Archive for the ‘Presentation Skills’ Category

Facing your fear

June 17, 2008

Today I read a great post from The Henderson Group on “Public Speaking and the Value of freaking out” so thought I would share it with you.  Everyone has a “freak out point” it’s part of growing and learning and it should be something that we embrace and enjoy because it means that you are experiencing something new.

As we stretch ourselves, we stretch our comfort zone.

Hope you enjoy this article as much as I did.

Keep Speaking – Carrol


3D Holographic Public Speaking

June 3, 2008

In May, Telstra chief technology officer Dr Hugh Bradlow made a presentation in Adelaide from Melbourne.  3D Hologram technology is now a reality, so having great non-verbal body language will become very important as this technology progresses.

This technolgy will make a big difference in corporate meetings and presentations.

If you’re in Australia and unable to attend a conference in the USA, you could view the conference through this new technology. This will open up the possibilty of seeing speakers and presenters that you normally wouldn’t have access too.

Perhaps all presentations will be given in this format in the future!

Read the article below,25642,23762267-5014111,00.html

Keep speaking – Carrol


30 Million Powerpoint presentations!!

April 25, 2008


Did you know it’s estimated that over 30 million powerpoint presentations are delivered daily around the world???

What an attention grabber!

Recently I attended a workshop by Bill Farman, a fellow Toastmaster, and this was one of the stats that he used to capture our attention. This made me sit up and listen to the information that Bill was going to share with us on powerpoint.  

Today, I’d like to share with you some of the nuggets of information that Bill talked about, to help ensure that if you are using powerpoint, you’re using it differently to the majority.

  1. We like to place a lot of facts on our powerpoint presentations because facts make us look smart
  2. Think of powerpoint as a story, have images not facts
  3. The details of your presentation should be in your handouts not on the slide
  4. Don’t use clip art – overdone on so many levels
  5. Make your own images, very easy to do with todays technology
  6. Don’t use 3D images
  7. Have lots of white space
  8. Use a remote control for powerpoint presentations
  9. Keep the lights on while you’re giving your powerpoint presentation so that people can see YOU
  10. Put you logo on the first and last slide, not on every slide

If there are 30 Million powerpoint presentations being given on a daily basis, makes you wonder how many are wasted opportunitites to get it right!

Keep speaking – Carrol


March 20, 2008

If I asked you what glossophobia is, would you be able to tell me?

I can tell you that it’s not the fear of wearing lip gloss but the fear of speaking in public.

75% of  people claim that they would rather die than speak in public. I think if I gave people the option of “the electric chair” or “the microphone”, most people would choose the microphone.

So why do we have this fear?

Most of the time the fear is not about speaking but about the judgements from others.

  • What if I make a fool of myself?
  • What if I forget what I am talking about?
  • What if everyone can see how nervous I am?
  • What if things go wrong?

The best way to overcome your fear is to write down all of your concerns and then write down what is the worst possible outcome.

So for example: if you wrote down – what if I forget what I am going to say – the worst thing that could happen is that you would have to refer to your notes, find your place and then you could continue with your speech.

Once you have written down your concerns and the worst possible outcomes, you’ll see that things aren’t as bad as you first thought. Sometimes we need to push our own personal boundaries and stretch ourselves in new and interesting directions.

As Susan Jeffers wrote “feel the fear and do it anyway”


March 17, 2008

We all know that first impressions are important, if you are the speaker, being introduced properly is vitally important.

The introduction that the emcee gives about you  can create a great first impression or leave people wondering why they are sitting there.

Ensure that you have your introduction prepared in advance so that the emcee doesn’t have to wing it on the day.

A proper introduction should be less than a minute and include the following:

  • Topic – What the speech is about – grab the audiences attention.
  • Importance – Why this topic is important to the audience and how they will benefit by listening – peak their interest.
  • Speaker – Who you are and why you are qualified to speak on this subject – have something personal about yourself as well, this helps the audience to connect with you as the speaker.

Having a well written introduction will make you look like a professional speaker and will go a long way to making that great first impression.

Metaphor Magic

March 10, 2008

 Metaphors in speeches are said to be Magical.

Using metaphors in your speech can help to lead your audience to an idea or conclusion they may not have thought about before.

Metaphors can be used to:

  1. Offer a broader perspective on a situation
  2. Lead your audience to a solution for a problem
  3. Leave them with a lesson

Metaphors allow you to compare two seemingly unrelated objects to get your message across. If you as the speaker just told your audience how to solve their problems, you could come across some resistance or road blocks, using the magical metaphor allows for that “aha” moment without the resistance.

Gary Bencivenga’s has some great examples on metaphors

Barriers to communication

February 28, 2008

There are many barriers to communication which will stop people from understanding and relating to your presentation, below I have listed just a few of the main ones.

  1. Boring presentation – Your presentation may bore your audience if you haven’t taken the time to understood your audiences needs and expectations.
  2. Using Long Words – Dont use long words, people will switch off if they find the language you are using difficult to understand.
  3. Jargon – If you are going to use jargon make sure you explain the meaning so that everyone understands what you are talking about and they don’t feel left out.
  4. How you express yourself – be careful how you say things as this can affect the meaning and understanding of what you are saying
  5. Agenda – Make sure everyone understands what the presentation is about, you can do this in your introduction.

Think about what barriers you may be putting up in your presentations.

The eyes are the windows to the soul

February 22, 2008

Eye contact is very important when you are presenting. I have heard some people say that if you are nervous, you should concentrate on a spot at the back of the room, just over people’s shoulders and they will never know the difference.

Personally I don’t believe in this strategy as I believe people can tell the difference.

When you are speaking to a friend or colleague do you look over their shoulder at a spot on the wall? ……………….No, you look them in the eye when you are talking to them, unless you are telling a lie.

Eye contact is vital as people will read your attitude and thoughts through your eyes. Looking people in the eye gives you a personal connection with them and when you are presenting you want people to listen and believe what you are saying.

A nervous presenter will avoid making eye contact and this is why people won’t believe them. When you are making your presentation, try talking to one person at a time and make eye contact with them for a couple of seconds, make a connection with them and then move onto another person and make a connection with them.

To build good rapport with your audience you need to make eye contact.

Sorry – Reinforced 3 times

February 18, 2008

Last week Australia reached a monumental time in history with Kevin Rudd saying sorry to the stolen generation. (In the early 1900’s Aboriginal children were taken from their parents and communities by the government).

There has been some discussion as to why Kevin Rudd said sorry three times.

Once for the removal of the children and the pain and suffering it caused

Once to the mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters for the removal of the children

Once for the indignity and degredation that was caused.

When we look at public speaking and how to get your message across we always talk about reinforcing your message at least 3 times.

Why 3?………………… because the subconcious mind won’t take in new information until it has heard it at least 3 times.

Reinforcing your message is very important if you want people to believe what you are saying and have them retain it’s meaning.

Do you reinforce your message?

The long walk to centre stage

February 13, 2008

Non-verbal behaviour is know as body language. As speakers our body language can give away our true thoughts and feelings without us even realising it. Take for instance those few seconds between getting up from your seat and walking to the lecturn or podium. For some, this walk seems to last forever, for others the time disappears in the blink of an eye.

How we walk to the lecturn will speak volumes about our confidence. If you slowly stand up, start double checking that you have everything with you, fussing with your notes or gulping down water before you even get to the stage, your audience is going to assume that you are nervous and lack confidence, and may start to tune out before you’ve even uttered your first word.

If on the other hand, you stand up confidently, knowing that you have everything you need with you and walk directly (not rushing) to the speaking area, your audience will assume that you are a confident speaker and are more likely to listen to what you have to say.

Once at the lecturn place your notes down if you are using notes, pause for a moment, smile, step away from the lecturn and commence your presentation.

Try not to use the lecturn as a shield or barrier, if people can read your body language they will become more engaged in your presentation.