Posts Tagged ‘public speaking advanced tip’

Public Speaking: The Rule of Three

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

rule of 3My college roommate, Sean Cusick, was an English major, and he enlightened me about the rule of three. Your writing will have more impact when you use three nouns, adjectives or adverbs together. For example, it is more compelling to say, “this course will give you the skills, confidence and motivation to catapult your speaking career,” rather than saying “this course will give you the skills and confidence to catapult your speaking career.”

Little did I know, however, that I was only scratching the surface with respect to this amazing rule of three in public speaking. Here is a fascinating, in-depth look at the RULE OF THREE by Andrew Dlugan and how to apply it. Enjoy!

» Share this entry: bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

Public Speaking: Dead Time Kills Your Presentation

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

DeadTreeLast week, I presented magic at the historic Vienna. I started entertaining a few people, but in ten minutes I was completely surrounded, and the room was packed. Then, I looked for my Sharpie marker, which I needed for my next effect. I realized it was in my bag sitting about ten feet away; so I wended my way through the crowd, fished for my marker, and finally handed it to the spectator. This took about twenty seconds. But, when I launched back into my presentation, the crowd had dissipated, and small conversations were flourishing. Now I needed to WORK HARD at rebuilding my crowd and recapturing attention. In short, I had to revive my presentation from the dead.

Shame on me! I teach executives and managers that they must have everything they need at their fingertips BEFORE beginning a presentation. Why?  Because DEAD TIME KILLS. It devours your effectiveness because without the audience’s rapt attention, you are wasting your time and theirs.

What I witnessed physically at a magic performance (people talking and walking) is a caricature of what happens in a business presentation. While it is unlikely that your audience will bolt for the door or launch into small private chats at your presentation, people will “check out” mentally, and they will launch into internal dialogue about something more important or more amusing than you.  It’s that simple.

The solution is simple as well:

1) While rehearsing make a checklist of everything you need, use, or refer to.

2) Setup: on the big day, go through your checklist and physically touch every item you need.

3) Handouts: have them at each seat before you begin. If this is not possible, have somebody else deliver the handouts for you while you continue to present.

4) Index cards: If you rely on index cards for notes, be sure to number them to avoid excessive fumbling should you drop them.  If you rely on powerpoint for notes see here.

5) Do you refer to a manual, text or report? Use Post-it notes as book marks. Flipping around for even five seconds creates enough dead-time to start the bleeding.

6) Avoid or limit conversation that is administrative and directed at only one person. For example, you are presenting on a new accounting policy, and your tech guru asks about systems integration. Even though this is not technically dead time, the conversation acts as white noise for everyone else in the room who is far removed from these details. Unless the issue is urgent, use this response: “excellent question, and you and I need to discuss it in detail after this presentation. Thanks for bringing it up Jim.”

7) Be very aware of any time that ticks where nothing is happening, and understand that it is causing a slow drain of your audience’s attention.

Please do not confuse dead time with the power of the pause. A purposeful pause drastically increases your effectiveness. I’m talking about me fumbling for my Sharpie or you flipping through your 10-Q report trying to find the change in retained earnings while your boss begins to daydream about whether it’s chicken fajita or tuna salad for lunch.  Personally, I’d take the chicken fajita with ranch dressing.

» Share this entry: bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

Public Speaking: Getting Applause

Friday, June 26th, 2009

applause pleaseThere are some presentations you do where applause is desirable and appropriate. We’ve already discussed optimal audience seating that will facilitate audience reaction and applause. In this entry you will discover the nuances  and lines the presenter can employ to increase audience applause. Much of what I’ve learned about earning applause comes from my performance in entertaining rather than strictly business presentations. Nevertheless the lesson lends itself to many types of public speaking.

Keep in mind, audiences need a cue to applaud because they subconsciously fear applauding at the wrong time, or being the only person clapping.

Here are both subtle (for business) and bold (for entertainment) methods to encourage applause.

During your presentation at an “applause moment”:

1) Ask audience to give a round of applause to someone who helped you.

2) “Thank you for your enthusiasm”

3) If it’s silent: “Save your applause till the end – I have a weak finish.”

4) When only one person applauds: “I think you just woke up the others” OR  “Are the rest of you saving it for the big finish?” OR “I will wow you one person at a time” OR “Special thanks to my fan club” (pointing to the one person)

5) “Oh, I forgot to tell you, your applause will be recorded”

6) “There are two ways we can do this (show,demo) like we’re doing it now, or with applause.”

7) “Hey, I know you’re out there, I can hear you breathing”

8)  “Instead of applauding, why don’t we all hold hands and try to join with the LIVING”

To get applause at the end of your presentation

“Thank you” Take a slight bow with a light clap of the hands and take a small step back.

While the best way to earn applause is to do an excellent job, these nuances and lines make all the difference with respect to creating the right atmosphere conducive to applause.  Remember to use your judgement when tossing a quip into the mix.

present awards and control applause

» Share this entry: bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

Public Speaking: Using Names

Friday, June 12th, 2009

hello-my-name-isFor those who are already comfortable with public speaking, here is an advanced trick to take it to the next level.

When you are performing an interactive presentation, you have an opportunity to impress by calling on audience members by name.  Very few things will wow an audience more.  Why?  Unless you are a familiar member of the group to which you are presenting, nobody expects you to use their names.  Most likely, every presenter that has preceded you has not used their names.  This makes you appear different and better.  It makes you seem smarter and more sincere.

This opportunity to wow the audience only presents itself in certain circumstances, but when it does, seize it and reap the rewards.

Ideal circumstances:  Smaller audience 10 – 50 members plus a chance to mingle before your presentation. Obviously if nobody is wearing the “hello my name is ….” tags, this will be far more effective.

Strategy:  Arrive either first or very early so you can set up and assess the room.  Now it’s easy to greet each person who arrives.  Make a mental note of their name, and every once in a while, look over to that person and repeat the name in your head.  Sometimes groups will arrive together, and you will be unable to greet each person individually.  That’s okay.  As you mill around, LISTEN to people talk.  You will hear their names.  These are your golden catches, because when you refer to those people by name in your interactive presentation, they will be AMAZED – sometimes telling the person next to them “we weren’t even introduced, and he knows who I am?”

When you finish your presentation, many people will approach you and ask whether you are naturally gifted with memory, or if you have a secret method to remember people’s names.  They will be fascinated by your ability, and they will want to know whether they can acquire the same.

I have an average memory, and in the right circumstances (when people trickle into the event, at an even pace, I can do this for up to 50 people.) Years later these people will approach me and remind me about how everyone was so impressed by this “gift”.

Granted, circumstances need to be right and it does take a great deal of mental effort up front, but if you really want to appear different and better, this advanced tip will do the trick.

Now, does anyone have a method for LONG-TERM memory with names? Please share.

» Share this entry: bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

Public Speaking: Advanced Tip – Connectors

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

What one mistake do even the best public speakers tend to make?

Clearly, they don’t pace, fidget or say “uhmm”, and they do project their voice, make meaningful eye contact and use purposeful movement.  They’ve mastered the basics; so how can they improve?

In my experience even the best public speakers make this minor mistake: connectors.  When they finish a statement, they start the next with one of the following words: so, now, or okay.  While there is nothing wrong with an occasional use of these connectors, most speakers use them almost every time after a pause.

It’s a nuance that I learned from a top Toastmaster who analyzed my speaking.  She pointed out that I had overused these connectors.  Before this enlightenment, I had no idea I was doing this.  Are you?  If you’re just becoming comfortable with public speaking, don’t worry too much about this.  If you are an advanced speaker, chances are this is one area in which you may be able to improve.  The only way to know whether you use connectors is to record your presentation, or ask someone in the audience to take note of them for you.

How to stop?  The same way you stopped umming and ahhing.  Avoid using connectors in your everyday conversation and they will automatically disappear from your more formal presentations.

Advanced tips for public speakers are always welcome here.  Please share yours.

» Share this entry: bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark


Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).

Copyright © 2008 Target Intellect. All rights reserved.