Master Your Message Blog


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 …

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 …

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 …

Movies are totally involving. The best ones make a point. And they’re about people. And we remember the really good ones for a long, long time. That’s the power of stories.

They’re the most compelling part of any presentation.

Doug Stevenson's book on how to tell stories in business presentationsI saw master storytelling coach, Doug Stevenson speak last year. Doug coaches business people in the art of storytelling. And if you’re serious about being a compelling speaker, you absolutely have to get his book, Doug Stevenson’s Story Theater Method. You’ll find Doug at “The Storytelling Studio for Business.”

Doug is coming to Calgary! If you’re in the Calgary or Edmonton area, this is a NOT TO BE MISSED one day workshop on storytelling for business – on Sunday, June 15, 2014. Get more 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 …

My boss wanting me to get to the point

My boss – Yikes!

Let’s talk about the boss. I know, not your favourite subject. You know how your boss wants the details in 30 seconds or less. “Cut the small talk … give me the results.”

Well, most of the time, so does your audience. Now, what I mean by this is that your audience doesn’t want to be left guessing about what point you’re trying to make. They will be if you start with all the details first – or if you begin with a story that meanders around the main point.

So, let’s say I want to get my boss to purchase a new office printer, as the current one is slow and constantly breaks down. That’s what this particular presentation is 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 …

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 …

We buy most items based on emotion, not logic.Don’t forget about emotion in your presentation. “What … in a business presentation?” you ask …

Ah … yup.

We make decisions based on our emotions all the time.
We justify them based on facts – on logic.

For example, the majority of people don’t buy a car based upon how economically it will get them from A to B. It’s usually something else … like the most new gizmos, the colour, the speed … or just the way it makes them feel. But when you ask them, they’ll typically tell you how practical it is …

You just have to look at advertising to see how important emotion is to the sale. Kids and animals sell. Sex sells. And status … keeping up with Read More …