Don’t blame bullet points for bad presentations – too much of anything’s to blame

As I’m sure you know from bitter experience, poor presentations are very common. In fact, I’d say poor presentations are the norm, which means:

  • A ton of time’s wasted.
  • Speakers don’t achieve their intended outcome.
  • Listeners don’t come away with what they’d hoped for, either.
  • So, over time, organisations (both speakers’ and listeners’) achieve less than they could’ve.

What a huge knock-on effect from presenters not getting their message across well!

Now, you’ve likely noticed that poor presentations almost always have lots of bullet points. So you might naturally assume that to be an effective presenter, you should ban all bullets from your slides.

But if you think that, I’m here to tell you: You’re wrong.

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Tips for speaking well on camera – review of a @CharismaOn video

Seeing the faults in my own videos gave me a new apprecia-tion for the craft

Have you ever spoken on video? I just finished a 30-day challenge of posting 1 new video every day on LinkedIn (as organised by Karen Moloney). Seeing the faults in my own videos gave me a new appreciation for the craft of speaking on camera!

Previously, I’d come across a great YouTube channel called Charisma on Command, presented by Charlie Houpert. His channel offers fantastic tips and insights about talking to people 1-on-1 (or in groups), and he’s very charismatic himself.

So I thought it’d be useful to review one of Charlie’s videos, as there’s a lot I can learn from him – and I hope you can too.

Before you read on, why not watch the 8-minute video I chose to review? While you watch, you might even like to jot down a few notes about what you think are the video’s stronger and weaker aspects, so you can then compare your notes with mine

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Don’t speak on a topic. Speak for an outcome – Secret #12 of star presenters [Video]

When you present, are you at risk of focusing too much on your topic?

Usually, you’re chosen as the speaker because you’ve deep knowledge of your subject. But sadly, that means it’s all too easy for your audience to become overwhelmed or confused by the detailed knowledge you might try to present.

You and your audience see your topic differently

And even if your audience are as expert as you, they won’t have exactly the same background and perspective. So again, that makes it easy to lose them, because you and they see your topic differently.

What can you do then, to help bridge that gap between your listeners’ viewpoints and your own?
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Improve each slide’s title – make your whole talk better

In this post, you’ll find simple but effective techniques you can use to engage people more, and make your flow of ideas far clearer than with typical slide titles.

(Have you seen my post on how to grab attention with “ABCD” headlines? If so, you’ll know 4 ways I recommend you use your whole talk’s title to capture people’s interest – even before you speak. The techniques used here are similar to the ones in that post, so if you’ve not seen it, you might want to check it out.)

In your slide titles, I suggest you use either of these powerful, deceptively simple tips:
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25 speaking mistakes you should avoid – by @MichaelPort [Video]

Man covering his mouth, after having misspokenWhat good and bad habits have you seen speakers use? Adopting the good habits – and avoiding the bad – can be a quick way to learn and improve.

In the video near the bottom of this post, author and professional public speaker Michael Port outlines 25 mistakes that presenters often make (no matter how experienced they are). And in the table below, I’ve summarised his points, as well as adding links to related posts.

(Maybe you’ve heard of Michael’s best-selling books on speaking, like Steal the Show and Book Yourself Solid. He’s a former actor who’s been in such well-known TV shows and films as Sex and the City, Law and Order, and The Pelican Brief.)

See if any of the 25 mistakes surprise you You can also click a time in the table to start watching the related tip straight away (on YouTube):

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Do your talks’ titles bore people? Use “ABCD” headlines to grab attention – and keep it

In this post, you’ll find 4 simple tips that’ll make your presentations’ titles much more engaging than the titles you might see other speakers use. So people’ll turn up eager to hear what you say.

Plus, your clear and compelling title’ll help you too, by keeping you focused and on track.

As well as for a presentation, you can also use the tips from this post to improve the title of a training event, blog post, or e-book.

To skip to the tips and examples in the post, you can click these links Or, just read on.

 

What’s wrong with typical titles?

When you write the title for your presentation, do you usually just state what the content is, and maybe who it’s for and the date?

If so, I’d say that’s a big mistake! To help explain why, let’s look at a specific example
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Ace your presentations in 2018! Here are dozens of posts to help…

What would it take to ace your next presentation? To absolutely nail it. And not only that one, but the next and the next and the next, in 2018 and beyond.

Unfortunately for you and I, the odds of acing a talk are stacked against us.

For a start, people’s expectations of presenters have never been higher. After all, we see so many highly professional speakers – like on TV almost every time you look. Or in TED talks, which millions of people love to watch online.

And giving a presentation is so challenging, with all the technology that’s often involved. Think of all the tech you likely rely on for your talk to go smoothly:

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Stand out when you speak (F!RST framework – part 4)

Be honest with yourself. How much would you say your talks stand out from other people’s? More to the point, how much would your audience say your talks stand out?

Whether you work in business or education, audiences see so many presentations that standing out can be tough. But, on the other hand, presentations don’t tend to vary much, which makes your task easier!

You and your message really need to stand out to be remembered and get talked about, which both help you turn your talk into audience action. (After all, if people don’t act differently once your talk’s over, what tangible effect has it had?)

And, as Sally Hogshead (a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame) so bluntly puts it:

“Stand out or don’t bother”
Sally Hogshead

So, what can you do to stand out from the countless presentations out there?

Well, in the overview of the FiRST framework, I suggested a mnemonic (“OPQRS”) to segment your approach to standing out, and to help you remember related techniques.

That mnemonic stands for 5 categories of tips, in topics that are key to standing out:
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Be the spark! Ignite action with your talk

In this post, you’ll find tips you can use to help motivate your listeners to turn your words into action. And through that action, people can solve the problem they have – which is what brought them to hear you speak in the first place.

As author and researcher Andrew Abela puts it:

“If you’re trying to solve a problem for them,
then whatever you give them is going to be
interesting to them.”
Andrew Abela

So trying to solve your listeners’ problem certainly keeps them engaged. But how exactly can you help people turn your words into action? I recommend you use this 3-part model:
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When’s it OK to speak fast? Secret #11 of star presenters, by Jean-Luc Doumont

When you give a presentation or speech, have you ever wondered if you might be speaking too fast? That’s certainly a very common issue. So, statistically, it’s quite likely that sometimes you do talk too quickly when you speak in public.

Why’s speaking quickly a problem? There are 2 reasons:

  • It can make your message harder for people to absorb.
  • It tends to make you sound nervous, which causes people to subconsciously wonder why you feel that way. In turn, that makes them less willing to trust you and your message.

I heard a slightly contrary view about speaking fast

So when I heard a slightly contrary view about speaking fast, I found the new viewpoint refreshing and thought-provoking.

It came from Jean-Luc Doumont, a speaker-coach to academics and scientists, who just this week finished his 1st ever series of lectures in Australia.

Here’s what he said:
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