engaged audience

3 Top Tips For Sensational Presenting

engaged audience

 

I’m a voice coach so normally I would talk about physical and vocal skills when it comes to sensational presenting.  How you look and how you sound are always at the top of my list of important skills.

But today I’d like to give you a few tips I was given recently that spoke to me on another level.

The 3 tips I’m giving you here are not so much about the mechanics of delivering your words as they are about being human.

Sensational presenting really starts to sing when you remember that a presentation is so much more than just words and information.

 

Sensational Presenting: The Head, The Heart, and The Hand

 

A veteran presenter once told me before a speech, ‘Lead them by the head, the heart, and the hand.’.

Think of your presentation as being more than just words and information.  It will help any stiff formality or obstacles between you and the audience fall away.

How can you connect with your audience as a human being in a room full of human beings?

People want to be touched emotionally.  When you reach out to your audience on an emotional level, they will trust more readily.  And trust is what you want from your audience.

 

The Head

First, you have to assure the audience that you’re worth listening to.  After all, they’ve taken time out to be there and want to know their time is being well spent.

You need to establish your credibility with the audience.  Sensational presenting shows the audience you know your subject.  That you are an expert in your field.  What’s your pedigree, track record for success?

 

The Heart

Second, you need to let them know you’re on their side.  Sensational presenting involves your audience liking you or at least knowing that you know their pain.

Let your audience know that you are aware of their challenges and that you have answers to help them with those challenges.

The audience is always asking themselves one question as they sit there spending their precious time with you:  Why should I care about this?

Sensational presenting answers this burning question for the audience.  Your audience will care if you show that you care.  Perhaps share a story from your own journey that illustrates how you overcame obstacles or challenges of your own.

When they hear you’ve overcome difficulties yourself, they know you empathize with them.

 

The Hand

Lastly, the hand metaphor refers to what they take away from your presentation.  Sensational presenting leads the audience towards some kind of practical, concrete steps or knowledge they can take home and put into practice.

The audience comes in with questions and wants to leave with answers.  Put into their hands something they can use, a tool that will help them with their challenges.

This reminds me of Chris Anderson’s definition of persuasion as ‘the act of replacing someone’s world view with something better’.  The audience wants to leave feeling different than when they came in.

 

 

The 30, 20, 10 Rule in Sensational Presenting

This is a tried and tested rule that all sensational presenting incorporates to some degree.  It’s a great example of ‘a little knowledge goes a long way’.

Simply stated, 30 is the minimum font size to use on slides, 20 is the maximum length of a presentation in minutes, and 10 is the maximum number of slides to use.

The 30, 20, 10 rule will help you avoid Death By Powerpoint and avoid losing your audience.  Here’s how it works.

 

Font Size Matters For Sensational Presenting – 30 points

Here’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to your slides:  30 point font is the minimum size to be visible from the audience.

One of the easiest mistakes to make on your slides is trying to cram in as much information as possible by using smaller font.  Sensational presenting takes into account the tried and tested rule ‘More Is Not Necessarily Better’.

If you try to squash in loads of words on the screen, your audience will end up not reading any of it.  And worse, they’ll be so distracted by the fact that they can’t read what they’re supposed to be able to read that they’ll stop listening to you.

Your audience would much rather listen to you speak than be reading off the screen in a read-along with you.

 

Keep Them Wanting More – 20 minutes

20 minutes is enough time to say what you need to say about pretty much anything.  Every audience will thank you for keeping it short.  Sensational presenting means having the ability to cut and crop your content for the sake of your audience.

If you have 20 minutes allocated to you for a presentation, plan a 10 minutes presentation.  You will probably speak for twice your rehearsed time when the adrenaline starts kicking in so leave yourself some wiggle room.

Sensational presenting always follows this rule of thumb:  Brevity Is Beauty.

 

Less Is More In Amazing Presentations – 10 slides

Ultimately, your slides are there only to help you tell your story better.  They are not there to be a crutch for you if you’re not prepared or don’t know your content.  10 slides or less is adequate to support any story.

Slides are never the story in sensational presenting.  You are the story.  The slides are only there to serve you and the story.  If your tech goes down you still have to give the presentation, without your slides, so be prepared.

You actually don’t needs slides for the majority of sensational presenting.  Only use them to add colour and texture to your story.  Slides are only there to help the audience to see what you see.

 

 

Knowledge Can Be A Dangerous Thing

Sensational presenting involves weeding out what the audience doesn’t need to know and what they do.  There’s a great book called ‘Made To Stick’ by Chip and Dan Heath which warns that a lot of knowledge can become a bad thing if left unchecked.

When you’re an expert in your field it can be easy to speak in acronyms, use phrases the audience doesn’t know, or use ‘in jokes’ that leaves 90% of the audience completely lost.

Make your presentation easy for the audience to understand and follow and use simple language.  It’s not a matter of dumbing down; it’s a matter of simplicity.

 

Sensational Presenting And Generosity

Essentially, you want to keep your audience with you, not running to catch up with you or left behind.  So keep it simple, remember less is more, and keep your audience in the spotlight.  Think of what you can do to make their life easier today and you have a much better chance of delivering a sensational presentation.

With Great Posture Comes Great Presentation!

“With Great Posture comes Great Presentation”*

 said Voltaire *almost

For a great presentation, great posture and body language are imperative. 

Ideally, we want to portray a more confident, more measured and more approachable presence when speaking or giving a presentation. 

Here is how and why with great posture, comes great presentation.

So here are 4 tips to improve your presentation skills, with Posture and Body Language

1  Posture 

Your posture affects your voice. So before you begin, here are 6 ways to perfect your posture for speaking

*Depending on whether you are standing or sitting

  • Standing – plant your feet parallel, hipbone width apart and think Tall and Open
  • Sitting – sit squarely on your set feet planted slightly apart and hands resting comfortably
  • Spine straight and neither slumped nor rigid
  • Work tension out of the shoulders and the neck area.
  • Swing the arms – this is an important area, because we want them relaxed
  • Smile and open the jaw – soften your jaw

 

2  Use your Head

Face your audience, eyes front.

What we are looking for here is openness, to be on the same level as your audience and to be approachable. 

Often used when listening to somebody,  is the 45 degree angle. (think of your posture when taking questions from your audience)

This unintentionally comes across as superiority with an unapproachable air.

The Mona Lisa is a perfect example of this, does she have an air of engagement, is she ready to listen? Is she open and approachable? Certainly not!

how not to look at your audience!

 

3  Straighten up!  

It’s something most of us will have been told at some point, yet it’s something many of us fail to do when we present.

Here’s where posture comes into play again.

A straight back and a tall posture helps you to project your voice and confidence.

Hunching your shoulders, in contrast, can make you look withdrawn and lacking in confidence.

When we feel low, we often hunch our shoulders.We feel vulnerable and we retreat into ourselves.

We feel small.

On the other hand, when we feel jubilant, we leap in the air with outstretched arms.

We feel tall.

Take this feeling into your presentations.

Stand up tall with a straight back, You’ll look confident, positive and approachable.

Stanford Graduate School of Business provide an interesting talk on how to Make Body Language Your Super Power

 

 

4 Uncross everything!

Why do we sometimes cross our legs when standing up to give a presentation?

 

 

*We feel it’s a more comfortable way of standing.

*We’re nervous.

*We’re completely unaware of the fact we’re crossing our legs.

Perhaps all three.

The problem is that it’s giving a signal to the audience that we feel uncomfortable presenting. Body language and good posture are vital to a good presentation.

Take a close look at the picture above, though smiling, her arms are as close to her body as possible and her legs are crossed.

Does she look confident and open?

The audience wants to feel that it’s in capable hands – and they’re only going to feel that if you uncross your legs and stand up straight, with great posture and body language.

 

When you hold yourself confidently, the audience will feel that confidence – and naturally believe in you.

 

Engage your audience

Secrets To Engage Your Audience In Online Communications

There is no question that these are extraordinary times when it comes to business communications.

If you are one of the millions of people currently working from home then chances are, you are regularly trying to engage your audience via telephone and video conference

Here are a few tricks and tips that will help you to engage your audience, keep their attention, and be more successful in your online negotiations and meetings.

Engage Your Audience With Great Vocal Presence

As we take our meetings and communications online, great vocal skills and techniques are more important than ever.  Why? Our attention span is pretty short. If you want to engage your audience and keep them listening, you need to keep their ears busy.

Use the power of pause and give them a break every now and then.

We can’t take in too much information at once so pause take a breath, and then move onto the next piece of content. This way your audience gets bite sized pieces of information they can digest and process more easily.

Slow down and to engage your audience and keep them with you.

It’s so easy to start motoring through your information so you can get it over with, and move on to the next call or meeting. But remember: If you lose your audience because you’re going too fast, they won’t hear most of what you’re saying.

Speak clearly and use articulation to emphasise key power words and phrases.

When you speak clearly, you will engage your audience more easily and come across as smarter. It’s one of those psychological phenomena. When you articulate your words, you are perceived as more intelligent. Bill Gates demonstrates this in his recent Zoom TEDtalk about the Corona Virus.

 

 

Why Your Physical Presence Matters

Online meetings follow the same presence rules as face to face. Remember,you are still having a conversation so be just as clear and confident physically as you would in the office or around the conference table.

How you stand, sit, and use your body effects not only how you look but also how you feel and interact with your audience. When you’re on a video conference call people can see how you are sitting and they can see your body language. This effects how you engage your audience.

Sit in a grounded and centred way

Sitting in a grounded, centred way will help you to both feel and look more alert, awake and professional. This in turn tells the audience you are ready to listen and respond. Remember it’s all about the audience! So, make them feel like the most important person on the call with a strong, open, grounded posture.

Make eye contact and use your hands too

Use your hands when you talk, as you would normally in a conversation. Eye contact, use of hands, and movement are ways you can engage your audience by making an emotional connection.

Know Your Tech To Engage Your Audience

There are lots of online tools used for business communications these days but my personal favourite is Zoom. It has sharing and screen options that make it perfect for calls where it’s essential to engage your audience. It’s worth mastering what ever tool you use before you those high stakes meetings and negotiations.

Prepare Your Screen Self

  • Make sure you are framed properly on screen and have a clean, neutral wall behind you.
  • Are you wearing a colour that contrasts with your background or blends in?
  • Do you get lost amidst clutter and lots of busy colours behind you?
  • Are you lit properly so the camera can see you?

Show up prepared, polished, and professional and you’re more likely to engage your audience and use everyone’s time well.

Prepare Your Tech

  • Test out your sharing toggles and make sure you have any slides, word files, or videos cued up before you go on the call.
  • Be prepared, set up your visuals, and practice with the Zoom tools before you go into the meeting. This way you won’t waste time or be fumbling around for files while you’re on the call.
  • If you’re hosting the meeting then login ahead of schedule so you are ready for when people join
  • If you are joining a meeting, join ahead of time or be ready to jump in as soon as it start

Make sure you click ‘leave meeting’ and/or ‘end meeting for all’ at the end of your meeting!

There have already been many videos posted of disastrous (albeit hilarious:) results when a video conference meeting finishes and people leave their camera running by accident. Don’t become one of them!

 

 

 

 

Be Your Own Best Teacher

SO. In this online and virtual business world that many of us have been thrust into, take up the challenge to engage your audience and practice a few basic skills that will help you stand out from the crowd. Learn and implement physical and vocal skills that will help keep your audience’s attention and master the basics of Zoom.

A little practice goes a long way. Learning and implementing online meeting skills that engage your audience will set you up for success in the present and in future online communications to come.

International Women's Day

To Celebrate International Women’s Day – Great Female Public Speakers from TED Share Their Stories

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2020, we thought it would be interesting to share a bunch of great public speakers from TED with you.

These talks are entertaining, educational, inspirational and we love them!

So, put the kettle on, put your feet up,  and have a listen to some really cool women  with something great to share.

 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The Danger Of A Single Story

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and she warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we, therefore, risk a critical misunderstanding.

 

Paula Johnson: His And Hers… Healthcare

Every cell in the human body has a sex, which therefore means that men and women are different right down to the cellular level. Yet too often, research and medicine ignore this insight — and the often startlingly different ways in which the two sexes respond to disease or treatment. As pioneering doctor Paula Johnson describes in this thought-provoking talk, lumping everyone in together means we essentially leave women’s health to chance. In conclusion, it’s time to rethink.

 

 

 

Anne-Marie Slaughter: Can We Have It All?

Anne-Marie Slaughter, Public policy expert, made waves with her 2012 article, “Why women still can’t have it all.” But really, is this only a question for women? Here Slaughter expands her ideas and explains why shifts in work culture, public policy and social mores can lead to more equality –Above all,  for men, women and, all of us.

 

 

 

Tan Le: A Headset That Reads Your Brainwaves

Tan Le’s astonishing new computer interface reads its user’s brainwaves, therefore making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). In addition, she demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications.

 

 

 

Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating

To say her book, Eat, Pray, Love was a smashing success is an understatement. Even she knew she couldn’t rival that success immediately, but she stayed true to who she is and always “returns home” as she puts it. For Elizabeth it is the art and process of writing that gives her the greatest joy. As long as she stays focused on that she can ride the waves of up and down book sales because regardless of how a book sells, she will write another one.

 

 

Dame Stephanie Shirley: Why Do Ambitious Women Have Flat Heads?

Dame Stephanie Shirley: Why Do Ambitious Women Have Flat Heads?  “Who would have guessed the programming of the black box flight recorders for the supersonic Concorde would have been done by a bunch of women working in their own homes, would pioneer the remote workplace?”  Dame Shirley who escaped the Holocaust by being sent to London to live with strangers at age five is my fourth-best Ted Talk. Then she “got on with it” and became a successful tech entrepreneur in the 1960’s founding one of the most progressive all-women businesses based on work-from-home, job sharing, flex-time and employee ownership.

 

 

 

A Spooky Poem "Little Yellow God" written by J. Milton Hayes

A Spooky Poem For This Halloween

Halloween

Image from rawpixel.com

We thought we’d share a new poem (Little Yellow God) with you this year to celebrate the Eve’ Of All Hallows.

Written in 1911 by J. Milton Hayes and when recited well (think McKellen, Cumberbatch etc.) it might just raise the very hairs on the back of your neck.

Happy Halloween from the CS Crew!

The Green Eye Of The Little Yellow God

By J. Milton Hayes

Thereʼs a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,

Thereʼs a little marble cross below the town,

Thereʼs a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,

And the yellow god for ever gazes down.

 

He was known as ʻMad Carewʼ by the subs at Khatmandu,

He was hotter than they felt inclined to tell,

But for all his foolish pranks

He was worshipped in the ranks,

And the Colonelʼs daughter smiled on him as well.

He had loved her all along

With the passion of the strong,

The fact that she loved him was plain to all,

 

She was nearly twenty-one,

And arrangements had begun

To celebrate her birthday with a ball.

He wrote to ask what present she would like from Mad Carew,

They met next day as he dismissed a squad,

And jestingly she told him then that nothing else would do

But the green eye of the little Yellow God.

 

On the night before the dance Mad Carew seemed in a trance,

And they chaffed him as they puffed at their cigars,

But for once he failed to smile,

And he sat alone awhile,

Then went out into the night beneath the stars.

He returned before the dawn

With his shirt and tunic torn.

And a gash across his temples dripping red.

 

He was patched up right away,

And he slept all through the day,

And the Colonelʼs daughter watched beside his bed.

He woke at last and asked if they could send his tunic through.

She brought it and he thanked her with a nod.

He bade her search the pocket saying “Thatʼs from Mad Carew,”

And she found the little green eye of the god.

 

She upbraided poor Carew

In the way that women do,

Though both her eyes were strangely hot and wet;

But she wouldnʼt take the stone, and Carew was left alone

With the jewel that heʼd chanced his life to get.

 

When the ball was at its height

On that still and tropic night,

She thought of him and hastened to his room.

As she crossed the barrack square

She could hear the dreamy air

Of a waltz-tune softly stealing throʼ the gloom.

His door was open wide, with silver moonlight shining through;

The place was wet and slippy where she trod;

An ugly knife lay buried in the heart of Mad Carew.

ʼTwas the ʻVengeance of the Little Yellow God.ʼ

 

Thereʼs a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,

Thereʼs a little marble cross below the town,

Thereʼs a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,

And the Yellow God for ever gazes down.

 

silence

3 Reasons Why Silence Is A Powerful Weapon

Power of Silence

Photo by Ocean Biggshott on Unsplash

Did you know that one of the least used, but most effective, strategies when it comes to negotiations of any kind … is silence. Why you might ask, well because silence gives you a number of advantages.

 

1. Learn From The Experts

What do the best negotiators generally have in common? They will always make their opponents wait for an answer.

When we are nervous or eager we have a tendency to jump in right after the other person has spoken. And the result? It looks like we’re nervous, insecure, or even worse, that we haven’t been listening.  

2. A Well-Placed Silence Can Build Relationships

If you’re silent and wait, it conveys the impression that you are listening and thinking about what the other person has said. And, of course, it also sends a signal that you are weighing your answer carefully.

3. Silence Buys You Time

Silence buys you the time to prepare a response. The appearance of thinking, also buys you a few seconds to think.

Being chatty in negotiating is not very powerful, and it usually doesn’t achieve the desired result but the art of creative silence takes practice. Sometimes it takes concentration to simply do nothing. 

Try practicing getting used to silence when you’re not under pressure. 

These three reasons are why silence is one of the best negotiating tactics you can learn.

What do you think are great negotiation tactics?

Leave a comment below!

For more useful tips and ideas check out our other blogs here or contact us to see how we can help you to transform your voice and your communications.

Whilst you are here you might enjoy some of these:

 

Women in Sales Summit London 2019 – “Own Your Space” – Engage with Presence

Keep your audience engaged

6 Presentation Techniques You Can Learn From Comedians To Keep Your Audience Engaged

It can be difficult to keep your audience engaged during business presentations.   How do comedians keep their audiences engaged?   Some of us are naturally funny.  Others think that being funny is a gift from birth that only the chosen few are blessed with, and that the rest of us should stay far, far away from trying to make people laugh.  The fact is, being funny is a skill like anything else, like driving a car, learning a new language, or learning presentation techniques.

 

Comedians spend years crafting and honing their content and delivery, making them one of the few public speakers that clock up Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours that he says make a master.

 

Performers learn a lot the hard way. there’s just no other way to do it.  You can practice, practice, and practice until the cows come home but at the end of the day you have to get up in front of a real audience to test it out.

Here are a few interesting presentation techniques from the world of comedy to help speakers in the business world master the art of keeping audiences engaged.

Presentation techniques from the world of comedy

 

Rock It From The Start

Everyone knows that getting off to a good start sets the tone for the rest of your journey.  When you’re practicing your speech or presentation, the first 30 seconds will make or break you.

Psychologist Jennice Vilhauer does this effectively in her TEDTalk “Why you don’t get what you want…” If you don’t engage people and give them a reason to listen in the first 30 seconds, you’ll have a pretty tough time getting them back.  

A killer start to your presentation will set the tone for the rest of your talk and keep your audience engaged.  So practice this, hone it, and know it until you can do it in your sleep.

Know Your Timing

When you’re practicing, breakdown the sections of your content.  

  • First 30 seconds
  • Numbers of key areas
  • Stories
  • Wrap up
  • Takeaways

Time yourself so you know how long each takes and how much time the whole presentation will be and when in doubt, keep it short. you will keep your audience engaged, and they will thank you for it.

Don’t Wait To Work The Room – keep you audience engaged from the get go!

Comedians are clever at working the room.  They ‘cast’ someone in the audience so they have instant familiarity with the room.  Introduce yourself to people as they come into the room; don’t wait to find common ground with your audience until you start your talk.  

Break the ice with them from the outset, greet them as they come in, have a bit of banter with them.  You’ll automatically have back story with them when you start your presentation.

 

Warm Up First

All performers warm up and do something to get them in the ‘zone’ as TEDTalk presenter Julien Treasure talks about here.  Stretch your arms up over your head before you step onto the stage, take some deep breaths, loosen up your muscles or do some articulation exercises.  Whatever you do, do something.  This will help calm any nerves and also get your body and mind focused on the task at hand.

 

 

Self Critique

Whenever you get the chance to present or speak in front of an audience, always film or video yourself.  Always.  It’s so easy now to do it now with phones and tablets.  Get a friend or someone you know will be there to video you so you can watch it back and see exactly what you’re doing and sounding like.  Performers and comedians love this because it gives them instant feedback on everything they’re doing and how they are keeping audiences engaged.

 

Be Human

No one feels comfortable around people who seem like they’re perfect all the time.  We connect with people we trust, who feel familiar to us.  Really funny material comes from comedians who know it’s not necessarily about making people laugh; it’s about making people think, it’s about showing them that you know what it’s like to be human.  The audience finds something in you that resonates with them.  Comedian and writer Ricky Gervais talks brilliantly about this here.

 

 

As a public speaker, take heed of some of these techniques from comedians and see if they help in your performance.  Comedians face the toughest audiences in the world so they know what they’re talking about.  

Remember, good preparation and practice will pay off in dividends when it comes to getting up in front of an audience and delivering the goods.  

Great communicating is learned; no one is born a great speaker.

Remember that you’re a human being in a room full of human beings and every audience loves to see people succeed.

They want you to be great!  It makes their job of listening so much easier.

 

Contact us for details on how we can help you to engage your audiences and deliver memorable presentations

t – +353 1 9696056

e – info@confidentspeak.com

 

If you found this useful in terms of advice on keeping your audience engaged, you’ll like these also, I promise!

https://www.confidentspeak.com/elon-musk-3-insights-into-authentic-presenting/

https://www.confidentspeak.com/the-public-speaking-habits-of-successful-entrepreneurs/

Could The Simple Act Of ‘Stillness’ Be The Key To Achieving Executive Presence?

Stillness & Presence

Through out the years, we have supported many individuals across the corporate and private sector from all over Europe. We’ve trained C-Suite Personnel,  Business Executives, Sales Professionals, Scientist, Engineers, Legal and Medical Professionals, and one topic that comes up over and over again is ‘Executive Presence’ and how to achieve it.

Understanding The Power Of Presence

Let me share with you an insight I had some time ago, which might help you to understand and build on your own Presence

I try to go for run most days and one of the routes I have enjoyed most over the years, is the lovely Phoenix Park here in Dublin. One day, along my route, I came face to face with a large herd of deer. They were all standing very still, regarding my presence with quiet curiosity.

What struck  me most at the time, was their immense stillness. The deer possessed such calmness and a phenomenal sense of ease and yet, they were also completely alert, ready to flee at any sign of danger.

I stood looking at them for what seemed like an age, transfixed and drawn by something – their amazing ‘Presence’

Achieving Executive Presence

An audience is always connected to a speaker who communicates in a relaxed and calm way, but just like a wild deer, a speaker always needs be alert to the audience. So if building your executive presence is something on your mind, try this simple technique – stop moving, stay grounded and still!

 

The Art of Stillness Builds Executive Presence

Moving around may help you to calm nerves or to feel at ease but it can be very distracting for your audience. Instead, try to find an ease within yourself to simply stand still and be present. By just following this technique, not only will you build your presence in front of your audience, you will also connect in a stronger and more authentic way

 

Stillness is a simple, yet powerful technique to build presence”

 

 

Remember this; as a speaker, you have the ability to instil any emotion in your audience.

If you are agitated or stressed then your audience will also be agitated and stressed. If you are at ease and physically relaxed and grounded, then your listeners will also be at ease and guess what…they will also be more open to listening, and building that all important connection with you. You will have achieved ‘presence’!

Sometimes we just need to demystify things and go back to basics when it comes to communication! So next time you are rehearsing your presentation, try this technique to achieve Executive Presence.