Thanks for your continued support, reading & commenting on this blog.
In just the last 18 months, you and thousands of other people from over 200 territories have viewed my posts 300,000 times.
So with your help, today Remote Possibilities reached what I think are some rather momentous milestones:
||Total page views
||Age this month
||Number of comments
Plenty of fives there, and I like the way they sound!
Again, thank you so much for your support, and I look forward to reaching many more milestones in the months and years ahead.
Have you ever stood in front of an audience and felt so nervous that you couldn’t remember what you wanted to say?
I’m sure you’ve been nervous about speaking in public
I bet you can relate to that feeling, and even if you’ve never felt exactly that way, I’m sure you’ve been nervous about speaking in public. (I have, for sure!)
Because so many people can relate to that question, and it’s emotionally charged, it’d make a great opening line for a talk on public speaking.
In fact, it is the opening line for the 3½-minute Toastmasters video below. At least, you could say it’s the opening line – or you might argue it’s not.
More on that shortly, but 1st, why not watch the video and make up your own mind?
Do you record videos of your talks, presentations or demos? Videos can be a great way to spread your message, while building your credibility and experience.
The 6 tips in this post should save you lots of time, because I’ve refined them over about the last 5 years. (And my most popular YouTube video currently has about 120,000 views and 130+ likes.)
You can use the tips (as I have, too) for all these types of videos, and more:
- Slides being presented by a speaker
- Someone talking directly to camera – often called a talking head
- Demos of how to do something (like use software) – often called explainer videos
The names of the 6 tips form an acronym (“ASPECT”) which I hope’ll help you to recall the tips, and also to be systematic when you approach your video-based projects.
If you’d like to jump straight to any of the 6 tips, you can click these links:
During your professional life, you’ve no doubt seen more slides with bullet lists on them than any other type of slide. The problem is, so have your audiences, too.
You can’t inspire a disengaged audience…
Because audiences see wordy bullet lists a lot, they’re disengaged by them instantly. And, despite your best efforts, you can’t inspire a disengaged audience to act on what you say!
So how can you use fewer bullet lists? Let’s work through an example to see what you could do instead, using this bullet-filled slide as a starting point:
This is what the slide will look like when you finish the makeover:
And here are the 5 steps you can use to complete that overhaul:
How many of your slides serve double duty? Let’s look at an example of what I mean…
Suppose you have a slide with several contact numbers and email addresses on it, like the one shown below:
Slides like that serve double duty because they’re both:
- Part of your slideshow during your talk
- Used for reference afterwards, because people won’t remember all the details
If people won’t remember what a slide says, why show it?
My question is, if people won’t remember what a slide says, why show it during your presentation at all? That needlessly burdens your audience, who don’t know what you expect them to remember (or what details you might give them a copy of).
By all means, include details like that in a handout for people to refer to later. But don’t overwhelm your audience with details during your talk.
Many presenters give their audience a copy of their slides to look at afterwards – in effect using their deck as their handout. But unless you’re careful, using your slide deck as your handout has 2 big problems:
Does this age-old advice about presenting sound familiar?
- Tell people what you’re going to tell them.
- Tell them.
- Tell them what you told them.
You’ve probably heard that advice before (and you might well follow it, too). It basically says:
“Start your presentation with an agenda,
and end with a summary slide” [Doubtful advice]
I’ve used that format myself many times. But the more I thought and read about it, the more I realised it tends to bore listeners, for 4 reasons:
When you’re preparing a speech or presentation, do you ask yourself specific questions to help you build your talk?
For instance, you might ask yourself:
“What do I want my audience to do as a result of my talk?”
Questions like that one – being based on your audience – are much more helpful than focusing on your topic itself. They help you frame your content from your listeners’ viewpoint. So when you give your talk, people are far more likely to:
- Listen to what you say in the first place.
- Make the effort to properly consider it.
- Accept it.
One of the best sets of speech-planning questions I’ve ever seen was shared by speaking-coach Christopher Witt. It consists of just 4 questions, the 1st being what you want your audience to do, and the last being:
Of the countless presentations you’ve likely heard, how many have really made you listen? Often, they can sound and look a lot like all the rest. That’s why, if you’re like me, they tend to leave you cold.
So when you present, you risk seeming just like all the other presenters. In which case, people can start to tune out – fast! That is, unless you start strong.
What’s the best way to start strong? Involve people emotionally! To do that, mention their hopes or fears surrounding your topic – while still being professional of course. That engages your audience because they’re drawn in at a gut level. And, it’s so different from the norm!
“We need audiences to feel first, and then to think.”
– Helio Fred Garcia
Mention their hopes or fears…
I recommend 3 neat ways you can start strong when you present. Choose any 1 of them to open your talk:
In part 1 – Use the PACE approach – I showed how you can start to engage an audience before you even speak. To do that, you can make your talk’s title meet these 4 criteria, so it’s:
- P Personal
- A Actionable
- C Conversational
- E Emotional
In this post, you’ll see how to make your whole talk personal – to keep people engaged.
By that I mean using your content to connect with each person in your audience. As people are generally most interested in themselves, one of the best ways you can connect with your audience is to show clearly that you’re focused on them. After you do that, another great way to connect with and therefore engage people is to use genuine emotion.
So, how can you do those things to make your whole talk personal? Well for a start, try these 4 tips, which are arranged roughly from most to least audience-centred:
To find public-speaking wisdom, do you go to specific blogs? I certainly do. In fact, 3 years ago, I published a list of 6 of the world’s best.
But a lot’s changed in 3 years, and some of the blogs on my original list have gone belly-up. (In fact, you can still access most of those, but they don’t publish anything new.)
So I thought you might appreciate a fresh list.
Mind you, given that I’ve also listed 10 extinct public-speaking blogs, it’s not easy to find contenders.