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.
What to do with handouts? Do I give them out before I speak, after … during?
Here’s the traditional handout. Three slides to a page – a place for notes on the right hand side.
The pros – an appropriate place to write notes – right next to the visual they relate to. People remember things they think about and write down. That’s good!
Cons – rustling papers, which can be distracting. People flip ahead. And after your presentation, maybe one percent ever look at them again. So you do all that work, kill a tree or two and it generally ends up in the round file.
More cons than pros.
If it’s just a simple print-out of your presentation screens, they’re usually hard to Read More …
If you want your audience to remember something, say it again … and again … and again.
Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous speech of March 28, 1863 stays with us today … at least the title does … “I Have A Dream.” Now, how many times did he say that line? Right … Eight! Eight times with intervals in between. Smart.
Speaking of smart: They’ve done experiments with students studying for tests. They had one group cram the night before and another group was shown the information in spaced intervals over a longer period of time. Who did better on the test?*
Right! Not the crammers. In fact, they did way worse.
Here’s the key. We learn the best when information is introduced in greater 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 …
There’s nothing that makes me crazier than to see really bad grammar in two foot high letters on the screen.
Here’s an example: 5 DVD’s. I see this all the time. But it’s incorrect. The apostrophe means it’s possessive … NOT plural.
If it’s plural … it should look like this: “5 CDs.” 5 DVDs – the same thing. Now, if I said “I put the DVD’s cases in the trunk,” it would be correct with an apostrophe “s” … You see, the cases belong to the DVDs – and so it’s possessive. Although it’s kind of a weird sentence.
So … apostrophes do not generally denote plurals. But there are exceptions … After all, it IS English.
Single letters and numbers require an apostrophe “s” 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 …
Make your presentation facts interesting and memorable.
Ever have a presenter give you a fact during a presentation and you had no idea what it meant – how it related to you or anything else, for that matter?
If you’re like me, the answer is “all the time.”
There are technical presentations in which presenters ream off fact after fact after fact with no indication as to what’s really important and how it relates to what you already know. At the end of the presentation, you leave the room wondering what on earth it all meant, unable to remember even a single number or point.
The most error I see most often is the presenter who throws out a number without the context. For 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.
Most construction workers will tell you it’s a pretty good idea to know your tools.
For example, if I was building a bookcase and asked for a saw when I really needed a hammer, it would be a rather unproductive day. If I was a surgeon and did something similar, you’d be dead.
I recently directed a conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I worked with a really good audio-visual company. But when we were doing the lighting for the stage, one of their technicians asked me to go and stand behind the podium. So I did. Silence. And then I peeked my head up from behind the stage and said, “Oh, did you mean the lectern?”
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 …
With over thirty-five years in advertising, marketing, and television, Peter brings a wealth of knowledge and business experience to any situation. From the top retailers like The Bay, to Canada’s largest energy multinationals, Peter has been at the forefront ...