Posts Tagged ‘presentations for networkers’

Public Speaking: Enthusiasm or tone it down?

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

What do YOU think?

While coaching a top executive on presentation skills, I commented that the enthusiasm he exhibits in one-to-one conversations was not being conveyed in his presentations to the group.  His response: “as a company leader, I need to be taken seriously; so I tend to tone it down when speaking to my group.”

Of course, if a presenter is delivering bad news, such as layoffs, a subdued style is appropriate.  In general, however, is the assumption that when one speaks with enthusiasm he or she appears less serious or businesslike?  Does a more animated speaker seem any less credible to you?  Take our poll and leave a comment below:


After weighing in, then check out this related blog entry on the cartoon factor.

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Public Speaking: Present First or Last?

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

When public speaking at networking events, your objective is memorability.  You have heard that when given a string of numbers to memorize, people overwhelmingly recall the first and last.  Much of the middle is forgotten.  The same holds true with life experiences.  For example, I’ll never forget the first professional training I delivered, and of course, I remember the most recent.

Apply this to public speaking at networking events.  Given the choice it is best to go first or last.  I believe going first has the greatest advantage because people have not yet “spent” their scarce attention span. Their crisp minds await the first imprint.  Going last can be effective especially when there is a mixer following the event.  Your words, if delivered powerfully, will linger in their minds, which will provide an easy lead-in for conversation.

Some caveats:

Going first: Late arrivals can severely detract from your presentation

Going last: At longer meetings, attention-span burnout can render your presentation inconsequential.

Tell me what you think . . .

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Public Speaking: Magic of Telling a Story

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

As seen in the video above, telling a story works. Here is a great idea from Lisa Braithwaite to ensure that you not only capture their attention but retain it until the end.

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Public Speaking: Important Networking Skill

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Few skills are more important to the networker than public speaking. After years of studying the little things that make presenters appear confident, I have found some common denominators.  Here is one nuance that will set you apart and ensure your audience 1) pays attention and 2) perceives you as confident.

Typically, at some point during a networking meeting, each member of the group has an opportunity to stand up for a brief introduction.  

Keep this in mind: rushing makes you appear nervous and lacking in authority.

What do I mean by appearing rushed? The person before you just finished her introduction, and you immediately stand up and launch into yours. This gives you the appearance of diminished confidence. In addition, few will catch you name and company.

Want to APPEAR confident and have people catch your name and company?

Here’s how:  The person next to you finishes her presentation.  You wait until she is seated. Then, at a MODERATE pace you stand and move behind your chair.  Push your chair in, pause for a second or two, and state your name and company a bit more slowly and clearly than you normally would.

Why does this work?  

1) You need to create some time gap between you and the preceding speaker because the group requires a few seconds to process what has just been said.

2) The experts on persuasion agree that moving at a moderate pace – almost taking your time – exudes confidence.

3) By getting out from behind your chair, you create presence and give yourself mobility.

In many cases, the true difference between those who speak with impact and those who lose their audience is in the nuances.

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Public Speaking: Tip for Networkers – Maintain Attention

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

The greatest challenge for people speaking at networking events is that many members of the audience don’t live the giver’s gain philosophy; so they are only marginally interested in what you have to say.  As a result, many do not pay attention and, accordingly, won’t be able to pass you a referral.

We’ve spoken about power openers to force them to pay attention, but now, as you speak you need to maintain their attention, particularly in a longer presentation.  Clearly, having a well-conceived speech is most important, but here is a quick trick, that again forces people to keep alert to what you are saying:

After making a simple point, randomly call on a name and ask that person for an example.  For example, you are a therapist and you just touched on two common injuries, then you look to see who may be zoning and ask, “Joe, which do you think is more common?”

Just one question like that and the rest of your audience will pay closer attention to you because nobody wants to appear not to care about what you are saying.  People are serious when it comes to their own appearance in a group.  Use that to your advantage

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Public Speaking: BNI sixty-second commercial

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

stopwatchWhenever you are public speaking at a networking event, your greatest challenge will be getting people to pay attention.  While most will feign attention, very few actually listen intently.  Some will even whisper to one anther while you talk.

We’ve covered some power openers in this blog, but I think the most powerful method is to FORCE them to pay full attention.  How?  Make them DO something.  Here are some examples:

Home Inspector: Everybody take out a pen and piece of paper.  Write down the top three reasons you think you would need a home inspection . . . 

Eye doctor: Everybody stand up cover one eye and try to read the word on this card

Mortgage Broker: Everyone take a quick guess at how much a decrease of 1% can save you on a monthly mortgage of $200,000.  Write down your answer.

Acupuncturist: Everyone make a fist.  It’s very simple right?  How many muscles were activated in making that fist?  Write down your answer.

Attorney:  Everybody grab a pen and write down what you think is the biggest legal liability you are likely to face in your life.

Financial Planner:  Everybody fold your hands in front of you like this. Close your eyes and imagine what it would mean to your lifestyle to be completely debt free.

You get the idea – all these FORCE your audience to pay attention because it would be too conspicuous to whisper or zone while everyone else is following along.  In this particular way, adults are like Kindergarten children in that having them physically do something forces them to mentally focus.

Use this trick with your networking presentations and your BNI Commercials.  You will quickly recognize how easy it is to get everyone to focus on you.  They can’t give you referrals if they don’t understand what you do, and they can’t understand what you do when they are not listening.

Let us know how these techniques work for you and please share suggestions you may have.

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Public Speaking: Tip for Networkers – “I” vs. “You”

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Here is a quick tip for those who do public speaking for networking:

After you’ve written your presentation do a search for the word “I” and a search for the word “you”.  The latter should appear far more than the former.  In reality, however, most presentations are “I”-centric. After all, it is how we grew up.  Children use the words “I” and “me” so often because they must.  Successful networkers reverse that model and continually speak about “you”.

Why? Other people are far more concerned with themselves than they are with you. Talk in terms of “them” and they will listen intently.

In addition, this tip for public speaking for networking lends itself nicely for developing marketing copy.

Give the word search a try, and you’ll find that your networking presentations capture and retain far more attention.

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