business meetings

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 Ways to Succeed With Your Public Speaking Goals This Year

Have you made a New Year's resolution to finally succeed with your public speaking goals? Have you decided, finally, to overcome your fear of public speaking, or become a better presenter? I assume that you're interested in the topic, or you wouldn't be reading this article! But have you come up with anything specific to work on? Or are you in for another year of avoidance, despite your best intentions? We usually have a sense of clearing out, of optimism and openness to new desires and goals as each new year rolls around. But we're not so good at making them...

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...

Three Factors Which Reduce Public Speaking Fear

How to reduce public speaking fear; as it's always such a popular topic, here are 3 ways to help reduce your anxiety: A Sense of Control will Reduce Public Speaking Fear Increase your sense of control Get annoyed! Be willing to act The first way: Increase your sense of control. Feeling a sense of control in a stressful situation is really important in making it manageable. I recently discovered Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut and writer. In a short radio interview, Chris talks about fear and control: "in my experience, fear comes from not knowing what to expect, and not feeling you have any control over what's...

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...

Easy Persuasion Technique to Try

Want to increase your persuasiveness? A recent large review* of 42 studies involving 22,000 people worldwide showed that when you use the technique I'm about to give you, it doubles the chances of someone saying yes to your request. I thought it could be highly applicable to some public speaking scenarios. The easy persuasion technique is: telling your listener that they're free to choose: they can accept or refuse your request or idea. It's known as BYAF - But You Are Free. Easy persuasion technique Why do you reckon this works? I think this succeeds in persuading others because when you say it,...

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...

How to Open a Business Presentation Strongly

Business presentations need a strong opening, without being dramatic or hyped-up. When a more punchy, 'wow' opening is required for a group, there are various ways to do it: you could ask a powerful question, give a startling statistic, or tell a short anecdote, to name just a few. But if you're giving a quarterly update to your team, or presenting to senior management, for example, these openings are not appropriate. In this case, you need to deliver a solid, clear, concise position statement that connects your content to your audience: why you're all there in the room or virtual space. The opening sets the...

Introvert? 4 Ways to Blast Through your Resistance to Presenting in Public

If you're an introvert, you may struggle to speak in public and plan to avoid it whenever you can; getting up in front of a group can seem like an insurmountable hurdle if you tend to avoid the spotlight. Yet you may need or want to present well; you have ideas to share, and it really bothers you that you don't feel competent at presenting. If you want to be able to get up and speak but feel as though you're fighting yourself as it's happening, it's worth knowing this (I discovered this concept through Susan Cain's writing; her book...

Low-Energy Speaker? 3 Simple Ways to Rev Yourself Up

Smithsonian via Flickr We've come to the 6th of 7 essential skills of a good speaker in my C.R.I.S.P.E.R formula (see here for the overview article). The 6th skill is energy. When we speak in front of others, we need energy. Not bouncing off the walls, but enough the audience doesn't 'tune out' in front of us, but instead get carried along with our energy. Enough that they can get our message not only through our words, but through how our body and face communicate with them. An audience takes their cue from us. "Life begets life, energy begets energy. It is by spending oneself...