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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10 tech tips for webinars and online meetings

Eye on Flat Panel Monitor --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis(Short of time? Get to the tips.)

As a presenter, it’s increasingly likely that you use webinar tools (like Adobe Connect, Cisco WebEx or Citrix GoToWebinar) – or that you soon will. And you might well hold virtual meetings or training workshops using those same or similar tools (like Citrix GoToMeeting, GoToTraining, or Microsoft Live Meeting).

Whatever type of webinars or online meetings you run, you’ll find some useful tips in this post.

Still, you’ll want to choose which tips to use according to factors like the size of your audience and your comfort with running the online event in the 1st place, because some of the tips (notably 6 to 10) require more effort than others.

You can click any of these links to scroll to a specific tip:
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Secret #4 of star presenters: Scott @Berkun on “slide slavery” (with @NancyDuarte and Garr Reynolds)

enslaved presenterWhen you’re preparing for a presentation, what’s your first impulse?

If you’re like most people, you’ll begin preparing for a talk by opening PowerPoint (or Keynote, or whatever’s your preferred slide tool) and building slides. But this brief post is here to plead with you to do something different

My plea is that you heed author Scott Berkun’s warning when he says:

“If you make slides first, you become a slide slave.
You will spend all your time perfecting your slides,
instead of perfecting your thoughts.”

To help you with a better approach, in this post you’ll also find 3 specific questions that Scott recommends you ask when you begin preparing your talk. (And you’ll see what expert presenters Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds have to say on the subject, too.)
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2½ reasons why (to me) Seth Godin’s wrong about how many words to put on your slide

Number 6
Check out this startling quote by author Seth Godin:

“No more than six
words on a slide.
Ever. – Seth Godin

(If you’d like to see the quote in context, it’s the 1st item in the numbered list on page 7 of this PDF.)

Are you wondering where he got the magic number 6 from? I certainly am. (Sadly he doesn’t say. So Seth, if you ever happen to read this, I’d love to know why you chose the number 6.)

Apart from the seemingly arbitrary nature of Seth’s rule (which is the “½” reason mentioned in this post’s title), let’s focus on 2 types of helpful slide content that the rule would severely hamper: Continue reading

Why present? JFK said it all…

traffic lightsOn her excellent public-speaking blog, Dr Michelle Mazur published a post this week called The Most Overlooked Step in Creating Great Presentations. In it, she says you’re likely (if you’re like most people) to start preparing for a talk by making slides, whereas you’d be better served by first working out what type of talk you’ll give:

Do I want my audience to know something,
to do something immediately after my talk,
or to feel something?

I agree about how most speakers prepare, as I wrote here, but I disagree about there being 3 types of presentations:

  • Informative (Know something)
  • Emotive (Feel something)
  • Persuasive (Do something)

Let me explain why I disagree with that 3-part model. Continue reading

Secret #2 of star presenters: @ConnieDieken on confidence [Video]

When you speak in public, do you speak boldly? Or do you show signs of being nervous? According to Connie Dieken, former news anchor and author of Talk Less, Say More, speaking boldly is one of 3 ways you can avoid stumbling for words.

In her 4-minute video below, she says:

“Either deliver [your talk] boldly or stay home”

If you’d like to see Connie’s quote in context, you can either skip to the relevant part (3’07”) of her video on YouTube, or watch some or all of the 4-minute clip right here:


Connie’s quote really struck a chord

Connie’s quote really struck a chord with me personally, because after my most recent speech at Toastmasters, the evaluator had encouraged me to speak more boldly, for more impact.

Reducing nervousness and building confidence as a speaker is one of the main reasons many people join Toastmasters – it was certainly my main reason. And because fear of public speaking is so common, it’s highly likely you want to be a more confident speaker, too.

So what can you do to reduce stage fright, build your confidence, and speak more boldly? For a start, try these 6 tips:
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Secret #1 of star presenters: @NancyDuarte & your grandma

Elderly lady typing on laptop. Shallow DOF.What does author and star presenter Nancy Duarte say about presenting – and about your grandmother?

Well just last month, on the Harvard Business Review (HBR) blog network, Nancy wrote:

“If [people] can’t follow your ideas, they won’t adopt them.
…If your grandmother wouldn’t understand what on earth
you’re talking about, rework your message.”

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How to use quotes in your presentation – 25+ tips from Six Minutes & me

“First, why should I use quotes in my presentations?”

Decisions are made on feelings about facts, not on facts themselves.Quotations offer a kind of social proof to support the claims you make in your talk. The well-known people who said each quote make your message more credible. And in boardroom-style presentations in business, well-chosen quotes make your talk stand out and look more professional because so few business presenters use them.

(Naturally, choose a quote by someone who’ll enhance or at least maintain your talk’s credibility. For instance, if you’re speaking to businesspeople, you might quote Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.) Continue reading