Secret #6 of star presenters: 3 great benefits of pausing (by Keith Bailey of @DeckerComm)

pauseRight now, why not take a moment to vividly imagine achieving these 3 outcomes whenever you present?

  • Feeling relaxed.
  • Influencing people more.
  • Delighting your audience.

Those 3 are the Holy Grail of public speaking! No doubt you’d be glad to achieve any 1 of them, so to get all 3 would be bliss.

Well according to Keith Bailey of Decker Communications, you can achieve all 3 of those outcomes simply by pausing effectively.

In fact, in a quote of just 15 words, Keith encapsulates not only those 3 outcomes but also how simply (though not easily) you can achieve them:
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12+ ways to be remembered when you present (FiRST framework – part 3)

Does your talk’s goal involve your audience taking action afterwards? I hope so, because only by people acting on your talk can it be truly effective.

To act though, your audience needs to remember afterwards:

  • What they should do
  • Why they should do it – that is, how important it is to them.

This post helps you make those 2 aspects of your presentation vividly memorable. And if you happen to have read the overview of the FiRST framework (of which this is part 3), you’ll already know about the acronym “SMS”, which represents the 3 types of tips in this post.

Here, SMS stands for:
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What’s the best webinar polling question ever? Maybe this…

Woman on ComputerIn a webinar, what’s the best poll question you’ve ever heard? I just thought of a doozy, I reckon, yet I’ve never heard a presenter ask it. (It’s only “6½” words long, too!)

More on that shortly. But first, why not think for a moment about what might make a good poll question?
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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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Picture your talk as a shape… Now, what shape do you see?

Imagine sketching your talk as a simple shape on a piece of paper.
What would you draw?

If yours is like most talks, you can think of it as an arrow, pointing between your introduction and your conclusion:
speech geometry - arrow annotated

That’s what blogger John Zimmer wrote in this great post.

Certainly, the arrow metaphor fits well with the description you sometimes hear of speeches as “taking your audience from point A to point B”. (Presentation experts like Jerry Weissman often use that phrase.)

Is there a better shape?

But John Zimmer goes on to suggest a better shape for your talk
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Quiz: How many words should you put on your slide, and WHY?

How many words (at most) should you put on a slide? It’s a common (and reasonable) question. But depending on who you ask, the answer you get can vary hugely.

Here are 4 typical answers:

  1. As many words as you want
  2. Up to 36 words (6×6 words)
  3. Around 15 words
  4. At most 6 words (as Seth Godin suggests, which I wrote about last month)

Before you read on, what do you think is the best answer – and why?
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Secret #3 of star presenters: @NakedPresenting on preparing

Woman's FeetAsk yourself, honestly: How long will you spend preparing your next presentation? It can be a long process of course. Yet, it’s likely you’ll often get distracted by your other work and not get to spend the time your talk needs. Or your slides may become so vital to your talk – or so detailed – that you spend nearly all your available prep time grooming them.

So with that in mind, consider this quote from Emma Sutton (@NakedPresenting on Twitter), who’s a presentation coach and blogger in the UK: Continue reading

Do you make this #1 mistake when you present online?

no polls!What’s your most precious resource? Think about it for a second.

Don’t spend long though, because I’d say:

The answer’s your time!

It’s precious because it’s a finite resource for which competition is fiercer than ever.

No prizes, then, for guessing what your audience’s most precious resource is. Yup, they’re time-hungry too, just like you and me.

So what’s the number-1 mistake presenters make, especially online? Continue reading

When you speak, how often and how long should you pause? Best answer: “Try 1-2-3”

pause when presenting 1-2-3You might have heard public-speaking experts recommend pausing when you’re presenting. But how often – and for how long – should you pause during your talk? 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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