Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Where a Professional Speaker Goes to Learn Speaking Skills

I read about great presentation skills primarily from two individuals: Tony Jeary and Lenny Laskowski. You should, too.

Tony's Book - Inspire Any Audience

Lenny's Book - 10 Days to More Confident Public Speaking

Be a SMART Presenter

Smile - This speaks to the fact that your interaction with students should be one of "how can I serve you?" View your students as customers you aim to please, not teenagers you need to control Now, of course, don't sacrifice authority and orderliness for this, but this should be your base camp to work from. This also speaks to the truth that students enjoy the process more when their leaders are enjoying the process. So, have fun and be in the moment. One of the biggest comments we get after our programs is, "Thanks for not treating us like children!"

Movement - Teenagers need to be engaged through movement; physically, mentally and emotionally. Engage them in all three ways. An effective engagement technique can be found by understanding the concept of the crest of the wave. In surfing, the crest of the wave is the point where the ride is the fastest and the tallest. However, after that point the energy starts going down. So, keep your eye on this during activities and discussions and move on when the wave starts to ride (or just before that).

- Much of group facilitation is attention management. You can encourage attention with your group by being on high-receive yourself, handling disruptions appropriately and in a courteous manner, encourage discussion through asking questions, prompting the students to build off of each other's comments and encouraging the students to take notes.

Rememorable - You want to help your students have a rememorable time - something they will want to remember and memories they will want to and need to revisit often. You can fuel this memory creation by encouraging the students to risk boldly, engage full-on in the activities, stay in the meeting room as much as possible and mingle with other students from other chapters. Their memories will be tied more to the people they meet than to the things you say. Encourage them to take pictures, as well.

- A successful conference experience has many moving parts. The biggest moving part is time. Here are a few time formulas we will adhere to...

3-Second Rule - People develop a first impression of you in the first 3-seconds; many times this is before you even meet them. So, mind your smile and your appearance.

30-Second Rule - Listeners either check-in or check-out in the first 30-Seconds. So, mind your first words and get them engaged quickly.

5-Minute Rule - Listeners look for meaning and purpose and they need to be able to either find personal meaning in what they are hearing and/or are told something that they can use (purpose) every 5-minutes or so. So, give your students tangible, real ways they can take action on what they are learning or experiencing.

7-Minute Rule - Listeners need a change in how they receive information every 7-minutes. This could be listening to the speaker, reflective thought, table discussion, partner discussion, writing in their booklet, seeing something happen, feeling an emotion (positive or negative) or engaged in an activity that combines many of these.

90-Minute Rule - When meeting in big groups, listeners need to unplug from the meeting every 90-minutes. Hopefully, your schedule is already set-up to accommodate this, but if it isn’t, remember this very important dynamic!

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Room Should Move With You!

A workshop is all about the experience of moving people from where they are to where you and your message can take them; intellectually, emotionally, socially, etc. You play a role in this experience, but the environment plays an even bigger role. The environment can include...

Seating arrangement
Learning Material
Writing Utensils
Distance from speaker
Distance from each other
Availability of tables
Outside interference
Quality of sound system
Ability to see any and all visuals

So, get the room right (and know what "right" means) and you are over half way there!

FYI - my speaking associate, Kelly Barnes, sums up how we set up our rooms with the following MOVE formula...

Move my feet... get music going!
Move my eyes... get visuals up!
Move my ears.... get me up to speed on what we are going to do!
Move my mouth... get me talking to others!
Move my brain... get me thinking!
Move me... get me physically moving on purpose!
Move on.... get to the point!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Great Wall of Stages

Inherently, the keynote environment has a built-in wall that must be recognized and dealt with. This wall is the one-way verbal information flow. Sure, there can be some two-way communication, but most of it is non-verbal cues from the audience. Normally, in a keynote environment the audience members do not have the opportunity, the desire, or the need to verbalize adjustments, suggestions, comments, questions, etc. to the speaker.

So, how can we capitalize on this dynamic? It involves a few pre-work items and mid-keynote items...

Learn the audience members' specific expectations for your keynote. What type of experience do they expect from your keynote, what do they expect to learn, etc.

Learn about the organization, association, company that the audience members represent.

Learn their language, their struggles, their successes, etc.

Start attacking the wall immediately from the start. Be yourself. Be authentic. Admit what you know and what you don't know. Connect with the audience through interaction, humor, entertainment, unique/interesting information, etc.

Keep the wall down by being clear with your purpose and bringing everything in your keynote back to that clear purpose. Keep things moving fast, but not faster than that particular audience can handle. Have a specific road map (points) you are following and let the audience where you've been, where you are, and where you are headed.

Seth Godin's PowerPoint Post

Go here to view Seth Godin's post on his blog about how to improve your PowerPoint Presentations...

The Recipe For Banquet Talks

Banquets are normally for entertainment purposes. This entertainment being socializing, awarding, recognizing, etc. The speaker should embrace this reality and not bore us with their "vitally important information." The recipe for great banquets talks is...

Speaker only uses 80% of their allotted time.

80% of the content is entertaining and engaging

20% of the content is informative or instructional

Follow it and they will love you.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Main Goal of All Presenters...

The main goal of all presenters is to be authentic.

Gift to Visitors

Welcome to my new blog about giving great presentations. I have been running the Personal Leadership Insight blog for about 50 posts now and the response has been enormous. As a gift to all visitors of my new blog, please accept my Top 40 Speaking Tips as a gift for saying thanks and come back often for more real tips from a real full-time speaker/presentations coach that will make a real difference in your ability to give great presentations!

Rhett's Top 40 Speaking Tips PDF (right click to download)

Rhett's Top 40 Speaking Tips MP3 (right click to download)