Master Your Message Blog


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 …

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?


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 …

Ever get really, really lost? You’re in the driver’s seat and your navigator hasn’t bothered to keep you up to speed on where you are? It’s the single biggest fault with presentations.

Presenters know where they’re going – they just don’t share the map with the audience.As presenters, we need to keep our audience on track. Tell them what we’re going to tell them up front … and then keep them up to date as we move through the presentation. Otherwise, they get lost.

“Sharing the Map” keeps your audience on track throughout your presentation.

So here are three visuals things you can do to help keep your audience on track.

One. If you have more than say three points, have an agenda slide. Read More …

There isn’t anything that connects you with your audience more than your eyes. We call that eye contact.

Now, I don’t mean cursory, flit around the room eye contact – I’m talking hard core at least two sentences long eye contact. That’s what works.

Beginning speakers know they have to have good eye contact and so they make sure they scan the room and try and spend a couple of seconds on each person. That’s the ADD method.

People know when you’re talking AT them rather than TO them. If you’ve sat in the audience when a speaker scans the group and never really connects with one person, you know you don’t tend to get really involved in the message.

But when a speaker spends Read More …

The Ultimate Screen – what a title! Makes you think I’m going to show you the most wonderful, most powerful screen of all! Well, I am!

However, you have to buy into a simple, radical concept … pictures are more powerful than words.

We learn and remember best through pictures, not through written or spoken words. In fact, our brains only see pictures. We see words as lots of little “letter-pictures.”

Get this book: Brain Rules by John Medina. It’s full of lots of facts as to how we learn, particularly in presentations.

And get this … if we say something important in a presentation, 72 hours later, people will remember 10%. That number goes up to 65% if we add a picture.

Better still … Read More …

Here’s a simple tip that will give your graphs much more impact.

Make the titles “active.”

Now … I don’t mean “animated.” I mean active. When I refer to a title as “active,” I mean that the text helps to advance your position, rather than just stating what the subject matter is. Most of the time, it means putting a verb in the title. Let’s look at an example.

Here’s a nice looking graph of Gross Monthly Sales.

Starting Slide

OK … so what? What about them? What is that graph trying to tell me?

First of all, let’s get rid of all the clutter.  3D looks pretty, but most of the time gets in the way of the message. Get rid of that, too. Read More …

Using audio clips in your presentation sounds so simple! But if there’s one thing that strikes fear into the hearts of convention technicians, that’s it!

Because it’s either too loud … or inaudible … or the presenter simply hasn’t told the technician that’s it there at all … and then wonders why it didn’t play.

So, tips. One … make sure your sound levels are consistent. That’ll require you to have some audio software to check each file and raise or lower the levels. Or some presentation software allows you to change levels within the program.

Two … make sure you test the sound on the day ahead of your talk. And make sure the sound files are in the right folder AND that you’re Read More …

Words actually don’t exist … to our brains, at any rate. We don’t see words as a series of letters. We see them as pictures.

I know … that changes things. When we read a word, we actually see it as a whole bunch of little tiny pictures. We look for features like horizontal or vertical lines, rounded corners, etc. and then we think back to our library of letter images and match it up to what we’ve stored from the past.

Over time, we get pretty darn good at this process and it takes us milliseconds to do all the calculations and read a sentence. So reading text is highly taxing on our brains. As a result, text presentations are simply not very effective Read More …

Distractions can destroy your presentation. Here’s an example.

Let’s say you make a point like … “The chicken crossed the road” and put up a visual of a person dressed as a chicken.

You’d probably hear a hush in the room. Pretty dramatic visual! OK, let’s say that you then wanted to tell a five minute story about a particular chicken you know and what happened when she crossed the road.

BUT, for the entire five minutes, you’ve still got the title and visual of the chicken crossing the road, which your audience may find distracting. You see, the audience should have their full attention on you as you tell this fabulous story about the chicken.

Now, you have a key on your keyboard that Read More …

In the corporate environment, many times the background is the thing that gets designed long before the presentation has even a defined goal. Artists can spend hours getting just the right look and feel to make sure the company gets promoted in the very best light.

Let me ask you this: Why? In fact, I want you to ask that very question next time you’re developing a presentation. Why spend all that time on the background, corporate identity and logo? That presentation isn’t even about those things.

What can happen is that the background and logo become so imposing that they actually detract from the point you’re trying to make. I’ve seen lots of examples, particularly in sales conventions. The background was so “busy” and took Read More …