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...

What Navy Seals Can Teach Us About Reducing Public Speaking Fear

[Updated 2020.] As you'll know if you've been around my work for a while, I used to suffer real anxiety around presenting to people (and music performance anxiety before that - it was a long road!). And when I work with clients on reducing public speaking fear, I use lots of different tools and techniques, depending on what people present with. About 10 years ago there was an interesting article in Psychology Today about four techniques the U.S. Navy Seals used to increase their training pass rates with new recruits. The original article is here. And because all four tools are ones...

What to do When your Negative Voice Gatecrashes your Presentation

Negative inner voice during presentation - typical audience listening face Have you ever had the experience while presenting of looking out at the audience and seeing only a sea of blank faces? You look at them and immediately get discouraged; the negative self-talk kicks in: "John looks bored, this must be really bad" or "that woman's just looked at her watch again...I'd better speed up!" (which is usually a bad move, as we tend to accelerate when nervous anyway). I Hearing my negative inner critic voice during my presentation used to be an issue for me, especially when I was a...

Should you Move About When you Present, or Not?

Should you move around when presenting? As presenters, people tend to fall into two opposing ‘choreography’ camps when they’re in front of a group - you may recognise yourself here: You stand stock-still (often hiding behind – even hanging onto – the lectern), barely twitching except to advance a slide Advantage: you feel better because you’re in a safe space (or safer – of course it’s all relative!) Disadvantage: it’s a boring, un-engaging look for your audience, and using so little physical energy  is unhelpful for you too - if you're nervous, that adrenalin and cortisol will 'bank up' in your system and perpetuate any...

Why and Where to use Silence during your presentations

Presentation Delivery is like Waves on the Sea This topic is deceptively simple, but it’s such a crucial aid to your speaking success that it's worth revisiting. After all, we’ve heard the basics before - but we don't always remember to do them, right? Pauses Few presentations have enough of them – how do yours rate? Imagine that your presentation is like the ocean, each main point a wave rolling towards your audience who are standing on the shore. When you pause, it's like giving your audience "signposts in the sea" of waves about what's important in your presentation. Without these signposts, your waves of...

My CRISPER Formula for Good Public Speaking

CRISPER Formula for Good Public Speakers People often ask me "what makes a good public speaker?" And on my journey from dreadful to competent presenter, I've done a lot of thinking about this - as well as working with all my clients. A couple of years ago I had fun (yes, I'm quirky like that!) creating an acronym for good presenters which I still like: the CRISPER formula. I would be fairly certain that even if you think you’re not a good speaker, when you read the list below you’ll find that you already exhibit one or more of these 7 skills when you...

Fear, and How to Build Belief around your Public Speaking

Building Belief I was talking with a client this week about her fears around failure and embarrassment when she gives a presentation at work, and how she felt they weren't normal.  I commented that they were indeed normal, and that we all have these fears as human beings.  It got me thinking about the different fears and needs we have, and how the ones below are so often triggered by public speaking. Fear of: failure rejection embarrassment discomfort uncertainty not being good enough And the needs we have: to be heard to be accepted to be loved When you look at these lists, it's no wonder that speaking in public is so...

Practising your Speech: your Most FAQ

Practising - your FAQ As a professionally trained pianist, practice has been part of my life since I was 6 years old. Time-consuming and often tedious, it's the focused, detailed work which makes going out on stage possible - a Classical musician wouldn't even contemplate walking out in front of a group without practising beforehand. Yet speakers frequently neglect this vital part of building confidence and professionalism, and a big part of the reason why seems to be lack of knowledge about what works around practice and what doesn't. So here's my FAQ list for you: What should be my practice goals? To...

How Good Speakers Always Get Their Point Across Effectively – And You Can Too

Use a simple speech structure Have you ever been asked to present something at short notice and not really known where to start? Or walked out of a meeting after addressing your team and gone "oh #%^*, I forgot to point out what I'm expecting from them regarding __"? At these two pivotal points - when you have to prepare a talk quickly and don't know where to start, or during your actual address -  it's very easy in the stress or distraction of the moment to get confused or lost in your topic. So how do you get your point across in the...

Mind-trick That Can Help With Public Speaking Fear

Here's a mind-trick for public speaking fear that many of my clients have found very useful. Imagine that you've just given a talk and it's gone well. You're now successfully on the other side of it, and have just been congratulated by your boss...or you phone your friend and tell them that it went well. This mind-trick - imagining that you've already successfully presented your talk - can work really well to counteract the negative, pessimistic thoughts or images which will inevitably surface at some point before you get up to speak (unless you're a supremely confident speaker, in which...