Here’s one of the most powerful techniques you can use in your talks:
Speak in threes.
Speak in threes.
Speak in threes.
In fact it’s so effective, I urge you to reserve its full power for your talk’s main point. (Otherwise, you risk people remembering the wrong part of your message!)
Let’s look at a real-life example…
Let’s look at a real-life example of how you might speak in threes: Imagine you’re the captain of a cruise ship with about 4000 people onboard, and almost 200 of your passengers and crew catch gastroenteritis. In your daily loudspeaker announcements to the whole ship, how might you speak in threes to promote hygiene and help contain the outbreak?
You’ve likely heard it said that opening your talk with a startling statistic helps to grab people’s attention. But what exactly does that technique look and sound like?
In this post, you’ll see 3 clear examples on video, and I’ll discuss key takeaways from each. So you’ll come away with solid tips you can use in your own talks.
Ultimately, I hope these examples inspire you to use some startling statistics yourself.
Think back: How many of the webinars you’ve attended were worth your time?
Sadly, I find they’re often time- wasters, and I’m sure many people agree. (If you have a strong opinion either way, please say so.)
So, to stand out from your competition, here are 9 tips to help you rock at webinars! (Each tip’s marked as being easy, medium, or hard, so you can choose the ones that suit your current skills.)
Do you ever wonder which is the best font to use on your slides? If so, I’ve a simple answer for you:
Pick a font your
audience won’t notice.
(That is, unless you happen to be presenting to “arty types” – like graphic designers. In that case, pick a font your audience approves of. More on that shortly.)
You can use this pair of audience activities or interactions to “bookend” your training:
- The 1st is a superb addition to your session’s opening.
- The 2nd is an engaging way to get feedback at the end.
Interaction #1: Let the “attenders” set the agenda(*)
Have you ever seen a trainer do something that stayed with you for decades?
More than 20 years ago, way back in the 20th century, I saw a trainer use such an awesome technique that I’m still talking about it now – in the next millennium! So before I start to feel too old, let me share it with you.
Ever had to give your presentation in a much shorter timeslot than you’d planned? You know – like when one or more of the speakers before you at a conference or workshop runs over time, and the organisers want to start getting things back on track.
Recently, Rob Beisenbach wrote a great post about that, which inspired me to tell you about a rarely-used PowerPoint feature that can help you out in situations like that.
I owe you and other readers here a huge…
Thank you for your part in taking this blog to over 200,000 page views, which happened just now.
When I started Remote Possibilities in November 2011, I never dreamed it’d clock up that many views over time. It’s also amazing to me that I’ve been blogging for 3½ years now.
After all, over those same years, it’s sobering to realise how many great public-speaking blogs have ground to a halt, like all these:
If you’re like me, you won’t believe that anyone can be a better public speaker instantly. It takes repeated practice – often for years!
At least, I used to think that. But then I read a short post by Jon Acuff, and I saw that it is possible – in one sense – to be instantly better at speaking.
The instant that Jon’s talking about is the moment when you say your opening line. As he notes in this pithy quote:
“The beginning seals the deal
or ruins everything”
Here’s a tip you might like, because it’s used by elite professional speakers. Three points about the tip are that it’s:
- Yet surprisingly effective!
Let me show you how it works…
In your talk, suppose you’re discussing the passage of time, or the steps in a process, or items in a list. At times like those, you might often gesture with a sideways movement of one or both arms (or hands, or with your whole body – depending on factors like the size of the room, how much emphasis you want to add, and so on).
If you don’t think about what you’re doing – and you don’t practise on video beforehand – you’ll likely gesture from your left to right, because that’s what feels natural to you.
Take a look at this 5-second example to see what that type of gesture looks like:
Note: If you’d like to replay the clip, please use this link to open it on another tab, because when embedded in a blog post, YouTube doesn’t support replaying a clip from the same point. (Or, you can press F5 to refresh the page, and then click the video below again.)
Short of time? Skip to the critique itself
Have you seen Allan Pease’s great TEDx talk? It’s called:
“Body language – the power is in the palm of your hands.”
As you too might feel (if you watch it, below), I found it enthralling for 2 reasons:
- The topic’s fascinating: How you routinely use your hands has strong yet subconscious effects on your dealings with other people, and even on your own feelings.
- Allan delivered the talk in a highly engaging way, with passion, humour, and audience involvement too.
You’ll find specific tips on how you can avoid some of its weaker aspects
In this post, you’ll find some of the talk’s best points picked out, plus specific tips on how you can avoid some of its weaker aspects in your own talks. In particular, parts of the talk’s opening and closing could have been stronger, so that’s where I’ll focus.
You might like to watch the talk here. Or, you can click the links later in the post to watch key parts of it.