“Good morning everybody. I’m so glad to be here with you today.”
I wanted to yell, “BOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
It was a huge conference and he was the keynote speaker. But when he came up, he started with the same, tired line. I’d heard enough. We’d been through at least 3 gazillion speakers already and I wanted to hear something a bit different. I wanted the speaker to grab my attention and engage. But, these speakers looked like they were just trying to get it over with. I wanted them to communicate with ME and only with me.
How could they have done this? There are many techniques but one of the easiest ways is to ask a question. Why? Questions naturally cause the listener to begin the mental process of formulating an answer. While I don’t recommend this question, even a simple, “How is everybody doing?” causes the listener to mentally question, “Wait a minute, how AM I doing?”
I don’t recommend the “how are...
You’ve heard how critical it is to have an amazing opening for your speech. Yes? Good. I’m glad because if your opening is weak, you can lose your audience very quickly. I can’t tell you how many speakers go up to the stage, or the podium and proceed to bore their audience to tears even before they are out of their intro paragraph.
However, I’ve also heard the opposite…speakers who had a strong opening but had no idea how to wrap it up. I’m guilty. I’ve had speeches or even workshops where I could feel my mind tensing up as I was coming down to the end. I’d gotten the plane in the air, we had a great flight but I had NO IDEA how to land it. And landing the plane is critical. You can land the plane smoothly, or you can have an abrupt-slam-the-wheels-on-the-ground landing, the awkward, sideways landing or you can have a horrible crash and burn. I’ve had the crash and burn happen, but mostly the awkward-sideways landing. This is...
You’ve got 5 seconds…maybe 6. You need to grab their attention immediately and then hold it for some time after that. Public speaking or giving presentations at work can be some of the most terrifying moments you may ever experience. It’s weird because you’re not in any physical danger, yet your heart pounds like it’s actively attempting to escape from your chest.
This doesn’t happen at this level for everyone. Some will look very comfortable and at ease. According to Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain,
“There are two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.”
If you are like me and have experienced speaking or presenting more than once, the feeling usually doesn’t stay the entire time. It’s those moments before and the first few seconds in. This is the critical time of judgment. This is when your audience decides if they are interested or not. If you lose them in the beginning, can you get...
It was an important roll-out. The team had spent weeks putting together the timelines, the assets, and answering all the questions they could think of. Now, the only thing left was presenting it to senior management. The team chose Sarah, the person who knew the most about the proposed system, to present the idea.
There was one problem, however. Sarah was scared out of her mind. And when she went into the room to present, it showed. She fumbled with her clicker and her papers. Her sentences rambled. The red showed clearly on her face.
When she left the room, she broke down in tears because she had blown it.
Maybe every presentation isn’t high stakes or this dramatically terrible. But, this is a true scenario more often than most companies would admit. Whether it’s a high stakes sales presentation, new business pitch, or laying out a new strategy, the success of the business is dependent upon influence. This...