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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Care less about feedback – Secret #10 of star presenters, by @JoshShipp [Video]

How much do you take notice of audience feedback? Positive feedback feels great, but on the other hand, negative feedback can sting!

In this 1-minute video, professional speaker Josh Shipp shares some neat advice on how to shape your attitude to feedback:

I loved several things about Josh’s video – especially the quotes below:
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WebEx Training Centre – insider tips and lessons learnt

In this post, you’ll see the tips I found helpful (and the lessons I learnt) when hosting a series of internal training webinars in WebEx Training Centre. If you apply these tips and lessons, you should find it easier to host smooth events yourself (in WebEx or a similar system, like Adobe Connect).

You can click any of these links to jump straight to the relevant section of this post:
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Toastmasters say “Don’t thank your audience”, I say “Why not?

You might’ve heard some people (especially members of Toastmasters) say not to thank your audience at the end of your talk.

But you’re less likely to have heard any reason for that advice. So in this post, you’ll find these 4 topics to address that issue, and to help you with your speaking:

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Should you tell a deeply personal story? 3 ways to help you decide, from @KindraMHall [Video]

How do you decide whether to tell a deeply personal story in public, such as at work?

In this 4-minute video, Kindra Hall gives you 3 ways to help you choose whether (and how) to share a tricky story like that:

Recently, I came across Kindra’s work online, and I love it! She shares some great advice, and the topic she’s passionate about is storytelling.

In this video, her 3 main points are:
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PowerPoint’s super-shortcuts – how many are you missing?

Here’s a quick quiz for you

Do you know how to do these tasks in PowerPoint with just a few keystrokes:

Well, read on to find out, and see how other neat PowerPoint shortcuts can help you.
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Create your last slide first – Secret #9 of star presenters, by Jim Endicott [Video]

When you build a deck of presentation slides, how do you keep on track? If you’re like me, I’m sure you’ve sometimes felt pressure (from yourself or some-one else) to include more and more content.

You know, like:

  • Background on your topic, even though most of your audience doesn’t care (or already knows it)
  • Existing slides on your topic, but which were made for a different purpose

Here’s one great tip that’ll help you resist pressures like those, and it comes in just a
20-second video clip from experienced speaking-coach Jim Endicott:

As Jim suggests:
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Stories aren’t the whole story – Use MOIST acronyms in your talks!

cobweb-1576296_640What do TED talks, the president of the United States, and the key message in the book Made to Stick have in common?

Simply this – they’re all known by acronyms:

  • TED for Technology, Entertainment, Design
  • POTUS for President Of The United States
  • SUCCES from Made to Stick.

You might be wondering what that has to do with your talk or presentation. Well, coining your own acronym can help you neatly and compellingly convey your core message or call-to-action.

That’s what I often do with my own content, using acronyms like FiRST, Aim, or PACE. And as you can tell from me citing 3 examples that I’ve coined, I love acronyms!

I’m not the only one, either. Near the end of this post, I list acronyms used by many other speaking-coaches, including:

  • Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen and other books on presenting
  • Craig Valentine, former World Champion of Public Speaking
  • Ellen Finkelstein, Microsoft PowerPoint MVP

An acronym can be great for you and your audience

So let me try to convince you why an acronym can be great for you and your audience. (That is, provided you apply your acronym strategically to a vital part of your talk, especially your core message or call-to-action.)
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