Do You Drown ’em With Information Overload

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Is This How Your Listeners Say Goodbye? Drowned In Detail

Someone once said – “If information was water we would all drown”!

We live in an age of info overload -tweets, social network, texts, blogs, webinars, videos, podcasts, and on …
and on…

So are you going to add to the flood with your presentation or speech? 

If you do, then provide your audience with gills beforehand. Because even before you begin they will be gasping for air.

They will not be able to absorb and make sense of what you say or present unless it is beneficial to them, presented with authenticity and enthusiasm. AND it does not contain too many main points. 

Your main points need to stand out like lighthouses with clear “call to action” messages attached, ilustrated, supported and repeated.

Now you can only do that effectively with approx one main point per 10 minutes.

Most presentations should be over in 30 minutes with the audience still begging for more.

Leave ’em while their beggin’ you to stay.

Leave ’em standing on dry land breathin’ in the pure oxygen of your words, committed to the action you clearly conveyed.

Please, please, please – do not add to the flood of unabsorbable that we are drowing in!

How much info do you think should be included and how would you present it? Comment below, please.


3 P’s That Make Jamie Oliver a Pro Presenter

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Jamie leaves most presenters floundering at the starting line as he effortlessly moves into the lead and beats the best, gliding through the finishing tape still breathing like a dog asleep in front of the fire!

What are his secrets?

Can you use them to engage and motivate your audiences?

1. Product Knowledge – Sounds boring but unless you know your subject inside out and upside down you don’t stand a chance in convincing others to take action. Jamie knows his onions if you’ll pardon the pun. He lives food, he has totally absorbed the diets of different cultures on his travels and delights in including that food “know-how” as he entrances us with his Mr Motivator style of presentation that has us copying in the kitchen before you can say Masterchef.

2. Passion – Jamie’s love of his chosen life’s work is out there for us all to see! It’s in his voice as his excitement transfers to us. The variety of pitch, pace and power take us on a roller coaster journey of utter enjoyment. And his body language adds authenticity to his message with natural, genuine gestures that silently describe both implied actions and separates the essentials from the froth. No falseness about this guy, no over blown movements that beginners embarras ther audience with. Simply passion in movement.

3. Parley – Ok so I needed another “P”. But the way in which Mr Oliver “chats” with us, is a masterclass in matching your words to your audience. Jamie doesn’t add 3 dessert spoons of olive oil he “hits” his salad with it! Nor does he “chop” the ingredients to one of his colourful salads, no, he “janks” it. Now like me, no doubt you’ve not heard the word “jank” before but link it to the masterful movement of his experienced hands as he slices up the salad in seconds and we are over the moon with “janking” and want to immediately start “janking” ourselves.

Watch the video below, observe his total understanding of cooking, experience the overflowing enthusiasm with which he presents and listen to the chat as he communicates with words that inspire.

NOW – Have you got that product knowledge coupled with . . .

passion and delivered with a . . .

 parley that persuades your audience?

What do Pancakes and Poor Presentations Have in Common?

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Is it this flat?

Are your presentations “As Flat as a Pancake?”
How would you know and what can you do about it?

So you’ve worked hard on the content, adapted it to your particular audience, have a clear focus of what you want achieve, put some great illustrations in it to drive home the main points, added some rhetorical questions to stimulate their imagination and keep them engaged  . . .

BUT their eyes are wandering and some even closing.

The atmosphere has moved from “keen anticipation” to “how much longer?”.

And that dreaded disease “early leavers” starts to go viral as Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point moves ever closer.

What went wrong? – – –  Maybe it was flat – as flat as a pancake?

All presentations, talks or speeches need variety not only of content but  . . .

  • variety of pitch
  • variety of pace
  • variety of volume

 This will give your presentation life, a third dimension and a hook to hold them to your every word. How and why does this work?

The next blog will explain!

Can You Keep ‘Em Warm When The Temp Hits Zero!

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Frank - Our Open-Top Tour Guide

It was FREEZING December morning in New York, why were we on an open top bus touring this tireless city?
Looking back it was a crazy decision BUT . . .
We would have missed the treat of a lifetime as the tour guide entertained, entranced and totally engrossed us with his “Oh so professional” presentation!
He was born a New Yorker, not some imported, cardboard cut-out who had learned his lines! This guy was the genuine thing.
Why did this matter?
Because it made his presentation totally authentic, peppered with anecdotes about characters (some well-known, some not) as they related to the particular areas we covered on that cold, cold morning. He knew the price of apartments and who lived there, he even knew what they cost some 30 years back. He told us the stories of the Great Recession as they had been told to him, he knew every sad fact about the Twin Towers disaster – he had lived through it. He knew some who had escaped and some who had perished.
Yeah, he pointed out the all traditional bits we all wanted to see (and the Japanese paparazzi wanted to record) and that was needed, it was essential. But  . . .
what brought the whole thing to life were the stories that only a local would know and the way he told them.
Okay – He used questions to catch our attention and involve our imagination.He paused for emphasis at just the right times, constantly changed the pitch and pace of his talk to match the mood of the location (from trendy Greenwich Village to the Sombre Ground Zero to the apartment block that was the outside view of Friends) and gestured as best he could with the mike in his gloved hand. However . . .
 . . what topped the lot was this guys extensive “lived-in” knowledge of the city, his obvious love for his birth place and the boundless enthusiasm with which he conveyed this to his audience.
We saw it through his every day experienced eyes.
We were  moved as his love of the Big Apple became ours.
In that short time together he managed to draw back the curtain and reveal something to us that made us want to stay and become part of this 24/7 non stop city (until he revealed the price of the tiniest apartment, that is!)
And het kept us warm! (even warm enough to take my gloves off and do a quick sketch of him).
What’s your knowledge of your subject like? – Is it deep? Is it like a an iceberg showing only a little to the world but having an invisible base that could sink the Titanic?
How about love for your subject? If you don’t love it your audience will soon feel the cold!
And have you learned to present with genuine enthusiasm that they will catch and pass on.
Sure thing – Frank was a genuine pro!
The big question is, are you? 
Can you keep ’em warm when the temp hits zero?

What Should the Speaker Wear?

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Well that depends on the audience!

No that doen’t mean you ask them to vote, who knows where that might end up (or down).

It simply means you need to match or fit in with the audience to whom you are speaking or presenting. The whole point is that it’s what you are saying that matters, what you are motivating them to do! So your clothes should not get in the way of that message. They should not be a distraction either by their style, colour or scarcity.

So if your audience is going to be Dinner Suited, so should you. If they are sure to be dressed casually, follow that lead but make it smart casual. Some conventions now have audiences that are all “Jeans and Tees”, OK go with the flow. Wear a tie if they do but make sure you take it off before stepping out to speak if they are open necked. When speaking to audiences of another culture you would not be expected to dress like them, but match the mood. If you know they will be “dressed up” mirror that with the appropriate clothing of your own culture.

I can remember arriving to present to the board of a mult national clothing company in my best suit, brand new white shirt and classy neck-tie only to be highly embarassed by the casually dressed directorspresent. Needless to say it did not go well. A call to their PA’s would have saved that embarressment and maybe a large order!

Any faux pas on your part, or presentations you’ve attended?

When Poweroint Puts The Light Out!

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Your Audience ???

Yes, powerpoint can be a brilliant tool – when used properly . . .

But most presenters use it far too much and lose their audience

either thro boredom or reading the material on the slide.

So …

1. Don’t fill each screen with content that you are going to read!
2. Don’t show the detail of each screen all at once, take the time to edit the presentation so detail can be revealed point by point by a mouse click
3. Don’t get your audience glued to the screen, maintain eye contact by using powerpoint as a summary of main points.
4. Don’t display complicated graphs, there is always a way to show results, trends, forecasts simply. Find it. Your audience will be grateful.
5. Do have blank screens that come up in between main points and drive your listeners attention back to you.
6. Do use illustrations that are both meaningful and easy on the eye.
7. Do maintain the same fonts, colours, branding throughout.
8. Do prepare a more detailed handout for after the presentation.
9. Oh, and do get there early and make sure all the techie stuff is sorted and the damn thing works!

Any tips, comments you have found useful?

Why asking a question can lose your listeners

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Captive Audience - No such thing!

Rhetorical questions are an excellent way to involve your audience, they stimulate their imagination and draw them into the point your are about to highlight. Sometimes you can even string two or three together perhaps with suggested answers on a multiple choice basis.

“What decision would you make if ******? – Maybe you would choose ***, or even ***”

BUT – Beware asking questions that require your audience to answer out loud because their answer can totally distract the whole gathering. It may point in the totally opposite direction to that which you were leading to . . .

  . . and correcting them can cause even more of a diversion.

If you do get caught out just a respectful . . . 

“Well that’s an interesting thought but I think most people would agree that ******”

 . . . should be enough to put the ship back on course without embarrassment either to yourself or the participant.

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