Master Your Message Blog

Opening

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 …

You get judged by your opening

Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink”

In the first few seconds, as you walk on stage, your audience is “sizing you up.” They’re figuring out whether they like you and are going to listen to you. They’re also making a decision as to whether you’re funny or not and whether you know what you’re talking about. There’s a great book called “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell about that split second when people subconsciously judge you. We all do it.

The opening of any presentation is THE most important element. It can make or break you as a presenter.

So, it’s important to think about your first few seconds on stage. I recently critiqued a new professional speaker who started her talk by coming on stage all smiles and giving 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 …

This is for those of us who have sat through a persuasive presentation and wondered, “What on earth is this about?”

I haven’t actually counted, but it seems to me that it happens more than fifty percent of the time. I don’t know where the speaker is going. The flow of the presentation is off – it’s not logical.

More often than not, the speakers forgets to tell us what the presentation is about … they just launch into the middle of it.

Or sometimes, they start with a big, long story … but we have no idea where it’s leading … sometimes, even at the end of it!

There’s a really simple way of thinking about the flow. It’s the secret to crafting really Read More …

audience-webNever in history have we been bombarded on a daily basis with so much information. Much of it comes in the form of distractions.

You know what I’m talking about: Emails, cell phones, texting; we’re bounced around all day long between one snippet of information and another.

Little work of any import happens in such an environment. But that’s reality for most of the workday. And it’s tiring. I don’t have to tell you that.

We’re bombarded with snippets of information hourly.

It’s no different in a presentation situation. You may think you have the attention of a cohesive group in an “out-of-the-line-of-fire” conference room, but it’s rarely “undivided.” Minds don’t automatically shut themselves off from outside issues when the eyes are focused on a lectern.

In order to have an impact, you have to capture the imagination. You must do it in a way that not only “sticks,” but lodges your message between the appropriate grey cells and resonates for a much longer period than the presentation itself (at the very least)!

Here are some basic principles to keep in mind when you create your next important presentation. 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 …

ladypresentingI had a meeting with a client the other day to talk about an upcoming presentation. It was to be an hour-long “lunch and learn” for an energy industry, fortune 500, company. The objective was to get to the next meeting. By that, I mean that this was an introductory meeting about what my client could do to help this multinational corporation mitigate risk in their industry.

At the beginning of our discussion, my client suggested starting with a few slides about them and what they do. Then they were going to go into an explanation of their software and the problems it solved.

So here’s the problem with that: At the beginning of your presentation, nobody cares about you. Sorry, but that’s the truth. They care about themselves and their problem, or concerns.

It’s not about you, it’s about what you can do!

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 …

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 …