Top 10 Blog Post – Speaking Practically – Improving Presentations
In keeping with the theme of the end of year lists, below are the Top 10 Speaking Practically Blog Posts based on the number of views. I hope you enjoy the recap and will explore any interesting posts you may have missed! Thanks for clicking!
#1 Most Viewed Post – 5 Golden Rules of Speaking to Promote Your Business, Without Turning Off Your Audience – Rule #4 – Have the Introducer Do the Commercial for You
Not a Natural Born Sales Person? Try Rule # 4.
It’s a clique, right? The entrepreneur who talks about getting his start even as a child selling lemonade or cutting lawns.
Yeah, that wasn’t me. I’m not a natural born sales person. I don’t come from a long line of sales people. None of my people are sales people. I didn’t marry a sales person. None of my children grew up to be sales people. Sales is not a language spoken at my dinner table.
So the last thing I want to do is “sell” people on purchasing products or services from me – even though people tell me that I need to in order to grow my business.
So what to do when you don’t want to sell from the stage? Follow the next rule.
Today I facilitated a presentations skills workshop with two talented professional speakers. After we covered different aspects of strong presentation skills, we had each attendee do a 5-minute presentation of their own. Of course my colleagues and I provided our feedback but before we did, we asked each of the attendees to state how they felt, comment on what they had done well and explain what they still wanted to work on. Then, we asked their fellow classmates to talk about what they thought went well and what their classmate could do better. In the next post, I’ll discuss a little about the self-evaluation but for today’s post, let’s talk about getting feedback from others – and in particular comments from those who haven’t studied presentation skills extensively.
“Where did you get the picture of those hospital beds?” That was the question Marty asked me when we were reviewing the slides for one of his presentations.
I’ve discussed in an early post about the power of using slides with pictures and one or two words rather than bullet points and tons of words. But I never mentioned where you can find great pictures. Sure you can Google for images. But sometimes those photos don’t have the quality that you’re looking for. Or they’re too small. And if you’re a business using photos to promote yourself, you surely don’t want to violate copyright law.
The good news is that there are a ton of websites that give you the ability to download photographs legally without violating copyright law. They’re called royalty free photos because you don’t have to give credit to the photographer who took the picture. Each website has different restrictions on their use so always read the fine print before using the photos, particularly for commercial use. But here are some of the sources I’ve found helpful.
I attended a round table event of Chief Information Officers where a brave young man came to the audience microphone and asked the panel, how do you like to work with vendors. The audience and the panel chuckled at the question – though the many vendors in the audience (myself included) leaned forward, eager to hear the reply.
“The internet works both ways,” said one of the panelist. “Do your homework.”
With the free flow of information on the Internet, there are more and more ways to find out about your clients, your prospects or any audience you want to address. Social media has added yet another twist to the equation. But we mustn’t forget the “old school” ways of finding out about our audiences either. In my posts today and tomorrow, I’ll cover eleven ways to find out more about any audience. Today, let’s start with the old school ways.
As I mentioned in the last blog post, during our seminar, we asked participants to comment on themselves. Specifically we asked:
How did you feel?
What did you do well?
What areas do you still want to work on?
One guess as to which question stumped people the most. If you guessed the second questions, “What did you do well?” then you’d be right.
#6 – Want to Establish Your Credibility in a Presentation – Don’t Tell Your Audience about Your Accomplishments!
One of my friends sent some of her blogging friends this email today…
It does seem like a bit of overkill don’t you think? I replied back to my friend that I hoped this person was a social media expert with a tag line like that!
My friend’s email got me to thinking about speakers that I’ve seen who spend an inordinate amount of time talking about their own accomplishments within a presentation. It’s kind of like the social media icon overkill in the email. I don’t think it sends the message that the speaker intends.
What message does it send…
#7 – Wow! I Didn’t Know That! – Presentations that Promote Your Business without Turning People Off – Part 3 – I Want What She’s Having
The speaker seemed like a nice enough guy when he took the stage. He set up the premise to his presentation. It was similar to how most people open their presentations – in other words, it was pretty ho-hum, but not horrible. Finally a few minutes into his presentation, he told a story about one of his clients. The client had had a successful business. Her numbers had gone down dramatically in the past year. She was considering selling the business. The speaker talked about working with the client and turning her business around. He gave concrete numbers, concrete time frames, concrete results. It was impressive. It left me thinking, “I want what she’s having,” and it made me want to listen to the rest of his speech.
I recently was chatting with a woman who’s new to the speech coaching business and she asked me what books I’d recommend. Here’s the list I shared with her.
I can’t believe I almost forgot this point!
Let me start by confessing that I am a learning junky. I love to attend webinars and live events with educational content. I especially love watching a good speaker. But I know, and I’m guessing you do too, that the speaker doesn’t have to be a good presenter to get great value out of the material they present.
At a recent in-person event I attended, the speaker’s delivery wasn’t that good – but he had excellent content and I got a lot of value out of the presentation. There were only a couple of us tweeting during the presentation and we’re both nice people so we never would have tweeted disparaging comments about the speaker. But not all audiences are kind.
So while maybe it should go without saying, I’m gonna say it… Before you speak in front of an audience – be good.
“And, And, And! You’re saying it wrong. It’s and not And! Stop saying And!”
The director at a local community theater was trying to coach an 11-year boy to say the word “and” with an English accent. But what I noticed was she said the Americanized “And” more times than she said what she wanted, the British sounding “and.” To me it seemed that the time would be more effectively spent saying and asking the boy to pronounce “and” rather than repeating the “And” she did not want.