How do you take the ideas that are free floating in your mind and turn them into a solid well-constructed speech? Simple…the Post-It note.
I like to take my ideas and write them on individual Post-It notes and then put these notes on a wall. I make sure that there is only one idea per Post-It note. I go one step further by putting my major ideas on one colored note and the supporting ideas on different colors. I arrange the notes as if I was playing Solitaire with the major idea on top and the supporting ideas underneath.
After brainstorming for a while, I step back and just spend time looking at how everything flows. I can then rearrange, delete or add ideas to make the speech flow smoothly and with a clear purpose. Of course the length of the speech dictates the number of ideas that can be used.
The Post-It note, a speaker’s salvation.
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.
- Set your presentation software into the ‘presenter’ view.
- 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)
- If you have audio in your presentation, make sure you have the proper connection cables from your computer to the rooms audio source
- Make sure there are no issues with your audio portions within your presentation
- Always use a wireless remote clicker device
- 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
- 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!
Here is your handout!
For many speakers, handouts are a necessary evil. There are two prominent types of handouts.
The first type commonly given to an audience is a single or multiple sheets with all the information printed on the handout. Many speakers like this arrangement because the audience will not miss what the speaker has to say. The speaker can go through their speech and they know the audience has all the information they need. Of course once the audience has all the information needed there is no reason for them to listen to any speaker 100% of the time. They can use their smartphone or tablet and every once in a while stop and listen to the speaker.
The second type of handout has a key word or a phrase of information missing and left as a blank. As the speaker speaks they can instruct the audience to fill in the blanks. Studies have shown that the very act of writing in these bits of information causes the brain to remember this information more. Of course the main problem is when members of the audience miss hearing this information. Then these audience members begin to start asking their neighbors for this information. This can be a distraction to everyone around this area. The solution is to supply the answers in the handout, preferably at the bottom of the last page. Of course you as a speaker must tell your audience that if they miss the information of one of the blanks not to worry because you have included the answers.
Now give me your handout!
Height makes a difference!
Firstly, a lectern is not a podium and a podium is not a lectern. Technically, you stand behind a lectern but you stand on a podium. The skills needed to be speaking behind a lectern are different than speaking in front of a lectern.
If you are speaking behind the lectern, there are many questions that have to be asked. What is the height of the lectern in comparison to you the speaker? How large is the lectern? Will there be a microphone or microphones on the lectern? Standing behind the lectern, can you be seen from all sections of the room? Where on stage will the lectern be placed?
I am six foot tall. As a result, if I stand behind a lectern, being seen is not an issue. More importantly, my gestures during my speech can easily be seen from the back of the room. Now, a five foot tall speaker would have more problems being visible. You may only see their head and the top of the shoulders using the same lectern. If you add microphones to the lectern, visibility is even more restricted. So any gestures they will make would have to be made almost over their shoulders and head. This would look very silly. The solution may be as simple as placing a riser for the speaker to stand on. Also where is the lectern going to be placed on the stage? If you are using a Power point presentation, the lectern maybe off to one side. Does the lectern have a light for you to see your notes and an easily accessible electrical outlet for your laptop? This is especially critical if the lectern is placed on stage where it is dark. There are many questions that need to be considered if you are speaking behind a lectern. These questions have to be addressed in advance of your speaking.
Now speaking in front of a lectern is similar to just speaking on a stage. That is another topic for a latter blog.
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!!