Is your audience switching off when you present data? – Part Two

Presenting data is a very difficult challenge. The first step is engaging the audience with a strong emphasis on why it is important for them to understand what is being presented. Nevertheless they do need to understand the data you present. While ensuring its relevance is understood is vital, so is it vital that your audience understand each and every piece of data that you present, or they will just as surely switch off, and your outcome is lost.

Visuals are very useful here. Use pie graphs and bar charts; insert them into your slides if you are using slides. If you are using a whiteboard, draw as you tell the story or make the point. If you are using PREZi you can let the audience look at the data from different angles. The visual representation will reinforce your explanation and the point you are making.

If it is necessary to use graphs, diagrams and charts, make sure they are as simple as possible. While you probably want to impress with your understanding of complicated data, being able to simplify it will have far more of an impact, particularly in terms of getting your message across.

And make sure that everything about them is clear. Sometimes it’s necessary to explain so that all the implications are clear as well. There may have been a very good reason for choosing the axes in the graph. There may have been a very good reason for choosing the increments that are used. While it may seem obvious to you, it may not be to the audience, and it may make the data relationships clearer.

You can also add to the impact of the visuals. There may be a story behind the points on a graph. It is the intersection of two values and maybe the relationship is reasonably clear. But if you can give the reason why this relationship exists or maybe the history behind it, then it will be so much clearer. And if you can put a human face on it, with a human story then the relationship and the point you are using it for will have so much more impact. If wages are going down and costs of living rising, for example, then a story about a family forced to live in a car will make the impact so much more real. Another way to add a human face, or a realistic face, is to use a graphic representing the actual item being quantified. This can be particularly useful in a bar graph. If the bar consists of pictures of dollar coins to represent money, or of groups of people to represent populations or groups, for example, again the impact is multiplied.

In the midst of all this, it is important to remember, still, that you are presenting points towards a persuasion of some kind. It can be useful to have the point you are making as the heading for the slide that contains the visuals. And while the visuals should be as detailed as is necessary to make them understandable, too much detail will overwhelm. Remember the visuals only need to make a point, not necessarily present all the data. If all the data is necessary for later inspection and verification, put it in a handout, and leave the slides as simple as they can be.

Visuals are your greatest ally in presenting data. They can add impact and keep your audience engaged with the thread of your message. Your simplification and design of the material to support that message and the thoughtful explanation you add to it, will support the success of your data presentation.

The Top 4 Tips for Promoting Yourself As a Professional Speaker

Promoting yourself as a professional speaker is not like promoting any other product because what you are really marketing is yourself. That fact alone should shift your perspective as you consider the best ways to market your business. The strategies you choose will have a huge impact on your career.

Here are some things to consider as you begin to promote yourself as a professional speaker.

#1 Who is Your Target Audience?

The first step in selecting your marketing strategies is to clearly define your target audience. Look closely at your niche market. What are the main concerns, pains, needs and issues within that niche? For example, if you are concentrating on being a motivational speaker for teenagers, you must know what makes them tick and what is relevant to them. Similarly, if you want to be a business speaker, it is critical that you have a solid understanding of the world of business. Once you have identified your target market, you will be able to tailor your promotional efforts to that specific group.

#2 Professionalism

To have a great career as a speaker, you must present yourself in a highly professional manner. This is of the utmost importance. In order to come off as a professional, you must handle all of your business with maturity and a high level of skill. Demonstrating your dependability and integrity are critical. It is through these traits that you will gain credibility as a speaker. Always deliver what you promise. Better still, deliver more than you promise. Respond promptly, and make yourself available, to your customers and potential clients. Speak from the heart to make genuine connections with your target audience. Don’t be afraid to show them who you really are. These are the things that define a truly professional speaker.

#3 Who is Your Competition?

Know who your competition is, but just knowing who they are is not enough. Any winning sports team understands the value of studying their opponent, and so should you. Be on the lookout for what they are up to. What does their website look like? Is it optimized? What other products and services are they offering? How often do they speak and where? Once you have sized up your competition then you can develop your marketing strategies in new and inventive ways that will set you apart as the “go to guy” in your niche. Think about new and innovative products you can offer that will distinguish you from the rest. Try new ideas, and adapt to change as new competitors enter the market.

#4 Spending

Obviously promoting your speaking business will require that you spend some money. However, before you go out and invest in a lot of expensive marketing, take the time to learn all you can about alternative marketing strategies. Now that the Internet is the primary way most people gather information, there are many ways you can use it to your advantage.

Learn how to use your website and blog, the social networks, video sites like YouTube and pay-per-click advertising to your advantage. These are just a few of the many highly effective ways to market yourself at a fraction of the costs of old school marketing strategies. The time you invest in learning how to use Internet marketing strategies will pay off for you in a big way.


For over 25 years Dr. Arnold has been CEO of Windhorse Corp., where he assists the nation’s top speakers, coaches, authors, entertainers, business owners and sales executives.

His mission is single focused: to help his clients learn the insider secrets how the Top 1% of Speakers earn massive amounts of money with their speaking career in the most direct and easiest way possible.

To get more tips you can use immediately to improve monetizing your speaking, presentation, and coaching skills, sign up for Dr. Gary Arnold’s monthly e-newsletter by visiting and entering your email address.

Words …

I have always loved this quote … I like the thought of words taking on their own energy.

Sometimes I feel they do, and that is when they truly can engage an audience … or assault the unthinking.

Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assaults of thought on the unthinking.

John Maynard Keynes

Six Myths of Professional Speaking

Many of us either speak professionally as an added component of our value to clients, or speak because we must in order to market our services to wider audiences. Whether we mount the platform with relish to gain additional revenues, or ascend with trepidation to try to convert a few more hearts and souls, we should beware of the myths surrounding professional speaking. As someone with a foot in both consulting and professional speaking camps, I thought I’d provide this public service. =>

Storytelling is the Game

Storytelling is the most underrated thing when it comes to business, it is everything when trying to convey emotion and attachment to your brand and in today’s world a Press Release is JUST not gonna CUT IT!

To gain a good reputation …

The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear. – Socrates

Is your audience switching off when you present data? Part One

Presenting data is a very difficult challenge. You are presenting as the expert. You have worked hard to collect the data and/or to synthesize it for presentation. It may be important that you be seen as the expert, but you are faced with the challenge of presenting this sometimes overwhelming mass of data so that an audience can understand and appreciate it. What is the best way to do that?

Usually the first step is to design the visuals. What can we present this data – graphs, pie charts, lists ….?

While that is certainly a valid part of the process, it should not be the first step.

As with any presentation, the first step has got to be acknowledging what you want from the presentation. You probably already know what that is. It may be that you want to persuade someone to take action – to donate to your cause, to fund your research, to hire you, or to change company policy. It may be that you want to persuade people to believe your theory about something. And underlying those outcomes may also be a desire to be seen as the expert, to be seen as relevant to the audience in some way, to be seen as credible. So if you need to, define it first, but certainly acknowledge it, and then use it in choosing how the presentation will proceed.

In choosing the direction of the presentation, the first aim is to engage your audience. Give them a reason to listen and not to switch off. Make it clear why this presentation will be relevant to them, why it will be worth their while to listen. And make it clear just what they can expect to get out of it if they listen. Just because you are presenting data, does not mean you should stop making “you” a prominent word in your speech. So start with the end objective. Present it up front. Explain why it is important for your audience to understand the data. Put the big picture first. Use stories, examples, anecdotes and analogies, not just the facts.

Your audience is used to dealing with the flood of information that each of us faces every day. They know that unless they have a reason to focus on, or to engage with, a particular piece of that information, they have to tune it out. So let them know your particular pieces of information are relevant to them. The use of stories, personal examples, analogies, even metaphors will personalise the data and engage your audience with it.

So keep that WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) aspect always present in the presentation, and you will engage your audience – the first step to having them think, act or feel the way you want them to.

The Qualities of Top Business Speakers

Business speakers are speakers whose target audience is business professionals. Their primary role is to motivate and inform people in business. The demand for business speakers is high. Corporations are always looking for ways to train and motivate their employees. Even with the high demand for business speakers, this is a role not just any speaker can fill. A business speaker must have experience and solid expertise in the field. However, experience and expertise are not enough. There are certain qualities that a speaker must possess in order to succeed in the field.

What are the qualities of a good Business Speaker?

1. Credibility: To earn credibility, business speakers must establish a reputation for excellence and integrity. Their track record in their own business affairs must be beyond reproach. As a speaker, you can’t motivate others if your background in business is sketchy or questionable.

2. Optimism and Confidence: There will always be problems in the business world. The solutions are not always obvious. That is where a good business speaker comes in. The speaker’s job is to show their audience that for every problem, there is a corresponding solution. It is particularly helpful if the speaker has direct experience with finding solutions to difficult situations. To convince an audience that there are always solutions an optimistic outlook and demeanor must be evident in the speaker. Confidence plays an important role in this as well. A confident and optimistic speaker will be far more likely to motivate others to believe that difficult situations can be overcome.

3. Sincerity: Keep it real and be yourself in your talks. Your audience will be able to relate to you on a much deeper level if they see you as someone who has “walked a mile in their shoes” in the real world of business. Let them know you feel their pain, and have solutions to offer.

4. Passion: In order to capture the attention of your audience you must demonstrate that you are passionate about your topic. Your passion will translate into a talk that is entertaining, engaging and inspiring. If you don’t believe in your message, you won’t convince anyone else, especially a group of savvy business professionals.

5. Knowledgeable: A business speaker has to have a high level of knowledge in their particular niche, and they must bring something new to the table. The speaker must be prepared to answer questions; a surface level understanding of the topic will not suffice.

6. Leadership: A huge part of being successful in business is having strong leadership skills. This is true for the business speaker as well. A big part of that skill set is excellent communication. The speaker has to be able to communicate their message effectively to a wide variety of personality types in order to lead them to new knowledge and solutions.

To become a top business speaker, look closely at your own strengths and weaknesses. Focus on developing and strengthening these qualities. If you can cultivate these qualities, and accompany them with a good sense of humor, you will have the makings of a great business speaker.

For over 25 years Dr. Arnold has been CEO of Windhorse Corp., where he assists the nation’s top speakers, coaches, authors, entertainers, business owners and sales executives. His mission is single focused: to help his clients learn the insider secrets how the Top 1% of Speakers earn massive amounts of money with their speaking career in the most direct and easiest way possible.
To get more tips you can use immediately to improve monetizing your speaking, presentation, and coaching skills, sign up for Dr. Gary Arnold’s monthly e-newsletter by visiting and entering your email address.

Nothing to say …

There may be other reasons for a man’s not speaking in publick than want of resolution: he may have nothing to say.

Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

Could this be the reason so many people fear impromptu speaking?

How can you convert a seminar to a keynote?

In the speaking world, the media stars are the keynote speakers. A lot of seminar leaders and trainers ask me how they can adapt their material to this intense, high-profile, and often lucrative specialty.
 * “The keynote speech comes from the discipline of show business. The seminar comes from the discipline of teaching.” Bill Gove, first president of the National Speakers Association.
 * “With a keynote speech, the presenter is the star. With seminars, the leader needs to make the audience members the star.” Don Thoren, past president National Speakers Association and long-time seminar leader.
 To understand the big difference between keynotes and seminars, start by appreciating the unique characteristics of each.

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