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.

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

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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

 

 

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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.

 

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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?

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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.

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what-if-fear-of-speaking-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

 

Do you have a fear of speaking and let the “what if” thoughts consume you? “What if I make a mistake and look like a fool? What if I’m asked a question and don’t know the answer? What if the technology doesn’t work?”

The following post came through Instagram and I don’t know who wrote it, but felt the thoughts were appropriate for those that have a fear of speaking. Take heed. We are what we think, especially relating to: “What if” thoughts?

“Are you worried? Do you have many “what if” thoughts? You are identified with your mind, which is projecting itself into an imaginary future situation and creating fear. There is no way that you can cope with such a situation because it doesn’t exist. It’s a mental phantom. You can stop this health and life-corroding insanity simply by acknowledging the present moment.”

I might add, related to speaking, there is a way you can cope. Learning how to design and deliver a presentation and find out how to dispel all the “what if’s” will give you the confidence to overcome your fear. I know this for a fact because this is how I overcame my fear of speaking in public. You can too!

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presentation-skills-smartalkers-speaking-coach-florida

I asked participants attending my Effective Presentations course to make a list of things public speakers do that turn them off and what captures and keeps their attention.

Here’s the list. Think about the last time you made a presentation. How would you score?

TURNOFFS

  • Giving away your authority to your audience
  • Rambling
  • Not speaking clearly
  • Not speaking loud enough to be heard
  • Reading their notes
  • Too many “ahhs” and “umms”
  • Monotone voice
  • Not being prepared
  • Spending too much time one topic
  • Going off on tangents
  • Outdated information
  • Self-absorbed

TURN-ONS

  • Professional appearance
  • Confidence without arrogance
  • Lively and animated
  • A message with a purpose
  • Engaging
  • Good eye contact
  • Organized
  • Authentic
  • Prepared
  • Good voice projection

How did you do? If you, your employees or team members are falling short of being the most professional and dynamic speakers possible, contact me. I’d love the opportunity to help!

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