Sunday, June 24, 2012

How to Get, Keep & Manage Attention

Great speaking, teaching, training and presenting is strongly influenced by great attention management. The best content in the world can be missed by even by the best audience members if attention is not managed properly. The following four keys should play a major role in each of your presentations. When you implement these strategies, make sure you mix it up and add variety in how you use each.

1. Intellectual Engagement - Any great presentation gets people thinking in a new, fresh, and unique way. This is the meat of the talk and you have to have it, but to really engage the brain you have to give new information, tell a unique story, package the info simply and creatively, etc.

2. Emotional Engagement - This is the Ying to the Yang of intellectual engagement. People are driven by and pulled around by emotions. If there is no heart or humor in your presentation, you are missing a key engagement tool. So, get them laughing or tell a heart-felt story. Get the human element in your presentation, even if you are delivering dry, serious content.

3. Physical Engagement - All physical movement, from high-impact ropes courses to a simple knuckles bump, creates a boost in energy. Leverage this simple principle and include an appropriate amount of physical movement in your presentation. For more content heavy presentations, this movement could include: giving a high-five to a partner, turning your chairs forward, standing up and switching partners, standing up and interacting with others, etc.

4. Social Engagement - This is one of the easiest techniques to pull off and yet so many speakers do not use it. Get the audience interacting with each other. This could be as simple as, "Turn to a partner and teach them the lesson you just learned using your own words." If all the audience is doing for 30/45/60 minutes is just listening to you, you are not effectively managing their valuable attention resource.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Four Keys to Effective Concept Teaching

The next time you find yourself teaching conceptual information (possible solutions, best case scenarios, suggestions for change) to an audience, structure the flow of each point using the following four keys:

1. Understanding - Go CVS on your approach to bringing everyone to the same level of understanding. Be Concrete, Visual and Simple with your words.

2. Value - A concept is only as good as it is valuable. This requires personalization for that particular audience on that particular day. Why should they care today and why should they act tomorrow?

3. Barriers - Anytime you present a solution or action without addressing the potential barriers to application, you are leaving your audience assuming... and people always assume the worst. Your idea is dead the minute you stop talking.

4. Application - Leave your audience with momentum by clearly explaining where and how they can practically and personally apply the concept. This is a must for any presenter with the goal of motivating change.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

7 Authenticity Rules Quick Lessons

A few quick lessons for applying each of the seven Authenticity Rules.

1. Know Your Self - What is your unique take on your content? Give them your opinion, your viewpoint, a story from your life, etc. Quotes from famous people work, but anyone (and everyone) can do that. Give us something new, fresh and, therefore, more interesting.

2. Know Your Content - Prepare your material early. Become intimately familiar with your content so when you present you can focus on the audience, not on what you are going to say next.

3. Know Your Audience - Ask yourself these questions:

  • What specific action(s) do you want your audience to take after the presentation?
  • What barriers are going to exist between you/your content and the audience?
  • How are you going to connect early and often with them?
  • What do they already know about your topic?
4. Know Your Flow - Follow the 7-Minute Rule: Switch up the way they input information every seven minutes or so. IE - listen to you, take notes, do an activity, watch a video, share with a partner, reflect, listen to a peer talk, group discussion, look at a slide, etc.

5. Know Your Tools - Less is more. Keep your props and resources simple and easy to use.

6. Know Your Enemies - Control your nerves; don't get rid of them. Use CAKE:

C - Change your perspective. Think of nerves as a good thing.
A - Audience-focused. Put your attention on them, not you.
K - Knowledge. Know your stuff top to bottom.
E - Experience. Speak and speak often.

7. Know Your Difference-Makers - Advanced speakers need to continue to learn more and get better. Rookie speakers need to ask questions, overcome your fears and get good.