Presentation Information

The Secret Language of Money


At a number of business seminars and presentations, I passed out an index card and asked each person in the audience to write anonymously a single answer to each of three questions. The three questions are:

Just Say No to PowerPoint: Enough is Enough!


Have you ever been slideswiped? You walk into a meeting and once everyone has arrived, the lights are often dimmed and the show begins. The presenter clicks the mouse again and again, showing you slide after slide until you can take no more. Exasperated, you shut your eyes and doze off. You have just been slideswiped!

After the Speech


Usually the emphasis on making an effective speech is what you do in preparation before the presentation begins.  But if you speak very much, what you do after the speech can help you become a more effective speaker.   As soon as possible after the speech, write down impressions of how you felt the speech went.  Answer at least two questions about the speech:  What was the best part of the speech? What part of the speech can be improved the next time?    Some of your best ideas will come to you as you are speaking.  Write them down as soon as the speech is over so you can be prepared to use those lines or ideas the next time you speak.    Think about the peaks and valleys in the speech.  Consider when the audience seemed to listen best and when the audience seemed restless and disinterested.  Write down your reactions while they are fresh on your mind.    Talk to someone about the speech within the first day after your presentation.  You'll remember best what you talked about and you might discover a better way of telling a story or making a point as you summarize your speech to a friend or colleague.   Keep track of stories you tell and case studies you include so you'll not repeat yourself if ou speak to that audience again.  In addition, keep records of how long you spoke, what you wore, key people you met, and anything unusual about the speaking context.  Occasionally look back over your records of individual speeches and look for trends in your speaking that you are unaware of.  When you speak to this group again, this information will be the basis for your audience analysis.  This is especially important if you speak frequently within your company and your audience will be made up of listeners who have heard you before.  You don't want to develop a reputation for telling the same stories over and over.   If the group has speaker evaluations, ask that a copy of the summary be sent to you.  Look for any pattern in the comments as you analyze the summary.  If one person said you talked too slowly, it may be a personal preference and you don't need to give much consideration to the critique. If four or five people make that comment, however, then you might want to consider changing the pace of your speaking for the next speech.    Certainly your main concern should be with your preparation before the speech.  However, don't underestimate the effort of what you do in analyzing the speech after the audience has left the room. 

Incorporate Humor in Your Next Speech


Some speakers say, ?I could never use humor in my speech; I just don?t feel comfortable with it.?  I believe that anyone can use humor and that it is a valuable tool in speaking.  Appropriate humor relaxes an audience and makes it feel more comfortable with you as the speaker; humor can bring attention to the point you are making; and humor will help the audience better remember your point.  It can break down barriers so that the audience is more receptive to your ideas.    First, let me make it easy for you to use humor.  The best and most comfortable place to find humor for a speech is from your own personal experience.  Think back on an embarrassing moment that you might have thought not funny at the time.  Now that you can laugh at the experience, you understand the old adage "Humor is simply tragedy separated by time and space."  Or think of a conversation that was funny.  Remember the punch line and use it in your speech.  Probably the least risky use of humor is a cartoon.  The cartoon is separate from you and if people don't laugh, you don't feel responsible.  (Be sure to secure permission to use it.)  You're not trying to be a comedian; you just want to make it easy for people to pay attention and to help them remember your point.   Here are some suggestions on using humor to make your next speech have more impact.    1.  Make sure the humor is funny to you.  If you don?t laugh or smile at the cartoon, joke, pun, one-liner, story, or other forms of humor, then you certainly cannot expect an audience to do so.  A key to using humor is only using humor that makes you laugh or smile.    2.  Before using humor in your speech, try it out with small groups of people.  Do they seem to enjoy it?  Even if your experimental group does not laugh or smile initially, don?t give up on the humor, because the problem might be in the way you are delivering the joke or quip.  I often use this line in talking about the importance of listening.  ?We are  geared to a talk society.  Someone said, ?The only reason we listen is so we can talk next!'?  When I first tried that line, people did not smile; but I worked on the timing so that I paused and smiled after ?listen? and that seemed to work.  I was rushing through the punch line and did not give people time to be prepared for the humorous part.  It took practice to get comfortable with the piece of humor.  Only use humor in a speech after you are comfortable telling it from memory and have tested it.   3.  Make sure the humor relates to the point you are making.  Do not use humor that is simply there to make the audience laugh.  The humor should tie in with some aspect of your speech.  For example, I tell about my experience of getting braces at age 46 and how difficult it was for me to get used to the wires and rubber bands in my mouth.  After I tell the story I make the point that you may have not had the braces problem I had, but we all have challenges in communicating well, and what we want to look at today are ways of making it easier for us to be more effective in speaking.  The audience enjoys the story but also remembers the point that I'm making.  If you don?t tie your humor to your presentation, the audience may like the humor, but will wonder what point you are attempting to make.    4.  Begin with something short.  A starting point might be to summarize a cartoon and give the caption as your humor.  A thought-provoking yet clever line about a point you are making is another way to get started.  For example, when I talk about creativity and getting out of your comfort zone, a line I found that worked well was, ?Orville Wright did not have a pilot?s license.?  In your reading, look for lines that make you smile; consider how they might be used in your next speech.  Be careful about launching into a long humorous story--audiences are quick to forgive a single line that may not be funny, but they do not have much patience with a long anecdote that isn?t worth the time.  So start out with brief bits of humor.   5.  When possible, choose humor that comes from people you interact with.  You do not have to worry about people having heard it before, and you will feel more comfortable with what has happened to you.  Find such experiences by looking for a humorous line or situation.  For example, I was making a bank deposit recently at a drive-in window.  When I asked to make a second deposit, the teller said solemnly, ?I?m sorry, sir, but you?ll have to go around the bank a second time to make a second deposit.?  We both laughed and I may have a line to work into a speech.  If you have small children, listen for something they say that might be funny to an audience as well.  Art Linkletter made a great living on the notion that ?Kids say the darndest things.?    6.  Don?t preview by saying, ?Let me tell you a funny story.?  Let the audience decide for themselves.  Look pleasant and smile as you launch into your funny line, but if no one smiles or laughs then just move on as though you meant for it to be serious.  This approach takes the pressure off as you relate the humor.  Remember you are not a comedian entertaining the audience; you are a serious speaker seeking to help the audience remember and pay attention by using humor as a tool.    Humor is simply another way of making a point with your audience, and it can help you be a more effective speaker.  Look at humor as a tool in improving your speech in the manner of attention devices, smooth transitions, and solid structure.  Remember, ?A smile is a curve that straightens out a lot of things.? 

Super Preparation ? Keys to Getting a Great Start to Every Presentation


Super Preparation ?Keys to Getting a Great Start to Every Presentation

8 Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills


8 Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills

Shamus Browns Top 5 Sales Presentation Tips


When its time to give your next sales presentation, here are my favorite tips for delivering powerful, charismatic, and engaging sales presentations. #1 - PLANT YOUR FEET SQUARELY ON THE FLOOR

How to Attract New Business Like George W. Bush Wins Elections


THE LITTLE-KNOWN SPEECHWRITING SECRETS THAT WON GEORGE W. BUSH THE US ELECTION

Being Real From the Platform


 ?Let it be known, no person, thing, or situation can validate you. You validate yourself by realizing who you are.? Mark Tosoni

Creating a Powerful Sales Presentation


The quality of your sales presentation will often determine whether a prospect buys from you or one of your competitors. However, experience has taught me that most presentations lack pizzazz and are seldom compelling enough to motivate the other person to make a buying decision. Here are seven strategies that will help you create a presentation that will differentiate you from your competition.

Powerpoint Sales Presentations Are Boring - Stop It!


As the meeting began, the project manager of the buying committee told me that the key decision-maker would miss the first 20 minutes or so of my presentation. This was a very competitive sale that I was working on at the time. There were about a dozen or so business-people from the prospect company that I was selling to in this meeting. The presentation was scheduled to last about 90 minutes. During the first 20 minutes I had planned to cover my "persuasive arguments" (that is my company and product benefits).

Fading into Sameness: How Too Many Slides Can Ruin Your Presentation


"I have a love/hate relationship with PowerPoint. In the right hands, it's a great presentation tool. In the wrong hands (and unfortunately, most usage falls into this category) we are cloning generations of boring slide shows narrated by speakers we barely notice." - Debbie Bailey

Trade Show Victory!


So you're going to have a booth at a trade show. How exciting - or how terrifying - depending on your state of mind!

Wow! Is That ME? - Creating a Powerful One-Page Bio


First of all, what is a bio sheet and why do you need one? A bio sheet is a one page description of who you are--your background and achievements. Your bio is an important part of how you present yourself to potential clients. You may include it in your media kit, in proposals to clients, and anywhere you want to establish your credibility and expert reputation.

How Storytelling Can Grow Your Business


People love stories. We love to hear about other people, and stories help us to learn, remember and put to use new concepts. Aesop knew this. His fables help us to learn life lessons through tales about others, without having to learn them the hard way.

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