Tag Archives: Presentation

The EYES Have It!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having spent a couple of hours walking around the National Gallery of Ireland, I found myself in the hall of portraits. This is a collection of paintings of famous Irish people, both living and dead, by famous Irish artists, also both living and dead.

My observation was that the paintings that connected with me and engaged with me were the ones that I felt the subject of the painting was watching me and looking straight back at me.

I was there as part of my commitment to give some time to art and creativity, one of the requirements when signing up to the Artist’s Way Program with my good friend Eve Earley.

My time in the gallery was both relaxing and stimulating, and got me thinking about the importance of eye contact in both our personal and public lives.

A wet fish handshake is not nice, but not looking at someone when having a conversation with them is a much bigger sin.

Let me tell you why you should look at people when having a conversation with them, be it one, five or hundred in your audience.

Eye contact says, I am interested in you and your ideas. Letting me know what’s important  and allowing a judgement to be made by  observing your body language, gestures, smile, frown, etc.

Most importantly when you take the focus off yourself and put the emphasis on your audience, it immediately reduces your stress levels and helps you to be a more effective communicator.

TIP:  Advice I always give to people I coach is, mingle with your audience 10 to 15 minutes before you are due to speak. Chat and have a coffee with 2/3 people, it will relax both you and them.  You can take this interaction to another level by mentioning them by name during your talk, e.g., “As John was saying earlier …”

For information on my next Presentation Skills Programme click here

You can choose to style yourself on Bob Dylan or Van Morrison and not engage with your audience or, as I would prefer, pay money to see Bruce Springsteen or Coldplay.

Most of us do not have the talent of any of these four artists, but we can engage with an audience, making the conversation more interesting for all parties concerned.

The purpose of a presentation or pitch is for your ideas to stick in the memory of your listener.

Recently, some minutes after six companies had pitched for investment, the adjudicators (me included) had completely forgotten 50% of the pitches; we could not even remember the companies’ names without prompting.

Make eye contact and this will improve your chances of being remembered.

P.S. This means no notes or very few!

My job is to help presenters’ ideas to stick/stand out so they will win sales and investment.

For information on my next Presentation Skills Programme click here

Why are you nervous in front of some audiences?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why are you nervous in front of some audiences and not in front of others?

Regularly, I coach senior executives who are at the top of their game and leading major organisations with great success.

Yet, when I tell them what I do, they are all ears.

Why is this?

They tell me they can present on occasions without the slightest concern and feel they are comfortable and in charge, yet on other occasions their heart pumps out of their chest.

The reason for this is quite simple; the audience has changed.

With some audiences, they are in charge and not being evaluated by their peers, or are not concerned if they are.

On other occasions, there is some person or group who they feel they need to impress and prove themselves to all over again.

This person now has several options:

  • Rely on the presentation that they always do, and if they are honest with themselves, have probably lost enthusiasm for.
  • Add more slides and videos hoping to take the emphasis off themselves. Not a good idea as you are giving away your power and the video may not play on the day; this happens more often than you may think.
  • Delegate all or part of the talk to somebody else, it’s always good to share opportunities with your team, but it must be for the right reasons.
  • Ideally, with the support of a good coach, create a talk for this audience and no other.

 “There are only two types of speakers in the world: the nervous and the liars” – Mark Twain

CLICK HERE TO FIND INFORMATION ON MY NEXT OPEN PRESENTATION PROGRAMME.

Now we are back to the first question that needs to be answered – who is the one person in the audience that must hear your message; will that message be of benefit to them? (make them better?)

In any business audience, there is usually one key influencer and if he/she gets your message, others will also pay attention.

Here are the questions you have to answer in preparation for your next presentation:

  • Who is the audience, be specific; write down a name: ________________
  • How as a result of listening to you and taking your advice will this person be better?

You must answer this question clearly and succinctly (this is your take-home message).

Remember one of Stephen Covey’s habits of highly effective people is “Start with the end in mind.”

What you usually see, when asked to review organisations slide presentations, is a final slide with a list of bullet points about what the presenter hopes are the reasons for you going with his/her proposal.

This, I believe, is not what the audience wants.

They want to be told very specifically in a sentence or two why they should take your advice. Ideally this message should be supported by an image that visualises the benefit you bring to the table.

The analogy I often use for explaining this to a client or an audience is as follows:

How often have you felt deflated, believed you had wasted hours of your valuable time watching a TV show or reading a book only to find it has a most disappointing end?

Great movie directors and writers know how the film or book is going to end before they roll a camera or write a chapter.

So should you!  (A good coach can speed up this process.)

CLICK HERE TO FIND INFORMATION ON MY NEXT OPEN PRESENTATION PROGRAMME.

Your Boss asks YOU to Present – Opportunity or Threat?

Recently I have met several people who have been given the opportunity to present on behalf of their boss, who was not available for some reason.

This opportunity can be viewed in several ways –

  • They are genuinely not available and need you to stand in for them.
  • They wish to provide you with an opportunity to grow and develop skills in this area.
  • They wish to test you in a pressurised situation.

You should view this situation as an opportunity to stretch, practice new skills and put yourself in the shop window for future opportunities and promotion.

“Good speakers impress, great speakers influence behaviour”
Mark Sandbourne, NSA President, 2004

What do you need to do to prepare?

Here are the basic pieces of information you need to know in order to prepare well:

  • Who is the audience and who in particular do you need to impress/influence?
  • What is the purpose of the presentation?

To inform the mind:

Impart some technical information regarding new software, company finances, health and safety issues etc. which will inform your audience leading to greater understanding.

Touch the heart:

Help your audience to emotionally attach to your suggestion/proposal.  Facts inform the mind, emotional attachment gets them to act.

Change the will:

Most presentations in some way or another are about getting people to change to your way of thinking. The businesses that change, evolve, innovate are the one that survive and thrive.

“Change is the law of life.
And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future”

John F Kennedy

If your wish is to be a successful leader you need to develop presentation skills!

An ability to communicate well is critical if people are to understand and buy into your message.

Do you need some advice, or do you know people who need to develop this skill?

Please share my article with them.

Presentation Tips from 3 American Presidents

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What is the biggest mistake speakers make when preparing/delivering presentations?

Answer:  They say too much!

I will use three former US Presidents; Obama, Clinton and Reagan as examples of really engaging speakers.

In all their election campaigns they had one clear message.
(Enough said about this year’s candidates).

In the case of Clinton every talk was about the economy, no side issues or distractions; the economy was his key focus.
(It’s about the economy – stupid! – James Carville’s advice to Clinton).

In the case of Obama, it was about change. ‘Yes we can!’
(Do you look back with fond memories on the hope this campaign generated?)

My final example is President Reagan, also regarded as an engaging speaker.
Ronald Reagan’s message in all his campaign talks was: “Before you vote, ask yourself have you more or less money in your pocket now than you had four years ago”?

These examples demonstrate the importance of a single powerful message.

Tip:

My advice is to simplify your story and allow all the audience to easily understand the core of your message.

If you need help doing this, please get in contact; opportunities to get in front of the right audiences are hard and expensive to come by, do not waste any more opportunities.

How Steve Jobs liked to Pitch & Present his ideas/products

stevejobs

 

 

 

 

Like many people, you will receive presents of books this Christmas. I would suggest you drop a hint for the Steve Jobs Book by Walter Isaacson.

I received a present of this book a couple of Christmases ago. My first thought was, look at the thickness of the book and do I want to spend my Christmas reading this? In early February I picked the book up again and started to read it.

I like to read books with a highlighter in hand; this allows me to review the book quickly and remember important messages and ideas that may be valuable in the future.

On reviewing the book, I realised that a lot of my highlighted ideas were to do with how Steve Jobs and Apple like to pitch and present their ideas/products.

Here are a few pointers which you may find helpful:

APPLE’S DESIGN MANTRA

Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication

This also applies to the presentation of ideas. I spend a lot of my time encouraging presenters to reduce and simplify the content of their presentations.

STEVE JOBS ON POWERPOINT

I want them to engage, to hash things out at the table, rather than show a bunch of slides. “People who know what they’re talking about don’t need Power Point”.

 

I recently helped a Chief Executive reduce the number of slides for an important pitch from 30 slides to less than 10 – and he won the business!

Mike Markkula, an early mentor, taught Jobs to understand that people do judge a book by its cover- and therefore to make sure that all the trappings and packaging of Apple signaled that there was a beautiful gem inside.

How is your pitch/presentation package, is it as innovative as your product, or more likely a series of bullet points on a slide?

Alex Haley once said that the best way to begin a speech is “Let me tell you a story”. Nobody is eager for a lecture, but everybody loves a story. That was the approach that Jobs chose. “Today I want to tell you three stories from my life”, he began. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

There is nobody better in the world at telling stories than the Irish; it’s in our DNA.

I give people confidence to tell stories in a business situation; give me a call if you need to win more business.