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Archive for ‘Audience Interaction’

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Group Exercises for Speakers

By Claudia W. Brogan

Recently a budding speaker asked me to attend a speech she was delivering and provide feedback for her, with suggestions for improvement. Maggie opened her speech with an intriguing quotation, captured the attention of the audience and proceeded to deliver three excellent learning tips.

Midway through the presentation, though, I watched as Maggie asked—without much instruction or introduction—that her audience members move into groups of four to complete a worksheet of questions. What I saw happen in the room was a bit of a chill: audience members shifted from …

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Begin With a Bang

By Bob Goodyear

Coming up with a good presentation opening is difficult. Because of that, many times the presenter will just default to an opening that sounds something like this.

“Hello. My name is Joe Presenter. Thank you for inviting me here. I appreciate the time you are giving to me to speak. I hope what I have to say will be interesting to you. Today I’m going to tell you about the 93 great features of my product.”

How many times have you heard an introduction like that? How many times …

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The Danger of Too Much Information

By Tom Nixon

Too much information? In general, the reason any of us are standing in front of the room for any kind of presentation is that we know what we are talking about. We are experts. We know the material and we have the ability to go deep into our content. And therein lies a problem — especially when it come to visual presentations — we just have too much information and we feel we must deliver it all to our audience.

“A little bit is good. Maybe a few more slides …

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A Presentation is Essentially a Performance

By Sarah Browne

You climb a stage and speak into a microphone to address a packed room of live audience. Does that mean a stand-up comedian, a vocal artist, and a political leader are also delivering a presentation just like you? Does that mean you need to be as entertaining as they are for delivering a business presentation?

Public speaking or presentations happen on a stage, therefore it is essentially a performance. This part is often overlooked by most orators who are criticized as boring presenters. Yes, a presentation has to be entertaining …

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Handling Questions & Answers Like a Real Pro!

by Claudia W. Brogan

When coaching public speakers who want to polish their skills, one subject comes up without fail: What can I do to get ready to handle questions after my presentation?

Even the most seasoned, well-prepared speakers fear that audience members will try to trip us up. Or that an audience member will stand up to deliver his or her very own monologue at the end, explaining how our content or delivery — or both — were just less than satisfactory. Or a nagging thought comes to a speaker, that, “There …

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Who Are You Speaking To, Anyway?

By Claudia Brogan

Back when I was in high school speech class, little did I guess that my life’s journey would be focused upon ways to improve speaking skills and communication in the workplace. All I knew back then, as a junior in high school, was how fascinated I was to learn the principles of public speaking…and survive my next assigned speech for Mrs. Witmer’s class.

One day, she really got our attention with a provocative question, and her words that day have stayed with me all my life.

“There are three most important …

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3 Questions to Ask to Get to Know Your Audience

By Bob Goodyear

I’ve presented to several groups over the last few months about how to create a great presentation. One of the first things I mention is the need to “know your audience.” I even wrote a blog post about this earlier. In my conversations with these groups though, I’ve heard that they know this but what they want to understand is WHAT they need to know about the audience. They want some specific questions that they can answer. Today I’ll share three of the questions that I …

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Generations in Your Audience

By Kelly Vandever

I was talking to a colleague recently about having different generations in our training sessions.

“You know these young people today.” She said, “They have such short attention spans.”

To which I replied, “Young people. Heck. I HAVE a short attention span! If I notice a YouTube video goes a 6 whole minutes, I sigh and think, ‘Gosh, do I really want to invest 6 whole minutes of my time watching this video? Ugh?!’”

I went on to tell her about Mary from our church. She’s the one who arranges for elders …

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Wise, Witty Ways to Begin Your Presentations Well

By Claudia Brogan

Rather than “limp” in to your next presentation, pay attention to boldly choose a good Attention-Getting introduction. Grab the audience by the lapels so to speak, make them say a quiet thoughtful “ahh,’ or tickle their funny bone. The next time you have the opportunity to deliver a speech, training session or presentation, give special thought to how you can start off vividly.

These specific methods may help you get unstuck, or may spark a new idea for creating your next good speech-beginning.

Deftly use humor or an opening quote.

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“What do I do with these hands?” Smart Tips for Using Effective Gestures in Your Presentations

by Claudia W. Brogan

Recently, I was helping a woman improve her presentation skills—in particular, hand gestures. Even though it’s good to add hand gestures to speeches, not all gesture-additions are created equal. Over-gesturing can be a problem, as can under-gesturing. Adopting hand motions from other speakers which don’t naturally suit you make you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious and will certainly be distracting to your listeners. Then the gestures are self-defeating.

As noted in a recent TED-talk research project, some intriguing techniques were yielded. This observational study at the Science of People researched …

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