5 Simple Tips to Keep your Presentations Clear

April 27, 2016 by  

You have only about a minute to grab your audience’s attention at the beginning of a presentation so you must be sure that once you have engaged them that you maintain that connection.
It is your responsibility, as the speaker, to stimulate, inspire, inform, and entertain your audience.

Here are 5 simple ways you can deliver a clear and well-articulated program.

1. Use language that is familiar to your attendees and easy for them to understand. It takes a great deal of energy to focus and concentrate on language that one does not understand so you will lose your audience if you are not describing your concepts at their level of comprehension. Choose words that are simple, to the point and non-jargon. This is not your opportunity to illustrate your extensive knowledge of vocabulary, rather, it is more important to deliver your key elements in ways that grab and inform your audience.
2. Offer verbal guides that easily transition concepts from one idea to another so that the whole of your presentation will make sense and therefore resonate with the attendees. The more compelling connections they can make to their situation, the more likely they are to retain and employ what you are offering to them. Repetition is another way that way that will help them to retain what you are telling them as emphasizes the point and reinforces it. The better you can tie your elements together in a meaningful pattern, the more sense your audience will make of your information.                         Remember….adults learn when they see a need!
3. Employ precise language to describe your concepts. You can easily accomplish this by giving specific and relevant examples. Introduce personal stories that show your human side, they can even be self-deprecating, which demonstrates that you, too, are human. Showing a sense of humor can also engage hour audience, because if you can laugh at yourself, it means they can, too! Make direct eye contact with as many audience members as possible, so that each of them feel as if you are speaking directly to them. This is also a good engagement tool.
4. Construct your presentation with short, simply developed sentences, because long, run-on sentences can be confusing and your audience could stop listening. This is especially true when delivering complex concepts. Remember to keep everything as simple as possible so that it will easier for your audience to keep up with you and stay engaged.
5. Include some interactive exercises that allow the participants the opportunity to employ what they have learned in a meaningful manner so that they will understand why they are being offered the strategy, and how it could work in their specific situation to provide new and better outcomes. Besides, they will retain only about 15-20% of what they hear but up to 90% of what they say and do. So if you offer them the chance to come up with plausible solutions using the new concepts or approaches, they will be more likely to employ those new options following your presentation.

In conclusion, remember that people have very short attention spans, so if you want to engage your audience for the duration of your presentation you will need to be clear, concise, entertaining and informative. In addition, the more interactive you can make the session, the more fun your audience will have and that will also enhance their learning experience.
In any event….you, as the presenter, need to “carry the room” so put on a smile, prepare, prepare, prepare, and then have some fun yourself!!

9 Strategies to Take the Fear out of Public Speaking

November 21, 2015 by  

If you are fearful of public speaking here are a few strategies to help you overcome that phobia.
1. Some people are afraid that they will forget what they want to say so become nervous about speaking in front of an audience. If you really know your topic well, and have NOT memorized what you are going to say, there is much less likelihood of forgetting.
2. Preparation and Practice are the most important aspects to consider when making a presentation of any length to any size of a group. The more familiar you are with your material, the more clearly you understand the concepts you are going the share, the more comfortable and confident you will be when standing in the “spotlight”.
3. Remember to Breathe so that you will send adequate oxygen to your brain and allow for rational thought and clarity to be available rather than panic and a big blank. In fact, take about 10 or even 20 deep breaths before you begin, you feel calmer and more focused.
4. Smile! “Fake it ‘til you make it!”……look like you are having fun, like you are confident, comfortable, honest and open and soon you will be how you look. Especially if you have followed the previous pieces of advice.
5. Greet people as they enter the venue so that you will already “know” some of the audience and will not feel like you are only speaking to strangers. It will make both you and your audience more comfortable with each other.
6. Wear clothing and shoes that make you feel good and are comfortable. If you do not care for belted slacks, tight sweaters, turtle necks, etc. do not wear them for your presentation. And ladies, those beautiful shoes that pinch your toes….leave them in the closet, sore feet detract from our ability to focus on the business at hand.
7. Get adequate rest before your big day, you do not want to be tired or look tired. Besides we need to be fresh and sharp. A lack of sleep will make that difficult to achieve.
8. Eat healthfully. Well balanced meals with adequate protein, whole grains and fresh fruit or veggies is a good way to allow our bodies to function well and our brain to operate at full capacity. Do not starve yourself. In addition be sure to hydrate yourself before, during and after. A “dry” brain does not work well either.
9. Believe in yourself. If you have prepared well and practiced until you know your topic inside out and backwards, you should feel confident that you will do a good job. Expect to do well and you will. The opposite will also be true! Create a reality that you really want, a positive outcome and a positive self-fulfilling prophesy.

In the end, just remember to have fun!

How to Grab Your Audience & Keep Them Interested

April 20, 2012 by  

When addressing an audience you have only a few minutes to really grab their attention, therefore your greeting and opening element need to be engaging.  Once you have their attention you need to vary your presentation in a number of ways in order to keep them interested; as the human attention span can be very limited if you are not doing something fascinating.

Here are some key points to help you create and maintain audience involvement:
1. Smile: if you look happy, you are more likely to make your audience happy. Smiles are contagious! In addition, it will make you look more confident, at ease, and trustworthy. Finally, if you are having fun, so will your listeners.
2. Make direct eye contact with individuals in your audience. When you do this you make them feel as if you are speaking directly to them so they will feel connected to you. In addition, eye contact represents honesty, which will also be appreciated by your listeners.
3. Ask a question. Challenging your audience to consider an approach, idea or strategy is another engagement technique. This encourages thinking, always a good idea when attempting to create an environment conducive to retentive learning.
4. Tell a story. Everyone loves a good story….so if you have an interesting tale that illustrates a key issue you are about to develop, this would be a great way to spark interest not only from the beginning but even during the session.
5. Use your voice to your advantage….be animated, exude energy, modulate your volume and inflection.  Interject an occasional “pregnant” pause to emphasize a point and put your audience on the edge of their seats waiting for you to finish the thought.
6. Use appropriate language that suits your audience so that they will be able to appreciate and understand your message. If you talk over their heads or down to them it will be difficult to hold their attention.
7. Finally, end with a challenge, something provocative, another story, a poem perhaps that is relevant to your topic.  Summaries are also a beneficial ending style as it re-emphasized the key points you want to leave with your audience. Different types of presentations warrent different styles of endings….choose one that feels right for you.

The main thing to remember is to prepare well, practice a lot, and have fun!