Audience Management

Intimidated by People with Power over You at Work?

It's so easy for this to happen. Whether you’re giving a presentation or having a conversation, feeling intimidated by people with power over you at work - either higher up the food chain, or with some other power over you - it can be a real challenge. Intimidated by People with Power over You at Work? My experience I vividly recall working with my first CEO client, years ago now. We’d spoken on the phone, and I turned up for our first coaching session. I remember getting into the lift of this expansive, echoing marble foyer, heart pounding, as I tried desperately to...

FAQs about Public Speaking and Presentations

There are some questions which I'm often asked - FAQ's - about public speaking and presentations. So here’s a list of 5 of the most common ones – see if any of them are ones you'd be asking yourself. FAQ's About Public Speaking and Presentations Q1. What's one of the most common public speaking mistakes? A. Too much content. I used to have this problem all the time, and it came from a combination of enthusiasm about the topic, wanting to give a huge amount of value, and fear that I would run out of content and be left with nothing else...

How to Show Warmth to Any Audience

How can we deliberately show warmth to any audience? Or to a person we're about to communicate with 1:1? No matter what sort of a mood we're in before we speak, or how we feel about that audience? And fast? I've been working with a client this week on exactly this concept. I asked him how he believed he came across in meetings with his team when he opened the conversation - was there any specific process that he followed at the start? His reply was basically "No process...and how do I come across? It depends on how I'm feeling". This is...

Setting a Presentation Rhythm

A good way to get your audience's attention at the start of your talk is by setting a presentation rhythm. Lay out for them a plan about how your talk is going to unfold, and then follow that rhythm. You're basically giving an agenda, with rhythmic pace built into it. And it sounds simple, but I don't often see it done. The case for setting a presentation rhythm Rhythm is primal. Our connection to it starts before birth with our mother's heartbeat, and it's an integral part of our voice, speech and communication. And we've been communicating using rhythm for thousands of...

Are Stories in Presentations Always Persuasive?

Using stories in presentations In today's video, I briefly discuss using stories in presentations to be more persuasive. The idea of using a story to help get your audience across the 'persuasion and influence' line is very common. Whether we're aiming to change people's mood, change their mind or get them to take real action. And when I talk about a story, I don't mean a cosy, fluffy tale, like someone reading to us in primary school or before we go to sleep! I simply mean using what I call 'humanity' to balance out facts, data, statistics. Most great presentations have...

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...

Nervous Speaker? Where Does your Focus Naturally Go?

So you're a nervous speaker: where does your focus naturally go? Updated 2019 Today's video post is around a link to some interesting research on where your eyes and attention go if you're an anxious presenter. This is assuming you're able to look up and 'take in' your audience - and if you're nervous, that's not a given! (I put myself in that category: my eyes used to dart around the room when I was afraid of speaking. Eye contact was way too difficult!) Nervous Speaker - Where Does your Focus Naturally Go? So if you're a nervous speaker, where does your focus...

The Best Tool to Engage an Audience?

The best tool to engage an audience Updated 2019 What's our best tool to engage an audience? Assuming that our goal when presenting is to communicate well enough that our audience understands our message and can act on it. For this to happen of course, we need initially to get their attention. And this audience interest needs to happen almost straight away, or they'll drift, and we may not get them back again. (Smartphones are always beckoning!) So how do we get their attention? One great way is to: Create curiosity. Hopefully I did that with the title of this blog post! If you're reading...

5 Public Speaking Skills Donald Trump Gets Right

5 Public Speaking Skills Donald Trump Gets Right Whatever you think of Donald Trump - and he certainly provokes strong opinions - he has his own style, and breaks plenty of rules. As a public speaking coach, I find watching him strangely compelling - in small doses! Here are 5 public speaking skills I believe Trump gets right when he's speaking to audiences: 5 Public Speaking Skills Donald Trump Gets Right 1. He has strong, open body language. When you watch Trump speaking, he is usually behind a lectern; but although this can be a barrier between speaker and audience, he compensates as much...

Public Speaking Mistakes I’ve Made

Public Speaking Mistakes I've Made I've made many public speaking mistakes: especially in the early days, when I was feeling my way and still learning what worked and what didn't. So today I thought I'd give you three mistakes that I used to make - mistakes which threw up roadblocks for my audiences and stopped me being as engaging and professional as I wanted. Hopefully by sharing these errors, it might help you to avoid making them yourself! public speaking mistakes Mistake No. 1: too much content Cramming too much content into your talk: this one took me a long time to learn...