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Be tech savvy when it comes to presenting with technology

Five Musts to Avoid All Presenting with Technology Problems and Disasters

Presenting with technology such as slide decks (delivering presentations using the likes of PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi or Google Slides, for instance) affords us great freedom and creativity for memorable presentations. But it can also go horribly wrong. Here’s how to overcome the all the most common presentation technology hitches.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

presenting with technology - avoid all common technology problems

Do you rely on presenting with technology?

Have you ever had any of the following happen to you:

  • a microphone cut out at the beginning of your presentation
  • a PowerPoint slide deck suddenly freezes
  • A presentation clicker is “as dead as a mouse” and no use at all

If you’ve ever found yourself in any of the aforementioned situations, don’t worry. You’re not alone.   

Presenting with technology affords us great freedom and creativity these days when it comes to making memorable presentations. 

It can also go horribly wrong.

Check out this “worst nightmare” parody:

How to Avoid a Presenting with Technology Disaster

When you’re presenting with technology, there are a few things you can do ahead of your presentation to shrink the odds of something going wrong, so that you can head off disaster at the pass.

Here are a few tips you can use to help ensure a smooth, slick presentation delivery that hits a home run when you present with technology.

1. Tech check before you present (or face a tech wreck in your presentation!)

Always do a sound check and tech check.

Whether you’re introducing a colleague or giving a 1-hour presentation, always make time to get into the space and liaise with the sound engineer or organiser before people come into the room.

Check the following:

  • Is your presentation clicker is working?
  • Make sure the clicker batteries are fresh
  • Check online links and that WiFi is working
  • Are your PowerPoint slides working properly?
  • How are your microphone and levels?

Of course there’s always a chance things might go wrong even after all that careful planning but the chances are far, far less and you can feel confident that you’ve done all your homework.

2. Ask for what you need – if you don’t ask, you don’t get

Find out if you have a choice of microphone and ask for what you need.

Whenever possible, eliminate any obstacles that come between you and the audience, the most obvious one being the dreaded podium.  

There will be occasions where you won’t have a choice, such as awards ceremonies and dinner events where you will be expected to use the podium.

But if you have a choice, and you will have to ask sometimes, for presentations choose a lapel microphone, a hand-held microphone, or no microphone at all.

This will afford you freedom of movement and direct access to the audience.

3. Practice with your tech (or pay the price with your pride!)

This might seem obvious when it comes to preparation.

But do not underestimate the power of familiarity with your technology!

Especially when it comes to microphones and practising with your slide deck.

Practice your delivery using a surrogate hand-held microphone (a hair brush or even a serving spoon work in a pinch!), a microphone on a stand  or using no microphone at all (as you would with a lapel mic).  

It’s the simple act of imagining yourself in different situations that does the trick.

4. Do a “Recce”

When presenting with technology, in army-speak this is a “reconnaissance run”—checking out the landscape before executing the mission so there are no surprises.

In layman’s terms this means getting into the space you’ll be delivering in and getting the lay of the land before the actual event.

Some examples of things to think about during your “recce” mission.

  • Where you’ll be standing
  • Where the screen will be
  • How high the screen will be placed
  • How large the room is, so will you have to use a microphone or not
  • What will the lighting be like…?  

Basically, this is a chance for you to get all the information you can before the actual event.

Why?

The chance of success goes up, and the room for glitches goes down!

5. Have a Plan B (a.k.a. Prepare for the Worst!)

Some of the best presentations are just one person and a flip chart.

No matter what happens, the show must go on, right?

So have a plan of action ready if the worst case scenario occurs.

What about if the electricity goes out, or your laptop decides to pack it in?

Always, always, always have a hard copy of your slides or notes with you for every eventuality.

If you’ve prepared and know your content, you’ll be able to deliver your presentation no matter what fate throws at you.  And trust me, the audience will be with you every step of the way because we love an underdog.  

At the end of the day, failing to plan is planning to fail.

The Presenting with Technology Recap

No matter how much we check our technology is working, things may inevitably go awry. That’s just the nature of the beast.

So in order to reduce the chances of a major technological glitch affecting your big presentation, you need to be prepared.

When you plan ahead you’ll at least be ready to pick up the ball and run no matter what. 

  1. Do a “Tech Check” in advance
  2. Ask for what you need
  3. Practice with any technology involved
  4. Recce the room
  5. Have a Plan B  

Do your reconnaissance, practice, and plan for as many eventualities as you can and above all, Keep Calm And Carry On!

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About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

 

Brene Brown an authentic speaker

With 32 Million Views Of Her TED Talk, We MUST Learn From Brene Brown About Becoming A Confident Presenter

Brene Brown is an Internet phenomenon. Her speeches have been viewed tens of millions of times on YouTube, TED and elsewhere online. But just what is it about Brene Brown that makes her talks so compelling? I want to share with you what can be learnt from her presenting style that will help you also become a confident presenter and perhaps transform how you approach your next presentation. Here we break down the key things to take away from Brene Brown’s confidence, to help you become a better speaker, presenter and communicator.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

How You Can Learn from Brene Brown's Confidence

 

Firstly, who is Brene Brown?

Brene Brown is a researcher of shame, vulnerability, courage and empathy.

Like, there’s not many of those people around, right?!

Her TED talk—The Power of Vulnerabilityis one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 30 million views.

She is also the author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers.

But the real reason I’ve put this blog together is because Brown is a stunningly powerful presenter. Brene Brown’s confidence on stage is a sight to behold. Here we analyse why.

Brene Brown’s Confidence is Based on Wholehearted Living and Wholehearted Presenting

One important thing to know about Brown’s teachings is that she speaks about wholehearted living.

This roughly translates to:

By accepting vulnerability in our lives we can live more meaningful, more connected, successful lives.

Her research is based on following 10 guideposts which she urges us to practice daily.

But does she practice these guideposts when she speaks to her audiences?

In short, is Brene Brown a wholehearted presenter?  

The answer is “Hell Yes!”

And you can learn so much from her if you want to connect in an authentic way with your audience.

Let’s discuss a number of her 10 guideposts in the context of her presentation approach, so that you too can bring Brene Brown’s confidence into your own presentations.

Guidepost 1: Cultivating Authenticity– Letting go of what people think

‘‘To be willing to let go of who you think you should be,  to be able to connect” Brene Brown

Brown communicates with her audience as if she’s having a chat over coffee.

She talks in an authentic, conversational easy way.  She has the courage to be herself (in true Texan fashion), to “show up authentically”, no pretense, no facade.

To adopt Brene Brown’s confidence and become a more powerful, impactful, confident presenter, we need to let go of what others might think of us—our colleagues or managers.

You need to have the courage to show up for your presentation as your true self, not trying to be something you are not—this honesty connects powerfully with any audience.

Guideposts 2 & 3: Cultivating Self-Compassion– Letting go of perfectionism, and Cultivating A Resilient Spirit– Letting go of numbing and powerlessness

Brown’s TEDx talk—“The Power of Vulnerability”—was originally going to be named something like “Variables Mitigating Self Actualising”.

Which begs the question: why the change?

Well, how often do we intellectualise our language? Speaking in conceptual language stifles audiences.

Why do we do it?

In truth, we do it to protect ourselves, to appear like we are worthy and perfect. We put “armour” on—complex language, or a data dump on a PowerPoint slide—to protect ourselves from being vulnerable.

We strip the humanness from our presentations, and this results in numbing and stifling both presenter and audience.  

By allowing self-compassion (as Brene does in her talks) we allow ourselves the permission to be imperfect in our presenting.  This allows us to show vulnerability, to show emotion when we speak, whether that’s fear, anger or asking for help if we need it. 

By allowing this self-compassion, a presenter becomes more resilient as a result.  And ultimately creates a more honest, authentic, stronger relationship with the audience.   

Guideposts 4 & 5:  Cultivating Gratitude and Joy—Letting go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark, and Cultivating Meaningful Work—Letting go of Self-Doubt

Brown refers to scarcity as a mindset of “never enough, never perfect enough, never relevant enough…” 

Many presenters live in constant scarcity, or what some people might recognise as “imposter syndrome”.

Brown admits to working daily to overcome her scarcity self-talk and to conquer her “imposter syndrome”.

Moving from “I am not worthy” to I am worthy and enough. In the context of becoming a confident presenter, we need to let go of our scarcity self-talk.  This is a huge factor to overcoming fear/lack of confidence when presenting.

Guidepost 6: Cultivating Creativity – “Stories are just data with a soul”

One of the most striking things about Brown is the skill with which she weaves years of research with her personal, vulnerable, honest stories—both funny and painful.  

 I just love the quote: “Stories are just data with a soul.”

The vulnerability in her stories, metaphors and analogies resonate very strongly with her audience.  

Stories help audiences to remember important points and they also build that important empathy with listeners.

In order to connect with audiences, there needs to be a balance of Evidence-Based-Content (Head content) mixed with emotive content (Heart content). Brown achieves this balance perfectly.  This results in a fully engaged audience when presenting.

Throwing data coldly at audiences will numb them, and yet we see this all the time.

So I strongly encourage you on your journey be becoming a confident presenter that you close your laptop, get pen and paper out or go for a walk.

Get creative, brave, and playful with your presentation content. This is powerful and I would say mandatory to fully engage your audiences.

Guidepost 8:  Cultivating Calm and Stillness

This one is, I believe, absolutely essential to becoming a confident presenter.

Listen to Brene Brown speak (I’ve included the videos at the bottom).

There is no rush, no anxiety, no sense of urgency. She pauses, to think and reflect.

Now this is confident presenting.

She’s not distracted with whatever content is coming next. She’s not worried about “getting through” her content. She remains present with what she is speaking about.

Of course she has researched and prepared her talk.

But she is also a big believer in the power of meditation and the importance of breathing, and we experience this as she speaks.  Working to understand the role breath plays is vital to help connect with both our content and our audience.

Guidepost 10: Cultivating Laughter, Play, Intuition, Trust – Letting go Being Cool and “Always in Control”

Brown has fun in her presentations, and as a result the audience has fun.

She laughs at her stories, she laughs at herself!

Whilst her content is grounded in strong evidence, she allows herself not to take herself too seriously.

She doesn’t rely heavily on a script or slides, and she reacts to her audience’s reactions throughout.  She “lets go of total control and certainty” – not totally but just enough!

Conclusion: How to Gain Confidence from Wholehearted Presenting

Implementing all of this in your own talks, speeches and presentations is easier said than done, of course, but as we’ve seen from Brown, weaving personal stories through your talks certainly makes it easier.  

To reach the level of confidence embodied by Brene Brown requires preparation, practice and BRAVERY, but when achieved it will totally captivate an audience.

All 10 of Brene Brown’s guideposts encourage us to show vulnerability in some way.

As a presenter in a corporate context, this requires immense bravery.  This bravery will ultimately give you a deep sense of connection with both your message and with your audience.

I strongly encourage you to explore wholehearted presenting if you want to become a confident presenter.

It really does work.

Watch Brene Brown’s confidence at first hand in her two most lauded TED talks below – “The Power of Vulnerability”, and “Listening to Shame”

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Sales Presentation Techniques to Win a 6-Figure Contract

Avoiding the Safe Seat to the “No Blame” Game: Eight Sales Presentation Techniques to Win That 6-Figure Contract

For over a decade in this business I have seen and heard so many sales presentations. I’ve seen good sales presentations, I’ve seen bad sales presentations. And yes, I’ve seen downright ugly sales presentations. So what are good sales presentation techniques? The kind of sales presentation techniques that can win that six-figure contract? Here are eight sales presentation habits to identify and avoid—at all costs!

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Sales Presentation Techniques to Win a 6-Figure Contract

In the years since I founded ConfidentSpeak, I’ve worked with so many sales executives on their presentations, vocal skills and executive presence. I’ve seen at first hand what makes for a successful sales presentation—and I want to share with you today some of the presenting habits which can seriously impact your confidence, the success of your sales presentations, and ultimately the bottom line in your businesses.

If you  are a CEO, a sales director or a sales manager with responsibility for a team, I hope that the eight sales presentation techniques below will help you to identify whether these habits are commonplace within your teams.

Because if your team has any or all of these bad habits, they are most certainly having a detrimental effect on sales figures.

1. Stop Thinking About Yourself

I’ve seen this happen so many times. So often, in fact, that it deserves to be Number 1 in this list.

Many executives might say they are “focused on their customer”, but what happens in reality?

In reality, they might know their customer’s name and job title, but have not given a single thought to them apart that. And this is recipe for a certain letdown.

Without careful and strategic consideration for your audience and without tailoring your message to their requirements—remember here, your audience is your prospective decision maker—you are losing so much credibility.

And because of that, you are almost certain to lose out to your competitor for that prized contract.

Your audience is more than just a title, you need to understand them deeply.

You must keep your audience in mind all the time. You must tailor your message to meet their requirements, not yours.

Every audience you present to has different wants, wishes and challenges – it’s your job to find out as much as you can about your audience and tailor your message to meet their world.

Yes, it takes time but will be worthwhile when your audience feels valued and understood. Then they will feel positive towards listening—and ultimately opening the “chequebook”.

Three-Word Takeaway: Get Outside Yourself

2. Winging It

Following on from the point above, so often I hear sales executives saying they have no time to prepare for sales presentations or meetings, or that they feel they don’t need to prepare.

They say they have their “tried and tested” presentation. So they’ll just “wing it”.

It makes me tear my hair out! Even if you are an experienced presenter, this is not setting you up for success.

You need to remember that ultimately, you do not decide how good your sales presentation actually is or how good you are as a presenter; your audience (not you) is always the decision maker.

Even more importantly, they also get decide how they spend their money.

You need to get out of the habit of believing that “winging it” is enough.

If you want a greater level of success you need to realise that planning is vital. Yes, this requires thought and time, no question about that and this needs to be factored into your day/week.

There are a number of planning tools and techniques you can use to be able to plan very efficiently and reap the rewards. (Get in touch with us for more on planning tools and techniques to prepare better for your sales presentations.)

Three-Word Takeaway: No Winging It

3. Social Bore, Business Setting

How often do you start your presentation with some variation of this.

“Here’s our company, here’s our employee numbers, here are our services. Oh, here are our clients too. And here’s blah blah, blah…”

If you do just one thing today, make a commitment to yourself to notice when you’re being self-centred and to STOP right now!

Think about the last time you met someone out socially and they “rattled on and on” about their holiday, their family, their car or their job, and never once stopped to ask your opinion or about your life.

How did that make you feel?

Not great I’m guessing? You might even go so far as avoiding that person now.

Now think of that in a business context. If you want to build a relationship with a prospective client, do your research and find out about them before you launch into your message.

Then bring their world into your message.

Starting getting curious about your audience to understand their needs.

Three-Word Takeaway: Don’t Do Boring

4. Delivering 30-Minute Sales Presentations

Think about this for a moment.

What is your attention span when you sit in an audience?

How quickly do you get distracted? Of course it depends on the situation, but even if you’re being regaled with a Verdi operetta, it’s not uncommon that in any given moment of downtime you’ll feel a little twitchy and do something like checking your watch or your phone, right?

I have news for you.

Your audience is no different.

Equally they have a short attention span, so make sure you respect their time. To put it a different way, respect their attention span.

If you cannot communicate your sales presentation in 10 minutes (or under) in a concise, audience-focused and memorable way, then you probably are going to struggle getting your audience to make that decision you so badly require.

So share your short presentation and then open the meeting to a focussed discussion.

Three-Word Takeaway: Ten Minutes (Tops!)

5. Unleashing the Jargon

Tell me when you start groaning.

“It is what it is.”

“Do more with less.”

“Take it to the next level.”

“Low-hanging fruit.”

“Let’s circle back.”

“Think outside the box.”

There are lots more where they came from. If you’re being really uncharitable, you could try a game of Cliché Bingo next time you hear a sales pitch.

I hear it so often—generic, clichéd, jargon-filled content that is simply meaningless to the audience.

There is absolutely nothing more exhausting for any audience.  Yes, you might feel comfortable with this language and it can be your “go-to content” when you’re under pressure, but unfortunately for your business it is much more than likely to be raising the hackles of the audience.

So bear this four-step process in mind.

  1. Make life as easy as possible for the audience
  2. Strip back all banal clichés or complex corporate lingo
  3. Speak in simple short sentences
  4. Use real examples and stories to illustrate your points

Another four-step checklist. This time, four questions you should always ask yourself before any presentation:

  1. Is this content meaningful and understandable to the audience?
  2. Is this content relevant to the audience?
  3. Is this content helping the audience make a decision?
  4. Is this content relevant in helping me achieve my goal?

If you answer “No” to any of those four, you have to be ruthless. Delete!

Three-Word Takeaway: Watch Your Language

6. Sitting Down (Also Known As: Taking the Easy Option)

I am often told by sales executives I work with that they tend to sit down, open the laptop and “talk through the slides”.

Two things about this approach.

  1. It is the safe and easy option
  2. It is totally forgettable

Even that phrase—”Talk through the slides”—gives me the shivers.

I say, set yourself up for success.

Plan to stand up and fully own and inhabit your presentation.

If there are more than 3-4 people in your audience you will have a much greater impact in a room.

Yes, it’s true that sometimes you will be on a client’s site and there may be physical limitations. But be brave and take control.

Do whatever you need to investigate the room setup and technology in advance. It requires a quick call ahead of time,  but it will send a clear message to your prospective client that you are focused on their meeting and giving them your full commitment.

Standing up does not mean you are formal. If you maintain a conversational style, you will be more memorable and professional.

Three-Word Takeaway: Stand and Deliver

7. Thinking Rehearsal is for Rookies

When we explain to our sales clients the importance of rehearsal, they look at us like we are crazy. Often they say “you don’t understand how busy we are” ! Wrong, we understand very well, we work with hundred of sales executives yearly.  We also know how decisions are made by your clients and we know what a polished, confident presenter can achieve.    So, imagine taking 30 minutes over the course of a few days, practicing your message aloud (not in your head pressing the slideshow button).  This rehearsal will ensure you are confident, concise and polished – now that is priceless.

“Rehearse your message aloud at least three times – even if it’s in the car on the way to the meeting”

Three-Word Takeaway: Practice Makes Perfect

8. Playing the Blame Game

When we don’t secure the contract or business after a meeting or sales presentation, there are of course many reasons, but don’t jump to conclusions and blame (1) a biased member in the audience, (2) a product, (3) competitor advantage, (4) some other external factor.  You must always ask yourself what you could have done differently, it is vital to do a debrief and self reflect:

Did you consider the client’s needs/challenges and create a compelling message for them?

Did you prepare relevant, tailored and memorable content for your audience?

Did you plan effectively and rehearse ahead of the meeting?

Did you have slides that were relevant to your client?

If you are answering “no” to any of these, then you need to re-assess, get feedback from the client or your colleagues and take ownership of your sales presentations.  If you do you will have a much greater chance of securing that 6 figure contract.

Three-Word Takeaway: No More Blame

Conclusion

There you have it.

Eight things to bring into your sales presentation techniques to bring you so much closer to six-figure contracts.

Here’s a quick recap.

  1. Get Outside Yourself
  2. No Winging It
  3. Don’t Do Boring
  4. Ten Minutes (Tops!)
  5. Watch Your Language
  6. Stand and Deliver
  7. Practice Makes Perfect
  8. No More Blame

Finally, remember this.

Presentation skills are a muscle.

It responds to constant work. So NEVER stop developing your presentation muscle.

If you are an experienced sales presenter and have had great success, well done to you!

If, on the other hand, you want to stand out among today’s busy decision makers by presenting effectively to secure that contract, know that this is a skill that can be learned and practised.

At ConfidentSpeak we teach you how to use these skills and techniques to get the results you want, and we have designed a dedicated “Sales Communication Bootcamp” especially for Sales Executives.

Find out more about our Sales Communication Bootcamp here

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Desert Island Discs

Six Reasons Desert Island Discs Is A Masterclass In Great Communication

Communication masterclassWant to be educated, inspired, humbled and entertained—all while listening to great music? The BBC radio series Desert Island Discs is simply great listening. It is also fruitful learning ground for anyone keen in the art and science of exceptional communication.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

 

I tend to be in my car a lot.

When I am, there is nothing, in my opinion, better than downloading a few podcasts of Desert Island Discs to engage me for an hour. (I have to confess, recently it’s even replacing my bed time reading!)

What makes Desert Island Discs so good?

Below are three reasons I think it’s a perfect place to study perfect communication skills—and be entertained while you’re doing so!—and three examples of phenomenal Desert Island Discs interviews.

Three Reasons Desert Island Discs is Such a Good Study Guide for Top-Class Communication

 

1. The Quality of the Presentation and Communication

I’m in the communications business, and Desert Island Discs stands out because it boasts both a great presenter (currently Kirsty Young) and many, many fantastic guests who virtually always prove themselves to be exceptional communicators.

I’ve just listened to the interview with Dame Judi Dench—I’ve laughed, cried and been awestruck all in 35 minutes!

2. Desert Island Discs is a Wonderful Escape

The premise of the programme is a well known person is “cast away to desert island”.  They are required to choose eight discs to bring with them (they also bring with them the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare, but that’s another story).

It’s been airing for over 75 years (they even referred to gramophones in the early days of broadcast) and we hear from a diverse spectrum of “castaways”—actors, musicians, artists, politicians, sports people,  business people and everyone in between.

3. It is a Masterclass in Interviewing Skills

Kirsty Young is the current presenter of the show and she’s a great communicator in her own right.

She gives a masterclass in interviewing—excellent listening skills, empathy and interest.

Her vocal delivery is just wonderful, so pure, and for this alone it’s worth listening to the show. Her clarity, calm and resonant quality, all whilst retaining her Scottish accent.  She is Britain’s favourite female radio voice, after all.

Young is genuinely interested in every “castaway” and she wants to get the very best from the interview.

She is also brave,  in that she delves into peoples lives to ask the often difficult questions.

Three of the Best Desert Island Discs Interviews

1. Stephen Fry

2. Ed Sheeran

3. John Cleese

Still Want More Desert Island Discs?

Here is the link to the celebration of 75 years of Desert Island Discs.

It takes us through 75 years of history, politics, business, showbiz and sport. It’s wonderful to hear the different accents, the voices, music.

Now sit back, have a listen, and enjoy. (And also learn and put what you into practice, because as we like to say, presentation skills are a muscle that benefit from constant work.)

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Confident communicaton

Be a Master Communicator Like Conor McGregor, In Six Easy Steps

Confident or arrogant? Charismatic or vulgar? Inspirational or embarrassing? Whatever your feelings about Conor McGregor, the Irish combat fighter is without doubt a top-class communicator. But what makes him so? With millions of fans hanging on his every word, it has to be worth exploring further. Here are six things Conor McGregor does right when he gets in front of an audience.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Conor McGregor The Ultimate Communicator

I was in my hairdressers a few years ago, having the “holiday conversation”.

You know the one? Where did you go, where did she go, etc.

So she told me she was just back from Vegas, where she was supporting her friend Conor McGregor at a boxing event. Back then I had no idea who he was, so she explained.

A few years later, and Conor McGregor is probably Ireland’s biggest export! He has made world success, riches, fame and power (and one hell of a swagger).

There is no question he is hugely successful at what he does for a living – although I’m still not sure exactly what that is. Something in a cage with very few rules, which all looks a bit nasty!

In 2017 McGregor got into a Las Vegas ring to fight the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather. Even making that fight was an incredible achievement in itself, given that the American was seen as an all-time great, unbeaten after 49 fights, and McGregor had never fought a professional boxing match before and was moving across from the world of Mixed Martial Arts for the occasion.

Three press conferences with 50,000 people in attendance – it’s impressive!

When was the last time three press conferences had an attendance of close to 50,000 people, with millions more tuning in online?  Not ever, I expect.

I happened to be passing a television during the live London “McGregor v Mayweather” press conference and got lured in. (McGregor gets the microphone at around 16 minutes…)

So, from this press conference, what is it about Conor McGregor from a communication perspective that seems to engage and capture people? Let’s take this press conference and try and break it down.

You might even pick up a trick or two.  You may not like him, but hold the thought.

1. Conor McGregor Shows up Authentically

Conor McGregor is truly and unapologetically himself, unfiltered. Whether or not you are a fan of him, the reality is that any audience will connect and engage with people who are truly themselves.

Yes, there is certainly showmanship, but there is no denying that what you see is what you get. When you deliver a business presentation, how authentic are you with your audience? Or do you drop into “presenter mode”?

Because, from my experience, so many do.

2. Conor McGregor Oozes Vocal Confidence

If you place your personal opinion of his “message to the world” aside for a moment, you cannot avoid the fact that he is incredibly focused on what he is saying.

It is delivered with absolute confidence and conviction.  There is more often than not composure to his delivery.  And dare I say it, with the exception a few questionable consonant misplacements, there is clarity in his delivery!

He has great use of pause, pace, vocal range. Whatever the result of their actual bout in the ring a few weeks later, here on the stage he simply outshines his “co-performer” Mr Mayweather. He “owns his space” vocally.  I’m not saying shouting and aggression makes a great communicator, but I believe there are strong qualities to his delivery that are worth being aware of.

As people presenting in a business context know, vocal confidence is key. How often do you sit through presentations listening to a presenter  delivering a monotonous, lifeless presentation and wishing you were somewhere else?  Vocal confidence is not only key it is essential to succeed in business communication.

3. The McGregor Speaking Equation: Energy + Performance = Excitement

McGregor simply has bucket loads of energy and excitement – both physically and vocally. He understands that for public speaking engagements – he needs to raise his game in terms of energy.  Yes, lots of shouting (which I’m not advocating), but he’s speaking to his audience, and the audience in his case are not complaining.

What can I say, he’s a performer and his has a captive audience. As a communicator, he elicits a state of energy within his audience.

And you know what?

Energy is contagious.  Watch how he can lift his audience into a state of excitement, watch how he can equally enrage them seemingly so easily. He understands that he has the ability (and responsibility) to instil emotion or energy in the audience.

An audience wants to be entertained, and part of the entertainment comes from a presenter’s ability to evoke emotional states within the audience.

There is no denying McGregor can achieve this.

All too often presenters give little consideration to emotion in their presentation, in other words how you want your audience to feel within business presentations is ignored. 

4. He Encourages Audience Participation

Watch how the audience follow his commands.

These commands are delivered very clearly, simply and with passion.  If an audience is ♦following commands from a speaker, it means  they are listening, it means they are  following a presenter, it means the presenter has strong rapport with his audience. McGregor, is in control, he is leading his audience.

As he gives commands to his audience, he builds strong rapport.  It would be interesting to study his language further, from a NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) perspective.

5. He *Loves* His Audience (Almost As Much As He Loves Himself!)

Conor McGregor’s messaging is tailored precisely for his audience. He speaks to his audience in their language. 

He wants them to be part of the show. He includes them. His audience is at the heart of his messaging all the time and they love it. 

Let me ask you this.

How tailored is your message for your audience?

Do you keep your audience at the heart of everything you say?

If you are appalled by Conor McGregor’s message and language and style, guess what?

You are not his chosen audience!

6. He Is Clearly Massively Prepared

I suspect that Conor McGregor practices, rehearses and hones everything he does until he feels confident.

He focuses this mind on a successful outcome and eliminates any self-limiting beliefs.

I have no doubt he prepares for success when he’s communicating too. That is evidenced by everything about his performance above.

When you are preparing for an important sales pitch or upcoming presentation, what is your preparation strategy for success?

Do you have one?  

Conclusion

I would urge you to look at Conor McGregor at little closer.

If you don’t like him, that’s ok. Lots of people don’t!

But you can still learn from him and study what he is doing.

Maybe don’t replicate exactly everything about his delivery—I probably don’t need to say that!—but do create your own unique style by doing the following.

  1. Present with Authenticity
  2. Build Your Vocal Confidence
  3. Bring Energy to Your Performance
  4. Encourage Some Audience Interactivity
  5. Know (and Love!) Your Audience
  6. Prepare for Success

Conor McGregor is captivating millions of people the world over, so he is worthy of studying from a communication perspective.

And have fun doing it!

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

giving presentations review

Tell Your Story: How to Start a Presentation (and Finish It Strongly!)

When it comes to business presentations, consider this. When you recall a great presentation you experienced, do you recall how great the bullet points were? Or how those technically challenging and crowded slides really did it for you? Unlikely, right? You’re much more likely to remember great storytelling. Here is how to start a presentation to ensure your audience is with you every step of the way.

By ConfidentSpeak

How to start a presentation in business (and finish it strongly)

Let’s face it.

Business presentations tend to strike dread in the hearts of most people, and it’s not just for those in the audience. It’s often the case for the presenter, too.  

On either side we’re fearful of being bored and being boring.

For the presenter, part of alleviating those fears is making sure we sound interesting and look interested in what we’re talking about. (That’s where a good executive presence coach comes in.)

But body language and a resonant, clear voice isn’t the be-all and end-all of presenting.

Think for a moment.

What do people actually like listening to?

The answer is, they like listening to a good story.

It’s pretty simple. All of us love stories. 

We are programmed at a deep level from childhood to love hearing stories about other people’s experiences, and the more we can bring great storytelling into our business presentations and communications, the more effective we will be.

1. How to Start a Presentation: The Opening Story

For your business presentation, you need to hook ’em from the get-go!

Stories are powerful because they hold people’s attention. Like the stories Benjamin Zander or Joe Landolina use to begin their speeches, they occur in a specific time and place and therefore hold our attention and feed our imaginations.  

Stories ask us to imagine being in that time and place with the speaker.

Stories bring drama, mystery, tension, or surprise.  

So, how do you begin?

Start by setting the stage and introduce the situation, then there’s a problem that arises that needs to be solved, and then the resolution to the problem.  A beginning, a middle, and an end.

Every story has these and so, too, does every good presentation or speech.

Take a minute to watch these two clips.

Benjamin Zander

Joe Landolina

 

2. How to Start a Presentation: Paint The Picture

When you’re thinking about how to start a presentation, remember this: audiences love to identify with the speakers.  

We trust what we know and we trust what is familiar to us, so laying out the landscape at the beginning with a statement or fact that we can all relate to helps to create an instant rapport with the audience.  

The more the audience can use their imagination and see the story, the more they invest in what you’re talking about, so give them a bit of detail to set the stage. Use statements we can all identify with.

Two quick examples:

We all know what it’s like to be rushing because we’re late…

or

It’s always a push in the 11th hour of a deadline…

3. How to Start a Presentation: Your Mission Is…

The picture that the speaker paints could also be, for instance, a problem.

Such as: “If we don’t diversify in our social media strategies, this company is going to fail in 2 years.”

That’s a powerful picture to paint and grabs people right away.  

This great storytelling technique immediately creates credibility because it shows you’re familiar with the issues.

It also creates anxiety, and therefore emotional and intellectual appeal.

Because now that we’ve heard the bad news, we automatically start searching for solutions.

Next, now that you’ve hooked your audience, here’s how to keep going in a winning vein!

4. Show Vulnerability

Never underestimate the power of personal identification.  

As we said before, people trust what is familiar to them and what could be more familiar than humour, poignancy, or adversity. (Example: Watch Hyeonseo Lee’s Ted talk, My Escape from North Korea)

There’s something satisfyingly voyeuristic about hearing other people’s tales of woe, embarrassment, or adventure.  

When we reveal something personal about ourselves (within reason, of course, we don’t want to be baring our souls!), we become vulnerable and open to our audience and their judgements.

This is an invitation for them to think, ‘Oh, man, that happened to me, too!’

And in that moment we all become human together. And it is our humanness that ultimately keeps us interested.

The speaker could be Barack Obama but when he’s talking about how he grew up, the neighbourhood he lived in, and his parents’ struggles, even though he was President of The United States and his status is much higher than ours, we can all still relate to those details.

5. Unleash Your Creativity

Above all, be open to being creative and thinking outside the box.

John Bohannon is a science writer who uses dance instead of PowerPoint to illustrate new laser and molecular technology ideas.  

Not only does this create compelling and captivating viewing but it simplifies complex concepts, tells a visual story, and is irresistibly memorable.  

We won’t all be getting a dance company up on stage with us to illustrate our story but it just shows what you can do when you let yourself be inspired and use your imagination.

Have a look:

6. Give the presentation that YOU want to experience

Ask yourself what kind of presentation would hold YOUR attention and then map out your story, include personal anecdotes, and allow yourself to be moved by the power and logic of the story you’re telling.  

Tell yourself this, because it’s true.

You’re in a room full of human beings all of whom have the same insecurities, challenges, and desires that we all have.

So grab them, keep them, and then bring it home.  

Finally, you’ve done everything right. Now you need to finish!

7. How to Finish a Presentation: The Closing Remarks

If you’ve done all that, you’ll have hooked them, introduced tension, given them something to relate to.

Before you finish, though, it’s time to give them a bit of release.

When you’re wrapping things up at the end of a talk, remind the audience of the problems they face, and then give them some solutions.

You can also suggest actions to take to move towards solutions or how to think differently to solve their problems.

But above all, make sure you’ve told given them some great storytelling.  You, and they, will be glad you did.

Recap

There you have it. Seven tips to delivering the perfect business presentation.

For a quick recap:

  • Start by setting the stage and introducing the situation
  • Lay out the landscape with a statement or fact everyone can relate to
  • Outline one possible solution (which you’ll go through in the key points of your talk)
  • Be your vulnerable self (because everyone before you has the same insecurities)
  • Allow your imagination to run loose
  • Think about the presentation that would capture YOUR attention
  • Close with a quick recap (a bit like I’m doing right here!)

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

breathing and how to speak with power

How to Use Breathing to Speak with Power and Confidence

We’ve been talking about the link between breathing and the ability to speak with power and confidence since the very first day we started ConfidentSpeak. A recent article from Harvard Business Review backs up everything we’ve been saying.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

breathing and how to speak with powerHere at ConfidentSpeak, we have been teaching breathing techniques as part of our executive and business communications training programmes since when we first began.

It is fundamental to what we do, so we were delighted to read a great article on this topic in The Harvard Business Review.

Some really excellent points in here, including:

1. How the same thing can mean something completely different

send a completely different message just by the way it’s said

2. How performance is performance (whether it’s singing or speaking)

As a former opera singer, I know how much breathing affects how a voice sounds. Singers must use deep breathing in order to project a strong voice across a crowded auditorium to reach every single person in the audience. I never thought that this skill would help me once I left the field of opera — until I had to give my first speech. Then, I realized how much my operatic training made me a powerful public speaker.

3. How Margaret Thatcher sounded before and after voice coaching

4. How often you should breath in order to learn to speak with power

How often should you breathe? At the very least, at the end of every sentence! If you are prone to rushing through your speech or presentation, then practice breathing at every punctuation mark — it will force you to slow down.

5. Why it’s about optimising your voice, not changing it

It’s not about trying to sound like someone else; it’s about giving your voice the richness and fullness it deserves every single time you speak in public, so that the power of your voice matches the power of your words. If you do that, people will listen.

Read the full article

Read the full Harvard Business Review article here

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives.

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Read more

We have lots more in-depth articles on the importance of breathing for great public speaking and the ability to speak with power and confidence. Here are just a few.

 

presentation nerves

4 Ways To Harness Presentation Nerves And Make Them Work To Your Advantage

presentation nervesThere is endless advice available on how to overcome presentation nerves.

For many people fear of speaking in public ranks higher than fear of spiders or even death.

The problem – according to Jeremy Jamieson, psychology professor at the University of Rochester – is that we tend to think all nerves and stress is bad.

“Before speaking in public, people often interpret stress sensations, like butterflies in the stomach, as a warning that something bad is about to happen”.

Jamieson goes on to say “But those feelings just mean that our body is preparing to address a demanding situation, The body is marshalling resources, pumping more blood to our major muscle groups and delivering more oxygen to our brains.”

How our body reacts to social stress is exactly the same ‘flight or fight’ response it produces in response to actual physical danger.

The good news is that we can actually use these responses to help us perform. So if presentation nerves raise their head here are some ways to use it to your advantage

 

Get Your Preparation In Early

Don’t wait until a few days before your talk to get started. Allow those presentation nerves spur you into action and seize the earliest opportunity to prepare

Know Your Content

Presentation nerves are more likely to kick in if you are not fully confident in out content. Make sure you thoroughly understand your topic. Understand the stats, what they mean, what call to action they suggest .

Practice Your Delivery

Rehearse your talk out loud as often as you can and record it. Then you can both see and hear how you come across and make any changes necessary.

Prepare Your Answers

Being put on the spot can be a nerve wrecking experience. Make a list of likely questions you’ll receive, and prepare your answers. If you don’t know the answer to a question don’t be afraid to say something like ‘I’ll need to get back to you on that’

Remember that even the most consummate and experienced performers experience performance nerves, so don’t let them cripple you. Instead let them keep you sharp!

 

“ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We have worked with leading Irish and international companies and executives. Contact us for details on our range of  corporate/private voice, executive presence and presenting programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.”

info@confidentspeak.com

www.confidentspeak.com

☎ +35319696056

 

You might also enjoy these…

 

 https://www.confidentspeak.com/first-impressions-5-ways-to-grab-your-audience-before-you-say-a-word/

 

https://www.confidentspeak.com/imagine-understanding-the-simple-art-of-persuasion-3-skills-ancient-rhetoric-can-teach-us/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

handling questions after presentation

How to Answer a Tricky Question During the Dreaded Presentation Q & A

When you’re giving a presentation, it’s probably fair to say that few people really relish the question time at the end. So when it comes to how to answer a tricky question during the presentation Q & A, what’s the best approach? How should you handle it? There’s really only one proven way.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Presentation Q & A: How to Answer a Tricky Question

I was flicking around Quora recently, the question and answer website where one often comes across a brilliant question and a series of brilliantly constructed answers.

 

You’re asking for a ‘crafty way to dodge a question’, but that really is one of the stupidest things a person can do. Audiences can see right through it and will lose confidence in your qualification to be speaking to them and they will lose respect for you. DON’T DO IT

Quora.com user Robert Frost

Mr Frost also included a handy flow chart in his answer, based on the relevance of the question and, crucially, whether you know the answer.

So what’s the best course of action when you’re asked a tricky question at the end of a presentation?

Presentation Q & A: How to Answer a Tricky Question?

Our opinion for the thorny topic of how to answer a tricky question, too, is that honesty is definitely the best policy.

Audiences can see through the bluff—they will know when someone is trying to pull a fast one.

If you don’t know the answer you should do one or both of the following:

  • Say you don’t know and that you’ll find out, because honesty is always the way forward
  • Open the question to the floor

Click on this link to see the other opinions are on this question!

Click here for several more very fine answers to this question over on the Quora forum

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

presenting advice

The Seven Habits of Successful Public Speakers

Everyone needs a bit of help when it comes to what can make or break a good presentation or public speaking engagement. A recent article in Entrepreneur magazine points out some of the great tips and habits of successful public speakers.

By Maria Tecce, ConfidentSpeak

The Seven Habits of Successful Public Speakers

The article was written by Johnathan Li and can be read in its entirety here.

But to sum up the seven key points, the habits shared by successful public speakers, they are:

1. Focus on the audience

World-class successful public speakers ask, “What do I want the audience think, do or feel differently after my presentation?”

Focus on sharing your message with the audience and you will become more successful.

2. Engage

One easy way is to engage people’s emotions: ask questions, tell stories or play a short video.

The more engaging your presentation is, the more attention you can get from the audience.

3. Be conversational

Successful entrepreneurs avoid buzzwords.

They use simple words to make sure that everyone understands what they say.

To get your point across, use simple words that even a 10 year old can understand.

4. Tell powerful stories

Stories help you stand out from the crowd.

The best stories are usually from your personal experiences because you know them best and nobody can challenge you.

5. Use slides that are visually engaging

Make sure every slide has one picture that expresses the whole idea and use as few words as possible.

This simple approach will make your presentation more memorable.

6. Get coaching

The key to peak performance is coaching.

Even personal development legend Tony Robbins has a coach.

7. Keep learning

Even top presentation experts keep learning.

They read new books, attend seminars and watch TED Talks (such as Brene Brown, Julian Treasure, Jamie Oliver, the guy with the frog (!) and others) to advance their skills.

For more on this article as well as a little bonus tip from Richard Branson click here.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Main image via Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash