So, it’s time to give your presentation. You mentally flip through what to wear, battling with your thoughts. “I’ve already worked hard on my content. I’ve practiced my delivery. But do I really have to put on the suit? Will anyone even care? They absolutely will!
Any time we stand up before others, we are putting ourselves into a position of both credibility and authority. Not only does our audience assume we know our topic, but they will also expect us to “look” successful as well. In fact, our attire is often the first thing noticed. I can’t tell you how to dress in one short blog, but here are a few basic pointers that will help.
Always lean to the conservative side when making wardrobe choices. Most likely, your audience is composed of a wide variety people that have a plethora of tastes and preferences. It’s best to stay in the middle of the proverbial road.
Clean and pressed is the name of the game. Nobody...
If there is one thing that we’ve all learned in 2020, it is this: Sometimes, bad things just happen. This past year will certainly memorialize the concept, but perhaps, now is the time to make a few proactive plans that prohibit the lostness we tended to feel during this very long year. Let’s decide, together, how we will not only survive, but thrive in 2021. Here are three tips to get started.
Decide NOW what you will focus on in the coming year. Sure, there is still the possibility (and almost a certainty) that unusual events (vaccines?) will continue to occur in the future, but don’t let those things distract you from what matters in your personal life. Take the time right now to think about how you’d like to finish in 2021. Picture yourself at this time next year. What have you achieved? What have you learned? What do you singularly need to chase for twelve months to complete that vision? Jot down your ideas, aspirations and goals. Once you’ve...
Visual tools can be useful - and maybe a bit intimidating to consider - when giving a presentation. Wait a minute! You want me to add machinery and technology to my speaking skills? I’m just learning how to walk up to the podium without my knees quivering! It’s okay…take a deep breath. With a few guidelines, you can take advantage of visuals and improve your professional profile at the same time.
What type of graphics should I use?
The simple answer is whatever improves your presentation. That basically includes graphs, charts, quotes, photographs or video clips.
How do I decide which ones to use?
Again, whatever works. But here are the primary purposes of graphics:
To summarize information
To reduce the number of words spoken by you (and even give yourself time to regroup or relax a bit)
To clarify certain points that you’ve made
To create more impact. Remember the adage, “a picture is worth a...
Confidence is key. Your audience will buy into most any topic if you demonstrate your absolute commitment up front. Make sure your crowd knows that you know what you’re all about from the moment you step onto the platform. Confidence shows in several ways: your smile, step, and how you posture yourself. No shrinking back. Engage!...
Did you know that your body language often speaks louder than your voice, as you give your presentation? The truth is, no matter how great your speech, if you are motionless, expressionless or monotone, your audience will fade away into their respective to-do lists in a matter of minutes. So, how do we prevent this? We can start with the tips outlined below. Awareness is over half of the battle, so let’s refresh ourselves with a three vital, and proven, body language premises.
2) Maintain an open body.
Face your audience as often as possible,...
This new season of life has pushed issues, principles and morality to the front of internet feeds, television screens and our minds. If we have reflected on these topics, we have realized that there are so many issues the average individual can choose to speak up about right now, in an effort to contribute to bringing forth positive change. That doesn’t necessarily mean we have to take to the streets in protest (although it is a choice). But we can use our voices when the opportunity arises. Let’s look at three areas where our voices can and should be counted.
1) Start with those closest to you.
First and foremost, now is the time to address any disparagement among family members. We must keep in mind that our goals are not to change the comments of other individuals. It is to design and enforce our own boundaries concerning a situation. “I’d prefer it if we didn’t talk...
Perhaps you’ve already been 'Zooming', using Microsoft Teams or some other application for distance meetings. Maybe you’re just now coming to the conclusion that online meetings/presentations will be a large part of our new normal going forward. Either way, it might be helpful to brush up on a bit of online meeting etiquette.
1) Lighting. Your lighting may dictate where you’ll need to position yourself. Straight on lighting works best for online screens, but aimed AT you, not coming from behind you and pointing towards your camera. You can practice using the flip aspect of the photo app on your phone to determine where you can avoid shadows and such. If you are a person who wears glasses, be mindful of any glare reflecting off of your optical lenses.
2) Background Basics. Do a study on what others are using for backgrounds. Check out the reporters and talk show hosts who are continuing to produce their programs from home. The bookcase background is...
Start by focusing on consonant-vowel combinations that give you pause. Certain words are more difficult to say aloud than others. We can overcome this pesky irritant by creating a list of our current offenders. Once we have ten or so words to focus on, we can participate in a routine meant to overcome.
Now repeat, repeat, repeat.
Norman Vincent Peale, known for his work concerning the power of positive thinking, tells us, “Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” Don’t expect the...
Nobody actually wants to stumble and bumble through a presentation or speech. In fact, for most of us, this thought represents our worst nightmare. Fear not! There are four significant actions you can preplan that will move your delivery away from beginner status to professional levels.
1) Professional speakers start by preparing a solid, entertaining or intriguing opening or introduction. The four biggest openers include jokes, quotes, rhetorical questions or unusual/interesting facts that grab audience attention. Remember your jokes have to be relevant to your topic. You can’t simply tell your favorite. Quotes should be from an individual who is easily understood to have credibility – although they can be either positive or negative. Rhetorical questions are generally fashioned to cause a participant to think about a topic in terms of singular situations that would affect him/her specifically.
2) Professional speakers know their own speaking...
We tend to think about our speaking techniques in two crucial moments. First, in the initial thrill (or dread?) that courses through our veins when we are asked to address a particular group or audience. The second occurrence usually manifests itself as a mental plea (or prayer?) seconds before we walk up to the podium.
The truth is there are ample ways to improve our skill sets when we are nowhere near the dais. Consider these tips to improve your speaking in your “off” time.
1) Start by developing a positive, personal affirmation mindset.
Announce to yourself the following – both daily and aloud.
“I am a competent and professional speaker on any topic.”
“My confidence and speaking abilities are growing stronger day by day.”
“I remain committed to the practice and preparation it takes to be the best speaker I can be!”
Confessions such as these, spoken aloud, serve to chase away the pesky negative self-talk that serves...