Master Your Message Blog

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We buy most items based on emotion, not logic.Don’t forget about emotion in your presentation. “What … in a business presentation?” you ask …

Ah … yup.

We make decisions based on our emotions all the time.
We justify them based on facts – on logic.

For example, the majority of people don’t buy a car based upon how economically it will get them from A to B. It’s usually something else … like the most new gizmos, the colour, the speed … or just the way it makes them feel. But when you ask them, they’ll typically tell you how practical it is …

You just have to look at advertising to see how important emotion is to the sale. Kids and animals sell. Sex sells. And status … keeping up with Read More …

Screen layout is really important to getting your message across.

Our eyes go to the lightest part of the frameTake this screen. Where does your eye go? Most people would say … to the brightest part of the background.

For me, the brightest part of the frame is the back of that lady’s head. In other words, the lightest object on the screen grabs your attention.

My frame of reference for light and its affect on us is television, film, and theatre. I’ve spent decades working across those areas. What I’ve learned is that our eyes are attracted by light, so put more light on the most important elements to make them brighter. Put less light on the unimportant information.

You need to think like that when you design your slides. It’s why light Read More …

Ever heard someone at the lectern read a speech? I mean a dull, boring, lifeless verbalization of just what’s on the paper in front of them, without any attempt to embellish it whatso ever or bring it to life?

My guess is probably … more often than you’d like to admit. And what does it do for you? Probably not much. It’s forgettable, right?

Well, it doesn’t need to be that way.

speech script marked with lines and slashes

In the world of professional narrators lives the marked script. Now, narrators are people who make very lucrative livings off their ability to read a script in front of a microphone naturally.

To do that, they mark up their scripts. A vertical line is a full pause. An underlined word is emphasized. It’s Read More …

This is right up there with the most important things I’ll ever tell you about persuasive presentations:

To be a successful persuasive presenter, you absolutely have to believe in your message. And you have to display passion.

Being persuasive requires understanding the audience

Mehrabian’s chart

You may have seen this pie chart before. It’s usually misinterpreted.

It comes from the work of Albert Mehrabian, Ph.D. He was measuring what happens when someone you know gives you mixed messages.

That’s like me telling you that “The weather’s not very good but I know you’re going to have great vacation” and saying it with a slight look of doubt on my face. You won’t hear anything about “great vacation.” My look of doubt reinforces the fact that the weather isn’t very good and, Read More …

They say you should rehearse an hour for every minute of your speech. I’m not so sure.

I think rehearsing your talk is really important. But how you do it, probably differs by individual.

There’s a belief out there about saying it in front of a mirror. What’s THAT about? Forget it – it doesn’t work.

What I do is break down longer talks into chunks – subtopics or key points. I get the main point in my mind and then I write down a word or two on a cue card. I memorize or think through the logic of the argument I’m going to make so that a key word will trigger that chunk.

Memorizing your entire speech is about the worst thing you Read More …

There is one word that’s the most important word in any persuasive presentation: You.

If my speech or presentation is about me, it may have interest, if it’s a good story, but if it’s about you … out there in the audience … there is nothing more interesting on earth! To you at least! Right?

Right!

Your presentation belongs to your audienceThe most important thing I learned on my journey to speaking professionally is that my presentation belongs to my audience. Now, I might have personal stories to illustrate a point, but the point has to relate to my audience … you. It has to, to be of interest and for me to be successful.

In fact, the objective of any talk has to center on your audience. If you’re 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 …

Newbie speakers get a little apprehensive about questions. There’s a fear that they’ll be caught off guard – that they’ll look stupid if they don’t have an answer . . .

And they’re right … if they’re unprepared. Just like anything else in life, looking brilliant on stage takes planning.

However, if you really do know your material, prepare properly, and follow a few basic rules, you’ll find it’s the most powerful part of a presentation.

I love question and answer sessions

I love Question and Answer sessions. ‘Cause they give me a chance to shine – I can carry on a direct dialogue with my audience and make sure any concerns are addressed.

Here’s what you do. Know your subject area and identify any potential questions that might be sensitive Read More …

The primary objective of presentations is NOT to be pretty. The primary objective is to persuade or impart information.

Pretty but busy slideI mean, they CAN be pretty, but if pretty (or busy) gets in the way of the message, it’s a problem!

Sometimes what you think is a brilliant idea, just doesn’t make it in the implementation stage. Remember, screen real estate is dear. There’s never enough of it.

Well, in fact, the information you put on the screen should not need any more space than what’s available. And that brings us to the first of two major rules:

  1. Less is More.  Each screen should support one point and only one point. Don’t try and put everything you can think of up there. Who’s going to remember Read More …

Let’s look at “builds.” Builds are really powerful. They make information stick. Like goo.

I define builds as short phrases or words that are added to a screen on a particular cue. You can build text on the screen line by line or word by word.

The power of builds is that, if done properly, they visually reinforce key phrases you say that are really important. They can help make a specific idea memorable; set it apart from other screen text.

The important thing is the interaction between your voice and what appears on the screen.

From a learning perspective, two senses are way more powerful than one. So, saying a word and showing that word at the same time means your audience will remember it over Read More …