Mind Your Props

  • The props of speech props

You practice your Presentation (material), you practice your Presentment (style), but do you practice your Props?

Props are those things that support your presentation.  They could be pictures, graphics, PowerPoint slide decks, or demos.

Left unattended or unpracticed, they could spell ruin to your presentation.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had bet-the-business product debuts publically de-railed by mal-functioning demonstrations.  In this age of instant video and social media, a faux pas in your demo could go viral with you becoming the butt of jokes on the morning news the next day.

Practice your material with your props.  The night before, make sure your Props are in order, ensure demos and examples work.  If you are using computer networks, make sure to have and use your own, and secure them to ensure you are the only user.

Forget your Props and they will bite you.  HARD!!

Garbage In! Garbage Out!

imagesCAA3Y1KNWhen you want to enter information into a computer there is a systematic way of going about it. The reverse of that is also true. Getting information from a computer is easier if you do it in a precise and systematic way. One of the problems with presenting data to an audience is that you have no control on how they are going to process this data. So if your audience perceives garbage coming in they will then let the garbage go out. It is your job as a presenter to set-up and control how the audience takes in your data. If you can make it easy for your audience to take in that information and process that it, the more likely your audience  will retain what you are telling them. If you have distractions intertwined with your data, your audience will be distracted and as a result miss what you are telling  them. Remember perceived garbage coming in means actual garbage going out.

The power and life long benefit of persuasion!!

Bored

“Few people make it to the top without first making it to their feet!” Lani Arrendondo once said. It is a statement that holds much truth. You can influence your fellow managers, subordinates or your employees, if you can influence an audience. When you learn to persuade an audience, you well on the way to influence others. We have all been audience member one time and we sit there being extremely bored. Either the speaker tried to fill us with facts, figures and non-essential tidbits of information or they were bored themselves.

The key question a speaker or presenter have to ask themselves is; “Are your audience members asking themselves where the hour went or are they flummoxed because it has only been 5 minutes since you started speaking and it feels like an eternity has gone by.” Do yourself a favor and more importantly your audience.

Learn to persuade people. Everyone will love you for it!

Wardrobe Hints

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I believe I present better wearing a tie and no microphone.

That doesn’t meant I will be wearing a tie and no microphone at my next presentation.

Be ready for the wardrobe the customer wants and the venue requires.

Have outfits (Costumes!) you are comfortable in wearing.  Have shoes that won’t have your feet barking at the halfway point.

Keep a bevy of wardrobe options clean and available:  suits, business casual, casual, tanks and shorts.  And be comfortable in delivering your message in each.

Wear a wardrobe appropriate costume for your dress rehearsal. Be sure to include shoes.

On Presentation Day, dress as close to the venue as possible; you don’t want soggy shoes or a drenched suit.

How You Look Saying It is as important as What You Say.

Expand your Horizons!

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Anyone who speaks because of their professional should always be improving their speaking abilities. One of the best ways is to become involved in learning different skill sets.

If you have never taken a comedy  or improvisation class, seriously think about doing this. These 2 classes expand your ability to speak. Taking a comedy class is a great way to learn  the structure of humor. It won’t make you a comic, thank god, but once you learn how humor works, you can begin placing it in your presentations. The good news is that if you attempt to say something funny and it is not, then simply move on.

Taking an improvisation class will teach you how to think on your feet. It will also start your creative juices flowing. So if in the middle of your presentation, you get a great idea, you will learn to expand that idea or thought into something larger.

Don’t be afraid. Take a class. Watch the fun happen!

Know your Audience!

Know your Audience!

Knowing your audience is as important as knowing your material.

As you prepare for your next speech, consider these three items:

1. THE CULTURE OF YOUR AUDIENCE

Will the audience be culturally compatible with your message and especially with your humor?  Nothing spoils a presentation more than misunderstood jokes and inappropriate idioms.  I know, I’ve been there.

2. THE GENEATY OF YOUR AUDIENCE

Every person is unique, but how similar are your audience members professionally, physically, emotionally and morally? Are you speaking to a group of Real Estate Attorneys, or a room full of high school seniors?

3. THE CONNECTIVITY OF YOUR AUDIENCE

Is your material focused on your audience? I teach Information Technology to Information Technology professionals; is my audience a group of Information Technology professionals, a group of Real Estate Attorneys, or a room full of high school seniors?  It makes a difference.

How do you discover these things?  A couple of thoughts:

– Talk with those who scheduled you

– Meet with as many of the participants as possible before starting.

Your Audience Wants You To Succeed!  Don’t sabotage it