Are you technically ready present?

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How many of you use presentation software during your talks?

Yep, I thought so, most of you.

Well you’re not unlike most other speakers, so you’ll probably be going to the front of the room or up to the platform with your computer.

Do you know how to make sure your computer device is ready to go?

Remember these 7 key points to make sure you’re technically ready to present.

  1. Set your presentation software into the ‘presenter’ view.
  2. Unless you are on a wireless content presentation device, know exactly what type display port output connector you’ll be using – if you don’t know, then make sure you have your very own Dongle Kit (stay tuned for a future article – Dongle’s for Dummies)
  3. If you have audio in your presentation, make sure you have the proper connection cables from your computer to the rooms audio source
  4. Make sure there are no issues with your audio portions within your presentation
  5. Always use a wireless remote clicker device
  6. If you are using a Windows computer, make sure you have performed a Windows update way before you get ready to present.  If the Windows update just happens to start at the time of your presentation, and it will, you’ll have to wait for it to finish.  There is no Microsoft policeman you can pay to quit the update
  7. Test.  Test again. Test another time, Test until you know all works.

Make sure your computer presentation device is as ready to go to present as you are!

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Oh…What did I forget!

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The stage is set and ready for your presence. The Senior Vice-President of Operations for your company is finishing your introduction. Your fellow managers are anxiously waiting to hear your words of wisdom! All you can think of is; “What have I missed”!

First, before you go on stage, shut your phone off. There is nothing more embarrassing than having your phone going off in the middle of a presentation in front of your manager who can control your career.

Secondly, look at your jewelry with a critical eye. Oversize earrings and a large necklace may appeal to you visually but it may also add clicking sounds to the microphone system. If you are wearing a body microphone, the contact between your jewelry and the microphone will interfere with the soundtrack of your speech especially when recording your speech. So watch what type of cufflinks, necklace, earrings or funky watch that you may wear.

Thirdly, if you wear glasses, please clean your glasses. Also leave any work or convention badges on your seat. There is nothing more distracting for the audience than seeing a speaker wearing all sorts of badges. Also, having smudgy glasses will interfere with the eye contact and facial expressions between you and your audience.

Lastly, take a sip of warm water before you go on stage. This will help moisten your throat before you speak.

Now, go and enjoy yourself and have some fun!

The Power of Questions!!

The power of questions!

       The power of questions!

As a speaker we sometimes forget that asking a question and pausing and waiting for an answer is more powerful than us speaking. Here are four reasons we need to build questions into our speaking repertoire:

Obtain and Clarify Information — Obtaining accurate information and a clear understand of circumstances will always save you time and help you avoid errors.

Provoke Thought – When you ask a question, pause after it, it give people time to think and be more engaged with you message.

Provide Control In A Situation – When speaking you may find yourself in adversarial position with certain audience members. Taking a moment and coming back with a well thought out question can give you control in that situation.

Promotes the Power of Persuasion — If you can determine where audience position is (through questions), you can better ask questions to provide a different perspective. In fact, your audience may persuade themselves.

To often we as speaker are telling, rather than providing what the audience really needs, figuring out what they need to do. Through the use of questions you are providing the avenue to move your audience in a more positive direction.

Perception, a speaker’s joy or a scourge!

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For every speaker the audience’s perception of you can either be positive or negative. From the moment the audience begins to experience your speech, every audience member will begin to form a mental image of you. Your job is either to confirm or to change the audience’s perception.

If you hand out a brochure that is poorly designed, has spelling and grammatical errors, you are telling your audience who you are. You are telling everyone that you are not a person who pays attention to details. You are saying that you do your job in an amateurish way.

If you walk out on stage showing a lack of confidence, sweating with nervous twitches, you are telling your audience who you really are. You are saying in essence that you don’t think you can handle what has been asked of you. Obviously if you thought you were capable of handling the job, you would exude confidence. You would show energy of confidence rather than of fear.

Whether you are a professional speaker or someone who speaks because of your profession, you must realize that everything you say, do, or produce contributes to people’s perception of your ability, skill and most importantly value as a person.

My question to you is: at the end of your speech, did you prove your audience was right or wrong?

Pausing!!

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We’ve all had experiences where time seemed to stop; we thought we had lived a minute when only 5 or 10 seconds had passed. Adrenaline will do that.

This also happens when speaking to an audience. You ask a question, pause to allow time for the audience to process the question, and then you continue; when you review a recording of the presentation, you discover that the pause you provided was barely long enough for a breath of air let alone sufficient time to process your question. A key component of your message may have been lost through your haste to deliver the answer.

Practice pauses with a digital clock; practice until the pauses are like words in your speech. If you will be using a lectern, take the digital clock with you. A technique I use is “1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi…”, a “Mississippi for each second, but instead of mentally saying “Mississippi” I mentally spell “M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i”; even on adrenaline-time, this is about a second per “Mississippi”.

Pauses for story enhancement should include some “mime action” during the pause to bring more drama to the scene: peek around the wall or open the door.

The Pause is one of the most powerful tools in your speaking arsenal. Ensure they are long enough and poignant enough for the situation you are crafting.

Build Your Vocal Platform – It Starts With the Diaphragm

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Having a strong vocal platform is an essential ingredient for speakers. Whether you are speaking for 10 minutes or all day, developing a strong speaking platform will make your voice more engaging, and not to mention you will still have one at the end of the day.

We all breathe, however, many of us do not breathe correctly. Practicing the correct way to breathe can be the difference between having a voice for the duration of your talk, or ending up with a painful throat and a tired voice.

The first key is breathing from the diaphragm.   To test this, stand up! Shoulders back chest out, head straight. Now place your hand on your belly take a deep breath and notice if the breath is raising your hand or if your shoulders are rising. If your shoulders are rising your breath is shallow and you vocal platform will not hold up. Practice breathing from the diaphragm and you will have a strong and more lasting voice.

If you are having trouble breathing from your diaphragm, lie down and place your hand on your belly and take a deep breath. You will feel that you are breathing from the diaphragm. Your hand will rise and fall. Ever wonder why a baby can cry for long periods of time. It is breathing  from the diaphragm, or so I was told.