Master Your Message Blog


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 …

OK, you’re getting ready give a presentation to a corporate audience  . . . with speaker support. And you’re nervous – the last thing you need to be doing is futzing around trying to find the show button on the bottom of the screen. Click on the wrong one and it can really throw you for a loop. Nothing worse than appearing disorganized … on stage … in front of your peers. Been there, done that!

There is nothing worse than appearing disorganized at the very start of a presentation  …
on stage … in front of your peers!

a presentation in Presenter View in PowerPoint

Presenter View (PowerPoint)

Here’s a little known trick to avoid the problem altogether. If you’re using PowerPoint, save your presentation file as a “show” file. When 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 …

In public speaking, your voice is your instrument. You have to know what it sounds like. So I recommend you get a recorder and record yourself giving a presentation.

Then listen to it. Do you sound monotone? That’s boring. Our brains don’t pay attention to boring things. They shut off.

Speaker reading a storybook to a childHere’s an exercise. Get a children’s book and read it to a child – and record it. You’ll hear yourself exaggerating the words – you’ll be much more expressive than normal. Now back off about twenty percent and you’re in presentation territory.

Most new speakers speak too quickly? Slow down. The larger the audience, the slower you need to speak. And pauses … they can be your most powerful tool. Pauses give impact to what Read More …

I’ve been a director for countless corporate conventions filled with speaker after speaker. Some of them are real pros and some of them  … are not. And you can tell just by the way they treat the crew. There are conventions … at conventions – things you should do as a presenter … before you go on.

One convention is to give the director or technician a script of your talk, complete with a list of visuals on the left hand side. If you’re really classy, you’ll provide a print-out of the visuals themselves, but a script with a word description on the left works just as well.

Why would you do this? – provide a script, that is?

Several reasons.

  1. Stuff happens. I’ve seen Read More …

It’s OK to be nervous. We all are to a certain extent. Even me. Well, not now, ‘cause there’s nobody here. I’m talking about on stage.

Now, there are lots of techniques you can try to treat the symptoms of nervousness. You’ll find a whack of them in the articles on my website.

But the truth is, it doesn’t get at the heart of the problem. Cause the problem is self-confidence. Plain and simple.

It’s just like anything else in life.  Do it enough and you’ll get good at it. Know you’re good at it and your self-confidence goes through the roof.

Here’s what I suggest – two things.

One. Practice. Just speak a lot, or if you want to do it in a really 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 …

If you’re an entrepreneur with a web presence and you don’t have a video, you’re missing out on potential business! Video is today’s business card on the internet. There are four billion video views each day on YouTube alone.

Video builds trust; it allows visitors to your site a chance to “virtually meet” you. After all, under the right circumstances, you’re your best salesperson. You know that.

PLUS … video works for you around the clock. 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 …