Author - Sarah Denholm

How to Make Great Transitions in your Presentations

In this video, I discuss some ways you can make great transitions in your presentations. This can make a big difference to: how professional you seem how easily the audience can follow you [Video is below.] And without them, your talks can seem clunky and disjointed, as you move from one section to the next. I've found that many people aren't even aware of transitions as a professional tool. Yet good links - whether they're words, phrases or sentences - between your ideas will make your public speaking content flow smoothly and easily. They'll allow audience members to tune back in to...

Presentation Content Mistakes: Too Much Information

One of the most common presentation content mistakes I see is to give too much information. Depending on your perspective you might also call it too much value! It's very easy - even for experienced speakers - to equate information with value. And we can do this in every day interactions and meetings too – this sometimes urgent need we have, to show or share what we know. When we'd be better to step back and shut up! To allow space for the information to breathe and be absorbed...and maybe to let other people's voices be heard instead of ours. A...

5 Ways To Ask Questions That Your Audience Responds To

Do you give presentations, and worry about how to ask questions that your audience responds to? Have you ever sweated through silence, while a lot of faces stared blankly at you? It's probably happened at some point - it certainly has to me! Here are 5 ways to ask questions that your audience responds to: The opening of your talk I often encourage my clients to ask a question in their opening few sentences – because it is a good engagement technique. Some people nowadays say that it's cliched, but it's a cliche for a reason. So long as it's a...

Two Brain ‘Fuels’ You Need When Speaking in Public

Have you ever thought about what brain 'fuels' you need when speaking in public? In today's video post, I discuss the two brain fuels you need when speaking in public, why they matter, and how to get more of them. Without them, you'll be much more likely to blank out, or feel yourself slowing down. You probably know the feeling when you're hungry and your mind starts to slow - or where your brain actually feels like it freezes and you can't think what you meant to say next. It's just horrible when that happens in front of a group, and...

How to Use Few or No Notes when Presenting

Clients often tell me that one of their main goals is to learn how to use few or no notes when presenting. And it can be important for many people, particularly in certain industries, to show their expertise in this way. I do, however, sometimes point out that there is no bravery award given out just because you went out there juggling on a tight-rope, noteless, without a safety net! How to use Few or No Notes when Presenting I personally see notes, whether they are a few bullet points jotted on a cue card or one A4 sheet of paper,...

Two Great Ways to Use a Presentation Slide Title Box

Have you ever thought about how you could leverage the presentation slide title box at the top of each slide? (If you use it, of course. You may prefer to start with a blank master slide, which is what I do - although I often use titles that I add to the blank slide myself.) It's the first thing your audience sees on each slide - and probably the first thing you type onto the slide as you create it. But it's often generic, redundant or plain dull (for example, "2019 Sales Budget"). Two ways to use a presentation slide title...

How Many Slides Should I Use?

I was working with a new executive client yesterday who had a list of questions for me including a burning one "how many slides should I use? I've got 62 at this point." He has an hour-long 5 year business plan presentation to give to his entire company in a couple of weeks. I'm often asked this question and obviously clients would love a definitive answer… however the true answer is "it depends". (But probably not 62!) How Many Slides Should I Use? A big point to remember around this whole 'slide' topic: you are the presentation, not your slides! Firstly: do you need...

How Low Confidence Can Help You

How Low Confidence Can Help You Become a Better Speaker You've probably heard the idea that if you believe in yourself, you can do anything. Confidence is the key to success. But what if this isn't true? Or vital to get ahead in life? So much research nowadays points to the fact that low confidence isn’t a bad thing. In fact, having low confidence can help you in a business environment - and can actually increase your chances of success. And high confidence isn't always all it's cracked up to be. Think about someone you know who’s very confident  - is there...

Persuading Through Data And Stories – What We Can Learn From Nonprofits

Persuading Through Data And Stories Updated 2019 When your goal is to persuade your audience about an idea or argument, how much do you use stories? And by story, I just mean a human example - nothing long or elaborate needed. You've probably heard about storytelling in presentations, and there are many different resources to help you use them effectively. Persuading Through Data and Stories But in my work with clients I still often see reluctance to go beyond the data - and don't get me wrong: facts, logic, data, they're all crucial. But...numbers don't engage your audience unless they understand where the numbers...

Three key factors which reduce speaking stress

Studying 'stress hardiness' research is part of what I do to help clients become more resilient presenters; and there's been a lot of interesting work done in this area over the past nearly 40 years by two psychologists, Salvatore Maddi and Suzanne Kobasa. They've worked with 1000's of  Control, commitment and challenge - key factors which reduce speaking stress professionals and have found three critical factors in resilient people. Resilience shows up when people go through life stressors and come out the other side showing the ability to grow and thrive. (Whereas non-resilient people suffer physical and/or mental ill-health.) These three critical...