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!
Preparation is key to success in public speaking events. Here are five tips from an AVT perspective that should help make your presentations run more smoothly.
(1) Presentations via Laptop: If you are using PowerPoint or KeyNote in your presentation and using a laptop be sure to bring your own power supply. For Mac users: also bring your “dongle” adapter. Do not assume that the venue will have the proper hook-up/AV output adapter from your i-thingy to their more-than-likely-near-obsolete projector. iPads/iPhones can ONLY link to projectors that are Bluetooth/WiFi enabled.
(2) Presentations via Thumb Drive: If you are not bringing your own Laptop/iBook and have saved the presentation on a thumb drive: Make sure to save your presentation appropriately. For PC and PowerPoint, save as a “package for CD” to make sure all the fonts, pictures, and videos were included in the file. If you just “SAVE” to thumb drive it might not transfer all the links and you’ll end up with slides that are jibberish (font not found) or the notorious Red X which means the program can’t find the file. For Mac users, be aware that Keynote is not backward compatible. With all the bells and whistles of graphics, it is difficult to easily save Keynote onto a thumb drive and transfer file.
(3) Presentations Involving Music and Video: If your presentation entails various changes in programming (e.g. going from microphone to Mp3 music or DVD/Mpeg video). Please have an “in-time” run-through of your presentation, if time permits. It will assure that your AVT knows what is supposed to happen when, and to know when to bring up which audio fader at what time.
(4) A Proper Soundcheck: Not all microphones and sound systems are created equal. Arrive early for a “sound check” and insist on about 10-15 mins to make sure the technician can equalize the system to your vocal range. Do a portion of your presentation that reflects the possible range of your voice. A “check, check, 1,2,3, How’s That?” does not qualify. When in doubt ask for a Shure SM58 wired microphone. Wireless microphones are amazing. The good ones cost money. You’ll get what you pay for if you don’t choose a good system. If you do choose to use a wireless, make sure that the AVT knows if other frequencies are also being used in close proximity.
(5) Arrive Early: Always arrive at least an hour before the audience is allowed in the venue if your presentation has any one of the following: audio, projection/video, lighting changes. Arriving early will give you time to set everything up properly and time to test it. Remember: Do not expect a flawless presentation if there is poor planning on your part.
The best way to have a perfect public speaking presentation is to prepare properly and work with your AVT partner.
About Our Guest Blogger:Newton Koshi is a Certified Technical Specialist (CTS) and is the former Director of Audio Visual Services for Projection Presentation Technology at The Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu.
It takes a team effort to pull off large public speaking efforts. There are people who set up the stage, audio/visual people, the people who adjust the lighting and the room temperature, and so on. They are all part of your team and will be vital to a successful presentation. They can help you to get everything just right. Be sure to treat them like the valued business partners that they are.
It’s not only a wise move, it’s the right thing to do.
Photo of Yvette Koebke, Director of Sales and Marketing, Residence Inn/Courtyard Phoenix Downtown
When you speak confidently without notes, you can command the attention of your audience. How do you speak without notes? First, talk about what you know about. Then, create an outline. And finally, and this is the real key, memorize your outline, not a script.
Your outline should contain an introduction, a body (your key points) and a conclusion. Practice delivering your introduction, the key points and your conclusion without a script. It may not come out exactly the same way every time, and that’s OK. If you forget a small point, you will be the only person in the room who knows that.
Authenticity is crucial in today’s public speaking. We’ve become very skeptical of slick presentations and fast talkers. Having a few flubs in an unscripted presentation is far more effective than reading a perfect statement.
“90% of how well the talk will go is determined before the speaker steps on the platform.” ~ Somers White
The No. 1 predictor of how well your speech or business presentation goes will be how well you prepare for it. In public speaking, there is no substitute for preparation.
Early in the preparation process, I like to close my eyes and try to imagine every little detail about the event. Where will I be before coming to the stage? What does the stage look like? Is there a podium? Who will introduce me? What will the audience be wearing? Where will they be sitting? What’s the lighting like? Will I have a microphone? Where will my laptop be? Is there a place to put my water? And so on, and so on.
It may sound a little odd, and maybe others do it differently, but for me, imagining every detail helps me to uncover things I’ve overlooked that I can add to my checklist and resolve ahead of time. It helps me feel more comfortable about the whole event and how it will unfold. It is like doing a dress rehearsal in your head!
Here are links to related posts that have tons of tips to help you prepare:
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
Get your calendars out, it’s a busy couple of months ahead. I have a speaking gig and a book signing in San Francisco, and several workshops and a talk coming up for Phoenix area residents.
As part of my corporate communication consulting business, I will co-present a talk on intranet best practices at the Advanced Learning Institute’s Digital Workplace and Intranet Summit in San Francisco on June 22. I’ll also sign copies of my book Maximizing Internal Communication at the summit. I’m pleased to say that my book is the No. 1 book on Amazon that details how large companies can communicate more effectively with their employees. It’s even being used by Jame Madison University in an advanced level communication course.
Back in Phoenix, I’ll present a workshop on crisis communication best practices on June 28. This session is geared to public information officers and others who serve as spokespeople for organizations, but it is open to anyone with an interest in this unique form of public speaking. It’s free but seating is limited to 20, so you must RSVP.
And if that weren’t enough, I’ll be teaching two public speaking classes and a non-fiction writing course at The Art Institute of Phoenix this summer. Yep, it keeps me busy and it keeps me young. I love the creative students and I think I learn as much from them as they do from me.
You can find all of our events listed on our Events Page. I look forward to meeting you at one.
As busy as it is, I still have plenty of room for you! Please remember that I’m available for personal coaching sessions or to do a speech or a workshop that is customized for your organization. Referrals are my lifeblood and I appreciate all your support. Here’s wishing you a fantastic summer!
Communication is, by definition, a two-way process and listening is a crucial skill to being successful in your business and your personal life. We need to be able to listen well when communicating with clients, customers, and co-workers, and they need to know that they were heard.
Interested vs. Interesting
Between talking and listening, the latter is more difficult and, in my opinion, more important. Many of us don’t listen to understand; we listen to be understood. Presentation coach Pam Chambers, from whom I’ve learned so much, points out that in networking situations we don’t need to be the most interesting person in the room, we need to be the most interested person in the room.
In our Listen Up and Stand Out workshop, we focus on enhancing active listening skills. Being a good listener allows you to be a better public speaker and presenter and it certainly makes you stand out from those who don’t listen.
Simple Listening Formulas
To be a better listener, try this simple cyclical formula:
Ask for more information. “So, tell me more about that.”
Clarify or rephrase what you heard. “Wow. That’s really cool! So you [rephrase what you were just told].”
Asking for more information uncovers details that are often crucial to understanding. Clarifying proves you were listening and ensures you got it right.
For problem resolution, we repeat the two steps and add a third. It goes like this:
Ask for more information. “So, tell me more about that.”
Clarify or rephrase what you heard. “So, if I’m hearing you correctly, you’re saying [rephrase what you were just told].”
“So what if we tried [insert solution]. Would that work for you?
Getting to ‘Yes’ Is the Goal
Getting agreement is the goal. But if you don’t, the cycle continues until the other part finally says “yes.” Here’s how to continue the cycle: “So tell me more about why that doesn’t work for you?” … “Oh, I see. That doesn’t work for you because [rephrase what you were just told].” “So how about instead we [insert solution]. Would that work for you?” And so on. Check out this video to see this formula in action: The Angry Patient.
Some people are better listeners than others. Some have to work very hard at it. It doesn’t come naturally for all of us. But the good news is, with a simple formula and a lot of practice, you can become a better listener and thus become a better communicator.
Give the formulas a try and let us know how it goes. We’d love to hear from you!
When does a speech or business presentation begin? Answer: As soon as it is assigned. That’s when preparation for the presentation begins and that preparation will be the single biggest factor in determining how well your presentation goes. Part of that preparation must include audience research. You must know your audience to be a successful speaker.
Here are some questions to consider:
What does the audience know about me? Am I credible with them?
What does the audience know about my topic?
What are the audience’s views on my topic and purpose?
How do audience members define themselves?
How do the setting and occasion influence my audience?
How will the audience be dressed?
Are there cultural considerations?
What matters to audience members? What do they value? What are they skeptical about?
What are audience members interested in? What motivates them?
The answers to these questions can affect everything from the clothes you choose to wear to the words you choose to use. The more you understand your audience, the more effective you’ll be in connecting with them. And audience connection is really what it’s all about.
The sign in the Starbucks window reads: “We welcome Service Animals.” And, in much smaller letters, it states: “No pets, please. Thanks.” Being warm and welcoming is on brand for Starbucks so it’s no surprise that their customer signage follows suit. The message easily could have been reversed with the “No pets, please!” in large letters (and an exclamation mark added for good measure) and a smaller “we welcome service animals.” But Starbucks wisely prefers their coffee cup half full, not half empty.
When it comes to persuasive public speaking and business presentations, you should choose to use positive words. It will make you a more effective communicator.
The Starbucks sign is a great example of the power a positive tone. A positive tone enhances your ability to connect with your audiences, whoever they may be. Human brains are wired to understand and remember positive expressions better than negative expressions. Telling someone to “be still” is more effective than “don’t run.” Business directives get through better if we explain the action we want our audience to take rather than what not to do. When giving instructions for tasks, or stating policies, detailing procedures, or in countless other directives, it’s easy to slip into needless negative tones. Sometimes we do it simply because we are trying to be more serious. But compare: “You cannot sign up until Jan. 1” to “You can begin signing up Jan. 1.”
It’s simply more effective to be positive. Talking to your customers and employees in a positive tone is a simple change that over time can have a big impact. Try to catch yourself when you are using negative word choices. With practice, and over time, you will learn to speak more positively.
So don’t forget, err…I mean, please remember: Be positive. It works.