Master Your Message Blog


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 …

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 …

(link to previous post)

I was a mess.

I felt as if I’d failed. And when you’re the son of an Englishman, whose relatively good school grades were “never good enough,” failure had never been an option.

I’d never felt quite this low before, but it did take me back to my teenage year (17) in hospital (actually only about four months), away from my friends, with little to amuse me but my guitar and tapes of the Bee Gees. Thank goodness for the Bee Gees! That was 1967.

But the one thing it taught me early on is that when you get really low mentally, there’s nowhere to go but up. I’d done it before … and I knew that I could do it Read More …

Confidence is at the root of all presentations. Without confidence in yourself, the material you’re delivering and the tools you’re using, you’ll never be a great presenter.

Now, I can’t give you confidence. I can help with structure, performance, being persuasive … and all the other tools you need to be an powerful presenter, but confidence is something you have to do yourself.

Having suffered from Crohn’s Disease since I was 16, let me tell you, I’ve had lots of ups and downs in confidence, in financial balance and in general health. Thankfully, I’ve had a lot more ups than downs. Today, other than the usual effects of age, I’m in the best shape of my life. And I’m not too shabby in the confidence Read More …

I like to travel in a jacket and dress slacks. There’s a reason for that. I think I get better treatment.

Over many years, I’ve proven that theory to myself, although some of the examples are arguable. This has not been a scientific study, after all.

I just got back from Kansas City. On the way there, I had to pick up a pre-booked rental car. The agent tried to up sell me, of course, and I had to tell her that the car was booked by a third party and I had no flexibility in price. However, I ended up getting an upgrade anyway – four levels above what was originally booked. I’m convinced that if I’d been in jeans and somewhat unkempt in Read More …