Presenting? Don’t shy away from your Q&A – part 2 [Video]

Close-up of Monopoly game board showing a large question mark and the word "Chance"What do you think it is about answering audience questions that makes many speakers nervous?

I’d say it’s the unpredictability – and having to respond at a moment’s notice.

But, if you’ve read my last post, you’ll know I mentioned 3 steps you can use to help you master your Q&A, from the late Denise Graveline:
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Presenting? Don’t shy away from your Q&A – part 1 [Video]

Close-up of Monopoly game board showing a large question mark and the word "Chance"What’s your attitude to the Q&A session when you give a speech or presentation?

If you’re like most speakers, you likely feel a bit nervous about giving your talk, but more nervous about taking questions!

After all, if you think of questions negatively, they can seem like tests. And the people asking them can seem to be doubting your expertise.

So, you might fear scenarios like these:

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Grab ’em when you present – 2 quick tricks for you, by Marcus Sheridan @TheSalesLion [Video]

Close-up of falcon's talonsWhen you’re presenting, how do you keep your audience engaged? What do you do, exactly?

Here’s one of the best ways to engage people – yet it’s one of the most human, too, so it’s among the simplest:

Make your talk conversational.

You might still wonder how you should do that though.

So (as explained in more detail in that link), I like to split the process into 3 levels:

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How to nail your talk in the first 30 secs, by @KindraMHall [Video]

Boy reading by torchlight under bed coversWhat is it about public speaking that you’d be most likely to search for on the internet? You might be surprised which of my posts gets the most search traffic

The most popular post on this blog – by far – is the one on awesome opening lines. And almost 60 people have commented on it, too. So it’s definitely a hot topic for public speakers.

But if you go looking for an opening line for your talk, I think you’re taking the wrong approach.

Why do I say that? Well, the combination of your audience and your topic are unique. So, if you search the internet for an opening line, you’re very unlikely to find a good fit for your specific talk.

What should you do, then? You’ll find one great answer in this 3-minute video by Kindra Hall.

Kindra reveals:
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Speaking on a panel? 3 tips from @DeckerBen [Video]

If you’re invited to speak on a panel, you’ll want to make the most of your preparation (and your time on stage). So to help you prepare, and then take part effectively, here’s a handy 2-minute video.

In it, you’ll find 3 tips from Ben Decker, CEO of Decker Communications. And below the video, you’ll find many ideas and links to expand on Ben’s tips:

Ben starts with a neat point about the context of panel discussions:

“It can be such a great honour
to be invited to be a part of a panel.

People want to hear
your… expertise
– your opinions
…”
Ben Decker

So, especially if you’re nervous, keep in mind that people value your insights.

Ben then shares his action-based tips for speaking on a panel:

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Why use diagrams on your slides, not bullets? [Video]

Person sketching charts and diagramsHow much do you (or your colleagues) use bullet points on your slides?

Want to change that?

If so, I’ve a great resource for you. It’s a fascinating video by a design agency called M62 Vincis, showing how you can use very simple diagrams in place of bullet points.

Below, check out the 8-minute video, presented by their CEO, Nicci Take (formerly known as Nicholas Oulton).

It shows an example of how to transform a typical bullet-based slide into a simple diagram. And as Nicci shows, diagrams are far more engaging, memorable and effective than bullet points:
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Make your slide explain “So what?” – Secret #13 of star presenters, by Jean-Luc Doumont [Video]

Check out this 1-minute video clip (from a 1-hour talk) by Jean-Luc Doumont. In the clip, the speaker critiques a shot of a sample slide (which is the white area on his own grey slide).

As you’ll see, the sample slide contains just its title and a simple chart:

Did you see how the sample slide’s title makes a classic (and very common) mistake? Namely, it simply “parrots” what’s on the slide, saying:

Evolution of the number of candidates 1989-2012

And sure enough, the chart on the slide offers no surprises: It’s a line graph labelled “Number of candidates” – with an x-axis from 1989 to 2012.

As the slide offers no surprises, and no insights, it’s of no interest to the audience. So, they’ll be turned off by it, and they’ll tune out.

Don’t make that mistake with your slides!

Don’t make that mistake with your slides!

As Jean-Luc pointedly asks:

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3 quick tips for better slides, by @NancyDuarte [Video]

Pad of unused, vividly coloured sticky notesIf you’d like 3 quick tips for making better slide presentations, here’s a 2-minute video inspired by Nancy Duarte, and made by HBR (Harvard Business Review):

See the video

The 3 tips are:

  1. Outline your deck on sticky notes first [0:30].
  2. Use diagrams to replace bullets [1:22].
  3. Reduce animation [2:00].

And those tips give you these benefits:
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7 tips for speaking 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 camera? 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]

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?
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