoid. In a last ditch effort to show respect and stay awake I vigorously rubbed my eyes. This didn’t work either. With each stroke I moved closer and closer to unconsciousness.

My search for a jolt of life was failing miserably. There were no signs that the presentation was ending. After 10 minutes of fighting I succumbed to the twin towers of boredom and sleep. Just as my face grazed the surface the speaker brought his presentation to a close. Applause from my fellow audience members brought me back to life. Relieved, I stood up and quickly left the room.

Boredom is rampant in the public speaking world. Look around you at your next conference or meeting. You’re bound to see people fighting sleep, playing with their phone, or drawing in a notebook.

As a communicator you don’t have to be boring (it may seem like a rule but trust me it is not). Grabbing the audience’s attention as soon as possible will ensure that you are not boring.

Once you reach the Tipping Point the audience is fully engaged for the duration of your speech. That is why this concept is so important. Reaching this point as soon as possible should be your goal in each presentation.

If you understand the concept of the Tipping Point in public speaking you can use it to maximize your effectiveness. In public speaking the Tipping Point is defined as:
“the point in which you gain the audience’s attention and they begin actively absorbing your information”

There are 2 key takeaways from this definition:

  1. Gaining the audience’s attention
  2. Active absorption of your information

Gaining the Audience’s Attention
To take full advantage of the Tipping Point you need to gain the audience’s attention quickly. An ear catching introduction is the best tool in this scenario. Since most people use normal speaking patterns this is not a difficult thing to do.Here are some of my favorite tactics for gaining audience attention:

  1. Start with a thought provoking question (How many of you have heard of ……?)
  2. Quote an uncommon statistic
  3. Engage a respected audience member in conversation (CEO, VP, President, Leader, etc)
  4. Make a definitive ear catching statement (this was the start of a nightmare).

Certain extreme cases (eulogies, statistical deep dives, fact only information exchanges etc) may not seem like the place for one of these openings. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Dry scenarios like these need some spice to keep people engaged and following the message.

Active Information Absorption

When an audience is actively involved in your presentation you will know. There really is no mistaking it. People take notes, ask questions, and focus all their attention on you when they are actively involved.

When you see this you will know that you have reached the tipping point. It is nearly impossible to negate the effects of the Tipping Point once you have reached it in a speech. You have to make a colossal mistake, and we both know you won’t do that.


The war on boredom in public speaking is an ongoing struggle. Many people fight for the rights of boring speeches. Don’t be one of them.

A bored audience is much less likely to absorb information than an involved one. Do your part in fighting boredom by getting to the Tipping Point with your audience as soon as possible.

Prove your merit at the beginning of your speech and ears will open immediately. When they do, use what you know about the tipping point to keep them engaged and informed until you are done.

Marcus Antuan Smith is a creative force in the public speaking world who strives to meet the needs of each and every client. His experience as the Toastmasters President at a fortune 15 company will prove invaluable to you.

Go to his website, http://www.marcusasmith.com for more information.

Keeping audience attention? – try interaction

From Nick Morgan a great article on

How to interact with an audience — 7 questions to get you started

Audiences today expect to have a conversation with speakers, and they crave real connection with successful speakers.  The best way to ensure that these good things happen during your presentations is to involve your audiences throughout.

But that takes some art.  How do you think about it?  How do you avoid the lame arrangement of too many presentations where the speaker drones on for 45 minutes, then stops and says, “Any questions?”  As the audience shakes itself awake, and starts wondering if it does in fact have any questions, the speaker stands there for what seems like an eternity, then gives up and concludes that no one cares.

How do you avoid this dysfunctional state of affairs?  How can you involve audiences in your presentations?

Following are a series of questions to ask the audience, in order to start connecting with them

Magnify your punch lines

— John Kinde (JohnKinde@HumorPower.com)

The key is in the delivery. It’s what you do.

In the business of delivering your humor, there is a technique referred to as a “take.” A take is your physical response to a joke. For example, you may deliver a joke and then raise your eyebrows. Or tilt your head. Or open your eyes wide. Facial expressions are some of the most popular takes.

Using a take is like putting an exclamation point at the end of your humor line. It helps you drive home the humor. It signals the audience to realize, “Hey, this is supposed to be funny!”

There are a couple of approaches to using takes. One way is to look for a different physical delivery technique for every punch line. This can make the talk more interesting for you. And this can add a colorful variety to your speech. We also know from the acting business that it is easier to remember lines if they are linked to a physical action. So your jokes will be easier to remember, each linked to a different take.

Another approach is to use the same take for each punch line. This conditions the audience to laugh. Two classic comedians used repetitive takes which became signatures: George Burns’ puff on the cigar and Rodney Dangerfield’s tug of the necktie. They were sending signals to the audience that it was time to laugh.

You will find that even small takes can produce good results. Just a small wink might just be what you need to get the laughs. Experiment and have fun.

Master the Camera to Expand Your Exposure

with Shawne Duperon

Your speaking, training and consulting career can be helped or hindered by how you come across on camera, whether it’s a media interview, your demo DVD or a YouTube segment. Video media exposure can expand your visibility exponentially to potential customers and powerfully cement your credibility — when you use it well! If not, it can actually hurt your brand.

Using on-camera strategies and tactics, Shawne shares all the inside secrets to become exquisite on camera.

In this content-rich teleseminar, you will learn:

How to avoid on-camera mistakes
How to “dance” in a TV interview
Where to look when you’re on-camera
The best camera-ready clothing to wear
The difference between taped and live interviews
How to talk in 2- to 3-sentence “sound bites”
Why the first question is the most important
When and why you should “parrot” the reporter
How to meet both the reporter’s needs and your messaging goals
After this session with former TV reporter Shawne Duperon, you will understand how to be outrageously charismatic on camera. Over the last 20 years, five-time Emmy award winner Shawne has interviewed presidents, celebrities and sports stars. She’s filmed Colin Powell, Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Morgan Freeman, YoYo Ma, Phil Mickelson and Bill Cosby to name a few. She knows what it takes to be great on camera and have reporters, producers and editors coming back for more.

Register or order the CD or MP3 recording. Note: people who register for the teleseminar will get the MP3 recording of the session for free.

Public Speaking – Tips on Selecting the Type of Speech to Use

There are two types of speeches used in public speaking, either you are “selling” something or you are “telling” something. The type of speech you select will depend on the reason you are presenting, and the nature of your audience.

In public speaking selecting the right type of speech will increase the effectiveness of your speech. The purpose of your speech can range from enjoyment to convincing the audience to take a certain action. How much the audience knows about your topic and their attitude towards it, also needs to be considered when selecting the type of speech you will deliver.   … more

Advice for speakers and presenters – 7 ways to turn a free gig into a financial windfall

You’ve been asked to speak for an audience. However, the event organizer or meeting planner tells you they can’t pay you. Your heart sinks knowing that speaking for free will cost you in the long run. You think of all the expenses you’ll incur  gas, parking, photocopying materials, babysitter  and speaking for free means you won’t be reimbursed for these incidental costs.

Although a free gig can eat into your bottom line, you don’t need to refuse it altogether. If you’re still building your expertise, free gigs can help you to refine your message and try out new concepts on an eager audience.   … read more here

Public Speaking – 3 Ways to Get Them to SEE Your Speech

Patricia Fripp once said to me, “Craig, people will not remember what you say as much as they will remember what they see when you say it.” In other words, we have to make our speeches very visual in order to have the deepest impact. Here are 4 ways to accomplish this:

Connecting with the audience

Tim Wilson makes a short but very valid point about the questions to ask while speaking so that you can connect with the audience.


Putting the Power in your PowerPoint

The use of PowerPoint as a presentation tool is well acknowledged and accepted. However, Fripp and Prost believe it is frequently used as a crutch that often distracts your audience from the main messages of your presentation. If you are using PowerPoint, why not learn the “inside secrets” of doing it the right way?

This 13-page eBook reveals those secrets by addressing different creation and presentation methods, as well as potential pitfalls that you should be aware next time you’re using PowerPoint. It offers Fripp’s PowerPoint Philosophy that allows you to best serve your message, as well as Prost’s 21 Mistakes to Avoid when using PowerPoint. You’ll receive practical advice and valuable guidance that is sure to provide a welcome improvement to your next presentation.

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