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Archive for ‘Presentation Tips’

Paradox of the Audience’s Wandering Mind

Sometimes I get in trouble with my family members because I’m a bit of a control freak.  It happened again this last weekend.  Nothing big.   Just enough that when it was all said and done, I felt badly that I’d fallen into the old habit again.  Then to top it off, I let my stubbornness and my pride keep me from admitting I was being too controlling and I didn’t enjoy the weekend as much as I could have.

If you were listening to these words, instead …

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Why You Don’t Want Your Audience to Applaud

I recently facilitated a workshop with World Champion of Public Speaking Dwayne Smith. In the section of the program about the fear of public speaking, Dwayne asked the workshop participants to take a few minutes to visualize what they heard, what they saw, and what they felt after a successful presentation.

What do you suppose the workshop participants said they saw and heard?

As professional speakers, we facilitators guessed we’d hear the participants say they saw and heard their audience applauding.   But surprisingly …

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It’s Better to Be Prepared than Good – The Importance of Rehearsal

I don’t think I should have won that one specific speech contest.  There was another contestant who I thought had a better speech.  She was more vulnerable with the audience.  She pulled in our emotions.   She talked about a subject that is more relatable to the audience.  She used great word choices.  If you look at content, hers was clearly better than mine.  Yet I won the contest.  Why?  Because I was better prepared.

My friends and family will tell you I’m a very competitive person.   …

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Love Your Audience!

Several years ago, I directed a community theater production of The Wizard of Oz.  During the weeks of rehearsals, I directed from the seats where the audience would eventually sit.  When the performances actually started, I watched from the back of the room behind the audience.  Only this time, I wasn’t watching the action on stage.  I was watching the audience’s reactions.

One night, during intermission, I was back stage with the cast and several were commenting that it was a “dead” crowd.  They weren’t laughing or applauding very …

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Pecha Kucha – Turn On’s & Turn Off’s

I just got home from my first ever pecha kucha event, sponsored by the Social Media Club #SMCAtl.  For those not familiar with Pecha Kucha, it’s a unique form of presentation… the presenter has 20 slides that automatically advance every 20 seconds… if my math is correct that’s like 6.666667 minutes per presentation.  Interesting concept, eh?

Six minutes or sixty minutes, I think certain things are universally a turn off and a turn on when it comes to presentations.  See if you agree.
Turn Off – Flagrant …

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Improving Your Presentation Skills – What to Do about Your Presentation Weaknesses – Part 3

“And, And, And!  You’re saying it wrong.  It’s and not And!  Stop saying And!”

The director at a local community theater was trying to coach an 11-year boy to say the word “and” with an English accent.  But what I noticed was she said the Americanized “And” more times than she said what she wanted, the British sounding “and.” To me it seemed that the time would be more effectively spent saying and asking the boy to pronounce “and” rather than repeating the “And” she did not want.
Find …

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Improving Your Presentation Skills – What to Do about Your Presentation Weaknesses – Part 2

I love my dad.  He’s a great guy with a playful sense of humor.  Last summer when he was in Atlanta for a visit, a bunch of us were chatting and the subject came up that my dad said “cotton picking” a lot… it was one of his go to phrases.  He was surprised by the comment.  He genuinely disagreed.  “I don’t say that,” he insisted.  Five minutes later he was complaining about the “cotton picking” way something had happened and we all burst out laughing.  “You …

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Improving Your Presentation Skills – What to Do about Your Presentation Weaknesses – Part 1

When I first started Toastmasters in 2001, my club had this incentive called the “Well-Rounded Orator.”  For those not familiar with Toastmasters, it’s a non-profit organization where people join clubs to grow their communications skills.  One way members grow their skills is by filling various roles that are needed to run a meeting.  Our club had the “Well-Rounded Orator” incentive which was just a sheet a paper with a big circle on it.  The circle was divided like a pie into 10 slices and the …

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Self-Evaluation of Your Presentation Strengths and Areas for Improvement

As I mentioned in the last blog post, during our seminar, we asked participants to comment on themselves.  Specifically we asked:

How did you feel?

What did you do well?

What areas do you still want to work on?

One guess as to which question stumped people the most.  If you guessed the second questions, “What did you do well?” then you’d be right.
Why Can’t We Love Ourselves?
OK, maybe that’s a bigger question than a presentations skills blog is prepared to …

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Other People’s Feedback – Getting Better Through the Feedback of Others

Today I facilitated a presentations skills workshop with two talented professional speakers.  After we covered different aspects of strong presentation skills, we had each attendee do a 5-minute presentation of their own.  Of course my colleagues and I provided our feedback but before we did, we asked each of the attendees to state how they felt, comment on what they had done well and explain what they still wanted to work on.   Then, we asked their fellow classmates to talk about …

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