Master Your Message Blog

Preparation

Attentive audience membersDo you want to win more business – have more successful persuasive presentations?

The secret: Know your audience.

It’s amazing how many presenters don’t properly research their audience.

I often use the phrase “get under their skin.” In fact, it’s the title of one of the modules of my online presentations course, “Persuasive Presentations 2.0.” It’s so important, I dedicate one of eight modules to it alone.

Here’s why: If you understand your audience’s pain and can alleviate it, your chances of success go through the roof. By “pain,” I mean what’s really bothering them. What is their major concern in the area you’re addressing? Get “under their skin”— really understand them and their challenges. That allows you to deliver your solution more Read More …

Using video in your presentation is easy. But you need to check your software manual or help files to find out what kinds of video you can use. You’ll find a list on my website for the various flavours of PowerPoint and Keynote.

But here’s what I want to talk about – etiquette. Because you can’t just throw up a twenty minute video and expect your job to be done and the audience to think you’re the greatest think since Cecil B. DeMille. There are unwritten rules to using video in your presentations.

This article and video will give you tips and techniques to ensure you use video as effectively as possible if you’re planning on using it in either PowerPoint or Keynote.

Keep your Read More …

I constantly see presenters futzing around with their computers mere minutes before they go on …. and often minutes after they should have started. It simply shouldn’t happen in most of those cases.

Here’s the secret: Show up early.

But, there’s actually more to it than that! To be really successful on stage, there are a number things you need to do before your presentation. If you complete them all, you’ll be much more successful. I’ve seen too many horror stories from presenters who showed up five minutes ahead of time and expected everything to go just fine.

Play for the video below and get the list of “must-dos.”

Check out the room. Walk the stage area. Get used to where the audience will be Read More …

Hotel put chandeliers and columns in all the wrong places

Chandeliers and columns!

On my travels in the corporate presentation world, I’ve seen some horrendous presentation set-ups. And in a lot of cases, people aren’t even aware of the problem.

The worst culprit – hotels. You’d think it would be different … for an industry whose income relies on the success of conventions …. Why do they stick chandeliers and posts right in the sight lines of the stage? And lights right above the screen?

Room lights are often the worst! But many presenters don’t pay any attention to them. Well, I’m telling you that they’re important! It can affect the way the audience reacts to both you and your presentation.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a convention situation or the board room; how you 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 …

science-webI often work with groups that are in the technical, engineering, or science fields. I refer to them as “left-brain thinkers.” There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. They’re detail oriented and that’s great! Because without them, we’d likely have far fewer advances in civilization.

However, in presentations, detail-oriented-thinking is usually detrimental to getting your message across. Audiences can’t handle detail—certainly not at one sitting.

Each of the above groups tends to create a very long list of points they want communicate and chock their presentations full of facts and numbers. They’re never happy with three key points under a central theme—they’re always coming up with more and more points …

Take a lesson from the political realm. Political teams come up with one message and hammer Read More …

older-man-using-strategy-playing-chessLately, I’ve been finding more eyes glazing over than usual when ask about presentation strategy. The question I ask is the title of this article.

Or there’s a tone of bewilderment, accompanied by the question, “Why do I even need one?”

In truth, maybe you don’t. If you’re delivering a presentation that’s main purpose is to impart information and has no other goal, you probably don’t. But with a persuasive presentation, your strategy is key.

Your strategy is the most important contributor to your success.

Persuasive presentations are sales presentations. They’re corporate presentations designed to change behaviors, or attitudes. They’re any presentation with an objective of getting someone to do, think, or believe something after the presentation is over.

The most important element in determining success (other than structure, content, and delivery), is strategy. Now, you might be thinking, “Well then, strategy is a very small part of ‘the mix’ then.” No, not at all. Read More …

presentation-small-webThere are a number of reasons presenters get frustrated with their results. The most common is not getting the response they want. They spend hours putting together all the pertinent information, support it all with gorgeous visuals, work on their performance, and get what seems to be an energetic, positive response from the audience.

But … “no cigar,”as they say. They don’t win the project, make the sale, or get the action they want at the end of their talk.

It could be the structure of without a doubt, the most important part of the presentation—the closing (or “asking for the order”). If you don’t get this right, it really doesn’t matter how the other 98% of your presentation went!

So, let’s take a look Read More …

Questions Anyone?Boy, have I learned about this the hard way!

You decide to allow questions all during your presentation. You have a very engaged, inquisitive audience, but you never get to make your main point. You get so sidelined with concerns and side issues that you just plain run out of time. Score one for the audience!

I can remember a breakout session I conducted at a Toronto conference where this is exactly what happened. It was on video blogging: How to come across with passion and credibility on camera. The presentation relatively quickly degenerated into a discussion and I never did get back on track. 

Discussions are NOT presentations!

While I got great evaluations for a spirited and interesting session, I never got to make Read More …