Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The weekly wrap up.

My last 5 podcasts have been
  1. Are you building a remarkable brand?
  2. Public Speaking
  3. Tips to a great script.
  4. Visual Aids in Presentations
  5. Handling Online Customer Inquirers
This weeks theme was public speaking, something I get to do a lot of and thankfully enjoy. However research suggests that most people fear public speaking more than death itself. Over a series of three podcasts I share my tips for effective presentations to help you.

As I write this summary I am actually on a break mid a two-day conference, which over that time will feature fourteen different speakers. Already I have seen audiences run batteries on phones flat from their lack of engagement and herd discussions around the presenter not living up to the promise their bio or topic suggested. 

This proves to myself as a timely reminder of the need for presenters to deliver on their topic but also to take the time to prepare, rehearse and refine their presentations ahead of time.

I highlighted in my podcasts that a common mistake people make is to have this fear of creating a script. I know when I see someone walk up on stage with a script it gives me confidence that they have valued my time (and theirs) enough to prepare adequately. What is your reaction when you see someone with a script? Why do you feel this way?

Core to an effective script is a central theme that is introduced early to the audience in a relatable manner. I often do this through the introduction of a real life example so that people can picture in their mind the practical application of what I am promoting.

When I am preparing a script I ask these three questions
  1. What is the number 1 thing I want people to take away from my presentation?
  2. What independent evidence is there to support my view?
  3. What questions might my audience ask?

The answer to question one should be your central theme, which is reinforced regularly throughout the presentation so as to ensure that everyone in the room hears it and understands it.

Next to speakers not being prepared with a script the 2nd biggest area of confusion I see is around the use of visual aids such as videos and slides (powerpoint/keynote).  As the name suggests they should be an AID to your presentation not used to replace you or distract your audience.

Simple slides with only a couple of points or a single image can be much more effective than a slide full of text and images. Remember the audience came to hear what you have to say not read your presentation on the screen.

I personally use video’s and slide packs in many presentations but I follow these 3 golden rules, in doing so.
  1. Slides do not replicate my script – they support it.
  2. Audio or Video inserts are used to keep the energy high in the presentation and give the audience a break from my voice (and my voice a break)
  3. I rehearse my entire presentation and look for ways to reduce the slide pack even further.

I am confident that if you apply the above tips and golden rules to  your next presentation you will be more confident and deliver your key messages more effectively than ever before.

Of course if I can be of assistance drop me a line and we can work out a coaching pack to meet your needs.

Have a great week.

Jason Bradshaw

PS – I love feedback in all forms, good, bad or otherwise so feel free to drop me an e-mail at any time. Also don't be afraid at the end of your presentations to ask people to provide feedback - it could just be a great ego boost or unlock the pathway to a more effective presentation.

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