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...

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...

How To Get Into A Strong, Energetic State Before A Presentation

How to Get into a Strong, Energetic State Before a Presentation How do you come across to others when you present? And how do other people judge our energy levels? You might think this is an obvious question, but I bet there will be things you're missing - we can't always tell what's really going on, and even less so how we come across to other people, because we have so many mind filters in place and miss or delete information as we process it. So today's exercise is a way for you to find out personally how other people...

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...

What’s the Right Level of Presenting Energy for You?

Clients often ask me about the right level of presenting energy for them - what's effective and appropriate? My answer is that there are a few variables, so let me give you some pointers to start the discussion in today's post. Firstly, how do people judge our energy levels? It can be boiled down to a few factors: What's the right energy level for you as a presenter? 1. The over-arching factor: enthusiasm level; how engaged do we appear to be? How interested in our topic, and enthusistic about being in front of the room as the presenter? Remember that if we're bored...

Vocal Presence – Using your Voice to Own the Space

Vocal Presence - Using your Voice to Own the Space Creating vocal presence Our delivery style is crucial to getting a message across effectively to our audience, and one of the key factors in delivery is using our voice to create power, warmth and persuasiveness. Our voice gives our audience clear messages about our confidence, energy and vitality. When we contract and mentally “turn away” from the audience, our voice follows; we swallow our words, mumble and rush, or become monotonous or ‘lifeless’ in our tone. Of course, one thing which will always affect vocal presence is how much we trust ourselves and...

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...