Master Your Message Blog


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 …

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 …

There is one word that’s the most important word in any persuasive presentation: You.

If my speech or presentation is about me, it may have interest, if it’s a good story, but if it’s about you … out there in the audience … there is nothing more interesting on earth! To you at least! Right?


Your presentation belongs to your audienceThe most important thing I learned on my journey to speaking professionally is that my presentation belongs to my audience. Now, I might have personal stories to illustrate a point, but the point has to relate to my audience … you. It has to, to be of interest and for me to be successful.

In fact, the objective of any talk has to center on your audience. If you’re Read More …

Newbie speakers get a little apprehensive about questions. There’s a fear that they’ll be caught off guard – that they’ll look stupid if they don’t have an answer . . .

And they’re right … if they’re unprepared. Just like anything else in life, looking brilliant on stage takes planning.

However, if you really do know your material, prepare properly, and follow a few basic rules, you’ll find it’s the most powerful part of a presentation.

I love question and answer sessions

I love Question and Answer sessions. ‘Cause they give me a chance to shine – I can carry on a direct dialogue with my audience and make sure any concerns are addressed.

Here’s what you do. Know your subject area and identify any potential questions that might be sensitive 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 …

Point form seems to be highly misunderstood. I often see screens of text using full sentences.

If you’re going to use full sentences, you’re better off going home. That’s because you’ll read them and THAT is the thing audiences hate the most! The number one thing! I’ve done it  … so I know!

And why would you need to be there anyway? – your audience can just read your presentation.

Even more important – if they’re reading, they’re not listening to you!

So … you need to get your points down to their absolute essence. Use the fewest number of words you can use to support or reinforce your point.

Let’s get rid of as many articles, prepositions, pronouns … the little words …

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 …

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 …