Presenting tips

Impact on voice

How to double your impact when presenting… halve your words and mind your voice!

Just recently I had a severe cold and sore throat.  It really hurt to talk – so I basically stopped talking for almost 2 days.
Torture for me.  A treat for my husband!
After 2 days, my throat was still painful so I was making a real effort to speak less.
This involved a lot of thumbs up, thumbs down, nodding, head shaking, and making of sad faces … a lot of sad faces 🙁 !  I was out to squeeze as much sympathy as I could out of these few days in the bed.
Thankfully, my issue with my voice recently was a temporary thing.  When I was back in the office, I did mention to any clients I was phoning, that I was just over a throat issue, so was minding my voice.  This got me a bit more sympathy 🙂 but also helped them understand why my phone calls were briefer than normal.
However, what if you have ongoing struggles with your voice?  Maybe you have to speak for an extraordinary number of hours every week?  Maybe you have a voice condition?  Below are some tips which can he...

Oscars 2018 – who wins the best speech award?

USA today described last night’s Oscars as a “relatively tame and predictable night”. Is that a fair description?
Maybe it was.
Maybe it wasn’t.
For me, I am always curious about the speeches.
Interestingly, in his monologue, Jimmy Kimmel referred to said upcoming speeches. He tried to encourage the winners to keep their speeches short, by promising a prize of a jet ski to the shortest speech.
So, I am sure Mark Bridges, who won the Costume Design Oscar for Phantom Thread, is whizzing in his brand new jet ski, somewhere off the coast of LA! He managed to get through his thank you’s in a mere 32 seconds.
But, the good thing about the lure of the jet ski prize, was that it gave several of the winners an opportunity to throw in a bit of humour early on in their speeches, by making throw back references to the infamous prize.
Overall, from what I can glean, the 2018 Oscars were nothing particularly special. In 2017, at least we had something to talk about, with the excitement...

Oscar acceptance speeches – and why Liam Neeson may be glad he never won!

The Oscars are just a day away. I’m sure the question on everyone’s’ lips is – Who will be the winners?
But there are others who are more interested in 2 other questions:
What will they wear?
What will they say?
Whatever about the outfits – of particular focus this year, will be how many will wear black, in support of the #MeToo campaign.
My particular fascination is with wondering what the winners will say. Will we have speeches along the line of Oprah’s one at The Golden Globes, delivered with eloquence and passion?
While I am not a major movie buff, I do watch with fascination as actors and actresses step to the stage as “themselves”. It is quite amazing how we assume that they are as confident playing “themselves”, as they seem to be in the roles they play.
But that is not always the case, and for some making a speech is something they really fear.
Take for example, Liam Neeson. Neeson has played really strong powerful roles, including Oskar Schindle...
Face to face communication

5 tips for your face to face communications – specifically presentations

In this age where most of us spend our working day communicating through emails and our personal time communicating via Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp and text  – how significant is face to face communication?
Well, according to a study at Harvard, face to face communication is 34 times more successful than an email.
That’s fairly significant, don’t you think?
So, when you are communicating to a group of people, be it to your team, the board, at a conference or in a pitch – you really want to make sure that you hit the mark.
The tips below focus on helping you with your delivery of the message.
1. Water, water but never milk!
Okay so, this is a bit random – but it is important!
Never drink milk before a presentation as it coats your vocal chords and impedes your vocal impact.  Sip water regularly (at least every 5 minutes) – if you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated.
Sipping water also allows you time to pause during your presentation, and if...
presentation pause

6 reasons why pausing makes you a better presenter

Really confident speakers pause… a lot! They tend to speak in shorter sentences, use less words and therefore have more impact.
Their silence speaks volumes.
Not so confident speakers tend to replace full stops with the word “and”.
They make a point – then, instead of pausing, they add the word “and” which results in them continuing to the next sentence, or point without so much as a whisper of a pause, and it reduces their impact and they find themselves speaking in long rambling sentences, much like this one and it is quite annoying and seriously reduces their impact.
Inserting a full stop, and a pause, has much more impact.
Martin Luther King’s, “I have a dream” averages at just 106 words per minute. You should aim to average no more than 120 words a minute, or 2 words a second, for real impact. Remember, this is an average, so it allows plenty of time for pausing.
When we write we use commas, semi-colons, full stops and even new paragraphs to...

Why you do not need to be a “Perfect” presenter

A piece of advice that many people I coach on presentations find reassuring is this – you don’t need to be perfect, it is much more important to be yourself. You do not need to take on a “presenting persona”. Your audience is much more interested in seeing the real you .
Don’t get me wrong – you still need to prepare, practice, research your audience, be clear on your message and deliver with impact. But there is absolutely no need whatsoever to go into “presenter mode”.
Below are just a few short tips on each of these 3 topics.
1. Prepare
Make sure you know what you want to achieve from the presentation.
Make sure you know what the audience are expecting to “get” from the presentation. Prepare your content to address both elements.
2. Practice
Ideally practice out loud in front of a real audience.  Preferably, find someone who will give you honest feedback. One way you can get this is, before you start your practice run, ask them to look out for 2 things they like...

Top tips to be more engaging in your business presentations

When you stand up and speak in a presentation, listeners will form an opinion of you, your product or service and your organisation, based on how you are coming across.  Come across as dull and boring – then that is the impression you leave them with of your organisation.  On the other hand, come across as engaging and they will be more likely to seek you out.
Below are our top 10 tips, which recently appeared in the Sunday Business Post, that can help you to be a more engaging presenter in your next business presentation.
1. What about “them”?  The most important element in any presentation is “them”, your audience.  Before you put pen to paper or finger to keyboard you need to find out all you can about them and what they want to get from your presentation.   The better you understand them, their attitude and their world, the better chance you have of engaging with them.
2. Begin with the end in mind.   What is the purpose of the presentation?  This should be cryst...

How to read a presentation without sending the audience to sleep!

We all know that we shouldn’t read a presentation or speech. It’s not ideal and you could end up disconnecting from your audience; it is better to deliver a presentation as a conversation.
However, sometimes for legal, policy or other reasons it is necessary to read verbatim.
The tips below have been selected from a longer list and mainly focus on the ones that enable you to maintain eye contact, which is arguably the principal challenge when reading a speech.
 
1. Type the speech on the upper 2/3 of the page. This will make eye contact easier as you have a shorter distance to raise your head.
 
2. Begin with first 2 pages side by side. As you reach the end of the first page slide the 2nd page on top of the first.  This prevents the paper from shuffling and becoming a distraction.
 
3. Pace your looking down and looking up. Always ensure that your eyes are up at the end of a sentence.
 
4. Avoid breaking sentences over pages.  This will allow you to ma...
PowerPoint presentation annoyances

PowerPoint Presentations: Top 3 things that annoy audiences most

According to a survey conducted in 2015 by Dave Paradi of Think Outside The Slide, the top 3 things that annoy audiences most about PowerPoint presentations are:
1.  Speaker reads the slides
2.  Full sentences instead of bullet points
3.  Text too small
If you look at these 3 reasons they all point to the same issue – lack of preparation by the speaker!
If the speaker knew their topic they would show a few key words on each slide, could therefore increase font size and would not need to read from the slides.
Remember that slides are not there to replace you!
Don’t let your PowerPoint take centre stage – your slides are used as a visual aid to enhance your message / presentation not actually be your presentation.
Garr Reynolds in his book Zen Presentations recommends using 7 words per slide, not per line, per slide!  That might sound a bit extreme but it is definitely worth thinking about …..
Bonus Tip: 36.9% of people surveyed above also found that visua...
Hands gesturing

How to gesture naturally

Occasionally during a Masterclass a participant will say that they feel “fake” when they gesture and it is not in their nature to gesture.  Yet, at the coffee break I see them in full flight, gesturing like crazy!
Why? 
Because when they talk about topics they are interested in they become highly animated.
So what does this mean for you?
The trick is to take note of the gestures you use when you are with friends, family or work colleagues when you are telling them about an event or even talking on a topic that winds you up!
When you have noted those gestures see if there is a way you can incorporate some of them into your next presentation – they are the ones you use when you are being natural so they should look more natural when you use them.
The more natural you feel… the more confident you will be… the more connected to the audience you will be!
For further tips on confidence building see our top 3 tips to help you start presentations more confidently.
Good luck...