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!
increase-success-presenting-executives-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

 

One of the most common concerns of my coaching clients involves how to effectively present to senior executives. Here are a few tips to help you the next time you have the opportunity.

 

  1. Summarize upfront: Say you’re given 30 minutes to present. When creating your opening statement, pretend your whole time slot got cut to 5 minutes. Lead with all the information your audience really cares about such as: high-level findings, conclusions, recommendations, call to action. State those points clearly and succinctly in your opening statement, then move on to supporting data, and material that’s peripherally relevant. 
  2. Set expectations:  Let the audience know you’ll be spending your first few minutes presenting your summary and the rest of the time on discussion.
  3. Create summary slides: When making your slide deck, place a short overview of key points at the front; the rest of your slides should serve as an appendix. Follow the 10% rule: If your appendix is 20 slides, create 2 summary slides. After you present the summary, let the group drive the conversation, and refer to appendix slides as relevant questions and comments come up. 
  4. Give them what they asked for: This time-pressed group of senior executives invited you to speak because they felt you could supply missing or valuable information on the topic. Answer that specific request directly and quickly.
  5. Rehearse: Run your talk and slides by a colleague who will serve as an honest coach. If possible, find someone who’s had success getting ideas adopted at the executive level.

 

Public speaking and communication skills are the primary skills SmarTalkers can provide through our coaching and training opportunities. 

Visit our website www.smartalkers.com or contact Wendy Warman wendy@smartalkers.com for more information.

 

 

increased-responsibility-accountability-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

 

In my morning thoughts and meditation, I came across this statement. It’s one I’ve heard before, however, today it prompted me to reflect on the responsibility and accountability we have when presenting our information to others. 

When designing a presentation we must keep our audience in mind. That is a speaker’s responsibility. It’s not all about what we want them to know about our topic, but also what they will want to know and hear about the topic. 

In addition, we are held accountable for not only what we say but how we say it. Our tongue is a very small muscle in our body but holds power that can encourage and build up or destroy and tear down. Our voice and body language have power over our words. They must match in order to be believable and accepting to our audience.

Presenting to others is a privilege and with that privilege comes responsibility and accountability. 

When developing your presentation, do you have a process that will ensure your message will address your audience’s needs and wants? Are you in control of having your message match your words and voice? 

If you’re unsure, the process found in my book Loud and Clear: How to Prepare and Deliver Effective Business and Technical Presentations may be just what you need. It’s a simple process that delivers positive results! To find out more about the Loud and Clear Process and hear from the words of my clients the benefits they’ve received, check out my website: www.smartalkers.com or contact me at wendy@smartalkers.com. I’d welcome the opportunity to speak with you!

 

 

 

data-dumping-bored-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

 

This week I listened to a speaker that was the perfect example of data dumping. For 25 minutes, we looked at slides with words too small to read, and listened to the history of the product he was talking about – beginning before the birth of Jesus to the present day! Yes, that’s right. We looked at too many slides in small font with the speaker giving only minimal commentary. He could have easily given us a handout of his slides and walked out the door. Data dumping at it’s best and BORING! During his presentation, I looked around and saw audience members looking at their watches and wiggling in their seats. 

 

When I thought I could stand no more, he began to show photographs and other interesting visuals and added commentary that piqued my interest and the interest of his audience. However, it was too late. The moderator politely interrupted him to let him know he needed to wrap up. 

 

Are you guilty of data dumping? Overwhelming your audience with everything you know about your topic? Or do you have a process that will guide you in designing a presentation that will get you the results you want and your audience will feel it’s been worth their time listening to you?

If you’d like more information on how to design an effective and interesting message, let’s talk. The six-step process included in my best-selling book (over a quarter of a million sold) Loud and Clear: How to Prepare and Deliver Effective Business and Technical Presentations may be just what you’re looking for.  Contact me to get your copy:  wendy@smartalkers.com

 

 

awkward-memorization-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

 

One of my favorite business experts is Seth Godin (https://www.sethgodin.com/)

I subscribe to his daily blog posts and this one really hit the mark on the topic of memorization. It follows my philosophy that I share with my coaching clients when they tell me they want to memorize their presentation.

Here are his thoughts…

____________________

 

Awkward Memorization

The spread of TED talks means that more and more people are being put on stage and told to memorize their talk.

This almost always leads to failure.

It’s not because people memorize too much, it’s because they don’t memorize enough.

Watch a great performance and you’ll see no artifacts of memorization. Instead, you will see someone speaking from the heart.

This is what it means to know something by heart.

Memorizing the words is half of it.

And woefully insufficient.

My suggestion: Don’t memorize your talk. Memorize your stories. Ten stories make a talk. Write yourself a simple cue card to remember each story’s name. Then tell us ten stories.

Be you.

We didn’t come to hear your words. If that’s all we wanted, we could have read the memo and saved a ton of time.

Bring your heart.

__________________

And I would add…in the word rehearse is the word ‘rehear’. Practice and rehearse until it becomes apart of you…Yes, I agree, be you and bring your heart.

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

 

communication-essential-skill-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

5 Essential Communication Skills Needed to Be a Good Communicator

 

For those of you who follow me on LinkedIn and Facebook, you know I’m passionately against communication skills being put into the category of soft skills. Here’s just another reason why communication skills are essential skills, not soft skills!

 A recent article from Inc. magazine stated Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, recognized the value of 1 “essential” job skill even before he had a name for his company. You guessed it!

Bezos was quoted as saying “Top-notch communication skills are essential.”

Bezos recognized very early that job candidates who were skilled in one area–like coding and engineering–would still fall short of their potential if they didn’t have the ability to communicate and collaborate with others.

Recently, LinkedIn surveyed 4,000 hiring professionals, with “leadership and communication” topping the list of must-have job requirements.

 

Here are 5 key communication skills that are essential for your success in the workplace:

Rate yourself on a scale of 1-5. 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest.

  1. Listening: not only to words being said but the message behind the words. Ensure the accuracy of what you’ve heard by asking clarifying questions or paraphrasing what you’ve heard.
  2. Nonverbal communication: effective eye contact, use of hand movements to match your message, and tone of voice to bring life to your message.
  3. Communicate with clarity, confidence, and conciseness: Confidently presenting your message that is clear and concise will ensure a successful communication encounter.

In an upcoming training session, I’ll be providing to a software development company, this was the most requested area to address as it relates to communicating one on one and to a group.

  1.     Empathy: Using phrases as simple as “I understand where you’re coming from” demonstrate that you have been listening to the other person and respect their opinions.

Even when you disagree with an employer, coworker, or employee, it is important for you to understand and respect their point of view.

  1.     Giving and receiving feedback: Giving well thought out feedback will result in a high return on your investment. People respond and are motivated by constructive feedback even if it’s not always positive but delivered in a way that’s respectful and truthful.

Similarly, you should be able to accept and even encourage, feedback from others. Listen to the feedback you are given, ask clarifying questions if you are unsure of the issue, and make efforts to implement the feedback.

 

Well, how did you do? If you scored 3 or lower, I’d welcome the opportunity to talk with you about ways to improve your communication skills…The essential skill.

 

Contact me through my website: www.smartalkers.com or email: wendy@smartalkers.com

You can also follow me on LinkedIn and Facebook for more tips on public speaking and communication skills.

 

Communication is not a soft skill; it’s an essential skill.

 

get-hook-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

 

It’s just as important to know what your audience doesn’t want from a presenter as it is to know what they do want. Over the years of coaching and training in designing and delivering business and technical presentations, I have polled my clients and audiences as to what is a real turn off to them when listening to a speaker. Here are the top ten responses. 

 

Ten of the Most Common Ways to Turn Off Your Audience

  1. Lack of rapport with the audience
  2. Looking stiff and uncomfortable
  3. The presentation is too intellectual with no audience engagement
  4. The presenter appears to lack confidence
  5. Poor eye contact
  6. Distracting mannerisms
  7. Being unprepared
  8. Monotone voice
  9. Lack of enthusiasm
  10. Using boring material 

 

Four Faults Your Audience Will Never Forgive You For

  1. Not being prepared.
  2. Not making them feel comfortable.
  3. Not being committed to your topic.
  4. Not being interesting.

 

Are you guilty of any of these turn-offs? If so the Six-Step Loud and Clear process will give you the techniques needed to move your audiences from saying “Get the hook!” to “More, more, more!”

 

Here are a few of the benefits of using my Loud & Clear process from my book Loud and Clear: How To Design and Deliver Effective Business and Technical Presentations, with over a quarter of a million sold to date.

  1. Reduces stress and anxiety.
  2. Reduces preparation time by 20-50 percent.
  3. Increases your audience’s interest, understanding, and engagement.
  4. Connect more directly with your audience’s needs and wants.
  5. Increases your confidence and clarity.

If you’d like more information about the Loud and Clear process, let’s talk: wendy@smartalkers.com.

frequent-types-presentations-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

 

Knowing the type of presentation you’re going to give is the first step in designing your presentation. Let’s take a look at four of the most frequently made types of presentations.

1. Persuasive. Every presentation is, to a certain extent, persuasive. First and foremost, you must convince your audience that you know what you’re talking about. Beyond this, you might use a persuasive presentation to:

  • Gain an audience’s confidence in the organization you represent and the message you are presenting.
  • Pique the interest of a potential customer in a new product, service or program that you are offering.
  • Convince upper management of the need to commit additional personnel or money to purchase new technology.

 

2. Explanatory. An explanatory presentation provides a general familiarization giving “the big picture.” This type of presentation rarely involves a high level of detail. It might be used to:

  • Provide general information relevant to the needs of another department, company or agency.
  • Present information to a professional association, civic organization, or other groups in the interest of good public relations.

 

3. Instructional. This type of presentation teaches others how to use or do something, such as a new procedure or piece of equipment. This usually requires greater involvement of your audience to reinforce their learning and frequently provides detailed information. Typical uses for an instructional presentation are to:

  • Instruct customers in the use of a specific process or equipment.
  • Coach employees in the use of specific software.

 

4. Briefing. A briefing usually brings your audience up to date on something with which they are already familiar. Details may be provided on a selective basis, according to the needs and interests of your audience. A briefing may be designed to:

  • Update upper management on current expenditures compared to budget.
  • Clarify modifications to a particular product or service.

 

Overlapping of these presentation types may be necessary. For example, to convince upper management to invest in new technology, not only do you need to briefly explain the technology, but you will need to persuade them to make the purchase by providing the benefits of the new technology.

In summary, knowing what presentation type is necessary to achieve your objective is a key component to the design of your presentation. This will provide you with a guide as to how much information you will need to provide and how detailed the information needs to be.

important-soft-skills-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 
 
You might be surprised. Read on.

In the July 26, 2019 edition of the Tampa Bay Business Journal, one headline read,
Research: “Soft Skills’ Emerge As Most Critical Among Successful SMBS.

The article goes on to state that the Small & Medium Business Trends Report analyzed responses from 2,000+ small and medium-sized business owners and leaders. The second highest soft skill characteristic for running a successful business was People and Communication skills.

How would you rate you and/or your company in these skills?

People and communication skills are the primary skills SmarTalkers can provide through our coaching and training opportunities. Contact Wendy Warman at wendy@smartalkers.com for more information.

man-moon-fear-vs-worry-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 
 
In a recent interview celebrating 50 years since man’s first walk on the moon, astronaut Michael Collins stated, “I wasn’t scared but worried.” Those words gave me pause as many of my clients will engage my coaching services to help them overcome their fear of speaking in public. So I questioned, is there a difference between the statements, “I have a fear of speaking”, and “I worry about speaking?”

Here’s a thought… In a post by Meredith Bell, she offers the following:

Among the many useful insights, I took away from Gavin de Becker’s book, The Gift of Fear, one of the most profound was a deeper appreciation for the distinction between worry and fear. Until reading the final chapter, I had not pondered the difference. But the author not only defines them clearly, but he also points out why one is harmful and the other can be life-saving.

Gavin de Becker is one of the most sought-after, highly respected experts on security issues in the world. His firm protects people who are at risk, and his clients include celebrities, governments, and large corporations. He knows what he’s talking about, and his book is filled with stories – some startling, some chilling, and all true – that will remain embedded in my brain for years to come.

According to de Becker, people too often associate the word fear with other words like worry, panic, and anxiety. But they are not the same. While the latter emotions are voluntary, genuine fear is involuntary. It’s a survival signal wired in us that sounds only in the presence of danger and is intended to be very brief. The problem is that “unwarranted fear has assumed a power over us that it holds over no other creature on earth.”

On the other hand, worry is a choice. When we allow ourselves to become preoccupied with what might happen, there are clear downsides: “It interrupts clear thinking, wastes time, and shortens life.”

So based on the above, should we change the focus to “I have a worry about public speaking”? Or is the “unwarranted fear” mentioned above?

Your thoughts?

crafting-presentation-song-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida
 
 
A new summer program called Songland caught my attention when I watched how three superstar professional musicians use their individual areas of expertise to help unknown songwriters hoping for a break into stardom get their song chosen to record for global release. As stated in the press release for the show:

“The panel assesses the lyrics, arrangement, rhythm, melody, and message and discusses ways to adapt the songs to fit the style, taste, and ability of the guest artist. In the studio, the producer and songwriter will then work to customize the song for the guest artist. By episode’s end, the artist will select a song to record for a global release.”

Wow, I thought! This is what I do for my clients in crafting and delivering their presentations.

Here are the similarities:
The songwriter is the expert because they wrote the song.
My client is an expert because they know their topic.

The songwriter needs to know their audience, in this case, they need to adapt their song to fit the style, taste, and ability of the guest artist. My client needs to perform an in-depth audience analysis audit in order to ensure it is crafted to meet the needs and wants of the audience.

The songwriter needs to present it in a way that connects with the guest artist through the music, words, and overall color of the song, including the rate/pace of the words, the tone of the song, and the feeling the song evokes.

For example, if the song is being pitched for a movie like The Fast and The Furious, which was the focus of one of the guest artists, it needed to be fast-paced, with a catchy rhythm, and an overall powerful tone. When pitched to John Legend, a more mellow singer-songwriter, the performance needed to have a soft, sweet and low-key tone.

This is the same for my clients. They need to identify and practice, through their body language and tone of voice, the ability to ensure their presentation matches their message and the style of their audience.

If the content of the presentation has excitement to it, the presenter needs to show this emotion through gestures and vocal expressions including, loudness variations, a more rapid pace and a variety of vocal inflections.

If the content has a more serious nature to it, the presenter needs to tone down gestures and voice attributes, including loudness, pace and pitch variations.

The takeaway is this: whether you’re crafting a song or a presentation, you must know who your audience is and create the emotion and content that connects with them in order to be successful.

Remember, every audience is tuned into the radio station WIIFM, What’s In It For Me!

If you’d like more information about how you can be a successful crafter and presenter of your message, I’d welcome the opportunity to speak with you. Contact me for a free consultation.