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Surprise – Not Always the Best Thing When It Comes to Your Audience…Part 2

When I first followed up with the people from Florida Head Start to do my pre-session interview, I admit, I underestimated how important presentation skills were to their leaders’ jobs.  While every leader needs to be able to present well to inform and motivate their staffs, I wasn’t sure why else the managers and directors of the organization would be motivated to improve their ability to present.  It didn’t take me long to find out.

With the first person I interviewed in preparation for my …

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Surprise – Not Always the Best Thing When It Comes to Your Audience…Part 1

Kathy’s story is similar to so many other’s that I’d heard before.

“I was at [Major Fortune 500 Technology Company] and I was the intermediary between the customers and IT.  We were rolling out a new product and they asked me to go a big meeting in Houston to talk about the new product.”

“Your audience will be 30 sales guys, so keep it really high level.” At least, that’s what Kathy was told.

Her first indication that something was off …

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When Presentations Matter – Words that Heal

Jim is a friend of mine.  He and his wife Aimee will be speaking at a sales meeting for a company that sells a particular medical product.  Aimee is in the medical field and will discuss the technical aspects of the product.  Jim will also be talking about the product.  But Jim isn’t in the medical field.  Jim will be talking about the product from a very personal and very emotional perspective.  You see the product that these sales people sell, changed Aimee’s life.

Jim was engaged to Aimee …

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What I Learned at the January 2011 NSA Georgia Chapter Meeting

I’ve gotten so that I enjoy taking meeting notes via Twitter.   I like not just capturing what I’m learning but also sharing it with others.  Below are my tweets (and a couple others) from the January 15th NSA (National Speakers Association) Georgia chapter meeting.



KellyVandeverEach point needs to have story. #nsaga2:53 PM Jan 15th via txt

builtbykeith#nsaga Twitting all my …

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How Bill Gates Improved His Presentations – and so can YOU!

On his blog, Presentation Zen author Garr Reynolds gives well-deserved credit to Bill Gates for improving his presentations over the years.  Being the master of gorgeous visuals, Reynolds of course addresses the tremendous improvement of Bill Gates’ slides.  Gates slides now include full screen pictures, minimal text and greatly simplified data.  Having attractive slides has an overwhelmingly positive visual impact on a presentation.  And since sight is the sense we as humans seem to trust the most, improving slides is very important.

Reynolds also …

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Common Mistakes Technology Presenters Make… and How to Avoid Them

Mistake #2 – Audience Disconnect

Joe knows his company’s software product.  That’s why he was asked to accompany the sales exec on a call with a new prospect.  Joe shared with me later that he sensed that the prospect was not “with them” during the executive’s presentation or later when Joe stared the demo portion of the presentation.  “At least, they weren’t with us, until the very end… and by that point, the appointment was over.”  When I asked Joe how the …

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Common Mistakes Technology Presenters Make… and How to Avoid Them

Technical presentation often get a bad rap.  Over the next few posts, I’ll take a look at the top mistakes technologists make when presenting – and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1 – The Justification Start

Bob wasted my time.  Bob wasted the other audience members’ time.  Why?  Because Bob spent the first seven and a half minutes of a twenty minute presentation telling us about Bob.  Bob’s experience.  The size of Bob’s company.  Bob’s roles before becoming CIO.  Blah, blah, blah, blah …

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