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!
too-technical-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

 

A survey on public speaking was conducted by Brownlee & Associates that involved over 3,000 respondents with positions from President, Managing Director, Senior Directors, Employees in Sales, Marketing, R&D, Quality Control, I.T, Doctors, Scientists, and Lawyers. 

The objective was to identify the main causes as to why audience members disconnect and stop paying attention during presentations. 

During a series of weekly blogs, I will highlight a few of the specific areas of disconnect surveyed and offer practical coaching suggestions to help you keep your audience connected. Many of the suggestions provided will come from my book Loud and Clear: How to Prepare and Deliver Effective Business and Technical Presentations.

The results have been divided into two sections; The design of the presentation and the delivery of the presentation. 

The higher the percentage the more the survey participants felt they would disconnect. Percentages ranged from 72%-99%.

The results of this survey make it clear that when the audience is bothered by areas in the design of the presentation that were done or not done or certain delivery behaviors of the presenter exhibited during the presentation were not executed well, the result will be a disconnection between the audience and the presenter and their presentation which will affect the quality of the communication, the degree of impact and memorability of the activity as well as the achievement of the objectives of the presenter.

 

Topic covered in the previous post: How to make sure your presentation isn’t long and stays on time.

 

DESIGN: Survey results indicated that 85% agreed that they would disconnect if… The presentation is complicated with too much detailed information.

My coaching suggestion: Know your audience by conducting an Audience Analysis Audit (AAA). In my book Loud and Clear: How to Prepare and Deliver Effective Business and Technical Presentations we offer a simple audience analysis audit to guarantee your presentation language and delivery will be best suited to your audience.

For example, the following questions are asked in the Audience Analysis Audit (AAA): What is your audience’s level of understanding of the types of information you will be sharing? Technical, Generally Low, Nontechnical, Unknown, Generally high.

And another question: What is their knowledge of the subject? High, Moderate, Limited, None, Unknown. When possible, you will need to research information about your audience ahead of time to determine the answers to these questions in order to craft your presentation in a way that is understandable to your audience.

 

DESIGN: Survey results indicated 76% agreed they would disconnect if…The language used is technical or the presentation is too technical.

My coaching suggestion: Review your research on your Audience Analysis Audit (AAA) mentioned above and make sure the design of your presentation matches the knowledge and understanding of your audience.

 

For more information on this and other topics on effective public speaking, please contact me at: wendy@smartalkers.com or through my website: www.smartalkers.com

Connect with or follow me via LinkedIn or my Facebook page.

 

professional-coaching-tips-post1-smartalkers-speaking-coach-floridav2

 

 

A survey on public speaking was conducted by Brownlee & Associates that involved over 3,000 respondents with positions from President, Managing Director, Senior Directors, Employees in Sales, Marketing, R&D, Quality Control, I.T, Doctors, Scientists, and Lawyers. 

The objective was to identify the main causes as to why audience members disconnect and stop paying attention during presentations. 

During a series of weekly blogs, I will highlight a few of the specific areas of disconnect surveyed and offer practical coaching suggestions to help you keep your audience connected. Many of the suggestions provided will come from my book Loud and Clear: How to Prepare and Deliver Effective Business and Technical Presentations.

The results have been divided into two sections; The design of the presentation and the delivery of the presentation. 

The higher the percentage, the more the survey participants felt they would disconnect. Percentages ranged from 72%-99%.

The results of this survey make it clear that when the audience is bothered by areas in the design of the presentation that was done or was not done or certain delivery behaviors of the presenter exhibited during the presentation were not executed well, the result will be a disconnection between the audience and the presenter and their presentation which will affect the quality of the communication, the degree of impact and memorability of the activity as well as the achievement of the objectives of the presenter.

 

DESIGN: Survey results indicated that 72% agreed that they would disconnect if… The presentation is too long or the presenter does not finish in the time permitted.

My coaching suggestion: Audiences will feel a presentation is too long when the main ideas have been presented along with the supporting information and the presenter continues to ramble on. Think about how you feel when you know it’s time for the presenter to wrap up…and they don’t!  Here’s how to keep your audience from disconnecting from you.

Know your total presentation time. This will include your talking time, Q&A if applicable, and time for other factors such as needing to start late, spend more time in making a point, and other unplanned interruptions.

Remember your talking time does not include your Q&A. Time your rehearsal. You may need to edit when you take into consideration that live presentations will usually take longer than rehearsed presentations. 

In my book Loud and Clear: How to Prepare and Deliver Effective Business and Technical Presentations, an outline is provided that will keep you on track. Begin with the total time at the bottom of the outline and then begin to write in a schedule.

Here’s an example:

Say your presentation is 40 minutes and started at 1:00 pm.

Your outline would look like this:

1 pm Opening

1:05 Main Idea #1 with supporting information

1:15 Main Idea #2 with supporting information

1:25 Main Idea #3 with supporting information

1:35 Closing

1:40 Stop talking

Have a timer in your line of sight to keep tabs on your timing. This way during your live presentation, you’ll be able to easily tell whether you’re keeping to your time limit. If you find yourself falling behind schedule you will need to edit on the fly to stay within your time limit. 

So, the next time you’re in the audience and the presenter is still speaking when the ending time has come and gone, you’ll know how to make sure this will never happen to you.

 

#PresentationSkills  #VirtualPublicSpeaking #PublicSpeakingCoach

 

For more information on this and other topics on effective public speaking, please contact me at wendy@smartalkers.com or through my website: www.smartalkers.com.

Connect or follow me with me via LinkedIn or my Facebook page.

fear-speaking-father-son-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

 

 

A father was talking with his young son. The son asked his father, “What are your dreams for me?” His father’s response, “There’s an old proverb that when children are born, they’re born with their fists closed because that’s where they keep all their gifts. As you grow your hands start to unfold because you’re learning to release all your gifts to the world. And so, for the rest of your life, I want to see you live your life with your hands unfolded.”

What gifts are you still holding in your hands? If a fear of speaking in public is holding you back from sharing your gifts, I can help you unfold your hands and fearlessly share your gifts with the world.

 

Please contact me at: wendy@smartalkers.com or through my website: www.smartalkers.com.

 

 

left-shelf-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

 

 

A professional speaking colleague and friend Gordon Hill  recently sent me Story Gordon’s Success Model. This is an excerpt from his shared model:

 

We’re on a quest, we seek success

To live our bliss, to feel the zest

That flow within as our true self

Engaging what is on our shelf.

 

After reading this, my thoughts drifted to my purpose and passion, helping others build relationships through effective #communication. I wondered what was on my shelf that I’m not engaging with. 

Which led me to ask the same of you.

What’s on your shelf that you’re not engaging with and using to help you build trusting relationships through effective #communication?

Is it…

Knowing how to address and overcome your #fear of speaking but not engaging it?

Knowing there is a simple process to designing and delivering an effective presentation but not engaging it?

Knowing how to identify a person’s communication style, but forgetting to engage this knowledge so that you can have a better understanding of how to build a relationship?

Knowing the importance of being able to attend to and effectively engage your ability to identify #non-verbal communication signals?

Knowing the steps to #empathetic listening, but forgetting to engage them especially during challenging conversations resulting in the possibility of escalating the challenge?

What’s left on your shelf waiting for you to engage? If you’d like to learn more about these communication skills or engage them more effectively, I can help. Please contact me at: wendy@smartalkers.com or through my website: www.smartalkers.com

Remember, it’s not what you learn, but how you use it.

 

 

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.