Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Introduction Formula

When you need to give an introduction of a speaker, sticking to these five elements will keep it short and sweet.

The 5 Elements of a Great Speaker Introduction

1. Say their name and say it RIGHT. Spell it out phonetically if you have to. (Example - Law-buck, instead of Laubach.)

2. Say their current organization and how the work it is doing relates to the audience members.

3. Say their expertise and how it relates to the presentation's focus. (This is more about the content.)

4. Say a little about why this particular speaker is credible. (This is more about the speaker.)

5. Say something unique (interesting, fun, etc.) about the presenter. This will require you doing some research either before the day or right before the speech.

Bonus tip: Do what you can to get the main points of these five in your head and easily accessible. Get them learned to the point where you don't have to read the introduction word for word, but don't memorize it word for word either. Good luck!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Quick Tips on Television

Click on the following link to view an interview I did about 5 Quick Speaking Tips with Oklahoma City's News Channel 5.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Five Misconceptions of Speaking

1. I have to get rid of my nervousness. "Your task is not to get rid of the butterflies, but get them to fly in formation," Zig Ziglar. Your goal is to control your nervousness, harness it and turn the negative energy into positive energy. To do this, you need to accept the fact you will be nervous, take deep breaths, confidently know your material and break down the barrier between you and the audience as quickly as possible.

2. I have to give a ton of information to look credible. Albert Einstein said, "Any fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." Especially in today's busy and noisy world, audiences appreciate a presenter who makes things simple and who takes less time than they are given. Credibility is not accomplished by data volume, but by presenter authenticity.

3. I have to please everyone in the audience. There are at least four different personality types in your audience at any given time. The fun-loving people want interaction and humor. The fact-loving people want data and logic. The people-loving people want stories and emotions. The order-loving people want you to know what you are doing. You can't please everyone all the time, but you can please everyone at least more than once.

4. I have to run a meeting or presentation a certain way because "that is how it has always been done." This misconception is all about risk. It is shocking how many professionals hamstring their personal effectiveness and their presentation's impact simply because they don't understand risk always comes before value.

5. I have to assume people are not going to listen and are not going to get involved because they don't for anyone else. If the presenter doesn't take control of the room, the room will take control of the presentation. The speaker to audience ratio makes the old axiom, "expectations equal behavior" hold very true for presentations. Most audiences don't actively listen to presentations because they aren't worth listening to. Yours should be different.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Presentation Expert's Seven Skills

The following seven skills are at the core of what we teach to our professional, pageant and student presentation coaching clients...

1. Be Authentic. Authenticity is your number one goal. The best communicators know who they are, have a real-life bond with their content and strive to make a genuine connection with their audience. The biggest challenge on the road to speaking success is getting out of your own way and letting the best of the real you shine through.

2. Be Nervous.
Nervousness and excitement are chemically exactly the same.To the human body, there is no difference between being very nervous and very excited. Don't worry about getting rid of your nerves. Begin down the path of controlling your nerves by simply thinking about them differently. Accept that it is ok to be nervous and leverage your nerves to keep you on your toes.

3. Interaction is the Key.
Engage your audience quickly to control their attention. Almost as important as controlling your nerves is controlling the audience's focus. Get them involved in your presentation right from the start. Ask a question. Have them share with a partner. Get them physically moving. Make them laugh. Etc.

4. Concrete, Visual, Simple.
Send your message through the CVS test. In today's noisy world, the most effective messages cut to the core quickly. Make sure your messages are Concrete (don't make me search too hard for the meaning), Visual (help me see it) and Simple (I'm busy - your message shouldn't be.) The quickest way to achieve CVS is through good story-telling.

5. Index and Filter.
Great presenters are great at preparing their content. They index information based on a set range of categories, topics, types of content, etc. they deem necessary for their presentations. We refer to these as buckets. Then they fill these buckets as full as they can. The important step comes during preparation - filtering down the information based on authenticity and the CVS test.

6. Talk With Your Eyes.
Your body language sends thousands of messages while your words only send a few. The most important body language is eye contact. You should make it with specific people and make it often. Think of any presentation as a string of smaller conversations with a number of different people. Beyond that, think moderation and variety when it comes to hand movements, walking, pace, volume, and facial expressions.

7. You can do it.
You can and should develop your ability to communicate. Communicating effectively is one-part technical, one-part mental and one-part habitual. No matter your experience level, all three of these can be sharpened and improved. More importantly, because our relationships, influence level and in many cases, earning ability are dramatically impacted by our speaking skills, you should work to implement these skills this week. If you need more help, contact us. We would love to work with you.