Master Your Message Blog

beginning

One of the phrases you definitely don’t want to hear from your audience is “what on earth was that about” or “I was absolutely lost from the very first word.”

It happens all the time. It’s the biggest single mistake beginning presenters make – not telling the audience where they’re taking them. And after all, when you give a presentation, you are taking your audience on a journey. Hopefully, not down a dark rabbit hole.

Well, there’s a simple, but exceptionally important solution that will keep your audience with you right ’til the end and ensure your presentation is really effective. The following video will explain it all …

So … somewhere in your opening you absolutely, positively have to have an agenda. Now this Read More …

Introductions. They’re incredibly important to a speaker’s success. Bad ones can be like watching a slow motion train wreck. Because the speaker ends up spending half their speech trying to recover from it. Ow!

MC making an introductionAnd that’s why professional speakers provide their own. And when they do, if you’re the MC, it’s important that you rehearse it and deliver it the way it’s written. Because it sets the tone.

If you’re writing an intro, there are 3 questions – three W’s it needs to answer: What, Why Now and Why This speaker.

First … what. What is the speech or talk about (without giving away too much). Make sure you relate it in terms your audience will understand. This part is pretty straightforward.

Second … Why Read More …

Virtually every presentation has to persuade someone of something.

Now you might argue that point by saying that some presentations are informational. That may be true. But there’s usually a desire on the part of the presenter to persuade the audience that the information is important, or that they should do something with that information after the talk is complete.

Setting up a persuasive presentation is actually relatively easy. You want to make sure your audience knows why you’re all assembled there – usually there’s a problem or opportunity. It’s your job as the presenter to state what it is so that you and the audience are “on the same page.”

Once the problem is on the table, it’s time to deal with the solution. Read More …

stool-webToo often our nervousness gets the best of us and we destroy what would otherwise be a very powerful opening.

I often evaluate speakers in contests. I evaluated one again last night. Great fun; great speeches!

This was a contest involving emerging professional speakers. The prize was the opportunity to speak in front of a regular association meeting of about seventy people. Last  night’s audience was about forty or so. There were four judges, American Idol-style.

One speaker, who has a very compelling story as part of a speech on the importance of safety, weakened the opening by:

  • coming on stage and setting up a chair and some props
  • making some off-handed remarks while doing so
  • “puttered around” trying to make sure everything was just Read More …
NOTE: This terrific article comes from Judy Carter and gives a great example of why it’s so important to start any presentation, email, or other persuasive business communication with a problem …
There’s a secret to have your resume rise to the top of a job pile. It’s the same technique that makes a comedy club audience laugh, or that gets everyone at your next meeting to stop texting and start listening to you. You get people’s attention by making your cover letter, your first joke, or your opening remarks about THEM.
 
I posted a job on Craigslist and LinkedIn recently — and I was immediately swamped with over 100 applicants.
 
I deleted some of the applications as soon as I read them. Read More …

One of most common dilemmas people have when they’re up against a presentation deadline is how to actually open it: “How do I structure the opening?”

Presentation opening for pipeline spill

Pipeline Spill

I have a client I’ve been working with the past couple of weeks who has taken the reigns as the business development partner in a company that services pipeline companies, but in a different way than you might think.

They provide software, expertise, and resources to help major pipeline companies mitigate the risk of ageing pipelines – you know, the ones underground that keep rupturing and devastating the environment around them. The software tracks the pipeline infrastructure and risk across the system so that the pipeline company can concentrate on preventive maintenance — honing in on the Read More …

Ever sat through a webinar and had no idea where it was going? I did this morning. I logged off after 20 minutes.

a webinar is a presentationThis webinar was presented by a well-known corporation that provides “back-end” sales and marketing software for small business owners. And yet, in the first twenty minutes, they hadn’t explained what the product does … they hadn’t outlined a problem or challenge that it overcame … they hadn’t outlined an agenda … and I came to the conclusion that they had no idea where they were going and that the rest of the websinar was going to be just as productive.

A webinar is a presentation!

A webinar is a presentation. To be effective it has to follow the same rules – that’s Read More …

I was asked to summarize a talk I  gave in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. So here goes!

There’s lots of angst when it comes to giving presentations. I often compare it to going to the dentist. The thought of it is often worse than the actual visit! We tend to take small amounts of anxiety and blow them up into much more mental trauma than they deserve.

We tend to concentrate on our upcoming performance first, without thinking about what we’re going to say. Or worse still, we call up the art department and book them for visuals before we’ve thought through what we’re actually going to use.

Well, here’s my take:

If your message is right, you truly believe in it, and you’re passionate about Read More …

In persuasive presentations, you need to get to the point. Stories have their place, but it’s usually not at the beginning of a presentation, unless it’s structured so that the point is obvious … and alluded to up front.

Lady being persuasive in front of a small groupI was in Toronto recently sitting across from my brother. We had  been invited to a friend’s house for a dinner in honor of my mother, who was turning ninety. The phone rang. It was the host. I could hear the entire conversation as it continued on. After the usual pleasantries, she began to tell a story of having a last minute client request that would have her unexpectedly work during the afternoon, which meant she would have to drive into town, do the work, and Read More …

Imagine an opening statement that silences the room and locks every eye on you, the presenter. The audience is left figuratively “hanging,” staring at you, waiting for the next word.That’s the “riveting opening” – my favorite because it can be so powerful.It’s important to understand the role of opening lines.

1. They set the tone for the talk or session2. They communicate some of your personality3. They allow the audience to subconsciously judge you … and judge you they will!

“Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking,” the best-selling book by Malcolm Gladwell, is all about this last point. We humans judge situations, people, environments and virtually everything we come in contact with subconsciously all the time – in under 3 seconds and usually, Read More …