Ethan Rotman

Posts Tagged ‘Presentations’

Know What You Are Trying To Say

In Attracting New Clients, Business Networking Groups, Confidence/Nervousness, Credibility, Delivery, Increased sales, Public Speaking on October 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Speaking Tip #1

This speaking tip is so basic, that people sometimes laugh when I say it:

Be clear on what you are trying to say and what you want your audience to know when you are done.

It sounds so basic, but a common mistake is not being clear on what we are really trying to say. Think about it – if the speaker does not have a clear idea of what they are trying to say, how is the audience supposed to figure it out?

We feel rushed or, worse yet, we believe that since we are just “speaking for a few minutes at a staff meeting” or “having a quick word with the boss (or spouse, kids etc)” that we don’t need to prepare.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Speaking without knowing your point can be likened to driving without a destination (except it lacks the romance of the free-wheeling spirit heading down the road). You veer right, then turn left, go straight for a bit, you double back, take a side road that leads you no where. You end up talking about all kinds of things that really are not pertinent to the message you are trying to deliver, the audience tries to follow you but ends up lost and takes a “mental vacation”.

The next time you are going to speak, whether it is in front of a group or one-on-one, ask yourself this question:

“What is the one thing I want them to know when I am done speaking?”

When you can answer this question – organize your thoughts and then you are ready to begin.

Being clear in your own mind on your objective will go a long ways in helping you present your thoughts in a clear and concise manner that will be effective.

Treat every conversation with care and respect. Before you speak, put yourself in the driver’s seat and say, “where do I want this to go”?

 

 

© 2010 iSpeakEASY – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY: We Help People Profit From Their Words.

You are welcome to link to this page. If you wish to reprint or repost this article, please email us for permission. Call for information on individual coaching or group training.

The TED Commandments

In Attracting New Clients, Business Networking Groups, Confidence/Nervousness, Credibility, Delivery, Public Speaking on August 23, 2010 at 5:53 am

 

TED is an organization dedicated to sharing the best thinkers and presenters of our time. Their speakers demonstrate excellent speaking skills and thought provoking information.

The TED Commandments

These 10 tips are given to all TED Conference speakers as they prepare their TEDTalks. They will help your TEDx speakers craft talks that will have a profound impact on your audience.

1.  Dream big. Strive to create the best talk you have ever given. Reveal something never seen before. Do something the audience will remember forever. Share an idea that could change the world.

2.  Show us the real you. Share your passions, your dreams … and also your fears. Be vulnerable. Speak of failure as well as success.

3.  Make the complex plain. Don’t try to dazzle intellectually. Don’t speak in abstractions. Explain! Give examples. Tell stories. Be specific.

4.  Connect with people’s emotions. Make us laugh! Make us cry!

5.  Don’t flaunt your ego. Don’t boast. It’s the surest way to switch everyone off.

6.  No selling from the stage! Unless we have specifically asked you to, do not talk about your company or organization. And don’t even think about pitching your products or services or asking for funding from stage.

7.  Feel free to comment on other speakers’ talks, to praise or to criticize. Controversy energizes! Enthusiastic endorsement is powerful!

8.  Don’t read your talk. Notes are fine. But if the choice is between reading or rambling, then read!

9.  End your talk on time. Doing otherwise is to steal time from the people that follow you. We won’t allow it.

10.  Rehearse your talk in front of a trusted friend … for timing, for clarity, for impact.

This original document can be found at http://www.ted.com/pages/view/id/360

Visit TED at www.TED.com

Preparing Speakers

In Confidence/Nervousness, Credibility, Delivery, Mannerisms/Habits, Organization, Public Speaking on August 16, 2010 at 5:56 am

 

 

Preparing Speakers

TED is an organization dedicated to sharing the best thinkers and presenters of our time. Their speakers demonstrate excellent speaking skills and thought provoking information.

TED’s format may be different than what many speakers are accustomed to. (Long talks, podiums and readings are discouraged by TED.) To get the best out of your speakers, prepare them for what to expect. These are excellent tips for you to use when organizing a conference. As a speaker, you can gleen many good ideas on how you should prepare each talk you deliver.

How to prepare your speakers:

  • Talk to every speaker (by phone or in person) weeks, if not months, before the event. Make sure they understand the format, and know who their audience is.
  • From the earliest conversation, reinforce key points: Their talk should be directed at a smart general audience. (Avoid industry jargon.) It should focus on one unique aspect of their story. (Don’t try to cover too much.) It should not be a sales pitch. (Absolutely no corporate plugs.)
  • Have your speakers send you their presentation two weeks before the event so you can review it and make suggestions.
  • Regroup with all of your speakers on the day of the event to refresh them. If possible, offer them rehearsal time before the actual event begins.
  • Repeatedly reinforce the fact that they will be held to a strict time limit; encourage rehearsal.
  • Make sure they sign the speaker release form. Each speaker must affirm that they are the sole author of their presentation, that they own all rights to the content in their presentation, that they will inform you about any third-party material in their presentation, and that use of their presentation won’t violate the rights of any third party.

What speakers need to know

  • At the event: They will sit in the audience and enter the stage from the audience. They are encouraged to stay for the whole event, and to mingle during breaks.
  • During the talk: The talk must not go over the allotted time. Let them know how you’ll cue them when their time has run out.
  • After the talk: They are expected to remain at the event throughout the day; at minimum, they’re expected to stay through the conversation break following their talk, so attendees can approach them and ask questions.

 

This original document can be found at http://www.ted.com/pages/view/id/360

Visit TED at www.TED.com

Can You Change The World In Two Minutes Or Less?

In Attracting New Clients, Business Networking Groups, Credibility, Delivery, Organization, Public Speaking on July 14, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Can you pique your audiences attention and get them to take new action in just 2-minutes or less? It does not matter if you are speaking to a room full of people or just one – are you able to quickly and succinctly make your point in a clear and powerful manner?

47% of speakers say they can. Audiences disagree. They say only 18% of speakers are this good.

I am writing today to share with you how you can improve the effectiveness of your speaking by attending a 3-hour workshop.

Leadership Vallejo, a community advocacy group, thinks so highly of this skill set they are providing an iSpeakEASY workshop for members and have allowed me to offer four seats to others.

Click here for workshop information.

To make the deal even sweeter, iSpeakEASY is offering a 20% discount to blog readers and members of the iSpeakEASY mailing list if you register in the next 4 days. Instead of $147, your investment is only $117.

Hurry though – the workshop is right around the corner on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 20th.

For information, contact me at ethan@iSpeakEASY or at (415) 342-7106

PowerPoint Pitfalls…

In Attracting New Clients, Business Networking Groups, Delivery, New Techniques, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Tools and Gadgets on July 7, 2010 at 9:36 pm

and How to “Purge” Them From Your Presentations     

by Jon K. Hooper, Ph.D.         

guest author for iSpeakEASY           

         

(This is a series to help enhance your PowerPoint presentations. Each edition pinpoints pitfalls that are commonly faced when planning, preparing, and presenting PowerPoint shows.)                 

       

Pitfall #3: “Accepting PowerPoint’s Defaults”    

Remember the last time you bought a backpack? You slipped it over your shoulders then adjusted the straps so the pack fit your body. You did not just accept the default positions of the straps. PowerPoint comes with the “straps” present; it is up to you to adjust them to fit your presentation style and goals.           

   

Pitfall: Using a “serif” font. The default font for PowerPoint shows is usually Times New Roman. While this is an excellent font for the printed page, the font’s serifs or finishing strokes (such as the feet on a capital “A”) make it difficult to read on a screen. A “sans serif” font (one without serifs) is better for projected visuals because it is easier for audience members to read at a distance.             

To purge the pitfall: Switch to a sans serif font such as Arial or Helvetica.            

Use sans serif fonts to make your slides easier to read

Pitfall:  Accepting default placement of text boxes. The designers of PowerPoint’s templates simply “take a stab” at the positioning of text placeholders (aka “text boxes”). They have no way of knowing exactly what position will create the most aesthetically appealing and properly balanced design for your situation because they do not know how many words, bullet points, etc. you’ll put into the text placeholders. Think of PowerPoint’s templates as blueprints. When designing your dream house, you would always tweak the architect’s initial blueprint. Do the same with PowerPoint’s templates.          

To purge the pitfall: Reposition text boxes to enhance the aesthetic appeal of slides. In the example shown in Figure 2, the default placement of the text box for the bullet points did not provide enough of an “aesthetic margin” on the left side of the image (i.e., the bullet points are simply too close to the left edge). Moving the text box a bit to the right really improved the design of the slide.            

Move text boxes to improve the aesthetics

Pitfall: Accepting default template backgrounds.  You wouldn’t hire a new employee that is “close enough” rather one that is “right on.” The same holds true when selecting a PowerPoint template. Don’t accept a PowerPoint template when you know in the back of your mind that there is one or more aspect of its background that needs tweaking.            

To purge the pitfall:  Learn how to edit the “Slide Master” so you can delete or alter distracting background elements. The example below shows an overall design and color scheme that is fine, yet the key on the left side of the template simply doesn’t relate to the message the slide is trying to transmit. Simply deleting the key solves the problem.            

Change your backgrounds to fit your message

Final Thoughts   PowerPoint’s designers set up the program to meet a majority of peoples’ needs. This doesn’t mean that the program’s defaults will meet your needs. Enhance your shows and make them stand out by tweaking the defaults a bit. Your audiences will appreciate your efforts.           

Dr. Jon Hooper has over 30 years of experience helping natural and cultural resource professionals enhance the effectiveness of their communication efforts. He is a professor of environmental interpretation at California State University, Chico and is the owner of Verbal Victories Communication Consulting.  jonkhooper@hotmail.com.            

For workshops on improving your presentations, visit www.iSpeakEASY.net. We help you profit from your words.

I Don’t Need Help With My Talk

In Attracting New Clients, Business Networking Groups, Confidence/Nervousness, Credibility, Delivery, Organization, Public Speaking on June 24, 2010 at 8:52 pm

 Speaking Tip # 62

 I hear a lot of reasons for why people do not want help with their presentations:

  • “I don’t feel nervous in front of an audience.”
  • “I am only presenting to my peers.”
  • “It is just a staff meeting.”
  • “I know my subject.”
  • “I took public speaking in college.”
  • “I use PowerPoint.”
  • “I don’t use PowerPoint.”
  • “I did not have time to prepare so I will just wing it.”

 

After their talk, speakers often justify why they are sure they did not need help:

  • “I was not nearly as nervous as I thought I would be.”
  • “No one threw fruit “(yes, they really say this to me!).
  • “My friends said I did a good job.”
  • “They laughed and clapped, they must have liked it.”
  • “There were no questions.”
  • “It felt pretty good – I think I did okay.”

 

This is all good except nervousness is not a gauge of effectiveness, people don’t really throw fruit (at least in this country), your friends tend to say you do well, and not asking questions probably means they want the fastest way out of the room.

An effective presentation is one where you meet the objectives you set before you spoke.

  • In sales, this may mean an increase in closed sales.
  • In management, this may mean changing employee behavior.
  • As a scientist, this may mean increasing support for your project.
  • As a parent, this may mean a reduction in household tension.
  • In non-profits, this may mean more money and volunteers to accomplish your mission.

Before you plan your next talk, write down the answer to this question: “When I am done, what do I want my audience to do?”

Plan the talk with this answer as your target and you improve the chance you will reach your objective.

Knowing your target makes it much easier to hit

© 2010  iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved – This speaking tip is one in a series provided by iSpeakEASY. We help people profit from their words. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops. (415) 342-7106. www.iSpeakEASY.net

PowerPoint Pitfalls

In New Techniques, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Tools and Gadgets, Uncategorized on May 31, 2010 at 7:50 pm

How to Purge PowerPoint Pitfalls

From Your Presentations

Volume 1

 by Jon K. Hooper, Ph.D.

Guest author for iSpeakEASY

  

 

“Oh, no, not another PowerPoint presentation!”

 

How many really good PowerPoint presentations have you seen?  Can you count them on the fingers of one hand? While PowerPoint shows can be great, they are often dreadful!  Is the problem inherent with PowerPoint or the presenter?   

PowerPoint is a wonderful communication tool when used properly. Its colorful, professional-appearing images capture and hold audience attention.  The shows are flexible and easily adapted to different audiences and situations.  PowerPoint’s animation features can diagram relationships that would be difficult to explain with words alone. PowerPoint’s hyperlinks allow interactive presentations and its multimedia capabilities make it easy to incorporate audio and video.  

The real problem is many presenters don’t know how to use PowerPoint.  They know which button to push to create a specific effect, but they don’t know when it is appropriate. When a pianist plays the wrong note, you don’t blame the piano. The same axiom holds true when a speaker hits a bad note with PowerPoint.

Presenters often get caught up in PowerPoint’s whistles and whirls without considering the accompanying problems. We’ve all seen “text takeovers” where text dominated the show and “animation atrocities” where the special effects were memorable yet the main message remained a mystery. 

This column is the first in a series aimed at helping enhance your PowerPoint presentations.  Each edition will pinpoint one or more PowerPoint pitfalls and suggest specific ways to purge them from your presentations. 

  

Pitfall #1:  Thinking the media (i.e., PowerPoint) is the message 

It’s easy to start the presentation planning process by thinking about various PowerPoint visuals and effects you’ll use in the show.  Oops!  In so doing, you’re skipping some important steps.  You should be focused on content and your audience, not PowerPoint, at this point. PowerPoint’s whistles and whirls can’t mask poorly designed content.

To purge the pitfall:

Start by developing a communication strategy based on an audience analysis. Next, brainstorm, outline, and storyboard your key points. Finally, design and produce your visuals and visual effects.

   

Pitfall #2:  Too Much Text

When 35-millimeter slide shows ruled the roost, adding text to slides was difficult, so photographs dominated shows.  When PowerPoint became king, text-only slides became the norm because adding text was often easier than hunting down, creating, and/or incorporating digital images. 

 To purge the pitfall

Visualize ideas with photos and illustrations. Use short phrases rather than complete sentences. Limit the use of bullet charts (and limit each one to five lines with six or fewer words per line). Use PowerPoint’s “animation” feature to reveal words or lines of words one at a time.

 Final Thoughts

PowerPoint does not need to lead to “presentation purgatory.” Remember that PowerPoint images are just visual aids that help you present – and your audience understand – your message. You and your message are still the key ingredients of an effective presentation.

  
 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Dr. Jon Hooper has over 30 years of experience helping professionals enhance the effectiveness of their communication. He is a professor of environmental interpretation at California State University, Chico and is the owner of Verbal Victories Communication Consulting.  Contact Jon at jonkhooper@hotmail.com or 530-342-6045.
 
© 2010 iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved. We help people profit from their words. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops. Article may be reposted, tweeted or linked. Please request permission to use it in any other fashion. 

 

 

 

 

A Platform To Stand On

In Attracting New Clients, Confidence/Nervousness, Credibility, Delivery, New Techniques, Public Speaking on May 7, 2010 at 9:51 am
Speaking Tip 34

This is what it feels like to have a good introduction...

Imagine standing to speak and having all eyes on you: the audience leaning forward in anticipation of your first words. They are convinced you are an expert. They know what you have to say is important to them. All of this has happened before you have uttered a word. It is as if you have stepped onto a platform of acceptance and credibility.

These are the benefits of a strong introduction delivered by a host. Your introduction is a pivotal part of your presentation – it sets the stage for your topic and builds your credibility with the audience.

When you tell of your qualifications – it sounds boastful. However, when another person speaks the same words, it builds your credibility. This word of mouth advertising tells the audience you are worthy of their attention. The power of your introduction increases when the host is a member of the group you are addressing.

A good introduction covers your qualifications, goal of your talk, and the benefits of listening to you. A testimonial or personal story is appropriate if the host has prior experience with you. It is your job to provide a biography to your host prior to your talk. It should be tailored to the audience, short and easy to read. Include professional and personal attributes as the audience may find both interesting.

The introduction is the time when logistical issues (e.g. location of the bathrooms, length of talk) should be covered thus allowing you to focus only on your topic.

...and this is how you will feel when you start speaking.

Use the time during the introduction gather your thoughts and take a breath. Stand at the back of the room, or if you are at a conference table, remain seated until the introduction is complete. You will be amazed at how good it feels to hear someone introduce you. You will feel your confidence soar.

The stage is set for you – use that opening moment to “wow” your audience with your first words. Use a strong, dramatic opening to capture and hold attention. If the host has made an error about your qualifications or history – ignore it, at least for now.

 

Imagine having a platform of credibility to stand on when you begin to speak. Imagine having the audience primed and ready to absorb your every word. Boost your confidence and credibility by creating a strong bio and selecting the right person to introduce you.

© 2008 iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved. We help people profit from their words. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops. Please request permission to re-post. Links are encouraged.

Are you making enough money from membership in your networking group?

In Attracting New Clients, Business Networking Groups, New Techniques, Public Speaking on March 25, 2010 at 11:32 am

It’s a fact that the number of referrals you receive in your networking group from your infomercials and 10-minute presentations – referrals you can then turn into closed business – depends on how well you present your ideas to others. It depends on how you speak and what you say. In other words, it depends on your speaking skills.

iSpeakEASY has workshops that may help improve your speaking skills. Other people who’ve attended these session have found that they are now earning more money – and they credit what they learned in the workshops for the increased income. They’re making more money. You can, too.

Workshops that help improve your credibility and confidence when speaking.  At just $97, most people earn the investment back within weeks. 

Click here to see a workshop flier.  

And, if you’d like more information, please call or send me an email. Thanks for reading this message.

There Is A Chance Of It Being A Definite Possibility

In Attracting New Clients, Credibility, Delivery, Public Speaking on March 12, 2010 at 9:42 am

The real goal here is to avoid using words that make you sound like you’re reading, instead of talking — that shatter the image you’re speaking knowledgeably to one person. By not using ‘newsspeak,’ you enhance your reputation as a communicator.”

 These are the works of Tribune CEO Randy Michaels in a memo issues to staff this week.

Michaels is trying to help his radio staff sound professional by forcing them to avoid words and phrases that mean next to nothing. A few of my favorites are listed below and I encourage you to read the entire article at http://blogs.vocalo.org/feder/2010/03/memo-puts-wgn-news-staffers-at-a-loss-for-words/17374.

 Next week, I will post a list of phrases speakers (as opposed to newscasters) commonly use that mean very little. You can see how many of them are in your vocabulary. 

  • “Good” or “bad” news
  •  “Some” meaning “about”
  • “Two to one margin” . . . “Two to one” is a ratio, not a margin. A margin is measured in points. It’s not a ratio.
  •  “Youth” meaning “child”
  • 5 a.m. in the morning
  • Alleged
  • Area residents
  • As expected
  • At risk
  • At this point in time
  • Bare naked
  • Behind bars
  • Behind the podium (you mean lectern) [sic]
  • Best kept secret
  • Clash with police
  • Close proximity
  • Complete surprise
  • Definitely possible
  • Dubbaya when you mean double you
  • Everybody (when referring to the audience)
  • False pretenses
  • Famed
  • Fatal death
  • Giving 110%
  • Going forward
  • In a surprise move
  • In harm’s way
  • Informed sources say . . .
  • Literally
  • Medical hospital
  • Mute point. (It’s moot point, but don’t say that either)
  • Near miss
  • Perfect storm
  • Really
  • Reportedly
  • Senseless murder
  • Sketchy details
  • Sources say . . .
  • Speaking out
  • The fact of the matter
  • Untimely death
  • Utilize (you mean use)
  • Went terribly wrong