Powerful Presentations – It’s How You Make Them Feel

Who was the last great speaker that you heard? How did that person make you feel? Maybe you liked them and their speech because they made you feel good about yourself. How do you make your audiences feel?

What they remember

Jeff Schafer, of the Schafer Development Group, talks about the importance of making prospects feel good about themselves in the sales process. According to Schafer, “People may not remember exactly what ‘you did’ or what ‘you said’, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” While this is important in a sales situation, it is equally important in a public speaking or presentation setting.

Why this is important

On the television show Star Trek, Mr. Spock operated on pure logic. Many speakers think that audiences think the same way. In reality, people buy ideas and products based on emotion, and then justify the decision with logic. People are driven by emotion and feelings. Therefore, they remember how you made them feel.

Why attitude is important

Most speakers begin with the wrong attitude about speaking. They speak for their reasons and fail to identify and speak to the audience’s needs. They give a speech that centers on “me” and “I”, rather than the wants and needs of the audience. Because of this, they fail to make the audience feel important, and therefore fail to make an emotional connection with them.

How to do it

The powerful speaker connects with us by speaking to our needs and wants, and therefore makes us feel important. They determine our needs and wants by asking us questions. In a sales situation, most of the questions are asked during the sales meeting. In speaking, most of the questions are asked before the speaking engagement. In both situations, questions are critical. By asking questions, we show a person that we care about them, and help them feel important. Then speak to their needs by sharing stories with them that are real, relevant and related to their needs. Turn a regular speech into an interesting one by mixing facts and stories. Stories captivate, entertain and bring out an emotion.

Mixed emotions

How do you want your audiences to feel? How do you make them feel? Are they bored, excited, angry or happy when they hear you speak? While most people want audiences to like them and go away feeling good, this isn’t always the objective. You may want the audience to get very angry and upset about something, and then go take action to right that wrong. The emotions they feel, whether it is anger or joy, are a direct result of how effectively you identify and speak directly to their needs. If you don’t speak to their needs, they will quickly forget you. As sales trainer Warren Greshes says, “The worst thing that can happen to a speaker is to have the audience forget them”.

Your speech is over. They won’t remember all the words you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Be a real pro, and make sure they feel the way you want them to feel.

Fred Ashforth works with individuals to improve presentation skills and increase income. For more information, please visit his website.

6 Great Tips for Using Notes for a Presentation

Have you ever set off on a journey, convinced that you know where you are going and then having taken a wrong turning, realised that you have also failed to take your route map with you? Result? A feeling of panic! Notes for a talk can be likened to a route map of a journey. So, when you are travelling (and assuming that you haven’t left it at home) you use your map as an aid to navigate. If you have a good idea of where you are going this doesn’t mean that you are constantly looking at it, that shouldn’t be necessary, but if you are unsure of your direction, – your route map is there to ‘put you back on track’. These days, of course, GPS or ‘SatNav’ aids are frequently used, – but the same principles apply. In making the best use of your carefully researched and assembled notes you may find the following tips helpful;

1. Make your notes very brief. They should only be pointers or guides. When navigating you only want to spend the shortest time possible actually looking at your map.

2. Make them easily accessible. If using paper based notes use generous spacing between them with subheadings or bullet points. (See point 5 below). How frustrating is it when you are trying to check one of those enormous multifold maps and you can’t even find which section you are currently in?

3. Limit the number of notes. Your thorough preparation should have given you a reasonable amount of confidence, so remember, your notes are there as an aid, not as a script. (We’re talking here of an extemporaneous talk as opposed to a scripted talk that is read verbatim or word for word). If your ‘notes’ are actually the script you will be tempted to read them instead of referring to them.

4. Your notes must be clear and easily read. Use a sensible size typeface which you will be able to read in possibly unfavourable lighting conditions. Ambiguity can cause a loss of confidence and a feeling of panic if they don’t say what you expect to see. For example a road name or highway number that is unclear is no help at all!

5. Develop a system of differentiating important points, quotations, statistics, questions etc. Roads on a map are identified by colour code, towns of varying sizes are shown by different sized print for their names and points of interest are indicated by symbols. Do the same with your notes, use coloured type, embolden or perhaps underline, use your own symbols (but make sure their meaning is very obvious in case of a ‘mind gone blank’ moment). Use main points and then subpoints or even Bullet points as a quick reference.

6. Keep your notes well organised. Some people prefer to have their notes in a book or on sheets of A4/A5 paper, many prefer to use cards, for example index type 4×6 (100 x 150mm) cards. Whatever method, make sure each page or card is titled and numbered, similar to the way a map is organised with alpha-numeric grid squares. If the worst happens and you drop your notes, (yes, it’s happened to me), at least you can re-assemble them and continue. Incidentally your audience will expect you to have notes, so don’t go overboard trying to hide them. On the other hand, avoid waving them about when using gestures, it is very disconcerting.

If using a PowerPoint or other form of slide based presentation only show those points which you wish your audience to make special or written notes from, avoid using them as your own prompt and remember to take the slides down again after they have served their purpose, otherwise you risk losing your audience and your continuity.

When using a rostrum or speakers stand, ensure that it is set up for the right height and angle for comfortable viewing well before you begin your presentation, also make a point of checking out the lighting so that you can actually see your notes.

If you utilise the above points you will be confident that you can find your way and be able to enjoy your journey, i.e your talk or presentation, with little problem and reach your destination or your conclusion without getting lost.

Speak and Present With Confidence

People love to listen to confident speakers. No one wants to trust someone who doesn’t appear to trust themselves. While a lucky few may naturally project a confident air when they present to a large group, the majority of us need to work to develop this skill.

Changing the way you speak is one of the most important steps in achieving an air of confidence and success. Subtle changes in your voice and presentation will create a significant difference in how your message is received. The first step, is to make an effort to speak slowly. This gives your listener the impression that what you have to say has value and is worth taking the time to listen to. It also creates a sense that you are calm and in control. You should also maintain a strong volume as you speak. Projecting your voice makes you sound authoritative and like a natural leader. When people rush in their spoken delivery it communicates a lack of confidence. Their speech often is filled with distracting little words such as “um, uh, you know” that serve as place holders. They say to the listener “while I am thinking of what to say next I want to hold your attention so I will “fill the space” with a “filler word.” The confident speaker is comfortable with a silent pause. They know the listener is not going to go anywhere. They will stay to hear what you are going to say.

Pay careful attention to your intonation. Take the time to listen to yourself as you speak on a day-to-day basis. Do you often end statements with a rising intonation like a question? This gives off an air of insecurity, creating the impression that you are unsure of yourself. If you are making a statement your voice should not go up. Also, take care not to end statements with question tags such as “okay?” or “right?” You will appear as though you are seeking approval from your listener. This form of checking in with your listener can be a distraction from the message and takes away from the confident air you are hoping to project.

Learning to present with clear and dynamic speech takes practice. Practice sitting or standing tall. Tell the audience you are confident in what you are saying. Have your words match your expertise so that you will always present your message as the expert you truly are.

Charm Your Beloved Spouse With Great Anniversary Presents

People who are married try to make each other happy by caring for each other and by taking every step they can to ensure the happiness of the other person in their life. All they want is to make their better halves happy and to see them flourishing. So this anniversary let your beloved wife or husband know of the special place that they have in your heart by getting them unique Anniversary Presents.

Anniversaries are a very important occasion in the lives of couple in love with each other. They are symbolic of the lovely time they have shared with each other. Commit your love to the most important person in you life by getting them unique and exceptional anniversary presents that they can cherish for the years to come.

There are a wide range of gifts that can impress your better half pertaining to the fact that they like it. For instance, if your spouse would love to spend this special day entirely with you rather than have an expensive gift, you can surprise them with a usual break or a lovely romantic lunch.

Or if they are of the adventurous kinds and love to try out exciting things in their life, take them out and participate in wonderful activities like flying in a helicopter, learning how to drift a sports car etc. This will also help you to give your relationship a chance to blossom in the background of fun and frolic.

If however, you are one of those kinds who would rather celebrate such an occasion in the traditional way, get your beloved an amazing gift box full of mouth watering delights like chocolates, cookies and other such delectable items. Also, you can personalise your Anniversary Present to let them know of the time and effort you have put into looking for the perfect gift to make them happy.

What Is Microphone Feedback and How Does It Work? Tips for Presentations and Wireless Speakers

What is feedback?
We have all heard that loud pitched squeaking/howling noise coming from the speakers during a presentation. Sometimes it is unbearably loud, sometimes it is unreasonably frequent, but every time it is annoying and unprofessional. This phenomenon in professional sound equipment is commonly referred to as feedback.

How does feedback occur?
Feedback occurs when the microphone is placed in a bad spot in relation to the speakers. When the mic is in front of the speakers, the noise from the speakers travel back through the microphone and then out the speakers even louder, repeating as fast as the speed of sound until you hear the high pitched squeak.

Some advanced soundboards include an anti-feedback button that will cut feedback out and cause those sound levels to be brought back to a reasonable level. Another common error is when a person with a wireless lapel mic steps up to a lectern and speaks into the microphone and also through the lapel mic. This can be a cause of feedback because the mics are too close to each other.

How do you avoid feedback?

1. Placement of the mic. Place the microphone at least ten feet from the speakers and never right in front of the speakers.

2. Optimize the placement of the speakers. Speakers should be placed in a way to cover the most area but not blow people away with sound. Leave 10-15 feet in between where people will be sitting and the speaker system.

3. Teach microphone users how feedback works. I encourage you to pull up this video on microphone feedback on your smart phone to help communicate how feedback works.

4. Test system adequately before presentations. It is recommended to test each specific device you will use (such as a CD, iPod, projector, etc.) and make sure everything is working properly. This is a principle in being prepared for presentations so Murphy doesn’t make an appearance (Murphy’s Law is “anything that can go wrong, will.”).

Unfortunately even if all of these steps are taken, feedback can sometimes occur. To best be prepared for those times, think of a witty remark to turn a negative asset into a positive one. Humor and taking a quick break during public speaking has the power to calm nerves too.

That should give you a good foundation for you to avoid feedback. We wish you good luck with your presentations!

Personal Presentation Is Vital to Success

Using real estate as an example, the emphasis that you place on your own presentation should be on par with the care and effort that you take to fulfill your clients’ expectations. After all, if you can’t present yourself properly, how can you convince a client or prospect that you are capable of representing their property interests?

Two of the most important factors that play into personal presentation are body language and professional dress:

Body Language;

Body language is important because it can, if used effectively, reflect your level of self-confidence, personal engagement and professional competency. One of the most fundamental aspects of body language is posture and, as such, it is important to stand tall and upright; this will help to create an image of self confidence and personal pride.

In addition, it is important that you position your body in a way that makes you seem approachable to clients and prospects. To this end, it is important to smile and display open body language; that is, you should avoid folding your arms, hunching over, putting your hands in pockets or looking down at the ground.

It is also essential that you display signs of active listening to your clients and prospects. As such, you should always endeavor to maintain eye contact during interactions and conversations.

Dress;

The way you present yourself visually to others can have a considerable impact on how you are perceived as a professional. Dressing in a clean, well-groomed and professional manner can mean the difference between securing a client and losing them to a competitor. Whether explicitly or not, many people draw conclusions about other individuals based on their appearance. People say to never judge a book by its cover, but it is just human nature. A good professional appearance has professional connotations.

In light of such, it is advisable to disregard your personal style and steer towards dressing conservatively in the workplace. As well, you should always take the time to ensure that your clothing is in-tact, properly ironed and stain-free. Obviously the extent of this can be dependent on the line of work you are in, but none the less, there is more benefit in a professional appearance.

The importance of personal presentation in the workplace may seem like a given – nevertheless, it is an aspect of personal branding that can often fall by the wayside, particularly for long-term agents that have “settled” into their roles and relationships with clients. It remains important – however, to present yourself professionally and appropriately no matter how seasoned an agent you may be.

You never know who your next client may be, keep that in mind, as you may unintentionally impress a future client without even knowing at the time. For example; You are holding an open house inspection, a couple walking through is impressed by your presentation and your manner, they themselves are looking to sell their home, they remember you and all of sudden you have a new client.

Creating Awe-Inspiring Presentations

We all have attended presentations. I’m sure you will agree most were terrible – boring, redundant, and/or visually offensive. I am guilty of giving a few myself. You too? To improve my knowledge base and skills, I started studying the product launches of Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, Inc. I then began listening and reading Carmine Gallo, columnist with Businessweek.com. Gallo teaches presentation skills to top executives. He is also a self-proclaimed expert on the techniques and genius of Steve Jobs. I read his book “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” and looked over press releases of Apple. I must admit, I learned the most from watching Steve on YouTube. What I came to understand caused me to throw out almost every guideline, format, and template I was ever given or used. I focus now on his highly developed ability to create and deliver a message with excitement.

Here are my takeaways:

Say it in the headline: How many more words do you need after “Introducing the iPod – 1,000 songs in your pocket”?

Start with their problem: “Current Smartphones aren’t very smart, nor are they easy to use.”

Create an experience: Get ‘em awed, inspired, make them say “tell me more!”

Introduce an antagonist, a victim, and a hero: “Look at where the other guys think you want your keyboard; we know differently.”

More visuals, less words: “So slim it fits into an inter-office envelope,” Jobs says, and then shows a visual with only the tablet slipping into an envelope – no text.

Group in three’s: 3 acts, 3 features. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” wrote another genius wordsmith named Jefferson.

Answer their #1 question: “Why should I care?” My thoughts exactly whenever the salesperson starts throwing gigas, speeds, and pixels my way.

Tell the story before the visual: Need I say more?

Have props not just slides: Maybe you’re one of the props. Black turtleneck and jeans anyone?

No bullet points: Unnecessary mind clutter.

Ten minute segments: Brain’s attention span.

Repeat the most important point: “That’s right, 1,000 songs in your pocket.”

Sell the dream, not the product: “Reinvent the phone!”

Simplify everything: Your language, the visuals, the product.

Clear, actionable, exciting? I would say, “yes.”

Deliver Your Best Presentation

Take any less than effective presentation, PowerPoint deck, or email you’ve written, and apply the Jobs standards. It will be more compelling, memorable and easier to write, guaranteed (another Jobs must, “give them a guarantee”).

You will get pushback from others and yourself. Resist at all costs. You’ll have to figure out what to do with your found time. I’m sure you can handle that.

Most important, you’ll be heard and invited back because you will have given your best presentation.

(c) Jane Cranston.

7 Fantastic Valentines Present Ideas For Your Boyfriend – Get Him the Perfect Gift For Valentines

Valentines day is coming. If you are looking to get your boyfriend, or husband a perfect Valentine gift this year, you should keep this in mind. Whether you are trying to rekindle the romance or this is the first time, you want to pick out the right gift for him. Below, I have combined the list of 7 Valentines present ideas for your men.

1. He is not a fashionable guy. You want to get him some design clothes or watches. Try to find out which kind of clothes fit best with his style. He probably got lots of old clothes, this is your chance to dress him up.The gift doesn’t have to be expensive to be meaningful as long as he likes it.

2. He is an out-door fanatic. Does he like to run and exercise a lot? Maybe it’s time for you to get him a new pair of running shoes or running pants. It is not very expensive but at the same time, thoughtful. If he likes to play golf, you can make him happy with a new golf club or golf bag.

3. He loves to play video games. Maybe you could surprise him with a brand new X-box or game console that he loves. Nintendo wii is also a great Valentine present for both you and him to have a fun time together.

4. He want to be a rock star and so do you. It’s time to get a new Guitar hero III and both you and him and have a good time rocking to the music. If you don’t like boring and quite time, this can be a great way to spend your Valentine together. I have never met anybody that doesn’t like this game, even those that play a real guitar.

5. He like to drink wine and eat chocolate. A bottle of wine with warm intimate dinner can help you win his heart. You can be more creative and give him a rapid wine chiller. He will be impressed.

6. He loves to cook. Don’t miss your chance to let him cook for you. Buy him a cook book of your favorite food and you will be a very happy women. Another great Valentines present idea for your chef is the nice knife sets which I’m sure he will love it.

7. He like to travel and take road trips. A GPS system is what he needs for those long drive. You wouldn’t want both of you guys to get lost anyways.

Present Like a Fortune 500 CEO – The X Factor

What is the mystery “X” factor so you can give persuasive presentations – just like a Fortune 500 CEO?

Let me tell you a secret.

A lot of smart people can’t answer that question.

But we’re going to answer it together, right now.

“X” stands for the unknown. It refers to everything you do not know and your audience does not know.

Let’s look at a how this plays out in real life.

Whether you are a CEO or not.

A lot of times before giving a presentation, something happens. Life happens. For instance… Your plane was late. You got stuck in rush hour traffic. You had a fight with your wife. You yelled at your kids. You forgot to take the right exit. You spilled coffee on your trousers.

You get the idea.

What do you do? In most professional settings, the natural urge is to cover up these external events and instantly look professional. That’s code for pretend everything is perfect. Hide the things that just happened. And whatever you do, at all costs: don’t talk about it!

But this is foolish and stupid.

It’s foolish because what just happened is still affecting you. It’s stupid because the incident is still impacting your mood, your focus and your effectiveness in delivery.

While I’m not encouraging you to reveal deep, dark secrets in a professional business presentation, I do want you to stretch the zone. Look for what you can share appropriately. Stay professional. Speak like a CEO. But get real.

When you share more about yourself, what happens? The audience warms up. The zone of “X” diminishes.

You can’t just say more about yourself without opening up a new zone of connection with the audience. Keep this in mind. You aren’t just revealing personal information. You are reducing the “X” factor.

Now, what if it’s not a physical thing? What if it’s more personal? Say, you’re anxious and nervous about public speaking. Your palms are sweating. Your knees are shaking. You get hoarse and lose your voice.

Again, the classic advice is – don’t reveal this.

I couldn’t disagree more.

Instead, I encourage you to feel it. Express your feelings. Let your audience in. Public speaking is the #1 fear of most professionals. Even for CEOs and top leaders.

Don’t you think you’ll build some kind of bond with your audience if you give them a taste of your own experience?

You bet you will. And remember. This isn’t about giving a huge dissertation or digression into your childhood roots of presentation anxiety. It’s an acknowledgement of what is going on in the moment.

When you do this, you are doing the yeoman’s task. You are reducing your own jitters AND you are reducing the “X” factor.

By being more vulnerable, your audience sees you as stronger. It’s somewhat counter-intuitive and it may run in opposition of classic training you’ve had. But the risk is worth the reward.

When you take this risk, it pays off. Your audience gets on board. You’ve built rapport. Trust is deeper. People are actively listening.

Once you learn how to navigate the uncharted waters of the “X” factor, your presentation skills will put you ahead of the competition. You will be unstoppable.

Present like a Fortune 500 CEO and engage every audience. Learn how to master the “X” factor in presenting. 

Five Tips for Becoming an Effective Presenter

Have you ever been to a conference or seminar, watched the facilitator and thought, “Wow! Now that’s a born presenter?” Well, perhaps he (or she) was just naturally good at his job. But more likely than not, that great presenter learned the craft over the course of time, practicing and polishing as he went along. In most cases, interesting, exciting and dynamic presenters are the result of lots of practice and some smart tips.

Here are five tips that can help you improve your presentation skills:

1. Be an Expert on Your Content. This may seem obvious, but it truly is an essential step if you want to be confident when you are presenting – and gain the confidence of your audience. That’s not to say that you want to impart every piece of information you have. Share those concepts that are most important to getting your message across, and be prepared to answer any questions that might come up. Hopefully, you already know your topic area inside and out. If not, take the time to learn as much as you can prior to your presentation.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice. Whether you are a seasoned presenter or a novice, it always pays to practice before you present. Write yourself a script and practice it – with your family, with your colleagues, in front of the mirror, anywhere you can. If you have the opportunity, practice in the room where your event will be held. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will feel when it’s show time! Just remember, your script should guide you while you practice, but you don’t want to read directly from it when you present. You want your speech to be natural and conversational.

3. Don’t Just Speak to Your Audience – Listen and Watch! Yes, you are there to help the group learn something new. But remember that you can learn from them as well. Watch how the audience responds and reacts to you. If they seem bored or unengaged, consider what you might change to get them more involved Pause occasionally to check for understanding. Within reason, try to answer any questions as they come up.

4. Work your audience. Don’t hide behind a podium. If you have the opportunity, mingle with the crowd. Make eye contact with multiple audience members. Use your body language to convey that you are interested and excited about your topic. Your enthusiasm will transfer to your audience.

5. Illustrate your points. Show pictures, use graphs and diagrams, or share an anecdotal story that helps bring your content to life. If you have a personal story that helps to reinforce your point, share it! If it’s a funny story, even better! (Word of caution: only share your ‘funny’ story if you are certain that others will get it, and that you can tell it in a way that it makes your point in a light-hearted, humorous way. There is nothing worse than having your joke fall flat in front of a large group.) You don’t want to overdo it, but a few well-placed visual aids can go a long way in getting your message across.

Following these five tips will help you to improve your presentation skills and better connect with your audience. And remember, as with anything else, the more you do it, the more comfortable you will become!