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Archive for ‘Audience’

Give the Audience YOUR View

By Bob Goodyear

Last week I was invited to be a guest speaker at an open house for a Toastmasters club. The subject of my speech was “Tell a Technical Tale.” I was speaking about the importance of stories in all presentations but specifically in presentations on technical subjects. I learned something very important as I was preparing—I needed to shift my view.

Storytelling in business and especially in presentations has become, in my opinion, the latest business trend. It’s almost impossible to go to a business website or publication without seeing at …

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It’s You or The PowerPoint

By Tom Nixon

Recently I got the chance to see a video of Elaine, the vice-president of the company I was beginning to work with, present to a room of prospective clients. Slide after slide went by, each filled with 5-10 bullets. Elaine read the full text on every one to her audience. I am sure those possible clients sitting in that room were neither impressed with Elaine nor with her message about her company.

Too much (bad) PowerPoint — not enough Elaine.

It is easy to create a mediocre presentation in PowerPoint. Simply take …

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Just Say No

by Claudia Brogan

Not long ago I served as a speaking-coach for a highly intelligent scientist as he prepared to deliver an upcoming presentation. I can still remember our first meeting as we began the speech preparation process. For a 45-minute presentation timeslot, he brought 10 pages of script, double-spaced, lengthy, and dense. In a sense, he couldn’t resist the temptation to tell the audience everything he knew about his topic. We set those voluminous notes aside and created a brief list of the most crucial and timely ideas that …

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Why Speakers Do Well To Learn About Brain-Post

Image source: FLICKR – JohnDiew0107

By Claudia Brogan

I have always been captivated with the connection between public speaking skills and how the brain works. Learning about brain and cognitive science is quite intriguing, and can provide illuminating topics for public speakers.
Why include visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements in your speech?
Knowing that audience members use their visual, auditory, and kinesthetic senses throughout the presentation helps the speaker address each of those senses.

Speakers can insert visual illustrations via PowerPoint, objects and props, expressive facial gestures, or hand movements which amplify the speech.

Auditory …

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Stories Connect. Big Time.

By Tom Nixon

Melissa was running through her upcoming slide presentation with me. She loaded up her PowerPoint deck with all the facts and figures she could find that would make her pitch irresistible. There was an almost endless march of slides with numbers, features and benefits.

I had to stop her and ask, “Why not tell your listeners a story? Or use a testimonial or a case-study?”

“Think of a success story that involves you and a client. Maybe you can get a quote from them or, better yet, a quote …

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Finding That Topic in the ‘Sweet Spot’ of Your Venn Diagram

By Claudia Brogan

One of my very favorite bloggers in the arena of communication is Andrew Dlugan (“Six Minutes”). Heaven only knows where he comes up with the excellent topics and resources that he shares for teachers, speakers and trainers. Oh wait…it’s not just Heaven that knows. Actually, Andrew generously divulges a great tool for coming up with good speaking subjects.

He calls this the “Secret of choosing successful speech topics” and I highly recommend to you his thorough, thought-provoking blog piece linked below.

Consider finding that “sweet spot” right in the …

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The Wonders of Reduction: Creating a Pithy Speech Just Like a Cook Concentrates the Sauce

by Claudia Brogan

One of the perpetual quests of good speakers is to create and deliver a pithy speech that “packs a lot of punch” without taking extra time. A speech that makes its points clearly and engagingly without becoming redundant.

Ironically, the best speeches can sometimes be the shortest ones. Trimmed and culled. Just like the cooking practice that is called “boiling something down to its essence,” an effective speech takes its ingredients and cooks them together until they are concentrated, well-combined and full of zest. When a cook …

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The 5 C’s of Storytelling: A Follow-up

by Bob Goodyear

I just came back from a sales conference where I had the opportunity to train technical sales teams on various soft skills.  One of the techniques that was taught was the 5 C’s of storytelling, that I’ve written about previously.  After the sessions were over, I had several attendees talk to me.  The most common question I heard was “When do I tell a story in a technical presentation?”

The “traditional” technical sales presentation is considered to be a “data dump” and the expectations are generally very low …

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All Uppercase is Hard to Read

by Tom Nixon

Graphic Design 101: Text, especially in larger quantities, full sentences or small sizes must, above all else, be reader-friendly. It simply has to be easy to read or your audience will not bother to put the effort into digging through it. And to make text the most difficult to read, the most uninviting, set it in ALL CAPS. (When you see all caps in a legal document you can be sure the lawyer who wrote it doesn’t want you to read it).

Using all capital letters …

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How to Tell a Darn Good Story

by Natalie Gallagher

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, on a dark and stormy night, people used to sit around the fire at night and tell each other stories. In fact, we were storytellers long before we had even developed a written language; stories connected us, taught valuable lessons, and created a shared history.

Storytelling continues to be integral to who we are, and mastering telling a great story is a great way to connect with any audience.  But how do we craft a great story? …

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