SmarTalkers | Wendy's Blog

by Wendy Warman MS CCC

Dec 12, 2018
Step 1

Establish Your Objectives

Without a doubt, this often overlooked step is the most important one in the planning process. You need to ask. “Why am I making this presentation?” not “What am I going to say?” Start by determining what you want to accomplish with your presentation. Your objectives must be realistic and achievable, immediate, and essentially selfish. They represent what you want to have happen during and after your presentation.
Step 2

Analyze Your Audience

Next, turn the tables-think about your audience’s needs and wants. What do you need to know about your audience’s knowledge, attitudes, likes, and dislikes to increase the probability of achieving your objectives? What is likely to get your audience to do what you want them to do?
Step 3

Prepare Your Preliminary Plan

The preliminary plan is not a speaking outline. Think of it as a conceptual guide to help you determine what will most logically lead to accomplishing your presentation objectives. This should be a blueprint for developing your ideas and deciding how much and what kind of information you will need.
Step 4

Select Resource Material

Finding enough resource material to supplement your talking points is not difficult. The challenge is selecting what and how much material you should include. Ask yourself the following questions:
  • What is the purpose of this presentation?
  • What should you cover? What can you eliminate?
  • What amount of detail do you need?
  • What must you say if you are to reach your presentation objectives?
  • What is the best way to say it?
  • What kind of audience action or response are you seeking?
  • What material should you withhold from your presentation but have available for reference?
  • Finally, submit all your resource material to the “Why?” test. Be sure you can justify why you selected the material and how it will contribute to achieving your objectives
Step 5

Organize Materials

Like any good story, your presentation needs a beginning, middle, and end. Presenters often spend most of their time organizing content and very little on their opening and closing statements-perhaps the most important parts of your presentation.
  • An audience is most attentive at the beginning of your presentation, but it can turn off quickly. Take advantage of this small window of opportunity with a well-honed opener that grabs your audience and conveys the main point of your presentation in the first few minutes.
  • Follow your main ideas with analogies, quotes from current newspapers or magazines, personal stories, examples, illustrations, relevant statistics, or visual aids.
  • Audience attention and retention peak again with your closing statement. Integrate your opening points into your closing statements. This shows cohesiveness and gives your presentation a powerful ending. Closings will impress your audience if they are challenging, a summary of your key points, suggest an agreement or recommend specific action, or present quotes, facts, or statistics.
Step 6

Practice Your Presentation

IIt’s a rare individual who can take even a well-prepared presentation and deliver it effectively on the first attempt. Most of us have had the experience of planning a presentation that looks good on paper only to have it fall flat in the real world.
  • Preparation is not complete until you have rehearsed your presentation, whether practicing aloud to yourself, using an audio-or-videotape recorder, or giving a “dry run” before someone who can respond like your intended audience.
Each of these six steps offers a separate and distinct contribution, and none of them should be overlooked. When you take the time to move through this six-step process, it should guarantee that your next presentation is delivered LOUD AND CLEAR!
mask-communication

 

 

This is not an opinion on to wear or not to wear a mask. Instead, I invite you to think about this. 

As if we don’t have enough already, we now have another factor that has the potential for our communication with others to break down. 

Have you noticed, at times, it’s more difficult for people to communicate when wearing masks? How about you? Muffled speech, unable to read all the facial expressions, and just can’t hear the speaker requiring them to repeat. Frustrating! In addition, think about those that have hearing and auditory processing issues. It can greatly impact their ability to understand you causing increased frustration and even embarrassment. Many people with hearing issues use lip reading to help them understand.

Pulling from my speech pathologist background, I recommend 3 things to discourage communication breakdowns and encourage communication connections:

  • Increase the loudness of your voice to accommodate the filter of the mask.
  • Speak clearly. 
  • If you’re a fast talker, slow down. 

 

Be kind, be considerate, and be safe.

 

 

do-you-hear

 

 

In a recent discussion with my husband he responded “I know what you said.” And my response was “But did you hear what I said?”

You may be saying; “What’s the difference between those two responses?” I invite you to think again! A listener can think they know what the speaker said but the only way to confirm is through paraphrasing back to the speaker.  Paraphrasing or giving feedback is a critical skill in active listening. When paraphrasing is eliminated in a crucial conversation, it may mean the difference between a conversation that ends with conflict or one that ends with connection. It only takes a moment to initiate paraphrasing to ensure you’re making the communication connection and closing the communication loop.

 

 

prosperity-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

 

This story was posted on a social media site. It captured my attention. I hope it captures yours as well.  

A participant from Thailand said she had a gift for me.  It was a very tiny box…about half the size of my smartphone.  Inside were three beautifully-painted figurines.  “Can you tell me about these?” I asked.  She said, “They represent health, wealth, and prosperity…but none of them has anything to do with money.  Health means a good spirit and a long life…wealth means an abundance of friends and experiences…prosperity means the chance to share your heart and knowledge with others.

If you’re holding back from sharing your heart and knowledge with others because of fear or just feeling uncomfortable with public speaking, I can help. Let’s talk. 

Learn more: https://smartalkers.com or email me at wendy@smartalkers.com.

 

 

teleconferencing-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

 

Could these be challenges that you, too, will face?

For the first time in history, oral arguments were presented to the Supreme Court via teleconferencing.

As a public speaking coach, I continually tell my clients, “The messenger must match the message.” But what if you can’t see how your audience is reacting to your message? How will you change or modify your information based on the reactions of your audience if you can’t see them? I call this the absorb-project balance. When presenting, speakers need to absorb the non-verbal communication signals the audience is giving them and project back in a way that takes that into consideration creating a connection vs. a disconnection with their audience.

Take a look at how attorneys grappled with this

Here are the concerns of a couple of attorneys that presented.  

“One difference will be the inability to read the body language from the court,” says Ian Heath Gershengorn, a Jenner & Block partner who will argue May 11 for a criminal defendant in McGirt v. Oklahoma, the case involving the Indian reservation status of a large part of the state. “So much of being responsive to the justices’ questions is reading the non-verbal feedback. A big piece of that feedback is gone, and that will be tricky.”

Here’s another expressed concern that also deals specifically with non-verbal communication-how to dress.

While some advocates arguing in Zoom video sessions have been chided for not observing normal dress codes or for inappropriate backgrounds, the telephone-only status of the upcoming Supreme Court arguments have prompted anxiety-inducing questions of their own.

First, should advocates stand up, as they would in court?

“Whether I’ll stand or sit, I think I will play around with that” in his moot courts, says Gershengorn, adding that those practice sessions will be conducted online.

And what to wear? Martinez says he may don a lucky sweater.

“I am perhaps not going to be as dressed up as I normally would be,” he says.

Gershengorn says he has received dress suggestions from colleagues that range from pajamas to the full morning coat and related attire he wore in court as a deputy U.S. solicitor general and acting solicitor general under President Barack Obama.

“I suspect it will be jeans and a T-shirt,” he says. “I want to be as relaxed as I can be.”

 How do you determine body language and non-verbal communication when you can’t see someone and how do you dress when presenting when they can’t see you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please add your comments on this post or email me at wendy@smartalkers.com.

 

 

smartphone-secondhand-smoke-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

 

In my over 30 years as a speech-language pathologist, my motto has been: Communication IS the Human Connection. I’m now putting on my speech pathologist hat with the following observation. 

Since smartphones have become a way of life, I have noticed face to face communication with children taking second place to communicating with our face toward the phone and not facing the child. 

In a recent post in my ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Association) journal, ASHA president Theresa Rodgers makes the following observation.

Parents who are preoccupied with their cellphones may be hindering their children’s development.

 “When parents or caregivers spend too much turning away from their kids and toward technology, the foundation for a child’s communication skills is weakened. Experts in my field of speech and language development are already seeing the impacts on children who have missed out on hours of essential, real-life face time, such as limited communication and social skills.”

“What might seem like innocuous scrolling could be the new secondhand smoke-a personal habit that could endanger their children’s health and development in ways we don’t yet fully understand.”

I’m hoping that now with home isolation in place, it may be easier for you to become aware of the times when your child tries to engage you in conversation and you respond while looking at your phone and not directing your attention to them. Let’s show our children what true connecting communication looks like.

Take care and be well.

 

Public speaking and business communication skills are the skills SmarTalkers can provide to you through our coaching and training opportunities. Visit our website www.smartalkers.com or contact Wendy Warman: wendy@smartalkers.com for more information.

 

 

gesture-communication-smile-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

 

 

This gesture is known everywhere in the world. It is universal.

This gesture is rarely, if ever, misunderstood.

This gesture scientists believe, actually releases chemicals called endorphins into your system that create a feeling of mild euphoria.

When you travel around the world, this gesture may help you slip out of the most difficult situations.

What is it? I’m sure you guessed it. A smile!

 

During this time of self-quarantine, when I do need to venture out wearing a face protector, what I discovered was how much I missed the ability to interact with people in the stores with a smile. The cashier that continues to be upbeat even though days are challenging. The person that helps me find something in the store. the person that lets me move ahead of them because they have more groceries than I do. I’m smiling at them, but do they know that?

 

So I’ve decided to pay close attention and use two ways that I can make a smiling connection if only for a moment.  I believe we can hear a smile in someone’s voice, so I’m making a special effort to have a voice that smiles. Our eyes can also show a smile. When we smile, our eyes light up. 

 

How about you? Are you feeling the challenge in making smiling connections when wearing your face protector? Or have you ever thought about it? We need all the positive connections we can give and receive during these challenging times.

 

Communication is a human connection. Even though our face may be partially covered, let’s connect with others with our smile, voice, and eyes.

 

Be safe, be kind, and smile,

Wendy

 

 

virtual-classes-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

 

Recently I was contacted by a  colleague of mine complaining of almost losing her voice after teaching her classes virtually. I immediately put on my speech pathologist’s hat and suggested she may be pushing her voice too hard, increasing her loudness more than needed creating a fatigued voice. This is not unusual when we aren’t able to get the feedback on voice modulation as is possible during a classroom setting. 

Also, I suggested that a bit of anxiety may be playing into this as she had never used video to teach a class before. The anxiety she may be feeling will cause a tightening of her throat muscles which in turn would add to the vocal fatigue she was experiencing. 

In a follow-up email a week later she stated: “I took your advice about watching my projection, and it made all the difference.” She also switched to a more user-friendly video platform eliminating the stress she was feeling.

If you’re experiencing challenges with your voice with the new normal of teaching virtual classes, let’s talk. As a speech pathologist for over 30 years, I’ve coached business professionals on the use and care of the professional voice. Your voice is an instrument. Learn to play it well.

Be safe, be kind, be well,

Wendy

 

 

virtual-presentation-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

 

 

Before your presentation:

  1. Consider the background your audience will see. Make it professional looking and avoid distracting pictures and objects.
  2. Dress professionally.
  3. Eliminate as much as possible any chance of a distraction or noise to disrupt your presentation.
  4. Make sure your face and or your body if standing, is well lit. Have the lighting in front of you not behind you. Don’t sit or stand with your back to a window. 
  5. Place something behind your computer that no one else can see that will remind you that you have an audience. A friend of mine shared that his 10-year-old daughter placed a stuffed animal behind her laptop as an “audience” to engage with.
  6. If you sit, sit on the front half of your chair and keep your feet flat on the floor. This will also help with your breathing and keeps you anchored in front of the screen.

 

 

During your presentation:

  1. Connect with your audience before diving into your presentation.
  2. Make sure your delivery uses both your gestures and voice to keep your audience engaged. Using gestures that match your message (keep them in the camera view) and vocal expression and inflections will keep you connected with your audience.
  3. Remember to tell stories, give examples, ask questions, pause and ask for comments every few minutes to keep interest high.
  4. Stand up if possible. This allows you to breathe more deeply than when sitting and will keep you from slouching in front of your computer.

 

Take care and be well.

Wendy

 

Public speaking and business communication skills are the skills SmarTalkers can provide to you through our coaching and training opportunities. Visit our website www.smartalkers.com or contact Wendy Warman: wendy@smartalkers.com for more information.

 

 

what-if-syndrome-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida
 

“I know I’m the expert on my topic. I’ve worked hard on the design and practiced my delivery, but I always think before presenting, what if..?”

 

After hearing this from a new client of mine I asked her why she felt the “what if ” syndrome? Her reply was, “I don’t know. I just always feel this way.”

 

What about you? After you have designed and practiced your delivery of a presentation, do the “what if’s” begin to creep in?

 

The “what if” syndrome is a certain way to sabotage the success of your presentation, cause unnecessary anxiety, and cause you to second guess your presentation skills to make a successful presentation.

 

When preparing your next presentation, I invite you to ask yourself:

 

  • Do I have a clear objective for my presentation? In other words, have I answered the question, what do I want my audience to DO, not think, as a result of it?
  • Have I done an in-depth audience analysis audit to ensure my presentation is focused on my audience’s needs and wants and not what I think they want or need to know?
  • Have I added stories, examples, or analogies that support my main ideas which will keep my audience interested?
  • Do I have an attention-getting opening that does NOT  begin with “Thank you for having me speak to you,” and a closing that shows your audience you’ve come full circle?

 
These are just a few questions that need to be answered “yes” in order for you to eliminate the “what if’s” from your mind. 

 

In my book “Loud and Clear: How to Prepare and Deliver Effective Business and Technical Presentations”, there’s a six-step process, when diligently followed ensures your success in designing and delivering an effective presentation that will get you the results you want and your audience will feel it’s been worth their time listening to you.

 

Loud and Clear’s practical step by step process has helped over a quarter of a million people present their message with confidence, clarity, and connection.

 

Check out the blog post on my website to see the six steps explained in detail.

 

And now the rest of my client’s story. After we worked through the Loud and Clear Six-Step process, my client delivered her next presentation without the “what if’s” but now she says, “It’s showtime!”

 

If you’d like more information about the Loud and Clear Six-Step Process and my coaching program, let’s connect! wendy@smartalkers.com.