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“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” -Vince Lombardi

This quote reminds me of the many times when coaching a client for a presentation they have said to me, “I want this presentation to be perfect!”. My response, “That’s a sure way to fail.” 

I was raised to be a perfect child, which spilled over into fueling my fear of speaking in public. I wanted perfection and when I didn’t achieve it, my fear continued to build to the point of severe anxiety when asked to speak, even for a brief moment like introducing myself.

Choosing to be prepared, authentic, and audience-centered will result in excellence, not perfection. Practice makes permanent, not perfect.

If you’d like to learn more about how to eliminate your need for perfection and move towards excellence when designing and delivering your next presentation, let’s talk. 

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.comfor more information.

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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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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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 “Developing excellent communication skills is absolutely essential to effective leadership. The leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. If a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.” -Gilbert Amelio, Former President and CEO of National Semiconductor Corp.

  

“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” -Lee Iacocca

 

 

 

 

 

What’s the common thread between these two quotes?  CONNECTION! We find, in both quotes, the necessity of being able to get your message and ideas across to others in a clear, concise, and understandable way.  

Many times, I find my clients are experts in their field but are unable to get their expertise across to their audiences.

15% of your success is from your knowledge.

85% comes from your ability to effectively communicate your knowledge.

Taken from the Audience Analysis Audit in my book Loud and Clear: How to Prepare and Deliver Effective Business and Technical Presentations, here are a few questions for you to consider about your audience before your next presentation to make sure you CONNECT!

 

  • What are the benefits of your information to your audience? Every audience member is hooked up to the radio station WIIFM. What’s In It For Me.
  • What is their level of understanding of the types of information you will be sharing? This will shape the way you present your information to make your connection.
  • What is their knowledge of the subject? Too much or too little information= no connection.
  • What are their opinions about your subject? Dispel resistance, if any, upfront. Let them know you’ve done your homework!
  • How willing are the members of your audience to accept the ideas you will present? Get them on board as quickly as possible.
  • What are the desired emotional effects you want your audience to feel both during and immediately following your presentation? People “buy” on emotion.
  • How are you going to involve your audience during your presentation? If you tell me, I’ll listen; If you show me, I’ll pay attention; If you involve me I’ll learn!

 

By answering these questions, you’ll be on track with key information to help you design a presentation that connects with your audience. These questions may be applied to an audience of any size…even one. Take good care of your audience and you will get the results you want!

 

Here’s to presentations that connect!

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