Participation

January 22, 2010

How do you engage with your audience? How do you involve them in your presentation?

The key to an effective presentation is not talking at your audience but talking with them.

By getting your audience to participate in your presentation, you are far more likely to gain their engagement. Participation can take many forms, from physical activities to enlisting their imagination.

As David Cotton owner of Wize-Up Learning put it “Audience size doesn’t have any bearing on interactivity and I have never found an occasion in which I couldn’t introduce some level of interaction with the group. I’ve done interactive stuff with 2000 people in a concert hall. They expected to hear a speech but didn’t get one. Within seconds they were all on their feet, doing silly breathing exercises and then engaging with each other. It was enormous fun! On another occasion I had 165 corporate lawyers from 27 countries creating artworks together and on another groups of British civil servants singing and performing sketches. There were real learning objectives underlying each of these occasions, so it wasn’t purely frivolous!”

Cynthia Lett says ” I enlist the audience’s imagination from the start. My subject is etiquette so I explain they are going with me to an event (a meeting, dinner, reception – whatever my time restraints allow). Then we go together with me as the “tour guide”. I never stand behind a table or podium. Since we are “in this together” I am right next to them – talking with individuals who are encouraged to share their thoughts, situations and questions.

People take from a presentation what they can visualize themselves”

Just two examples of how you can bring your presentation to life with the help of some audience participation. As mentioned in the section “Do It” people will start to understand something only when they start to do it, not just by hearing and seeing it.

This tip was created based on a discussion item on Linkedin

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Pointers

January 5, 2010

Using pointers, be they the traditional aerial type or laser pointers, rarely adds value to a presentation.  More often than not, they give a presenter something to play with which irritates the audience.

In my experience, it is best not to use them.

If you feel that you need to point to different parts of your visual aids to convey your message, you will probably be better off redesigning your visual aids so that they are clear enough to convey the message without using a pointer.

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever


Pauses

January 5, 2010

Silent pauses can be a particularly powerful way to get the point across.  Pause for a couple of seconds before you make a significant statement.  People will pay more attention to it.  By interrupting the rhythm of your voice, your audience sub-consciously recognise that something is about to happen and it makes then listen even harder.

At the start of a presentation before you make your opening remarks, pause, look around the room smile at your audience and gather your thoughts.  Instead of diving straight in, a pause at the start will ensure everyone’s attention is on you and that they are ready and eager to hear what you are going to say.

People who are new to presenting or public speaking, often feel that they cannot stop talking and that any pause seems to last a lifetime.  They want to get the presentation over with as quickly as possible and by stopping talking not only are they delaying the finish, they are not doing what the are there to do, which is talk. It is as if leaving a pause is drawing attention to themselves, rather then their speech.  They would be right but it is a very useful thing to do.

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever


Powerful Phrases and Words

January 5, 2010

In the same way that using a monotone dreary voice with no energy or power is a recipe for disaster, so can your choice of words.  The English language contains many words some are passive but others are powerful, emotive words.

By using these powerful emotive words, you can supercharge your presentation.  Probably the most powerful word is ‘you’.  It may not sound particularly powerful but if you maximise the use of the word ‘you’ throughout your presentation, you will gain a far better response.

Do not present in the third party, it makes it very remote.  You should try to involve your audience in your presentation and by using the word ‘you’, that is exactly what you are doing.

Try inserting the word “you” 30 times in the first 5 minutes of your talk. I guarantee your audience will like your presentation. Why? Firstly, it is because people like it when you talk about them.  Secondly, it is impossible to use the word “you” that many times with out thinking about the “you” you are referring to, and the more you think about your subject from the audience’s perspective the better your presentation will be.

There are many other powerful words including:

Discover          Easy                Guaranteed    

Free                 Love                Benefit           

New                Proven             Results                       

Safely              Saving                Time               

For example:

Here’s how you will benefit.

You will discover how you can….. safely and easily.

By discovering the safe, proven techniques in this blog, you are guaranteed to give presentations that are more effective and that will benefit both you and your audience..

By giving Effective Business Presentations, you can save time and money and your manager will love you.

People like being in control. That is why most people like buying things but hate being sold to. All good sales people like to give their clients the impression that the client is controlling the whole sales process, when in fact the sales person is really in control. The same is true with presentations, if you can let your audience feel in control, that you are helping them to discover things rather than telling them how it should be, your presentation will be more effective.

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever


Performance

January 5, 2010

When you are giving a presentation, think of it as giving a performance, after all that is exactly what you are doing. 

Giving a business presentation is like giving a soliloquy from a great play.  Actors do not just say their words, they put feeling into it, they act out their part and that is what you should be doing when you are giving your presentation.

Unlike an actor you do not need to put on an act and pretend to be someone you are not, but you do need to put some emotion and passion into the words that you are saying.

Dry facts will not sway an audience nearly as far or as fast as an enthusiastic emotional performance.

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever


Pace

January 5, 2010

When you are full of nervous energy, you tend to talk faster.  When you are presenting you actually want to talk slightly more slowly than you would in normal one to one conversation. This allows the audience to hear what you are saying, think about it and then listen for the next point. Speakers who talk quickly require much more concentration to listen to. Some people will stop listening if you talk too quickly because it has become too much effort to concentrate.

So make a conscious effort to slow down your speed of delivery and speak clearly.  However, do not over do it.  Speaking too slowly can sound monotonous and your audience will quickly lose interest.  The best speakers vary their pace throughout a presentation.

Pasuing before you make an important point works very well. This is because by pausing you are interrupting the natural flow of your voice, sub-consciously your audience will notice that you have stopped talking and pay more attention when you start again.

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever


Practise

January 5, 2010

One of the key aspects of preparation is practising your presentation.

When you practise your presentation, you should say it aloud not just in your head.  One trick I have used many times in the past is to give the presentation while I am driving to the location.  You are alone in the car and these days with hands free mobiles nobody even worries when they see someone talking to themselves in a car.  So switch off the radio or the CD and give your presentation aloud.  This is a great way to make sure you know what you are going to say and how you are going to say it, before the event.  Do not just go over it in your head, it does not have nearly the same effect.

When you practise, make a note of the timings.  It is a good idea to mark every third cue card with the time you expect to start that part of your presentation.  That way you have a guide as to how you are going time wise.

With the widespread availability of home video cameras, an ideal way to practise is to film yourself giving the presentation.  You will learn a lot about what your audience will see and hear by watching the video.

Do not cheat when you practise!  There is often a temptation to skip over sections of a presentation, because you think you already know that part of the talk.  Maybe you are re-using a section from a previous presentation.  Maybe it is a bit where you are hoping to gain some audience interaction.  My advice is to rehearse the presentation in its entirety rather than make assumptions.

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever