Master Your Message Blog

start

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 …

Virtually every presentation has to persuade someone of something.

Now you might argue that point by saying that some presentations are informational. That may be true. But there’s usually a desire on the part of the presenter to persuade the audience that the information is important, or that they should do something with that information after the talk is complete.

Setting up a persuasive presentation is actually relatively easy. You want to make sure your audience knows why you’re all assembled there – usually there’s a problem or opportunity. It’s your job as the presenter to state what it is so that you and the audience are “on the same page.”

Once the problem is on the table, it’s time to deal with the solution. Read More …

One of the phrases you definitely don’t want to hear from your audience is “what on earth was that about” or “I was absolutely lost from the very first word.”

It happens all the time. It’s the biggest single mistake beginning presenters make – not telling the audience where they’re taking them. And after all, when you give a presentation, you are taking your audience on a journey. Hopefully, not down a dark rabbit hole.

Well, there’s a simple, but exceptionally important solution that will keep your audience with you right ’til the end and ensure your presentation is really effective. The following video will explain it all …

So … somewhere in your opening you absolutely, positively have to have an agenda. Now this Read More …

This past week, I attended a “pitch” competition called “The Doghouse” at the Global Petroleum Show, in Calgary. It was for start-up companies to try their pitches in front of potential investors.

Five different companies on two consecutive days pitched their product or service to five potential investors. They were each evaluated and one winner was picked from each group. But here’s the kicker—each presentation could only be three minutes in length. They really had to have their acts together!

It was gratifying for me to see that the ones that followed the “tried and true” persuasive presentation structure won. They had done their homework and had specifically targeted their presentations to that particular investor audience. The others—not so much.

As I’ve helped take a number of well-known Canadian companies public (some of them are listed here), I sat in the audience, taking notes. I sent a short evaluation to each of the presenters afterwards by email to let them know what I thought they had done well and what they might do to improve their message. Read More …

NOTE: This terrific article comes from Judy Carter and gives a great example of why it’s so important to start any presentation, email, or other persuasive business communication with a problem …
There’s a secret to have your resume rise to the top of a job pile. It’s the same technique that makes a comedy club audience laugh, or that gets everyone at your next meeting to stop texting and start listening to you. You get people’s attention by making your cover letter, your first joke, or your opening remarks about THEM.
 
I posted a job on Craigslist and LinkedIn recently — and I was immediately swamped with over 100 applicants.
 
I deleted some of the applications as soon as I read them. Read More …

One of most common dilemmas people have when they’re up against a presentation deadline is how to actually open it: “How do I structure the opening?”

Presentation opening for pipeline spill

Pipeline Spill

I have a client I’ve been working with the past couple of weeks who has taken the reigns as the business development partner in a company that services pipeline companies, but in a different way than you might think.

They provide software, expertise, and resources to help major pipeline companies mitigate the risk of ageing pipelines – you know, the ones underground that keep rupturing and devastating the environment around them. The software tracks the pipeline infrastructure and risk across the system so that the pipeline company can concentrate on preventive maintenance — honing in on the Read More …

In persuasive presentations, you need to get to the point. Stories have their place, but it’s usually not at the beginning of a presentation, unless it’s structured so that the point is obvious … and alluded to up front.

Lady being persuasive in front of a small groupI was in Toronto recently sitting across from my brother. We had  been invited to a friend’s house for a dinner in honor of my mother, who was turning ninety. The phone rang. It was the host. I could hear the entire conversation as it continued on. After the usual pleasantries, she began to tell a story of having a last minute client request that would have her unexpectedly work during the afternoon, which meant she would have to drive into town, do the work, and Read More …

Imagine an opening statement that silences the room and locks every eye on you, the presenter. The audience is left figuratively “hanging,” staring at you, waiting for the next word.That’s the “riveting opening” – my favorite because it can be so powerful.It’s important to understand the role of opening lines.

1. They set the tone for the talk or session2. They communicate some of your personality3. They allow the audience to subconsciously judge you … and judge you they will!

“Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking,” the best-selling book by Malcolm Gladwell, is all about this last point. We humans judge situations, people, environments and virtually everything we come in contact with subconsciously all the time – in under 3 seconds and usually, Read More …

I like to travel in a jacket and dress slacks. There’s a reason for that. I think I get better treatment.

Over many years, I’ve proven that theory to myself, although some of the examples are arguable. This has not been a scientific study, after all.

I just got back from Kansas City. On the way there, I had to pick up a pre-booked rental car. The agent tried to up sell me, of course, and I had to tell her that the car was booked by a third party and I had no flexibility in price. However, I ended up getting an upgrade anyway – four levels above what was originally booked. I’m convinced that if I’d been in jeans and somewhat unkempt in Read More …