Monday, April 28, 2008

Why Light The Fire From The Top?

Take the time to do things right. It is amazing how many people attempt to circumvent the process for creating a dynamic presentation. With a world of microwave dinners, marriage of total strangers on TV, and get rich schemes, it is easy to get caught up in skipping proven processes.

Before you create your first PowerPoint slide (or anything else for that matter), first determine the goal of your presentation. In other words, what do you want your audience to think, feel, or do differently after your presentation? Simply knowing the information is not enough. If that is the case, send an email instead.

It's amazing how first setting a goal helps everything fall into place. It's nice to aim at a target...and hit it!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dead Air?

Have you ever heard a presentation that sounds as if it were prepared by a radio broadcaster? Run-on sentences, no pauses, little time to digest the contents.

Keep in mind that you have already processed your information. You are speaking because you probably know more about the topic than your audience. Avoid the temptation to dump everything you know so fast that people feel overwhelmed. Your audience may be hearing your information for the first time. They will welcome a little extra time to digest it.

Allow three seconds of silence after making an important point or when asking a question, even if the question is intended to be rhetorical. Good attention management includes knowing when to place the attention on your audience. Allow people some time to reflect on what your information means to them.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Steve Jobs' Presentation - The Abbreviated Version

Here's Mr. Jobs' latest 90-minute presentation condensed into 60 seconds. Wouldn't it be great if we could do this to other presentations?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Presenter’s Creed

One way to manage your adrenaline rush before your presentation is through mind exercises, or in other words, positive self-talk. Before you stand to present, try saying the following to yourself.

“I am about to give this group a gift – one from which they will benefit. They will be better off for receiving this gift, and they will thank me for giving it to them. I am glad I have the opportunity to share my knowledge with them.”

I'm not sure who originally wrote this, however, thanks! Sure beats worrying about my zipper being down.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Noisy Presidential Race

Several days ago, I mentioned that a great presenter leaves his/her audience with a "repeatable message" - the one sentence or phrase he/she wants the audience to repeat long after the presentation.

I'm having a hard time figuring out what the repeatable message is for each of the leading presidential candidates. For example, with Bill Clinton it was clearly, "It's the economy, stupid." Mr. Clinton made his message clear for us (his audience), and when we went to the polls, that message resonated.

It could be that we live in a much noisier world than a decade ago. With the rise of mobile devices and the Internet, news travels even faster, so the candidates must respond to an ever-increasing demand for information. Not just the amount of information, but the speed of information.

So where does that leave us? We are drowning in information and thirsty for meaning.

More than ever, for your message to be receive as intended, you must leave your audience with a clear and concise repeatable message.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Can We REALLY Multitask Effectively?

During a recent workshop, I suggested that we consider "mono-tasking" instead of multitasking. There was a lot of pushback. Most of us are conditioned to think that multitasking is a good thing. Ask yourself, "Why are so many tasks left unfinished? Why do I find it difficult to focus? When do I get to sleep?"

As a presenter, make it easy for your audience to receive your message as intended. Have them focus on one thing at a time. Release your information is small digestable chunks, and then check to see that it is understood before moving on.

Yes, this is common sense, yet, it is not common practice.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Organizations Going "Topless"

It's happening! The backlash to multi-tasking we've been talking about is making the news. Companies and schools are banning the use of laptops and other mobile devices during presentations and meetings. Checkout this news clip from ABC News. (Of course, you have to first “pay” attention to a brief commercial.) After viewing, please let me know your thoughts.