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...

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...

Bad Presentations – What’s the Biggest Problem?

Bad presentations: I've been reminded recently of a observation by Scott Berkun, a writer and speaker who's spoken at conferences all over the world. Scott's also written a great book 'Confessions of a Public Speaker'. One of the ideas in his book is something I totally agree with. Burkun says:  "The problem with most bad presentations I see is not the speaking, the slides, the visuals, or any of the things people obsess about.  Instead, it's the lack of thinking." You'd probably agree that this is true. No amount of being polished and eloquent with beautiful slides will save you if...

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...

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...

Audience Brains Need Structure When You Speak In Public

Audience brains need structure when you speak in public Audience Brains Need Structure What's one thing that your audience really needs from you when you speak in public? A structure. It's so important to give them a clear framework for your content. Our brains are pattern-making machines. We're constantly scanning new information for patterns which we can relate to our current knowledge base, and we subconsciously try to create a logic by comparing and sorting information. If there's no logical flow, we'll be unhappy, even though we may not consciously know why. (Of course, if the presentation we've just sat through was a...

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...