Make your talk engaging – 5 tips to add emotional elements [PACE principles: part 4]

5 boiled eggs with different facial expression drawn on themWhen you present at work (or at a conference or other speaking event), do you aim to make people feel some­thing specific?

If so, you’ll give yourself a far higher chance of engaging people, and achieving your talk’s goal. But if you don’t, your talk’s likely to be quickly forgotten – in less time than it took you to present!

Not convinced? Well, many speaking professionals suggest using emotional elements. For instance, in his book The Naked Presenter, Garr Reynolds writes:

“Content alone is never sufficient.
We need an emotional connection…”
Garr Reynolds

And former president of the National Speakers’ Association, Patricia Fripp says:
Continue reading

Want to transform your audience? Here’s how… [Video] ·

Semi-submerged frog with a butterfly perched on its headWhen you present (or give a speech), do you struggle to have the impact you’d like?

If so, you’re not alone – I’d say the vast majority of presenters have that problem.

And I’m one of them!

So I was stoked to see a recent TEDx talk that shares a simple yet powerful tool to fix that issue.

The talk’s by speaker-coach Phil Waknell, who says your presentation should transform your audience – not just inform them.

Phil sees the process like this:

“To take your audience on a transformational journey,
you first need to work out where they are starting from”
Phil Waknell – at 5:35
Tweet this

Yes! People’s starting point – that’s one of the keys to making your talk truly audience-focused.

A few years ago, Chris Anderson (curator of TED) shared a similar thought:

“You’ve got to start where they are, and you’ve
got to give them a reason to come with you”
Chris Anderson

Phil’s TEDx talk gives you a neat technique that lets you do exactly that. So, want to see his talk?

To save you time, the clip below’s just 4 minutes long, because it jumps straight to Phil’s main point (skipping both the first 5 minutes and last 5 minutes of his talk).

But if you want, you can always click the progress bar to jump to other parts of the full 15-minute video. (For instance, he goes on to finish the example he started.)

 

What’s in the clip?Scroll to top ↑

Continue reading

Write better talks – in just 4 steps [Video]

Muslim girl writing the word "better" on a blackboardSometimes, do you have trouble engaging people when you’re presenting?

Here’s a great way to fix that:
Give your talk a strong structure.

If you use the structure shared in this post:

  • You’ll engage people right from the start.
  • You’ll keep them hooked right to the end.
  • They’re more likely to think the content you’re presenting’s just what they need.

Actually, you’ll find 2 things in this post that you can use to build a better talk:

  • A strong structure for the content you present.
  • A 4-step method for writing your speeches (and e-books, newsletters, etc).

Both are set out in the 15-minute video below, by speaker-coach Hugh Culver:

In a hurry? You can skip the video’s intro (of 3½ minutes).
And if you watch on Vimeo, you can even speed up playback.

 
I came across Hugh’s video a while ago, and was really impressed with how audience-focused the structure is that he presents. I also like that he uses just 4 steps to map out the writing process:

Continue reading

You’ve 3 gifts for your audience. How much should you give them? That depends…

3 wrapped giftsYou might’ve heard presentation coaches say your talk should make your audience think, feel, or do something different. And I think they’re right – to a degree.

By the way, thinking, feeling or doing something different aren’t exactly what I meant as the gifts mentioned in this post’s title. More on that shortly.

Why do I add that proviso – “to a degree”? Well, there’s no point making your audience just think or feel something – unless they act on it too.

For instance, let’s look at an extreme example to illustrate my point:
Continue reading

Take your talk beyond “pretty slides” – Secret #14 of star presenters, by Laura Foley

Box of 35-millimetre slides saying “Quality color slides”(Short of time? Jump to the tips)

How do you create your slide presentations? Allow me a few sentences to guess

If you’re like most speakers, you probably start in PowerPoint, where (to share your message, and to remind you what to say) it’s quite likely you write dozens of words on each slide. Then, to make your slides look more appealing, you might well “pretty them up” with graphics, a slide template, or even fancy fonts. And, to save time, you probably reuse whatever slides you can from previous talks.

If those steps sound familiar, you’ve likely found it hard to really engage your listeners. So you probably haven’t got the outcome you wanted from each talk.

Wordy slides make for a dull talk

That’s for a couple of reasons:

But, fear not. You can avoid those problems by using a different approach, as described by Laura Foley (presentation coach and blogger).

Laura says:
Continue reading

Beyond the speaking venue – 3 ways to get talked about (F!RST framework, part 5)

Close-up of person's hands textingHow can you spread your message beyond the audience you’re speaking to?

Well, in the F!RST framework’s overview (which suggests 5 ways to be a top presenter), I wrote:

By getting talked about through social media and other channels, you can reach far more people who can champion your message.

In effect, that lets you “breathe new life” into your talk. So it’s fitting that getting talked about uses the mnemonic “CPR”…

In this post, then, you’ll find techniques you can use on social media and elsewhere to get your message talked about.

As you’ll see in a few moments, the techniques are arranged into these 3 pillars:
Continue reading

Want your talk ranked #1? Make it conversational – here’s how… [PACE principles, part 3]

Empty speech bubble on a vividly-coloured background(Short of time? See the tips now.)

Here’s one of the best ways to make your speech or presentation more successful: Make it conversational.

Why does that help? It lets you engage with your audience much more than if you used a one-way, “lecture-style” talk (where people feel they’re being talked at).

By making your talk conversational:

  • Your audience listens to you more carefully.
  • Your message affects people much more deeply.

In essence, making your talk more conversational means making it more like an everyday, two-way discussion, which involves your audience more.

But don’t worry – if you don’t have enough time to involve people overtly (or you don’t feel comfortable doing that yet), you can involve them more subtly.

You can involve your audience along a spectrum

In fact, you can involve your audience along a spectrum:

Continue reading

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

Person looking at screen full of charts and informationWhen you present, are you at risk of focusing too much on your topic?

Usually, you’re chosen as the speaker (or as a subject-matter expert for a training project) 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 they see your topic differently from you.

What can you do then, to help bridge that gap between your listeners’ viewpoints and your own?
Continue reading

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

Bored-looking young manIn this post, you’ll find 4 simple tips to make your presentations’ titles much more engaging than the ones most other speakers use. So people’ll turn up eager to hear your talk.

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
Continue reading

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

Dozens of identical silver cogs standing on their edges in neat rows, with 1 bright red cog misaligned and standing out boldly

(In a rush? Jump to the tips.)

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 a lot, 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:
Continue reading