Bring In Some Quiet Achievers To Ensure Your Presentation Is A Success

Quiet achievers. Unobtrusive. Professional. There to make sure your presentation gets the results you want. These are your visual supports. They support your presentation, underscore its impact, give power to your points.

It may be that in the culture of your organisation or of your audience, impact will be created by your visuals. If the message of your speech means nothing, your speech means nothing, and your image beyond the ability to create those visuals means nothing, then you will need to develop a high level of competency in creating those visuals and in presenting them. Invest in courses in construction and invest time in becoming competent with their operation.

If, on the other hand, your results will come from your message, or from your presentation skills, then the visual supports need to be just that – supports – unobtrusive in themselves. They need to be professional, yes, excellent, yes, to support your credibility and image, but they should be seamlessly supporting your message, not announcing their presence.

And if you want them to be excellent, work on your design skills. Try to be unique if you can, especially where you want to make an impact. Using the same old clip art and graphics that everyone uses will not be noticed, but originality will.
In creating visual supports, be sure that your material can be seen by everyone in the room. Make your words large and uncluttered. Five or six lines on a slide, flip chart page or transparency is adequate, and they will create far more impact that a mass of written material. The same applies to images.

Objects should be large enough to be seen, too. You can pass the smaller ones around, but know that while people are looking at the objects, they are not looking at you, and you have lost their attention. It may be better to have a display that people can look at after the presentation.

Using the “equipment” has to be as unobtrusive as possible. The first step here is being prepared. If you can practice beforehand, do so. Organise all the physical objects so that you can reach them when they are needed, without having to search, and without having to fumble. This may mean arranging them in the order in which they will be presented. It may mean practising the presentation so that you know automatically where to reach for something. This can apply to objects you want to display, the remote control for projecting equipment, the pens for flip charts or overhead projectors or a whiteboard, or to slides or overhead transparencies.

During these practice sessions, work out how you will move around the visual supports and equipment. Where will you place the objects you want to pick up – on a table, or another piece of furniture? Where will this, or the equipment, be so that you can move around it and communicate most easily with your audience – in front of you, beside or behind you? Always consider the least distracting way of accessing your material and the greatest ease of movement.

If you are using projection equipment, visualise its placement. Think about how you will work with the laptop or the overhead projector – standing beside, or behind? Do you want your silhouette projected on the screen as well as your visuals? Walking in front of the screen will also obscure them.

If you cannot organise the positioning of your equipment, then try to become familiar with it before the presentation and then visualise how you will use it best.

Plan to use visuals so that they support your message and do not detract from it, or overtake the attention. You need to be able to use the visuals easily. Turn the pages of a flip chart from the bottom corner. If you can find the remote control for your PowerPoint, use it, or be familiar with the keyboard shortcuts to use. Practice the way you will pick up, place and put down your OHP transparencies. These operations are all meant to be as unobtrusive as possible, not part of the message.
Please do not treat your audience as illiterate. If your words are on the screen or sheet of paper, then let the audience read for themselves. This will have enormous impact, especially if your audience is used to presenters slavishly following the test on their visuals.

You are presenting your message verbally, and visuals are just that – images or groups or words that support your message They are the quiet achievers, and are certainly not the message itself. If necessary, you may have to explain this, first, because many audiences have been trained by presenters who cover their inadequacies by using their visuals as the message. And this is why you will make an impact if you can present without using this method. You will be different. You will be seen as so much more confident and competent as a person. And this confidence and competence will be the underlying basis of the power of your presentation.

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© Bronwyn Ritchie If you want to include this article in your publication, please do, but please include the following information with it:
Bronwyn Ritchie is a professional librarian, writer, award-winning speaker and trainer. She is a certified corporate trainer and speech contest judge with POWERtalk, a certified World Class Speaking coach, and has had 30 years’ experience speaking to audiences and training in public speaking. In just 6 months time, you could be well on the way to being admired, rehired as a speaker, confident and sucessful, with the 30 speaking tips. Click here for 30 speaking tips for FREE. Join now or go to http://www.30speakingtips.com

Public Speaking Tip – “What do I want the audience to remember of me?”

Who are you? How will you be remembered after this presentation? Are you professional, poised, articulate? Are you warm, folksy, creative, nurturing? Maybe you want to be seen as ballistic, confronting, no-nonsense, boot camp material. What message will your clothes and your grooming convey? What will your choice of language say about you?
 
You cannot be someone you are not, when you present, unless you are prepared to be a performer for the entire production. Insincerity will detract from your speech as quickly as a joke in bad taste. But you can present a side of yourself as the highlight – the side you want your audience to remember.
 
And the most powerful choice you will make is how you get that image to support your message – how you put the two together.

Avoiding the hated bullet-drenched PowerPoint

Dan Heath, co-author of Made to Stick, speaks with Fast Company on how to avoid “that dreaded bullet-drenched PowerPoint that everybody hates”.


http://bit.ly/Oi8RnP

Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking with Mental Preparation Strategies

Mental preparation is a vital part of the process of overcoming the fear of public speaking. It is one of four processes successful speakers use to make sure they lose their fear and use their nerves for success.

The first step is to acknowledge that the fear is normal.

1. A huge range of successful people like Helen Hayes, Johnny Carson, Carol Burnett, Joan Rivers, Lisa Minnelli and Sydney Poitier are known to have suffered from nerves.

2. And there was the published survey that identified public speaking as Americans’ number one fear. This reinforces the fact that you are not in a minority, you are not a freak or a failure, but part of a huge group who all feel the same – normal!

3. Seinfeld quipped that if people fear public speaking more than death, then therefore they would rather be in the coffin than making the eulogy. It is so common that Seinfeld jokes about it! It is a natural, normal response – the body’s way of coping with a challenge.
It may be that you have reasons in your past or from within your family that build the fear, and send your body into the fight/flight response. It may be that, like me, you need to run adrenalin to stay alert and focused. It may be that you are not confident socially and need to build confidence to speak.  

Whatever the cause, this is a normal response to that cause and accepting that this is just a normal response, and not your own personal, horrible secret, means that you can acknowledge it, and start to treat it, overcome it 

This process of looking at your fear/nerves and identifying their source/s is a major step towards overcoming them. Often people don’t articulate what it is they fear, or where the fear comes from. If you can do that, then you have something concrete you can tackle, and a way to move forward. Find the root of the fear or nerves, tease it out so that you understand it and then use logic to deal with it.

The third mental technique is to accept that, for whatever reason, you are running adrenalin, so you might as well use it. Make it work for you. Channel it to create excitement and enthusiasm. These give power to your speech and you can speak with rapid-fire enthusiasm, or hold attention with power pause.

The excitement and enthusiasm will also work with other strategies to build a strong confidence.

You can use the enthusiasm to reinforce positive self-talk. Whether you call them mantras or call them affirmations, choose positive statements beforehand, to say to yourself to keep yourself positive. Or you can create them at the time. They too, will reinforce your confidence.

Combine these with a fifth technique – visualization. Very early in the preparation for your speech or presentation, visualize yourself leaving your seat, walking to the stage/podium, greeting the audience – all with calm confidence and enthusiasm. Watch it and experience how it feels. Then, as you progress, visualise, too, and feel, all of the aspects of your presentation – the sections of the speech, any prepared movements, and any visuals. See every one of these occurring successfully and see your confidence permeating every one. This may sound very impractical, but it works for me, and did, long before I really knew I was doing it. I just see it as part of my preparation – then, once prepared, it’s something I don’t have to think about at the time.

And,of course, if you do prepare well, in as much detail as possible, and use visualization as part of the process, then that in itself will give you confidence. Being able to reassure yourself that you are prepared is a major confidence builder, and you can use it as one of your reassuring, positive statements. “I am prepared. I have every aspect covered. I have nothing to worry about.”

You will have accepted the nerves as normal. You will have found their cause/s and used that as a foundation to build strategies for success. You will have mentally prepared for each part of your presentation. You will have learned to channel the nerves into power for your presentation. The processes of mental preparation will be a powerful part of your success in overcoming the fear of public speaking

© Bronwyn Ritchie If you want to include this article in your publication, please do, but please include the following information with it:
Bronwyn Ritchie is a professional librarian, writer, award-winning speaker and trainer. She is a certified corporate trainer and speech contest judge with POWERtalk, a certified World Class Speaking coach, and has had 30 years’ experience speaking to audiences and training in public speaking. In just 6 months time, you could be well on the way to being admired, rehired as a speaker, confident and sucessful, with the 30 speaking tips. Click here for 30 speaking tips for FREE. Join now or go to http://www.30speakingtips.com

Public Speaking Tip: Tighten and focus your presentations

Great speakers seem to stay on track effortlessly. Their presentations are tight and focused. Do you find yourself, on the other hand, sometimes, with too much information, or getting off the point of your story or presentation?

One simple trick to tighten and focus your presentation is to define the message; the central message of your presentation – what one thing do you want the audience to take away?

This message can be called a thesis statement or a theme. It can be given a number of names, but you need to be able to state it in one sentence. One sentence. That way you will stay focused on the outcome when you are planning.

Keep the sentence in front of you as you are preparing your content. Whenever you find a useful piece of information, ask yourself if it contributes to your one-sentence message and how well. When you are choosing the parts of your story, or the supports for your points, ask if they contribute to your one-sentence message and how well. When you are interacting with your audience in Q&A or an ad lib session, ask yourself that same question. Am I contributing to that one-sentence message and how well is what I am saying supporting it?

One sentence – one of the secrets to tightening and focusing your presentations.

Want to make outstanding presentations?

Presentations in Action

Jerry Weissman

Want to make outstanding presentations? See how others have done it! Legendary presentations coach Jerry Weissman shares powerful examples from the media, sports, politics, science, art, music, literature, the military, and beyond. Weissman’s examples reveal universal truths about effective communication–and help you supercharge everything from content and graphics to delivery! => http://bit.ly/ONyZLv

The value of scanning in public speaking

The success of any speech or presentation depends on making a connection with the audience. Good speakers establish that connection from the very beginning and use many techniques to maintain it right through to the end. It is through that connection, made with our audiences, that we can achieve the outcomes we want.

Making eye contact and scanning the audience to achieve it is one of those techniques and a powerful one.

Firstly, make eye contact with each member of the audience. Be present. Though this conversation is a stylised one, it is a conversation, nevertheless. So make the audience feel you are talking to them, not just presenting your material.
 
The eye contact also builds your authenticity. One of the main signs of a person who is not authentic – not sincere – is lack of eye contact, and that would be a guarantee of losing any hard-won connection!
 
If you use notes, use them sparingly, or they will diminish your eye contact. If you must look at the projection screen, look briefly, or that, too, will diminish your eye contact. Any time that you look away from the audience make it a choice, make it deliberate, to support the point you are making.

Secondly, while you are scanning the audience to make eye contact, you can evaluate your connection with them. The connection you are making with your audience – is, mainly, nonverbal on their part. So you are not receiving a continuous flow of verbal feedback by which to monitor that connection.

You will have to rely on their nonverbal feedback to make sure the connection is still strong. As you scan, monitor how they are sitting, what they are doing, if they are talking or listening, whether their eyes are glazed or not. Then, if you see the connection waning, you can re-establish it.

One of the best ways is to make a change – a change relevant to what has gone before, relevant to your material and relevant to that audience. Change your presentation style, change their state, change your visuals.

© Bronwyn Ritchie If you want to include this article in your publication, please do, but please include the following information with it:
Bronwyn Ritchie is a professional librarian, writer, award-winning speaker and trainer. She is a certified corporate trainer and speech contest judge with POWERtalk, a certified World Class Speaking coach, and has had 30 years’ experience speaking to audiences and training in public speaking. In just 6 months time, you could be well on the way to being admired, rehired as a speaker, confident and sucessful, with the 30 speaking tips. Click here for 30 speaking tips for FREE. Join now or go to http://www.30speakingtips.com

Extemporaneous speaking

Extemporaneous speaking should be practised and cultivated. It is the lawyer’s avenue to the public….

Abraham Lincoln

Public speaking tip – define impact

What do you want the impact of our presentation to be?

That impact is not an accidental by-product of what you say and do. It is not something that occurs by chance, or through luck. It is something you create deliberately.  So before you think about what you will say and what you will do, you need to define what it is that you want to create.

What exactly is the impact going to be? In other words, you need to define:  

How will your audience respond to your speech or presentation?
What will they take away with them and remember?
What will they remember of you?
Why will they think “Wow what a fabulous presentation!”?