• open panel

Getting Below the Surface – Learn What Really Matters to Your Audience

An attorney friend of mine was telling me about jury selection on one of his cases.  He’s a prosecutor here in the Atlanta metro area and was trying a gang related case.  One of the people he let on the jury was a mother who had sons that had become involved with gangs.  “They finally grew out of it and got their acts together,” according to mom.

“Why would the defense attorney let her on the jury?” he asked me, dumbfounded.

“Well, maybe he thinks that she’ll …

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It’s Not Enough to Represent a Just Cause – How Can You Reach Your Audience?

I attended a panel discussion of a group of senior executives this morning.  The moderator asked the panel a question about employee retention.  One executive responded that he works to make sure his staff understands how their responsibilities fit into the bigger picture of the company.  He said, “We’re not curing cancer, but what we do is still pretty important.”  Another panelist agreed in the approach and reiterated, “Well we’re not curing cancer, but it’s important to our clients.”  One executive on the panel actually …

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Does Your Presentation Support the Impact You Want to Happen on the Face of the Earth?

“So, Kelly, what did you think about those slide?  I tried to get a look at your face while they were showing their slides but I couldn’t see you.  So I just had to ask you, what did you think!”

The professional association meeting had just ended.  The slides were typical for corporate presentations:  lots of bullet points, lots of words, impossible-to-read complex diagrams.  People who know me know that I teach others how to do slides which are more visually appealing and which actually improve …

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What Makes a Presentation Boring – Part 2 – Same-old, Same Old

In the corporate world, it’s common to have “webinars” for routine type events that don’t happen often.  Rather than having everyone come together for a meeting in person, everyone gets on a conference call or a specific website and the information is reviewed while you listen to the person on the phone and watch the slides on the screen.

Toward the end of my time in corporate America, I had to go to the annual webinar on performance reviews.  Since I was a manager and with a new …

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What Makes a Presentation Boring – Part 1 – Disconnect with the Level of the Material and the Level of Knowledge of the Audience

One of my college roommates had a tough childhood growing up.  One of her parents was mentally ill which as you can imagine caused all kinds of problems for her, her siblings and the other parent.  One night, we went to a public showing of Ordinary People on campus and she broke down.  She started crying, she leaned on me.  She was a wreck the rest of the night.  The story line struck a cord and was overwhelming to her.  I had an uncomplicated childhood with parents …

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It’s OK If Your Presentation Is Boring (As Long as You’re Not Trying to Accomplish Anything)

For whatever reason, when we originally signed up for garbage service when we moved to our neighborhood, we didn’t opt for a recycling bin.  A few years ago when we changed garbage services, the new provider gave us the option to get both a regular garbage can and a recycling can.  We said, “Sure, why not.  Give us both.”  Then my husband did something brilliant.

He built two new wooden garbage cans for use in our kitchen.  He labeled one for our traditional garbage and one for recyclable …

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It’s Not About You! Except When It Is!

Mary was so excited, she called me on the way home.  “I nailed it Kelly.  I nailed it!”  It was the day after Mary had attended a presentation skills workshop with me and she had an opportunity to apply what she’d learned the very next day.

“What made the difference for you this time?”  Mary, although a good speaker, was extremely anxious about public speaking.  I was eager to learn what helped her break through and be so excited about …

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You Know How Your Audience Is Going to React – So Adjust Before You Speak

We have a dog named Dude.  Dude is about nine months old lab-retreiver mix that we rescued him from the Humane Society in Atlanta.  We named him Dude because he seemed to have a laid back personality and because we like to make people laugh – and they usually do when we introduce our dog Dude.

I work from home in an office in our basement.  I’ve got a small dorm fridge in the basement where I store my daily supply of Caffeine Free Cokes.  As I was …

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Paradox of the Audience’s Wandering Mind

Sometimes I get in trouble with my family members because I’m a bit of a control freak.  It happened again this last weekend.  Nothing big.   Just enough that when it was all said and done, I felt badly that I’d fallen into the old habit again.  Then to top it off, I let my stubbornness and my pride keep me from admitting I was being too controlling and I didn’t enjoy the weekend as much as I could have.

If you were listening to these words, instead …

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Why You Don’t Want Your Audience to Applaud

I recently facilitated a workshop with World Champion of Public Speaking Dwayne Smith. In the section of the program about the fear of public speaking, Dwayne asked the workshop participants to take a few minutes to visualize what they heard, what they saw, and what they felt after a successful presentation.

What do you suppose the workshop participants said they saw and heard?

As professional speakers, we facilitators guessed we’d hear the participants say they saw and heard their audience applauding.   But surprisingly …

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