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...

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...