Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Great Boss = Great Presenter ???


Dear Great Boss,

Great War
If you’re reading this note that means that I’ve died, moved on or won the lottery. So it’s time for me to finally share a secret with you. Not sure it this qualifies as a big secret because everyone else knows this except you.

This might come as a big surprise to you. I and the rest of the staff have done our best to protect you from the brutal truth. Apparently our conspiracy of silence and sycophancy has succeeded. 

You might believe that you are a great presenter. Naturally whenever you asked for comments or feedback on your presentations we dutifully responded with “You are a great speaker.” “That was a great presentation” And the greater sycophants added “You’re a great boss”.

Technically, those weren’t lies because great does not mean good or even better than good. For instance, there was the Great War, the Great Depression and the Great Plague. Your presentations were in this category of great.

You might want to sit down while reading this. Your presentations suck. If fact they suck - greatly.

That could be a great surprise to you.

You might wonder, “Was it one bad presentation or one little thing?”  No.

Take your pick:
  • Your jokes stink.
  • Your slides were boring and confusing.
  • It was annoying when you read your text slides to us.
  • The clich├ęs you tossed around were unoriginal and uninspiring.
  • Your words were often insulting and condescending.
  • Your attempts at rapport felt insincere and manipulative.
  • You didn’t speak with us. You spoke at us.
Why do I tell you this?

Because these repeated mistakes cost the company money, created stress for people and wasted resources.

I found traits to respect and appreciate about you. I hope that you might now respect and appreciate these truths that I offer you about your presentations.

I hope that you might stop basking in the glory of those great presentation reviews and start delivering more effective presentations.

PS: Don’t expect to receive honest and constructive feedback about your presentations from the staff because they still work for you and will praise you as great.

PPS: If you think you’re great, check out the horrors of the Great War, Great Depression and Great Plague.



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Saturday, September 13, 2014

SP Tip # 78: Four Ways to Transform Your Presentation into a Conversation



 
Four Ways to Transform your Presentation into a Conversation
 

Which feels more inviting to you - "Let's talk" or "I'm going to deliver a speech"?

Most of us don't want to hear another lecture or a pitch. But we are more inclined to participate in a conversation.

Deliver your presentation like a conversation and your audience will feel more engaged and less like prisoners. Hence they will trust you more and listen better. Therefore they are more likely to remember and act on your message.

What are the critical elements of a good conversation that you can use in your presentation?

Language
Imagine that you are talking to one person. Use the word "you" which is both singular and plural. Use "you" more often than the word "I" so your message is about them not you.
Avoid these phrases: "Welcome everyone", "Does anybody have a question?" and "You guys". Those mob words distance you from the audience by placing a barrier between you and them. You wouldn't use those words when talking to one person. Talk to one person.

Eye contact
Look at a single person when you speak. Move your glance from one person to another so that you are almost always talking to a single individual. You might need to glance at your notes, but don't waste time staring at the back wall, the floor or your slides. Talk to people. That individual eye contact will make them feel like they are part of an intimate conversation.

Questions
A good conversation includes good questions. Ask good questions of your audience and listen to their answers. Don't annoy them by repeatedly asking them to raise their hands. Invite questions from the audience and address their concerns. Be sure to pose rhetorical questions for the concerns that they might have - then answer them. That feels conversational.

Pause
A good conversation contains moments of silence. Allow the audience to absorb your message in silence. That demonstrates respect and allows them to internalize your message. Sprinkle pauses throughout your presentation.

The best experience for people in your audience is when they felt "the speaker was talking directly to me".

Don't deliver a lecture - engage in a conversation with each individual in your audience.

George Torok
 ps: 
Call to arrange for me to speak at your conference, corporate event or sales meeting.  
905-335-1997
 
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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Steve Jobs handles an insult with grace

Steve Jobs handled this insult and tough question well. Notice the long pause to think and demonstrate that he takes the question seriously. It would have been ineffective to answer quickly with a glib response.

After he stated that the person was right, Jobs then talked about his approach that might be different from the standard.

Nicely done Steve

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Superior Presentations Tip #77: What’s the purpose of your presentation?




What’s the purpose of your presentation?

Presentations fail when the presenter doesn’t understand the real purpose.

Presenters have told me that their plan was to speak for 30 minutes, cover all the material or represent their company. Some confessed that their goal was to deliver their message, prove their point or receive a standing ovation. Executives and managers said that they needed to report the latest numbers, update the board or bring everyone up to date.

Each of those is a poor description of the presentation purpose. Why? Because those are speaker focused. And if you define success based on the speaker and not the audience the presentation will almost always fail.

You must define your presentation success in terms of the audience. The only valid reason to speak – especially in business – is to move your audience. Every presentation is a step in advancing the group.

Here is the critical question you must ask yourself before every presentation:

What do you want people to think, feel or do after your presentation?

Design, deliver and evaluate your presentation on the answer to that question.

The real purpose of speaking is to move people. If you moved them in the direction you intended your presentation was successful. The level of success is determined by how many moved and how far they moved.

If all you did was cover the material, the presentation was for you and not the audience. That makes it a failure.

Perhaps you want:

Front line staff to adopt a different approach with customers
Association members to volunteer for committees
Investors to contribute more funds
Shoppers to buy
Voters to support you

Be clear about your purpose and be able to state it clearly so everything you do contributes to your success.

The purpose of speaking is not to speak; it’s to move people.

Design, deliver and measure the success of your presentation based on what you want people to think, feel or do.

 

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Questions about questions in your presentation



NEXT Public Seminar June 24 in Burlington
Sign up now to take advantage of the early booking discount.

Read the program outline for more imformation
http://presentation-skills-seminars.com


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Thursday, May 29, 2014

SP Tip 76: Transform Boring Into Exciting

Boring into exciting presentation 

How to transform boring material into an exciting presentation

My topic is boring so I can’t help but be boring. Have you heard a speaker utter that excuse? Have you used it?

The evening before his presentation to a conference of entrepreneurs a speaker confessed to me that his presentation would be boring because it was a boring topic. He sighed that it wasn’t his fault.

So I asked him, “What benefit can they hope to gain or what pain might they avoid by listening to your presentation?”

“They’ll learn how to take advantage of some free business development programs that have demonstrated a track record of success.”

“Wow! How could that be boring?”

“Well, there are a lot of details that relate to the application process.”

“What’s the purpose of your presentation?”

“We want people to express their interest in the program so we can help them apply.”

“So why bore them with the details about the process? Instead tell them about the benefits of the program. Offer a success story from a previous applicant. Remind them that’s its free to participate. Deal with the details later – after they’ve expressed their interest and are ready for the details.”

He looked at me with that ah-ha look on his face. Then a small smile followed by a slight grimace as he stated, “I have to revise my presentation tonight.”

After his presentation the next day he beamed as he announced to me that he had obtained sign-ups from more than 80% of the audience. That response was more than double his expectations.

He told me that he was up late the night before completely overhauling his presentation.  Speaking to the interests of the audience made him feel more comfortable and more excited about his presentation.

His presentation wasn’t boring and it was successful because he spoke to the interests of the audience. He didn’t waste time trying to cover all the information.

People don’t care about the details until they’re convinced that they want the product or service.



The next public seminar on How to Deliver Superior Presentations is June 24 in Burlington, Ont. Register now for the early booking discount. Click here to sign up.




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