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...

Public Speaking Body Language Loop

Public Speaking Body Language Loop In this video, I discuss the public speaking body language loop and how yours can help you, as well as signal competence to your audience. So many speaking coaches talk about public speaking body language, and there's a lot of advice out there. Here's a small part on video about how positive body language at the start of your presentation can become self-reinforcing and help you to move confidently into the rest of your talk . Transcript: Hello! So today I would like to talk to you about body language - obviously a huge topic, and there are...

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...

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,...

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...

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...