Friday, June 24, 2011

Research, Research!

BEFORE you do any presentation, you must research your topic or idea! Your research can be organized into three areas: mental, physical and electronic. Mental includes the ideas, stories, examples, jokes and ice breakers you commit to memory. Physical involves articles from the newspapers and magazines. It also includes photographs and videotapes. Electronic involves slides or articles from your computer or CD.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

"Presentation" As Art!

When you have a public speaking opportunity, you have to be creative! It's like doing stand-up. You need to be able to read your audience and know how to shift gears. One of the questions you have to ask yourself  is "Why am I here and what can I give to my audience?" The most powerful thing you can do, is convince your audience why they should do what you suggest, or believe what you say.

People need to know what's in it for them. They need to see the benefits to what you're suggesting. Hearing the "why" doesn't always bring a "yes" but it opens the door to your ideas. When people understand your rationale, they listen with an open mind.

If your subject matter is controversial or likely to generate an emotional reaction, it is important that the "whys" be tested in advance.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Stage Fright: It's a REALITY!

Stage fright is common during presentations. There is no immunity to it. The unknown is a given for any type of presentation. Fear can impose itself on you in many ways -- nervousness, poor voice delivery, negative body language, and the inability to respond to audience feedback.

"Seasoned" speakers are vulnerable to the unknown. Turning the unknown into the "known," eliminates nervousness about controllable factors. Managing anxiety gives you the chance to focus on your audience, instead of worrying how things will go. In a word -- rehearse and/or prepare.

Know your audience. When you know them, you reach them.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

3 Points to a "Crafty" Presentation

Follow these three points to "craft" your presentation -- 1) Meet their needs: include information appropriate to what they want; 2) Reduce tension: when you acknowledge a need, tension goes down; 3) Mistakes: when you're clear about their needs, you can steer clear of hot buttons. Be tailored. When listeners get bored, they miss your objective(s). To maintain the job, be flexible.  Some "red flags" to watch for -- clock watching, foot-tapping, and cat-napping. Some questions to ask (yourself): "Should I pick up the pace?" "Is it too warm in here?" "Do we need to take a break?"

Plan B: This technique comes when plan A doesn't go as smoothly as you thought. Plan B might include extra jokes, flip charts, a back up Power Point or pre-designed break-out exercises.

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