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Archive for ‘Presentation Tips’

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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If You Show It, They Will (Try to) Read It

By Tom Nixon

Watching a presentation lately I was reminded of a principle that is fundamental to how audiences experience a presentation. The presenter projected an image of an historical plaque. The text on the plaque was only slightly relevant to the subject. I, and I assume most members of the audience, read the first line or two and then gave up. It was too much and it really didn’t add to any deeper understanding of the subject matter.

The principle: If you put text on the screen, any text, in …

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Becoming a Great Impromptu Speaker

By Natalie Gallagher

 

The first time I was called on to give an impromptu speech in front of my colleagues, I was so nervous and unprepared that I rambled incoherently for 30 seconds, then spoke as fast as I could through my key points. Later someone told me I should’ve been an auctioneer instead of a professor. Does this sound familiar to you?

 

There’s much we can do to be great at delivering prepared presentations, but more often than not, we will be called on to deliver speeches on the spot. Every …

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Handling Flub-Ups Like a Pro

 
By Claudia Brogan

 
Dropping a microphone, forgetting the next sentence in your speech, noticing mid-delivery that the power point slide has a spelling mistake.

Each of these flubs— and many more—populate the dreams of those who do public speaking.

 
HIGHS AND LOWS
Lately, I have been observing speakers to watch how they handle the unexpected. I have learned a lot from watching pros handle mistakes with grace. In other situations, I have sighed with empathy when other speakers have …

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How to Create TED-Quality Visuals for Your Next Speech

Ron Finley delivered a brilliant TED speech by mixing sharp attitude, a passion for urban gardening and simple, powerful visuals.
By Tom Nixon

In February 2013, Ron Finley stepped to the center of the TED stage in Long Beach, California and delivered a masterful presentation describing his mission to bring gardening and healthy foods to South Central Los Angeles. Ron has a lot of rough edges to him — especially by the standards of a typical TED audience. His voice and gestures have the attitude and cadence of a hip-hop performer. His …

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Check, Please

by Bob Goodyear

Imagine that a friend stops by and asks you to come along to help with some kind of an errand.  The first questions you may ask is where are you going and what are you going to be doing.  Wouldn’t you want to know that?

When we present, we need to tell our audience the same things.  We need to tell them where they are going and what they will be doing or hearing.  We need to give them a road map of our presentation up front.

A road map helps …

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3 Reasons Why You Need a Speaking Coach

by Natalie Gallagher

In the last few years, TED and TEDx Talks have rapidly become the gold standard of public speaking: the presentations are informative, witty, innovative, and demonstrate the best of what presenting can do. But did you ever wonder how they manage to maintain that level of consistency and quality in every Talk? Are all of these subject matter experts also naturally brilliant orators as well?

The truth is much more ordinary, and much more attainable: the secret is that every single speaker is required to have, and …

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Getting (Creatively) Unstuck

by Claudia Brogan

“If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten.”

<Attributed variously to Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Mark Twain, Tony Robbins.
regardless of the origin, what matters is the point this great quote makes.>

One challenge for professional speakers who have varied topics and presentations is the creative act of coming up with new speech topics –or new approaches to topics—that they can use in training for their staffs and audiences. As a matter of fact, getting ourselves into “jams” for new ideas and new approaches can …

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Using a graph? What’s your point?

by Tom Nixon

Presenting data to an audience is a challenge. If we just dump a pile of numbers on the screen we can expect those “eyes glazed over” looks that PowerPoint is so famous for. To make numbers meaningful we often turn to a graph or chart to show numbers as visual relationships.

Unfortunately, PowerPoint is all too ready to help us make those many layered, three-dimensional, color coordinated graphs that are just as confusing as the raw data. As the “tour guides” of our presentation we need …

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3 Reasons to Perfect Your Pause

by Natalie Gallagher

When we are scared, anxious, or excessively nervous, our body kicks into fight-or-flight mode, a natural survival instinct.

Because public speaking can be a terrifying experience for many, the brain can trigger the “flight” response, and cause us to speak as quickly as possible in order to get off the stage as soon as possible. For me, speaking incredibly fast was one of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome to improve my speaking. On stage, my nerves combined with excitement over my topic made it sound like …

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