Phoenix Public Speaking coaching and workshops

Archive for business networking – Page 2

Public Speaking Tip 29: Handling Questions When You Don’t Know the Answer

So you’ve just given a great presentation and you’ve moved into the Q&A. Someone asks you a question and you don’t know the answer. What should you do?

  1. Make up an answer?
  2. Admit you don’t know but promise to find out the answer?
  3. Throw the question to the audience?

Let’s look at each course of action:

Make up an answer?

Never make up an answer. It’s not ethical and it will catch up with you eventually. Don’t fall into the trap that you have to know everything because you are the speaker. You’ve already proven your expertise in your presentation. Remember: nobody likes a know-it-all. You don’t have anything to prove, except perhaps your humbleness.

Admit you don’t know but promise to find out the answer?

This is an acceptable way to handle the situation but be sure that you do indeed follow up with an answer and that you do so in a timely manner.

Throw the question to the audience?

I believe this is the best of the three choices. It engages the audience and often provides an insightful discussion. You can say something to the effect of “That’s a great question. I don’t have an answer. What do you the rest of you think? How would you handle this?” I sometimes throw questions to the audience even when I do know the answer just to see what others think. “I have an idea but I’d really like to hear what everyone else thinks.”

The Q&A in public speaking and business presentations is a great way to engage your audience and a great opportunity to be inclusive with other ideas and other points of view.

 

 

Public Speaking Tip #26: Practice Out Loud

One of the exercises I have my public speaking students do is stand and read quotations from famous speeches. One of the quotes is John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” More than half of the students who read it out loud trip over their tounges when saying it.

Sometimes what looks really good on paper is hard to say when spoken out loud. Our brains sometimes get ahead of our tongues. This is one reason why you should always practice your speeches and business presentations out loud. You may discover words and phrases that just don’t come out right. If you do discover problems with the flow, you have two choices:

  1. You can practice the troublesome verbiage over and over until you can say it consistently right
  2. You may replace the troublesome words with something that means the same thing but is easier for you to say.

One thing is for sure: It’s much better to trip over your tongue while practicing in front of your bedroom mirror than it is to have a tongue-twister disaster in front of your business colleagues or a live audience.

Successful Sold Out Workshop

Phoenix Public Speaking workshop

Photo by Patrick Rapps Photography


In today’s fiercely competitive business climate, how well you present yourself can make the difference in getting ahead or going home.  When it comes to winning a new client, getting a project approved, or closing the deal, the smallest things can make the biggest difference. You don’t want to blend in you want to stand out! From shaking hands, exchanging business cards to storytelling these all have a powerful impression on how people perceive you. Most people underestimate the importance of these interactions and just get by.  But by knowing a few simple secrets, you can turn that around.

That was the premise of our “Speak Up and Stand Out” public speaking workshop held last week. The sold out event was sponsored by the Phoenix Business Journal and held at the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce.

Among the topics we covered were:

  • Using your body language to influence and include
  • Using storytelling in presentations to turn heads and win hearts
  • Introducing yourself to make a great first impression
  • Exchanging business cards so that you are remembered

If you missed the workshop, don’t worry — We’ll be adding new workshops soon!

Public Speaking Tip #25: Understand Cultural Differences

By Paul Barton

You know this cat. You see this cat and his raised paw almost every time you enter an Asian-owned business. Some of the cats have a battery operated paw that moves back and forth. The cat is known as Maeki-Neko, which is Japanese for “beckoning cat.” That’s right “beckoning cat” not clawing cat.

Maeki-Neko’s raised paw is meant to resemble how people beckon you to come inside in Japan and in many other Asian cultures (hand raised, palm down, fingers moving in and out quickly). The cat is intended to bring customers and good fortune into their establishments. But to many people in Western cultures, the cat looks like he’s trying to claw something. Maeki-Neko is a great example of how things can be interpreted differently by people in different cultures.

Public Speaking Requires Homework

Before you speak to any audience, particularly an audience that is culturally different from you, you need to do your homework. Research is key to an effective presentation.

Here are some questions to ask when doing audience analysis:

  1. What is my audience’s feelings toward my topic?
  2. What common ground do audience members share with one another and with me?
  3. How relevant will the audience find my content?
  4. What can I do to enhance my credibility with this audience?
  5. How can I make it easier for audience members to understand and remember my main points?
  6. What language or cultural differences do audience members have with one another and with me?
  7. Am I using colloquialisms, idioms or humor that won’t be understood?

You can’t anticipate and research everything when dealing with cultural complexity. My wife grew up in the Philippines and we encounter unexpected cultural differences on a daily basis in our household. But with my family, and in my travels to other countries, I’ve always found that being respectful of different cultures and seeking to understand your audiences will get you headed in the right direction. Most people are forgiving of occasional slip-ups if they know your heart is in the right place. So speak up — and don’t let the cat get your tongue.

A Thumbs Up Presentation!

I had a great time presenting some public speaking tips to the SMART Referrals Busines Builders Network in Avondale this morning and got thumbs ups from the attendees.

Public Speaking Tip #23: Be Prepared, Don’t Choke!

There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you are involved in public speaking. Imagine you are in the midst of a presentation and you suddenly develop a case of dry mouth that causes you to cough. It can happen to anybody at any time. If you’re prepared with a small bottle of water nearby, you can quickly recover and move on with your speech. No big deal. But without water, a small case of dry mouth can turn into a big distraction and maybe even ruin your speech. You have to stop. Someone now has to fetch you water while the audience waits restlessly. A five-minute wait is an eternity when an audience is waiting.

You don’t need a big bottle of water to save the day. You usually only need a quick sip to recover. I like the little 6 ounce bottles that I can easily place on a podium without them sticking out too much. The water should be room temperature. Cold water can cause your throat to tighten up. Of course, hot tea works well for your throat too, but hot tea is not easy to carry around with you like a small bottle of water.

I talk a lot so I also carry a supply of throat drops with me to soothe my often overworked throat. I don’t recommend using cough drops that contain menthol. Also, because I use a lot of throat drops (and because I’m a Type 2 diabetic), I prefer the sugar-free drops.

These small items can make a big difference in a speech or business presentation. So pack a small bottle of water and maybe a couple of throat drops in your briefcase. It just may help you to pull off a perfect public speaking presentation.

 

 

 

 

Speak Up and Stand Out Public Speaking Workshop

Had a great time presenting my Speak Up and Stand Out public speaking workshop this morning. We’ll be offering another session July 22 and presenting another in conjunction with the Phoenix Business Journal on July 27. Check out our Events page for details.

Public Speaking Workshops for July

Phoenix public speaking workshop
Our July 8 Speak Up and Stand Out workshop is full and we are no longer taking reservations but we still have spots left in the July 22 public speaking workshop. The workshops are free but you must reserve a spot. To ensure personal attention, the workshops are limited to 10 participants.

Start your journey to public speaking success by signing up for our July 2 session today!

public speaking workshop sign-up button

Public Speaking Workshop with PBJ

The advertisement for our Speak Up and Stand Out public speaking workshop appeared in today’s Phoenix Business Journal. You can register for the workshop here. We’ll cover a variety of public speaking and business presentation skills. Be sure to use this promo code to get a 25% discount: PHBB. Hope to see you there!

25% Discount on Phoenix Business Journal Workshop

In today’s fiercely competitive business climate, how well you present yourself can make the difference in getting ahead or going home.  When it comes to winning a new client, getting a project approved, or closing the deal, the smallest things can make the biggest difference.  You don’t want to blend in you want to stand out!

From shaking hands, exchanging business cards to storytelling these all have a powerful impression on how people perceive you. Most people underestimate the importance of these interactions and just get by. But by knowing a few simple secrets, you can turn that around.

You can learn these skills in our Speak Up and Stand Out workshop being presented in conjunction with the Phoenix Business Journal on July 27, from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce.

In this highly interactive workshop, you will master the basics of:

  • Using your body language to influence and include
  • Using storytelling in presentations to turn heads and win hearts
  • Introducing yourself to make a great first impression

You can register here for the workshop. Use this promo code to get a 25% discount: PHBB. Hope to see you there!