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Archive for ‘Audience’

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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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3 Types of Feedback for Speakers

By Bob Goodyear

Feedback is an interesting word and for a speaker it can be good or bad. If we’re using a sound system, feedback is bad. Audience feedback however can be good, but it depends on what we do with it. Let’s talk about the 3 different kinds of audience feedback that affect us as speakers. Two of the types we know but the third is maybe the most important.
Positive Feedback
When we finish a speech, many times we meet with members of the audience and hear what a great job we …

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Let ’em Laugh

by Bob Goodyear

When making a presentation, have you ever said something that made the audience laugh? Was it planned? Did it catch you off guard? What did you do? Did you continue speaking as though nothing different had happened? Sometimes handling a laugh is very difficult for a speaker. Let’s talk about this for a moment.

Recently I had the opportunity to listen to a few speeches given in a college business presentation class. The presenters were asked to talk about a personal experience. All of the speeches were good and each …

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How to Make Complex Info Accessible for Your Audience

By Natalie Gallagher

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t know it well enough.” – Albert Einstein

One of the biggest challenges speakers and writers face, especially those who are experts in their field, is how to make complex information accessible and relatable to the audience. Whenever I address this topic with my clients, the immediate push-back I get is “I don’t want to dumb it down.” I expect this reaction, because most of us are not only attached to our work, we’re attached to being experts in our field.

However, making something …

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Don’t Present On a Topic

By Mark Kretschmar

You learned it in college; you may have learned it in high school: Select a topic of interest to the audience for your presentation. This rule isn’t so much “wrong” as it is distracting. Of course you should be speaking of something which interests the audience. Where this rule gets in the way, like most rules, is the implications and ramifications of its assumptions.

When an “interesting topic” becomes the driving force behind your presentation, you feel you have everything you need and you forget the Presentation Prime Directive: Make your …

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Five Sure-fire Ways to Improve Your Presentation Delivery

 

By Pam Leinmiller

How you say something is every bit as important as what you say. When we begin delivering our great presentation, we want the audience to hear what we say. Perfecting how we are delivering the information can go a long way towards helping our audience take in the information. There is nothing better than practice. Instead of leaving that important presentation to chance, practice actually doing it ahead of time. And video yourself! I know, I know. You don’t like to see yourself on video, you don’t like how …

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3 Reasons Why You Should Practice Pausing While Presenting

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 I …

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Fast Talkers and Valley Girls: How a Message is Delivered Matters Just as Much as the What of It

By Claudia W. Brogan

One infamous quirk of the popular TV series “Gilmore Girls” was the quick pace of the dialogue between the two leading characters, the mother Lorelai Gilmore and her spunky daughter Rory.

The lead actress herself, Lauren Graham, even titled her autobiography “Talking as Fast as I Can.”

Being notorious for speaking quickly is one thing when used as a comic device in a TV show; it is altogether a different matter—and not a laughing matter—when used by public speakers.

Those who speak quickly when delivering presentations are often doing so for various …

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