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Thursday, March 31st, 2011
I was really struck the other day by some YouTube clips I saw on presentation training. They were all focused on skills. But that seems completely off the mark to me. From what I’ve seen, when presentations are boring (which, I’m sorry to say, is most of the time!), it’s not the skills that are the problem, it’s the writing.
Anyway, here’s a little video with some thoughts on the subject. I hope you enjoy it!
(pdf transcript) [ Note: Near the end, I mention clicking the “share button below” to pass this on to others. To do that, you’ll have to watch the video on YouTube, rather than here. Thanks! ]
Tags: Communication, communication coach, communication training, executive speech coach, leadership development, leadership training, presentation coach, presentation skills coach, presentation skills coaching, presentation skills training, presentation training, presentations, speech coach
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Thursday, December 2nd, 2010
Just a quick note to let you know about a new article of mine that just came out with some great presentation tips in it.
The cover story of the current issue of the TASBO Reporter (Texas Association of School Business Officials‘ quarterly publication) is a piece I wrote called, “Make your next school board presentation a winner.” But the tips apply equally well to anyone, especially if they need to present information their audience doesn’t want to hear. (I hope that’s not you. :-) But if it is, this should help!)
If you know someone in education – or anyone with bad news to share – please pass it on. (Click on the article title below to donwload the PDF) And as always, let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you, too!
Article PDF: TASBO Article
Friday, March 19th, 2010
I was at a conference this last week and it reminded me again how much I hate PowerPoint. I’m sorry, but I really do. It just makes for the most awful, boring, “shoot me now” presentations I’ve ever seen.
There are two big mistakes people make with PowerPoint: 1) They make the slides the star; 2) They have boring, unreadable slides.
Most of the advice for improving PP presentations focuses on the second item. But I think the first is much more important.
Here’s the classic example of making the slides the star, and I’m guessing you’ve seen this too. The screen is front and center, the lights are dimmed (so people can see the screen), and the presenter is off to the side at a podium, reading their notes—which happen to be the same, word for word, as what’s on the screen.
Friends, that’s not a presentation. That’s torture. And in large part because there’s absolutely no personal connection with the speaker.
Think about this for a moment. I was at the National Speakers Association’s national convention last Summer. This is an organization made up of the most professional, experienced, and successful speakers in the world. In other words, it’s a group that knows how to connect with an audience! And you know what? In not one of the general sessions did I see a single slide. Not one. There’s a lesson there for all of us.
Being effective with your audience is about connecting with them. And that’s not about slides, it’s about you. People relate to people. Your best tools for connecting are your voice, your body, your stories, and your expertise.
The message is, if you want to improve your presentations, focus on you first and your slides second. Here’s how. (more…)
Monday, February 1st, 2010
How do you like giving presentations? Do you look forward to it? If so, you’re in the minority. It scares most people to death! I was in Atlanta doing a session this last Monday—for Anthem/BCBS—and it reminded me that I actually love it. (Especially when it’s with such a great group of people!) That’s a nice thing, I think, and I feel truly fortunate to have the opportunity to meet and work with people in that environment.
That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t still get nervous beforehand, because I definitely do. Here’s a tip I use that helps: “Be the Host.”
Before my presentation begins, I look out at the audience and imagine I’m hosting a dinner party, and they’re my guests. So, I don’t see them as strangers, wondering who I am (and who I think I am to be coming in here telling them anything), but as my friends, who are genuinely interested in what I have to say. They’re not sitting in judgement of me, demanding I earn their respect or be quickly dismissed. They know and like me already, and are looking forward to spending some time together. Best of all, I’m not frightened at the thought of going out there and making a fool of myself. I’ve planned things out, I’m feeling good about what I’ve prepared, and I’m genuinely looking forward to sharing it with them and making sure they enjoy themselves. And you know what? They are going to enjoy themselves—and I am too.
This might seem silly, but it works for me. No, it doesn’t get rid of all my nerves, but it does help quite a bit.