• open panel

Use With Care: Audience Quick-Engagement Activities That Can Go Wrong

By Claudia W. Brogan

“Raise your hand if…” or “Turn to your neighbor and tell them….” These are the kind of words that can strike fear in the hearts of some audience members, while speakers may think they’re the most normal, invitational words in the world.

Cautionary tales show up as groans come from audience members when a speaker says these words. Activities or brief involvement questions can be very potent tools when used well; activities done without careful thought or intention can deflate the balloon of a good presentation in no time.

Just like any …

Read More
 

How to Maximize Filming Your Presentations

by Natalie Gallagher

Many presenters have ample reason to record their presentations. It can be for the simple reason of watching to improve speaking skills, all the way to creating content for websites and marketing materials. But very few of us have the know-how to really use the camera in such a way that we look great.

My husband Shannendoah is both a skilled presenter and an experienced videographer, and he often coaches speakers on how to work with the camera to achieve great results. I’m shamelessly ripping off his material …

Read More
 

It’s Complicated: Getting from Intellect to Impact!

By Pam Leinmiller

The challenge is the same for each of us. We do our research. We document our source material. We have the facts surrounding the points we want to make in our presentation. The problem is that this is all very complicated. Our research is complicated, our source material is complicated, and the facts are complicated. The challenge is how can we make the intellectual material into a presentation impact the audience?

This is exactly the situation I was presented with while coaching a TEDx speaker last year. He is brilliant and …

Read More
 

Does Eye Contact Really Work?

 

By Mark Kretschmar

There’s a problem with the way most presenters do eye contact. But first, let’s look at what’s going right.

We’ve all endured enough presentations void of eye contact. (You know you have an engineer’s attention “when they are looking at your shoes instead of at their own.”) Well, I’m glad to say that’s an exaggeration.

Getting speakers to look at the audience members’ faces is a huge step in the right direction. Eye contact is good. Always. But it can be great. A major reason eye contact is emphasized in public …

Read More
 

Bringing Your “Be Game” as a Speaker

 

 

by Bob Goodyear

As speakers we often hear that we need to bring our “A Game” whenever we speak. This infers that we should always be the best whenever we speak. I want to suggest, however, that perhaps we should concern ourselves more with our “B game” instead, but not in the way you might think. Let’s change the B to “Be”. Let’s talk about some characteristics that we should be in order to be a more successful speaker.
Be Yourself
This is a well-worn cliché but it’s still applicable to us as speakers. I …

Read More
 

Wanted: A Good Editor

 

By Tom Nixon

A recurring problem I see when coaching professionals of all types is the lack of good editing. Whether writing a speech or creating a visual presentation (PowerPoint, Keynote, etc.), we all put in too much information and then hate to trim it down. It is just human nature.

But the realities of live presentations are that there is only so much the audience can walk away with. The more we try to deliver from the podium the less our listeners will absorb. We must edit.

I believe good editing …

Read More
 

Old Habits Die Hard

by Claudia W. Brogan

Several years ago, I joined a local Toastmasters club in order to improve and become more practiced in my speaking skills. In the first club that I visited, I noticed an odd method that they used: each time that a speaker would say “um” in a presentation, a member would ring a little silver bell. Apparently, the intention was to quickly get the speaker’s attention so that he or she would notice they said “um” and correct that action. This technique is apparently based on Pavlov’s experiments in classical …

Read More
 

How to Plan a Group Presentation that Doesn’t Suck

By Natalie Gallagher

Several years ago I was teaching an art history class that had a group presentation component: each group had to present on a 20th century art movement. Back then I was relatively new to teaching and didn’t realize that group work – and the corresponding presentation – was one of the most dreaded types of assignments a student could encounter. As I described the assignment I could see the look of horror and dread cross even the most optimistic students’ faces. Despite years of indoctrination about how marvelous teamwork …

Read More
 

The Intangibles of Presentation Prep


Designed by Freepik

By Pam Leinmiller

Preparing for a presentation? The first things we usually think about all have to do with deliverables around the presentation itself such as: What are the most important points? What slides do I need to support these points? Handouts? How do I start? How should I end?

There is more to providing your audience with a great experience than the mechanics of the presentation itself. While at a recent National Speaker Association meeting, I had a conversation with another professional speaker who had a lifetime of experience about …

Read More
 

The Presentation Skill No One is Talking About

By Mark Kretschmar

There’s a lot of great content out there on presentation skills. For the most part, it focuses on two things: 1) Slide content and design or 2) Speaking skills like preparation, attitude, what to do with your hands and feet, etc. What I rarely hear talked about is the intersection of slides and speaking – engaging the slides while you present. This matters, and someone needs to talk about it.
What the Presenter Does
The presenter is speaking away and at certain moments they click the remote and the slide changes, …

Read More