How to Improve your Talk in 10 Minutes

Want immediate, clear feedback on ways to improve your talk in 10 minutes? I have a suggestion for you. My only proviso is, don't do this if you're an anxious speaker or highly self-conscious or you may end up feeling worse and it will potentially set you back. Video yourself Get your phone or camcorder ready to go Set yourself up in the space with your notes, or slides if you're using them Start filming, and deliver your talk for a few minutes: say up to five as a general rule Five minutes is a good length of time to settle into your content...

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...

Audience Connection: Your Truth or Universal Truth

Audience Connection - Your Truth or Universal Truth As audience members in a presentation, one of the things we look for is a connection with the speaker. And one of the things that impacts that connection is when the presenter throws out a generalisation about a topic, and confidently asserts something that isn't true for us: either literally, or that doesn't fit with our values or beliefs. You could think of it like this, seen through the lens of audience connection: 'your truth' or 'universal truth'. Whether the speaker's assertion is a literal or beliefs trigger for us, it can...

Balancing Certainty with Curiosity As a Speaker

In this video, I discuss balancing certainty with curiosity as a speaker. There's so much opinionated certainty nowadays - particularly online. And I have strong opinions myself! So my thoughts are around the 'dance' of how we come across to an audience when we present. Of course we need to be certain about our data, facts and figures, and our key messages. But too much certainty and we can seem arrogant, dismissive, inflexible. The perfect antidote to this: balancing certainty with curiosity as a speaker. Being open to the topic as you prepare, and the audience in the moment, and...

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...

To Be More Persuasive, Think About Power

Persuasion is a crucial part of our everyday communication, whether at work or socially. And have you ever considered that to be more persuasive, you need to think about power dynamics? How does feeling powerful play out, both for speaker and audience? To Persuade, Think about Power To uncover more about this, let's look at persuasion and power and how these interact with another key factor in our communication style: warmth and competence.  Psychologists consider warmth and competence to be universal principles. In social perception terms, they're key ways we evaluate people, particularly when we first meet them. So how does considering power...

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...

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,...