Posts Tagged ‘presentation’

Most Recent Fearless Presentations Workshop in Atlanta, Georgia

The group who attended the Fearless Presentations Workshop® in Atlanta learned the importance of the proper use of audience participation.  Many people try to get their audiences involved in their presentations, but end up struggling to get people to participate.  .The first mistake people make is that they ask rhetorical questions and then wait for an answer.  Questions like, “Who wouldn’t want an extra $500.00 on their next paycheck?”  Now this is a silly question because no one in their right mind would turn down the extra money.  It comes across as very manipulating when we ask a question that only has one true answer, especially if you wait for a response.  I remember once going to one of the home and garden shows in my city and had one of the cookware sales people asking very silly and manipulating questions, like “Who here wants to save money on their grocery bills? And who wouldn’t want to eat healthier.”  He literally waited till most of the audience nodded their heads YES before continuing on about how buying this cookware would help them save money and eat healthier.  He lost all his credibility with his audience and after the second or third time of doing this, many people just got up and left his demonstration.  He lost potential sales because of the silly and rhetorical questions he asked. So the next time you ask your audience a question make sure that there is more than one answer so that you don’t frustrate and potentially manipulate your audience. For more help in becoming a better speaker and a Fearless Presenter, attend one of the Fearless Presentation ® Workshops in a city near you.  You can find a list of the upcoming classes by going to www.fearlesspresentations.com

For a Complete List of Upcoming Classes, Visit the upcoming presentation skills classes post. You can can click here for details about the Fearless Presentations ® class.

How to Engage Your Audience From the Very Start in Presentations

Quick Presentation Skills Tip

We all want to deliver presentations that will engage our audience from the moment a presentation begins, but there’s something you can do to capture your audience’s attention before the presentation even starts.

Have a great title.

Capture Attention in PresentationThe key to a great title is to include the result of the presentation in the title. For example, a title such as “2011 Financials” is not so great because for one thing, it’s not very interesting, and secondly, we don’t know what the result was. A title such as, “2011 Was a Year of Growth in X Industry and a Year of Challenge in Y Industry” is better for two reasons: it’s more interesting and gives the audience a clear idea of what the outcome was in 2011. In most cases, it’s better to give the result at the beginning so that the audience knows exactly where the presentation is going. It will make the presentation more memorable in the long run.

For more public speaking tips or for information about the Fearless Presentations ® public speaking class, click either of these links.

If you like this Public Speaking Tip, Check Out More Below:

  • Public Speaking Ideas- Audience Participation Adds Impact Public Speaking Ideas– Audience Participation Adds Impact- Part Two- Taste A great meal is a great memory. I can’t remember every meal I’ve eaten (although I carry the evidence), but I can remember certain times that were outstanding. A good public presentation is that way, it is memorable- like a great taste that lingers in the ...
  • Video-Where Does Public Speaking Fear come from? I just finished a fantastic presentation skills class in Baden Baden, Germany, and I made a very interesting observation.  I’ve been teaching public speaking classes and presentation skills for years, and I realized a long time ago that fear comes from uncertainty about an outcome.  So, for instance, when people feel nervous about speaking in ...
  • Reduce the Data on Your PowerPoint Slides-Video PowerPoint Tip Reduce the Data on Your PowerPoint Slides-Video PowerPoint Tip Too Much Data on Your PowerPoint Slides: Your PowerPoint slide deck should be a visual aid to help you explain your point, so if you put too much data on a slide (too much text, too many numbers, or charts and graphs – gasp – Is he ...
  • Avoid Overuse of Animation in PowerPoint Presentations (Video) Free PowerPoint Tip #4: Avoid Overuse of Animation in PowerPoint Slides PowerPoint will do some really cool types of animation, but remember that if you animate something, it should help you clarify your point. Bullet points that fly in, spin around, make sounds, and blink are just a distraction from your message. For the ...
  • Don’t Faint, It’s Just A TV Camera By Connie Timpson/Sr. Instructor/The Leaders Institute   Relax, Mike Wallace rarely does interviews anymore, and Nancy Grace is only interested in scandal. It’s just you, a camera crew, lights so bright that you wish you had worn shades, a microphone cord running up your shirt or blouse just to remind you, “Make no mistake. We’ve got you!” ...

The Fearless Presentations Class in New York-Learn to Make a Great First Impression

The participates of the Fearless Presentations ® class in New York learned that when we begin to speak, Fearless Presentations class in New York the impression that we make in the first 7 seconds is often the way that our audience may  continue to view us as we deliver our presentation.  That’s why it very important to make a great first impression when we first start our speech.  We have all heard that it’s important to stand straight, smile, and make good eye contact, but it equally important to show energy and enthusiasm for your topic when you speak.  If you don’t show an audience that you are excited to be presenting your topic to them in the first few sentences, they may lose interest and not pay attention to what you have to say.  If you can’t be excited about your topic, then why should your audience be even the slightest bit interested in what you have to say?  So the next time that you speak, remember to also focus on your excitement and enthusiasm.  That will make a great first impression that will carry forward throughout your presentation.  To learn more about how to become an effective speaker sign up for one off the Fearless Presentations ® Class in New York or a city close to you.

For a Complete List of Upcoming Classes, Visit the upcoming presentation skills classes post. You can can click here for details about the Fearless Presentations ® class.

What is the Most Embarrassing Thing that has Ever Happened to You or Someone Else in a Presentation?

Most Embarrassing PresentationWhat is the Most Embarrassing Thing that has Ever Happened to You or Someone Else in a Presentation? We’ve ll had those hiccups in presentation delivery where we either just freeze, or a visual aid malfunctions, or we prepare an hour-long speech and are told just before we start that our available time has dropped to 25 minutes. These glitches can cause embarrassment, but they are also fantastic opportunities to shine. What was your most embarrassing presentation moment, and if you recovered… how did you do it?

PowerPoint is a Visual Aid Not the Presentation

This video is a first in a series of PowerPoint Tips to help viewers more quickly and easily design and deliver PowerPoint Presentations. Tip #1 is that PowerPoint is a Visual Aid, Not the Actual Presentation. Most people start designing their speech by creating their slideshow, but that is backwards. If you design your presentation first, it is more easy now to design slides that help explain or prove the points in your presentation. If you design the slideshow first, you are likely to use Powerpoint as a crutch which increases nervousness and increases the chances that you will actually forget something or lose your audience along the way.

Public Speaking Fear-The Quick and Easy Way to Fearless Presentations

The fear of public speaking is still one of the biggest and most debilitating fears. Public speaking fear causes competent professionals to miss out on fantastic opportunities to persuade and win people to their way of thinking. So where does this fear come from? Better yet… How does the average person get rid of it? The truth is that public speaking is a skill just like any other skill in that the first time that you do it, you will be nervous. However, if you are still feeling the fear time after time, it’s probably caused by some of the things that you are doing to try to eliminate that fear. That’s right… Often the things that you do to try to reduce public speaking fear actually end up CAUSING this presentation nervousness.

Where Public Speaking Fear Comes From?

Anytime a person tries something for the first time, he or she will feel nervousness or anxiety about it. Remember back when you got on a bicycle for the first time? Or the first time you tried to drive on the freeway? We tend to remember situations like riding a bike for the first time or driving a car for the first time because in those situations, we felt an imminent threat to our safety — the bigger that threat to our safety is, the more intense the fear or nervousness. For instance, if you have ever been sky-diving or bungee jumping, you probably felt a lot of fear.

Last week, I took a trip to London with my wife, and since we had been to London a few times, we decided to do some of the things that we always wanted to do, but just never got around to it. So we ended up going to St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is the big architectural centerpiece of London that the US Capitol building was modeled after. On the tour, we got to walk up over 500 stairs up to the very top of the dome. When we got to the top, an usher was sitting in a chair and looked at us and pointed to a small peek-hole built into the floor. My heart started racing as I leaned over and peeked through. Now I knew that there was a solid floor between me and the cathedral floor hundreds and hundreds of feet below, but that didn’t really help. I could feel the room start to spin a little as I got just a little queasy. Somehow my sub-conscious mind came to the conclusion that if I wasn’t careful, my 225 lb body was going to squeeze through this four inch hole and fall to my death on the hard stone surface below. It was a crazy thought. I quickly looked up and realized that I was still in the safety of the confined room, and I started to think more clearly. When I looked a second time, it was still scary, but not nearly as debilitating. Fear when you attempt something new is normal, and if it’s NOT there, you’re likely to have a much bigger problem than if it IS there.

To a lesser extent, though, we feel this fear constantly when we try something new even if the threat of bodily harm is not apparent. For instance, when I got my first Smart Phone, and I accessed the App Store, I was really nervous about downloading that very first “Free App” because I was scared to death that I’d end up with a recurring charge on my phone bill that I’d never be able to get rid of. I felt the same way years ago the first time I entered a credit card number on Amazon.com and bought a book. Nervousness is normal when we try something new. The more imminent the threat to our safety, the more nerve-racking the activity will be. For instance, my heart beat a lot faster when the first time I went bungee jumping than it did the first time than when I bought a book on Amazon.

I good analogy for this fear is when you are walking down a lonely street in a big city. If you see petite woman in a white lab coat walking toward you, you may not feel a lot of fear. However, if you see a teenage with tattoos and gang paraphernalia, you might start to experience a bit a anxiety. If you see four people dressed the same way, and two of them are carrying baseball bats, you will likely feel great fear. The more that you are threatened by an experience, the more fear you will fear during the experience.

Public speaking fear comes from an internal sense of a threat. The more that you see the speaking activity as a threat, the more fear you will feel. So, the key to lowering the threat is to lower the risk. For instance, in the analogy above where a gang of hoodlums is coming at you with baseball bats, if you happen to be accompanied by a couple of armed bodyguards, you will probably not feel nearly as much fear as you would if you were alone and unarmed.

Lower the Risk, Lower the Threat, Lower the Fear

When the risk of harm is lowered, the fear will diminish pretty dramatically. When I was high above St. Paul’s Cathedral, and I took that second look, I had consciously reassured myself that it would be impossible for me to fall. So the second look was not nearly as shocking as the first look. The first time I drove on the expressway, I was a nervous wreck (no pun intended), but after years of success driving at fairly fast speeds, now when I drive on the expressway, it’s almost second nature.

There are times that I’ve driven to the store or my office, and I put my car into park at my destination and think, “How did I get here?” The process was so second-nature to me, that I didn’t even have to think about it.

The skill of public speaking can happen in much the same way. Public speaking training with a good coach can ensure that you gain confidence in a step-by-step fashion so that as you get up in front of the next group, you have a pretty good shot at having a successful experience. Since the risk of failure is now lower, your fear will lower as well. The lower that your risk of failure becomes, the lower your fear will be as well. So after you train with a good coach, and you deliver your next presentation, because you are better prepared, you’re more likely to have a successful experience. The fear may still be there for this first run, but once you complete the presentation, and you have performed well during the speech, you’ll feel more confident about what you’ve accomplished. So the next time that you stand up to speak, it should be much easier. And the next time, easier still.

Are You Growing as a Speaker?

The point is that every time that you speak, you should have a success — You should set yourself up for success. And every time that you have an additional success, your confidence should grow. If that is not happening for you, then something is interrupting this cycle. For instance, some public speaking classes have a teacher or an instructor who uses constructive criticism as a coaching tool. Typically, the class member will deliver the speech, sit down, and receive a critique of his/her performance.

So instead of the teacher helping the class member deliver the initial speech better (helping the participant succeed), the teacher waits for the participant to fail and then gives a critique that reinforces that failure. As a result, when the class member stands up to deliver his/her next speech, instead of confidence, the person is experiencing a higher risk of failure. “I failed last time, so I’m likely to also fail this time… As soon as I sit down, I’m going to get another critique.”

A good public speaking coach will help a speaker deliver a better speech in the first place and then build on each of these successes. The difference in styles would be like letting a four-year-old get on a new bike and pedal and fall… pedal and fall… pedal and fall, and then once the kid is really frustrated coming over and critiquing her performance by telling her the three main things that she did wrong. Then waiting a week or two and repeat the process again. Although the fear would be high on the first attempt, the fear would be even higher the second time this new rider tried to get on the bike. A good coach will hold the seat for the child and then praise her performance once she has a small success. Once she has even a small success the risk of failure lowers, and although she’ll still be nervous, she’s now willing to attempt something more complicated. As the successes grow, the confidence will grow as well.

Get a good public speaking coach, and your confidence will grow. The Leader’s Institute® offers Fearless Presentations® Public Speaking Classes in cities all over the world. Click the link to access a class schedule or to request information.

Power Point Tips

Power Point Tips: The 10 Biggest PowerPoint Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

By Doug Staneart

The most frequently asked topic that we get questions on when we conduct public speaking training is always related to PowerPoint Tips. Because PowerPoint is so powerful, people tend to either get really good at all of the bells and whistles and overwhelm their audience, or they use PowerPoint as a crutch and rely on their slide deck too much making their presentation very boring. Below are the top 10 biggest Power Point Mistakes that we tend to make along with ways to overcome them. (By the way, we cover a whole section on designing PowerPoint Presentation in The Leader’s Institute Leadership Boot Camp.)

1) Designing a “PowerPoint Presentation”: Remember, a presentation is a verbal communication to your audience that may or may not use visual aids. PowerPoint is just ONE type of visual aid that can be used to further explain or clarify your presentation. If you focus entirely on this one type of visual aid without putting an emphasis on what you are actually saying, your presentation will tend to have a disconnected flow and will be difficult for the audience to follow. Instead, design your presentation and get good at delivering it first. Once you get good at delivering the presentation, then decide what visual aids you might be able to use to help you clarify your points.

2) Too Many PowerPoint Slides: Another big mistake is creating too many slides and using them as a crutch to make sure that we don’t forget anything in our presentation. Slide… Click… Slide… Click… Slide… Click… is a very boring way to deliver a presentation and makes the presenter look unprepared and uninformed about his/her topic. Only add a slide if it helps you better clarify your point.

3) Too Much Data on Your PowerPoint Slides: Your slide deck should be a visual aid to help you explain your point, so if you put too much data on a slide (too much text, too many numbers, or charts and graphs – gasp… Is he saying we can’t use charts and graphs?) you will overwhelm you audience. Your PowerPoint slide should convey a simple concept at a glance. A good rule is what we call 6X6, which means to limit your number of words per line to six and limit your number of lines to about six as well.

4) Overuse of Animation: PowerPoint will do some really cool types of animation, but remember that if you animate something, it should help you clarify your point. Bullet points that fly in, spin around, make sounds, and blink are just a distraction from your message. If you want your audience to follow you step-by-step, you can reveal your bullets one at a time. However, you’ll have more energy as a presenter if you just make your slide appear and physically move to your screen and point to your bullet point when you talk about it.

5) Too Many Busy Charts: (Gasp… He is saying not to use charts and graphs.) For the most part, charts, graphs, and pictures make terrible PowerPoint slides. If the charts or graphs are simple, they can be judiciously used in a slideshow, however if you are graphing total revenue of five different divisions on a quarterly basis for each of your ten major product lines, your graph will be way too busy to understand in a slide. Use a handout instead. If you need a visual aid for it, make a big poster of the graph but in most cases, you can just use the handout itself as the visual aid.

6) Improper Use of Pictures: A picture is worth a 1000 words, but only if the picture is important to your point. Often, we will look at our slide and think, “It seems a little plain…” so we stick a picture in to jazz it up a little. While that is not, in itself, a terrible strategy, sometimes the pictures that we choose cause confusion because it was an afterthought. You could set a small picture on the slide master so that it shows on every slide. That way, since the picture is always there, it doesn’t cause confusion when the text changes. By the way, making a poster of a good picture will add much more impact than a picture on a slide

7) Not Practicing Your Presentation with the Slideshow: Time is getting short, so you send your slide deck to marketing to jazz it up a little. They send you the final copy minutes before you go in front of the group. Everything is perfect in the slideshow, but because you haven’t practiced, your flow is off, and you have to keep clicking the next slide before you start to speak. It just makes you more nervous. Finish your slide deck early and practice with it.

8) Sitting Down to Deliver Your Presentation: The moment that you sit down and start clicking slides, the PowerPoint deck becomes the authority in the room on the topic and your energy will plummet. Stand between your screen and the audience, and you will be the expert.

9) Read… Click… Read… Click…: If you are doing this one, then I hate to be the one to tell you this, but… You’re Boring! Sorry. I know that hurt, but it’s true. The good news is that if you follow the prior guidelines, this one goes away automatically. So if you are experiencing this, go back and work on the earlier tips.

10) Letting Someone Else Design your Slideshow: Realize that if someone else designs your PowerPoint Slide Deck, it will likely have many of the earlier mistakes in it. You’ll also have a more difficult time delivering it and be more nervous. To combat this, you’ll need to practice your delivery a lot more than if you designed your own presentation, but it can be done. Over time, use the guidelines above to influence the person or people who are designing your slideshow.

Follow these simple guidelines, and your PowerPoint Slides will help you better deliver more powerful presentations. Violate them, and you’ll likely be more nervous and have a more difficult time delivering your presentation.

Doug Staneart is the creator of The Fearless Presentations® Public Speaking Class that is offered in major cities all over the United States, Canada, and Europe. Click the link here (https://www.leadersinstitute.com/public-speaking/fearlesspresentations.html) and request information about his presentation course, and he’ll send you a free copy of his book, Fearless Presentations®. His new program, the Entrepreneur Boot Camp, helps small business owners grow their businesses during difficult financial times like a recession.

Public Speaking Fear


By Doug Staneart 

Public Speaking Fear? Where does stage fright come from, and how in the world do you get rid of it?  Most people who stand up in front of a group and feel the butterflies in the stomach, the sweaty palms, and the shaky hands think that they are the only ones who feel public speaking anxiety, but presentation fear is very common. Surveys show that over 95% of people asked admit to having, at least some, public speaking fear.  Over the last 20 years, I’ve helped over 20,000 overcome their presentation anxiety, though, and here are a few things that I’ve learned in the process that might help you too.

Where Public Speaking Fear Comes From 

Anytime you try something new, you will be nervous.  However, when we try public speaking for the first time — by definition, — we are always experimenting in front of a group.  Think about how nervous you were when you drove a car on the freeway for the first time.  Think about how much more traumatic that would have been if 25 of your peers had been watching every move you made during that first drive.  So the initial fear or anxiety that you felt the first time you spoke in front of a group was absolutely normal.  If you didn’t feel nervous, that would be strange.   Over time, if you have successes in your new skill, your confidence grows, but if you have what you perceive to be a failure — even if you did okay — your nervousness will grow.  This is why most people have this fear.  Continuing the learning to drive a car example, if you only drove once every year or two and every time that you did, you had all those peers watching you, it would be difficult to develop a track record of perceived successes. 

How to Eliminate Public Speaking Fear 

The best way to eliminate the nervousness is to have a series of successes.  That’s why Toastmasters and other speaking clubs work so well when people attend over a period of time.  When you speak and have a success, your confidence will grow slightly.  So if you string a series of successful presentations together, you’ll diminish the fear pretty dramatically.  The biggest problem with toasting clubs, though, is that it takes months or years to make progress, and most of the time, people who attend need help right now!   A good public speaking class can help dramatically here.  A public speaking class where you can get up and physically speak in front of the class six to 10 times in a short period of time like two to three days will work wonders if it is in a controlled environment. 

Once the Public Speaking Fear Diminishes, Experiment with More Challenging Presentations 

After you start to feel more comfortable, it’s important to try more challenging presentations.  In reality, you have to force yourself to become more nervous again.  The reason why is that as you get better at the more challenging types of presentations, the simpler presentations become really easy.  Going back to the car driving analogy, if you only ever drive in the parking lot, you’ll never grow as a driver.  However, when you begin to drive in a neighborhood, and then you go back to the parking lot, the parking lot is easier.  When you get on the freeway, going back to the neighborhood and driving is a lot more comfortable.  If you became a NASCAR driver and got good at the bumpin’ and rubbin’ at 170 MPH with just inches between each car, then you will have absolutely no fear when you drive around your neighborhood.  It’s the same with public speaking.  When you get really good at the complicated, the simpler presentations become second nature. 

So if you are feeling those butterflies and sweaty palms, realize that you’re normal.  Find a place where you can string a series of successful presentations together in order to begin to grow your self-confidence.  Then experiment with more challenging presentations over time to continue to grow.  You’ll eliminate your public speaking fear in no time.

Doug Staneart is a public speaking coach based in Dallas, Texas.  He teaches a public speaking crash-course called the Leader’s Institute® Boot Camp where he helps participants eliminate their public speaking fear in as little as three days.  Request information about the Boot Camp at https://www.leadersinstitutebootcamp.com and, he’ll send you a free copy of his best-selling book, Fearless Presentations.

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