Give the "why." Do that first and foremost. Do it before you even say your name, and I'm not even kidding. (If you've seen me present, then you know exactly what I mean.) Let your audience know why everyone should bother to listen to you. Why should they turn over their power (i.e., their time) to you? Why should everyone care? They need to know how their time will be spent and what they will know or be able to do once you finish with your presentation. Not every speaker gets this, though, nor do speakers fully understand how it impacts the success of the presentation. Recently, I was on a one-hour webinar ...
It's the absolute last thing you want to do, but it happens ... possibly without you even realizing it. Even presentations that have been carefully designed and practiced can have moments of unintentional boredom or can create annoyance in audience members. This happens when speakers inadvertently use phrases, some of which are commonly used in presentations, that make people want to say "Okay. Yeh, yeh, yeh. Keep it movin'" or "That's nice. What else ya got?
1. "I know I'm all over the place."
Do not own that! Do not give voice to or breathe life into that kind of assessment of your presentation. When you say this, you make it clear that you know you have let down your audience; you know you have not done the best job you can to facilitate a positive experience for your audience. Furthermore, if you know you can be "all over the place" when facilitating a presentation, training, or demonstration, then be proactive; take a minute to craft an agenda or a quick list of headlines beforehand, and follow them. It does not have to be anything fancy or elaborate.
Here’s what I mean: You already know what you plan to cover, right? All you need are ...
When it comes to presentations, it's just talking, right? And who appears to speak with the most ease and with the least amount of effort? Naturally, we are inclined to believe extroverts are the more skilled presenters when compared to their introverted counterparts, but ... hold the phone.
While words appear to come more easily for our extroverted friends who gain their energy from being around others, introverts are missing out if they (and others) believe they are not serious contenders as speakers. Assuming introverts are not gifted speakers is the one mistake introverts make and the dangerous misconception held by so many. Quite to the contrary, they may be even more talented on the mic than others. Here are three reasons why.
Five actions are necessary if you want to give your audiences a different experience that will be unforgettable for all the right reasons. This goes for novice presenters, struggling presenters, and seasoned presenters alike. Here's exactly how to make your public and private presentations memorable, engaging, and blazing hot.
What causes people to be SO nervous when making presentations, and what can they do to overcome the nervousness? There are two main reasons the nerves make an appearance and two big changes you can make that will change all of that.
The first reason nerves show up is because ...
You've heard it before: before you present, learn as much about the audience as you can. Gaining information about your listeners positions you to know what to say and that which you need to delete from your script. If you proceed with making a presentation without knowing exactly who is in front of you, then it can be like blindly poking and jabbing with your threaded needle in search of the right opening to affix a button. With this presentation preparation, you will know which points you should strongly emphasize, and you will know what might be hot topics that should be avoided. (Of course, politics, religion, and money are always off the table ... unless, of course you are giving something like a financial planning workshop, but I digress. Besides, you know what I mean!) When you learn as much as you can about the audience beforehand, you have a good idea of how much foundational information to provide and how deep of a dive in which you need to go to establish definitions and a framework so everyone is on the same page. Okay. Sounds good, right? But how exactly is that done? There are three stages involved with finding out who will be in your audience and how to work toward tailoring a message that will sew seeds of good ideas and resonate with your participants.
In Fall 2018, one of my first-year college roommates (and for those of you who know me well, no, I'm not talking about my sister-in-law ... for those of you who haven't heard this story, the roommate I had during my second, third, and fourth years of college also became my sister-in-law!), celebrated the release of her first book that is a memoir as well as a tribute to the history of modern soul food.
In it, she includes stories about being in the kitchen with her grandmother, having a high school crush, and growing up in Texas with her two sisters plus over 50 recipes sure to speak to the heart and sufficiently fill the belly. In the fall of 2018, she was invited to an expo to read excerpts from her book and ended up bawling before her audience. BAWLING!
She quickly wrote me, asking if it was normal to feel overwhelmed and to full-on cry during a speaking engagement. I told her ...
Did you miss the first 5 things? Check them out HERE! And numbers 6 through 10 are HERE!
11. Never apologize for interrupting/stopping conversations. You have heard a presenter say it; he/she will ask the audience to engage in a conversation about X, Y, or Z, then after a certain amount of time, the presenter will say something along the lines of "I'm so sorry to stop your conversations." This statement is pointless considering these are conversations that must come to an end in order for you to continue with your presentation.
Instead, thank the audience for the robust discussions, then move on with your presentation. Consider saying "Wow! What great conversations! Thank you for engaging. Now to the next point." (Bear in mind you can always evaluate if what you have to say next is as impactful as the conversations. If what the audience is discussing brings more value than the content you had prepared, then consider letting the conversations continue for a few more minutes before continuing with your presentation.)
12. Never diminish your power. For instance, avoid ...
a. saying it's your first time doing anything, e.g., making the presentation, designing a presentation, traveling out of the country, et cetera.
b. saying "I don't know." (Want to know what to say instead? Read this.)
c. folding your arms; remain open and warm. (Check out this post to find out what to do with your arms and hands.)
13. Never position the audience to engage in too much multitasking.
Here's a true story ...
There are those times when you are scheduled to make a presentation, but you simply do not feel up to it. Not at all. Not for a minute. So what do you do? Do you phone it in? Cancel and reschedule? See if you can get a replacement?
Here are real scenarios, most of which I have personally experienced, plus what the best presenters do even in the worst of times. It's tough, but this is the mindset to have when the absolute last thing in the world you want to do is make a presentation!