The ability to communicate effectively to groups is a key requirement for any business executive. As someone who has written speeches for various politicians and business executives for decades, I often get asked if there are any "tricks" that might make the ordeal more palatable. Inevitably, people eventually get around to asking about humour. Should they start a speech with a joke? My emphatic answer to this question is "maybe." And it is based on actual experience.
As professional communicators who advise others on how to improve their ability to connect with audiences, Shari Graydon and Sarah Neville have watched the astonishing ascension of political neophyte and insult-machine Donald Trump with dropped jaws. Here's their conversation about the lessons to be learned from his fearless communication style.
It's the most common question I get asked by those who deal with a fear of public speaking: "Should I picture my audience
I can still feel the knots in my stomach when I remember back to my first presentations. I'd sweat about the damage a heckler could do by sidetracking me. I also worried that my credibility would be damaged if I gave away control. I've learned from each time standing at the podium it doesn't have to be this way.
Vocalists often talk about "feeling" the lyrics. It's no different when you are at the front of the room presenting on any topic. Great AV, proper breathing, knowing your material and staying within your allotted time all help your presentation. However, you need much more to deliver a memorable versus a solid presentation.
Rather than taking control of the room, have you ever had self-doubt and a surge of discomfort envelope you as you are being introduced? Has your mouth suddenly gone dry and does the microphone always seem to act up? Do you ever lose concentration and draw a blank? These and other personal nervous habits often rear their heads when we are standing before an audience.
We've all heard the story that most people would rather choose death than public speaking. Death wouldn't be my choice. I'd choose the podium. Here's why. When public speaking anxiety rears its ugly head, it can be dampened down and managed easily with practice and a handful of tried-and-tested techniques.
How do you deal when the reaction that you get is NOT what you expected? When you don't even know if, after all that work, time, and effort, your presentation hit the mark... or missed it altogether? Many of my clients often say to me, "When I give a presentation at work, even if I've worked hard on it and I know it's got the right information, the people I'm presenting to look at me with blank faces.
As Canada Day approaches, we may start to ponder our distinctive Canadian identity: Politely waiting for the crosswalk to change, devouring poutine at 4 a.m., and excessively apologizing for our existence.
Getting ready for a successful pitch involves much more than planning what you are going to say, it involves planning the WOW-factor your presentation will provide. You also need to listen to what your audience has to say. It's a dialogue, not a performance.
Without a thorough understanding of your audience, an understanding of who they are, what their challenges are, and why they've come to hear you speak, your story -- and your speech -- will fall short of having the impact that can really engage them. The best content, the best stories, the best experience means nothing if the audience doesn't relate to it.
After years of attending and giving presentations, I believe few speakers are able to really get through to their audience using a "presentation" approach. This involves simply imparting information and expecting the audience to listen and retain it -- not very dynamic. Here are five tips to consider as you prepare for your next speaking engagement.
Indeed, giving a presentation is a huge responsibility. Part of that responsibility is sharing valuable content, staying focused, and showing respect to your audience. The other responsibility is choosing your words carefully, so that there are no distractions or irritations that keep your audience from leaving your presentation anything but informed, intrigued, and inspired.
As a speaker, how we say what we say is crucial to our success in moving our audience. So how do we make sure that when we take that all-important spot in front of the room, we can stay in control of ourselves, and of the audience's attention?
When you are at a conference for a couple of days and listening to presentations back to back, you really get a sense of what works, and what doesn't and you can learn from that experience. I have heard numerous speakers, and here's my list of what works, and what to avoid.
How many numbing slides have you had to endure of pie charts or ones littered with hundreds of words? PowerPoint is probably one of the last media frontiers that we need to take a serious look at, implode and re-invent.