Audience Management

9 Mistakes Presenters Make

9 Mistakes Presenters Make Mistakes Presenters Make Do you want to be a more dynamic presenter? You will be if you avoid these frequent mistakes. I've discussed all of these ideas in previous articles, but thought it was worth clustering them together for a 'common mistakes' overview.  1. Forgetting the WIIFM filter  One of the most common mistakes that presenters make is forgetting to run their whole presentation through their audience’s No.1 filter – and that is always WIIFM (what’s in it for me?)  From the moment you open your mouth, to the summing-up, you’re being judged through this filter, and in...

What to do When your Negative Voice Gatecrashes your Presentation

Negative inner voice during presentation - typical audience listening face Have you ever had the experience while presenting of looking out at the audience and seeing only a sea of blank faces? You look at them and immediately get discouraged; the negative self-talk kicks in: "John looks bored, this must be really bad" or "that woman's just looked at her watch again...I'd better speed up!" (which is usually a bad move, as we tend to accelerate when nervous anyway). I Hearing my negative inner critic voice during my presentation used to be an issue for me, especially when I was a...

Two Great Ways to Open your Talk, Especially if you’re Nervous

Make your Audience Think to Focus and Engage Them The opening of your presentation is often the part where you're most nervous or self-conscious. You're faced with pairs of eyes looking at you, the audience feels like it's one big stare, and you're not enjoying the sudden attention. What can you do to take some of the unwanted focus off yourself, and create an engaging, effective start to your speech? Here are two ways which really work: Make a statement Ask a question Keep reading, because I probably haven't convinced you that these ideas are all that startling or great just  yet! I'll explain why...

7 Ways NOT to Open your Presentation

The opening of your talk is crucial: your main goal is to capture your audience's attention and show them why they should listen to you. It also sets the tone and direction of your presentation. This is often the time where you're most edgy, and the audience is most focused on you, so you don't want to get it wrong! So with that mind, here are some suggestions for what NOT to do at the opening of your speech. With these tips, I'm assuming that you're speaking to a group for the first time, or one which you don't know...

Should you Move About When you Present, or Not?

Should you move around when presenting? As presenters, people tend to fall into two opposing ‘choreography’ camps when they’re in front of a group - you may recognise yourself here: You stand stock-still (often hiding behind – even hanging onto – the lectern), barely twitching except to advance a slide Advantage: you feel better because you’re in a safe space (or safer – of course it’s all relative!) Disadvantage: it’s a boring, un-engaging look for your audience, and using so little physical energy  is unhelpful for you too - if you're nervous, that adrenalin and cortisol will 'bank up' in your system and perpetuate any...

My CRISPER Formula for Good Public Speaking

CRISPER Formula for Good Public Speakers People often ask me "what makes a good public speaker?" And on my journey from dreadful to competent presenter, I've done a lot of thinking about this - as well as working with all my clients. A couple of years ago I had fun (yes, I'm quirky like that!) creating an acronym for good presenters which I still like: the CRISPER formula. I would be fairly certain that even if you think you’re not a good speaker, when you read the list below you’ll find that you already exhibit one or more of these 7 skills when you...

Respect, And How to Stay Calm When Challenged

We've come to the 7th and final skill in my C.R.I.S.P.E.R formula for good speaking (see 7 skills of every good speaker for an overview). Today's skill is Respect, which we show in different ways when we're in charge of a group: by respecting  others' opinions and time, and ensuring we've done enough preparation. In fact respect is my number one attitudinal goal when dealing with audiences; and it's especially important to focus on if you're challenged by an audience member. I always aim to respond respectfully to comments and to remember  - not always easy in the heat of the moment -...

How to Ensure that your Talk is Relevant

A vital skill for any good speaker is knowing how to tailor your talk to your audience, and it's no.2 on my C.R.I.S.P.E.R. list of essential skills (clear, relevant, insightful, succinct, practiced, energetic, respectful). Here are some suggestions for you, particularly if you're not yet an experienced speaker. It can be helpful to focus on two things: why you’re speaking on your topic (rather than anybody else) what the most relevant slant on your topic is for your audience 1. Why you're speaking One of the most important things that you bring to the table as a speaker is your experience and expertise, and going...

7 Skills of Every Good Speaker

I’m going to write a series of articles on skills that every good speaker possesses: today’s article is an overview, and I’ll devote an article to each individual skill in the coming weeks. I would be fairly certain that even if you think you’re not a good speaker, when you read the list below you’ll find that you already exhibit one or more of these essential qualities when you speak to groups. The 7 skills make the acronym C.R.I.S.P.E.R: Clear Relevant Insightful Succinct Practiced Energetic Respectful Let’s very briefly look at each one in turn: Clear – if you’re even slightly vague...

Do you Turn Towards or Away from Your Audience?

There’s a great book by Margaret Wheatley, a well-known U.S. leadership consultant, called ‘Turning to One Another’. In the book, which is about creating simple conversations, Margaret talks about “bearing witness”; this is the practice of sitting with another person. She writes: “when I bear witness, I turn toward another and am willing to let their experience enter my heart”. She finishes the chapter by writing “we can turn away, or we can turn toward. Those are the only two choices we have." do you turn towards or away from your audience? I think of these two choices when I’m working with...