Presentation Stories: The Night Before Christmas

by Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled down for a long winter's nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath; He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Presentation: Telling Stories

Telling Stories

Tell stories. Paint word pictures that create images in the listeners’ minds. If they can see it they are more likely to understand and remember your message. The best public speakers are storytellers Use stories and anecdotes to illustrate and reinforce the main points of your presentation. Learn to master the skill of storytelling. Listen to newscasters, entertainers and other speakers.

The best stories are personal. Because they are yours - they are easier to remember and they make your presentation unique. We listen to stories. We hate lectures. If you forgot that lesson - just ask your kids. The way to find personal stories that can be used in your presentations is to write them down. Make a list of significant things that happened to you and those around you; the first time… the best, the worst, the biggest mistake, the best break, the greatest ah-ha, the funniest moment, the most frustrating incident, the dumbest thing you did, the most embarrassing moment…

The things that hurt you the most make the best stories to tell in your presentations. Rehearse your stories to edit them down into a short story that is easy to listen to. The hardest thing for you might be to leave out details. The hardest thing for your audience is listening to you describe unnecessary details. Just make the point.

The above is an excerpt from Secrets of Power Presentations by Peter Urs Bender.

George Torok

The Speech Coach for Executives

Presentation Skills Training

Delivering your Presentation

Delivering your Presentation

Last minute details before you begin speaking
Get into the room before your audience arrives to check the setup and get the feel of the room. This helps to make it your room. Walk around the room and sit in a few different chairs to take in the feel of your room and how your audience will see you. Check your equipment and put on your busiest slide to check for readability. Drink one or two glasses of warm water to both lubricate your vocal cords and hydrate yourself. Public speaking dehydrates you.

Emergency preparation
Check the exit doors and paths from the building. If an emergency occurs the audience will look to you, the speaker, for leadership and maybe their lives. Be prepared to tell people how to leave the room and building. If it becomes necessary - do it in a calm, commanding and confident voice. Public speaking carries the responsibility of leadership. Everything you do while speaking will be better if you prepare the skills to deliver.

Your confederate
Always have at least one confederate. This is a simple yet important secret to presentation success. Your confederate should sit near the back of the room so they can survey the room, help late arrivers and do things without disturbing the audience. They will take care of the lights, handouts, ushering people to their seats and even asking a planted question. It is their job to head off problems before they erupt. They should know how to work the lights and who to call when problems arise.

Eye Contact
Talk directly to people. The best presentation is delivered as a conversation to every person in your audience one person at a time. If you want to be believed – talk to every individual – looking him or her in the eye. Don’t make the big mistake committed by many novice public speakers - staring at the spot on the back wall. This one technique is a powerful element of successful presentation skills.

Emphasizing key points
If you want people to remember something – repeat it at least three times during your speech. The first time they might hear it. The second time they might mull it over. The third time it might stick. “I have a dream”. Do you know how many times Martin Luthur King repeated that phrase in his famous speech?

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives

Public Speaking for IT Careers

Importance of Public Speaking Skills for IT

November 12, 2007 (Computerworld) -- When it comes to technical skills, you either have them or you get them. This year’s salary survey shows that there’s demand for a broad range of skills, many of which have been hot for several years (see our jobs report snapshots).

But what else makes for a great IT hire? In their continual struggle to align IT with the business, IT executives say they’re increasingly looking for staffers who have, in addition to technical chops, solid business acumen and so-called soft skills, like strong communication and listening abilities.

Computerworld’s most recent hiring and skills survey confirms that. Survey respondents said writing and public speaking are two of the most important soft skills they look for when hiring new employees. Classes that teach technical skills are easy to find, but what’s the best way to learn soft skills? Here’s a look at nine skills employers are looking for, with IT executives and career experts’ advice on how to get them.

Number three on the list is Public Speaking Skills

3. An aptitude for public speaking. They may be a throwback to the 1960s, but Toastmasters International clubs can help IT workers refine their public speaking skills and get past their jitters. Also, SIM’s Regional Leadership Forum can help up-and-coming IT professionals polish their leadership skills, including their speaking ability, says Keefe.

Read the rest of this report at Computer World.

Public Speaking Tips

Fear of Public Speaking

George Torok

Speech Coach for Executives

Imagine a Presentation without PowerPoint

Imagine a Presentation without PowerPoint

What? You’re giving a presentation without PowerPoint! Are you crazy?

That might be the reaction you would hear if you announced that you were planning to deliver your next presentation without the crutch of PowerPoint.

PowerPoint is a presentation tool for presenters who want their notes on the screen. Why know your presentation when you can read it from the screen? Most presenters might as well warn their audience at the beginning of their presentation. “Hi, I couldn’t be bothered to practice and learn my presentation so I’m just going to read the words on the screen to you. And I hope that you won’t notice that I am insulting you by reading what you see.”

How do you feel when the presenter reads the words on the screen to you?

Do you think, “Wow, what a great presenter. He can read the same words that I see on the screen.”?

Or do you think, “Why is this speaker treating us like children?”

PowerPoint is an easy-to-use presentation software. It’s so easy to use that it makes people stupid. They forget to ask, “What is the best way to get my message across?” They fail to ask, “Should I use PowerPoint for me presentation?” Instead they act like Borg drones, “If I deliver a presentation we must use PowerPoint. Resistance is futile.” I salute Microsoft and the power of their marketing.

It’s funny what people get used to. How easy we accept mediocrity. When I presented at a conference in Vancouver this week I instructed the AV guy to turn off the computer projector because I won’t use it. His response was, “Oh, you don’t have a presentation?”

Isn’t that curious that he equated presentation with PowerPoint.

I laughed while pointing to my head and said, “Of course I have a presentation and it’s in here. It won't get lost and it won’t break down.”

PowerPoint is a presentation crutch for handicapped presenters. It doesn’t make them better presenters. It emphasizes their handicap.

Presentation does not equal PowerPoint.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives
Business Presentation Skills Training

Avoid the PowerPoint Sins

PowerPoint is a registered trademark of Microsoft
Any comments about PowerPoint on this blog are not endorsed by Microsoft and are the opinions of this blogger.

Presentation Skills

Presentation Skills

Presentation Skills Training

Presentation Skills Coaching

Presentation Skills for Engineers

Presentation Skills for Accountants

Presentation Skills for Novice Speakers

Presentation Skills for Advanced Speakers

Presentation Skills for Business Professionals

Presentation Skills Monthly Tips

Impromptu Public Speaking

Impromptu Speaking

Sometimes you might be asked to give comments or a presentation without advance notice. You might be tempted to think on your feet. I strongly suggest that you do not think on your feet. It is easy to get yourself into trouble. Instead always be prepared to speak on very short notice. Impromptu speaking is similar to regular presenting – in that both are based on skill development. The better you know and practice the techniques the more it looks like talent.

Here are some techniques to help you with impromptu speaking.

Be prepared with some favourite stories that you tell well and can use to illustrate more than one message as required.

Quickly write three points on an index card – then talk about those points. Decide on the one thing that you want to get across – and deliver that message.

Conduct your speech as an interview with yourself. Ask questions – and answer them.

Don’t think on your feet – instead be prepared.

George Torok

Speech Coach for Executives

Presentation Skills Training

Presentation Structure

Presentation Structure

There are many presentation structures that you can choose from. Here are a few examples of presentation structure for you.

Business Conclusion
When you speak to a business group the most effective approach is to state your conclusions first, the actions required then follow with supporting information. That would be an effective business speech.

Scientific MethodThe most boring and ineffectual presentation style to use with a business group is the scientific method that many of us learned in school. The scientific method starts with a problem, followed by a hypothesis, a method, results and conclusion. That sounds logical but most people in business today do not have the patience to listen to that litany. We want the answer first. Speak – don’t lecture.

Q&A structureAnother simple presentation structure that works is to tell your audience that you will answer the most common questions you have heard. Then you state the question and answer it. This is one of the easiest ways to give a speech. It sounds like a conversation and you will find it easier to remember. All you need to remember are the questions because you already know the answers. The best speech feels like a conversation.

Pain and ReliefAn effective sales technique is to first reveal or describe their pain, fear or problem. Then you offer the relief to the pain. The relief from pain and desire for pleasure are powerful motivators. Just don’t dwell on the pain too long. Think ‘plop, plop fizz, fizz.’

George Torok
Presentation Skills Training
Executive Speech Coach

Preparing Your Presentation

Preparing your Presentation

Purpose of your presentation
Imagine that you have been scheduled to speak to a group. An important question for you to review is “Why am I delivering this presentation?” Don’t answer, “Because I was asked.” Instead ask why does this group need to hear from you? What message is so important that you must take their time to speak to them? You must be clear on the purpose of your speech before you can write it. Please don’t give a speech just because you are the boss. Don’t waste their time and embarrass yourself. Have something worthwhile to say. If you start by knowing what you want to happen then you will begin to create an effective speech.

Your audience is the reason you are there
Understand your audience. What do they want? Why would they listen to you? If you want to reach them with your presentation you must reach them through their needs. While you are talking they are asking themselves, “What’s in it for us?” If you have not spoken to this group before, interview a few of them before your presentation. Mention the names of some audience members during your presentation. It will help you connect with the group.

Design your presentation backwards
The most common way to write your speech is to start at the beginning and write to the end. That is not an effective way to write a speech. Instead write the speech backwards. Start with the destination and work back to the opening. You will write your speech faster and clearer if you start with the end in mind. Know your purpose. Write the closing line that hammers home your message. Then write the points to support that close. Then write the opening that launches you into that presentation. Designing your speech is also a set of communication skills.

A good presentation starts with a good preparation.

George Torok

Motivational Speaker
Speech Coach for Executives
Presentation Skills Training
Presentation Tips

Presentation Tip: Deeper Voice

Presentation Tip: Deeper Voice

Speaking in a deeper voice always sounds more credible. Read this powerful tip from Jeff Mowatt, the Master of Influence with Ease.

Speak lower than the previous person

This is such an easy technique to enhance credibility - it's almost embarrassing. During group discussions, people get emotional or excited about certain subjects. Their voices tend to rise in tone and speed accordingly. When it's you're turn to comment, reduce the tone and speed of your voice to be slighter lower than that of the previous speaker. In the midst of the group's excitement, your controlled delivery will sound like the voice of reason. You'll immediately be taken more seriously. The only trick then is to say something worthwhile!

About award-winning speaker, Jeff Mowatt, BComm., CSP

Treat yourself to an entertaining, informative session with award winning speaker, Jeff Mowatt B.Comm, CSP. Jeff knows his stuff. he didn't just read the book - he wrote it! He's the author of the critically acclaimed book, Becoming a Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month. Jeff's newest book, Influence with Ease will be released this fall. He heads his own training company and has produced four study training systems. His Influence with Ease column has been syndicated and featured in over 200 business publications. Jeff has exercised influence himself as a 25-year service industry veteran, black belt martial artist, and business owner.

Jeff’s advice is good advice. You can use this technique in a meeting, on the phone or while delivering a presentation.

Think "James Earl Jones". James is known for his deep voice. He was the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars.

Another Tip
You can make your voice deeper by speaking s l o w e r.

George Torok
Executive Speech Coach
Presentation Skill Trainer

Cartoon, Quote and Parable to the Rescue

Saved By a Cartoon
The Six Blind Men and the Elephant

Props provide a powerful way of enhancing presentations. Verbal arguments aren’t enough to convince people of your message. Try using visuals such as charts or cartoons, or physical props such as products or tools. Verbal props come in several forms: quotations from famous people, anecdotes, plays, poems or even questions.

The following is a true report of how I used my new-found communication skills and a combination of props to get me out of hot water with my company’s auditors.

The auditors had submitted a report suggesting that I, as the chief supply manager, had exceeded my purchasing approval authority. I strongly disagreed and tried explaining to them the difference between our use of approval authority and implementation authority within the computer system. They did not buy my explanation – that is, until I had a chance to meet with them.

The meeting seemed to take forever. Tension clouded the room, because the auditors intended to remain firm on their “observation” and everyone knew my position.

Finally, it was my turn. I started: “I offer the quotation from George Bernard Shaw who said, ‘In the right key you can say anything, in the wrong key, nothing.’ So to help set the right key I ask you to look at this cartoon and parable that I am passing out.”

There were some raised eyebrows at this point, but no one objected to my strange approach – yet. After everyone had a copy of the handout I continued:

“This cartoon shows the parable of the six bind men and the elephant. The six blind men went to see the elephant, but being blind they had to examine the elephant with their hands. Each touched a different part of the elephant and noted their observation. For example, the first clutched the swaying trunk and said, ‘The elephant must be a snake.’ The next grabbed the tail and noted, ‘The elephant is really like a rope.’ Another fell against the side and exclaimed, ‘Oh my, this elephant is like a wall.’ Hugging the leg the next argued, ‘The elephant is like a tree.’ The fifth, while holding the tusk, stated, ‘You are all wrong, I know it is like a spear.’ And finally, the sixth felt the flapping ear and noted, ‘This elephant is surely like a fan.’”

The nervous laughter dissipated the tension and now the people were more relaxed. Then I explained how the computer system we were using was very big and complicated, like an elephant, and that we had poor documentation. Therefore, it was unreasonable for any visitor to fully understand the workings in a two-week period (this was the duration of the auditors’ visit). The heads nodded in agreement at this point. Then I showed a flowchart of our approval process – emphasizing that the “approval” they were focusing on was only “an approval to print”.

The bottom line is they understood my point, and the audit report was changed. It is important to know that the facts were unchanged from my earlier discussions with them, but this time I packaged my sale and they bought it.

When was the last time you had a proposal or idea turned down? Could it have gone better if you had taken more care to sell it? To deliver a powerful message understand your audience, be clear on your purpose, plan your approach – and use props!

© George Torok delivers inspirational keynotes and practical seminars. He trains managers and sales presenters how to present to win. Arrange for George to work with your people by calling 800-304-1861.

For more information and to receive free monthly tips on presentation skills visit or

Executive Speech Coach
Presentation Skills Training
Public Speaking Tips

Think on your Feet

Think on your Feet

Do you wish that you could think on your feet? Have you considered that it might not be a good idea to think on your feet? My advice to you is that you should not think on your feet.

I repeat – you should NOT think on your feet.

You should speak on your feet – but you should not think on your feet. Why? Because people who attempt to think on their feet usually do not think – they simply speak on their feet without thinking.

Many people who attempt to think on their feet often embarrass themselves because they speak without thinking. Speakers who you believe to be thinking on their feet are simply finding familiar patterns and selecting from past experience or prepared statements. That’s the secret.

Please do not think on your feet. Instead, you should think before you speak on your feet.

How do you avoid thinking on your feet? Prepare. Consider all the possible questions and interruptions before you speak. If you think before you speak, when you stand up to speak all you need to do is select on your feet. Select from the possible outcomes that you previously considered and select from the responses that you rehearsed.

Most people are not good at thinking on their feet. But it is a lot easier to select (multiple choice) on your feet. If you have thought about possible questions and possible answers before you speak then it is simply a matter of selecting from the options that you already prepared.

The best speakers and negotiators plan for all the possible issues before they speak. Think and rehearse before you speak. Then when you stand up to speak you don’t need to think on your feet. You can speak and select on your feet.

Thinking before you get on your feet will result in far more successful presentations for you.

Think – rehearse – stand – then speak.

Do not think on your feet.

George Torok
Business Speaker
Speech Coach for Executives

Presentation Skills Trainer

Public Speaking World Champion

Public Speaking World Champion

Every year Toastmasters International holds its World Championship of Public Speaking. And unlike the World Series of US baseball this is truly a world series of public speaking. Toastmasters from around the world compete and for 2007 the winner of the World Championship of Public Speaking is from India.

As reported in

USA: Indian Student Crowned World Champion of Public Speaking
By Max Rasquinha - Houston Aug 20:

A handful of Indian Toastmasters watched with pride and honour a twenty-six year old M.I.T. scholarship Graduate from India being crowned as a World Champion of Public Speaking in the presence of more than 3000 Toastmaster delegates that gathered at Phoenix, Arizona for an Annual Toastmasters Convention at the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Hotel.

There were total ten top finalists from the world over that displayed their talents on behalf of nearly 10,500 Toastmasters Clubs scattered in more than 90 countries. What a fantastic reward for Mother India to display the talent before the world leaders and prove ourselves as a nation moving well ahead in the world of progress.

India has about 90 Toastmasters Clubs so far, but in all probability this strength will multiply in the year ahead fostering all the possible opportunities for young men and women to prove themselves that they too can make a difference in the world of Communicators and Leaders.
India has all the ingredients to create at least another 500 new clubs in the years ahead. India can enhance all the good image in so many paths of progress. God bless Vikas Jhingra in all his future pursuits of life and may God bless India in every future opportunities that can bring a positive image all over the world.


MIT engineering student seeks public speaking championship
Elizabeth Knox, News Office Correspondent August 15, 2007

An MIT doctoral student who devoted the past seven years to detailed research on offshore drilling will have just seven minutes to make his mark in the Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking, starting today (Aug. 15) in Phoenix.

Vikas Jhingran, a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical and ocean engineering, is one of 10 candidates competing in the three-day public speaking contest.

Jhingran's seven-minute speech for the Toastmasters championship is titled "The Swami." Using humor and broad gesture, he narrates a story of how he found the answer to unlocking his full potential through a visit to a neighborhood wise man, who asked him the provocative question "Who are you?"

Jhingran has been involved with Toastmasters for four years, and he credits the nonprofit public speaking organization with improving his confidence and transforming how he presents his research.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives
Presentation Skills Training
The Fear of Public Speaking

Tips for Toastmasters
Toastmasters International

PowerPoint Comedy

PowerPoint Comedy with Don McMillan

PowerPoint can be funny - especially the goofy things that many presenters do with PowerPoint.

If you have to deliver a business presentation soon and you are considering using PowerPoint then I suggest you review this short video featuring Don McMillan on YouTube.

How not to use PowerPoint.

Review it before your presentation! Then you will be able to laugh at this video instead of cringing.

This video is also a good learning tool on how to get your point across with humor. Note the lessons about using PowerPoint and note the teaching techniques.

For more help on using PowerPoint read the PowerPoint Sins.


George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives

Presentation first thoughts

First thoughts on your presentation

Why you?
How can you get more done? By being a superior communicator. The secret of managing people is to master the art and science of communication. Superior communication skills are a combination of listening, negotiating and speaking.

Public Speaking, Presentation or Speech?
Deliver your message with impact. It is not just a speech or presentation. I use the words speech, public speaking and presentations interchangeably in this article. It is your message that is important. Your presentation is the vehicle for delivering your message and to create results. A successful presentation is one that moves people to action. You know it was a success if after you speak, they buy, work or follow. To do that requires skill. Devour this article to capture the essence of superior presentation skills.

First Rule of Great Presentations
A great presentation does not just happen. It is planned, rehearsed then delivered with flair. A good presenter is one who learns the skills of presentations - not one who hopes for talent to carry them. Public speaking is a skill not a talent. You can be a good presenter if you learn the skills for presentation success. You will be a great speaker if you learn from every presentation you deliver. Great presenters start as poor speakers – then they get better.

Learn from other Great Speech Makers
Who are the public speakers you admire? Ask yourself why you admire them. What techniques do they use in their speeches that you can use? What principles can you adapt to your presentations? It could be a great political leader, business executive or innovator. Whether it is a Churchill, Henry Ford or Einstein – ask yourself, “Why does their delivery work so well? How can I use that technique or principle in my speech?” Look for the skills they used and make them your own.

Give a great presentation!

George Torok
The Speech Coach for Executives
Presentation Skills Training

More Presentation Skills Tips

Impromptu Public Speaking

Impromptu Public Speaking
Do not think on your feet!
Sometimes you might be asked to give comments or a presentation without advance notice. You might be tempted to think on your feet. I strongly suggest that you do not think on your feet. It is easy to get yourself into trouble. Instead always be prepared to speak on very short notice. Impromptu speaking is similar to regular presenting – in that both are based on skill development. The better you know and practice the techniques the more it looks like talent.

Here are some techniques to help you with impromptu speaking.

Know some favourite stories that you tell well and can use to illustrate more than one message as required.
Quickly write three points on an index card – then talk about those points.
Decide on the one thing that you want to get across – and deliver that message.
Conduct your speech as an interview with yourself. Ask questions – and answer them.

Don’t think on your feet – instead be prepared.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives
Presentation Skills Training
Motivational Keynote Speaker

Team Presentations

Team Presentations

Are you delivering a team presentation soon?

You and two or three of your colleagues stand up and present the company message.

First be clear on the overall message. Then decide how each person supports that message in their portion of the presentation without duplicating.

Each presenter must have a clear yet distinct piece of the puzzle that supports the overall message.

For example you are presenting your sales message to your prospect then and you have four presenters. One is the team leader, one is the customer contact manager, one is the production foreman, and one is the logistics expert.

There must be a reason why each presenter on your team is there. That reason must be evident to your listeners. Too many presenters will muddy your message.

Each presenter on the team should deliver a distinct message that contributes to the main presentation message. With different presenters it helps that each has a slightly different style and personality. Do not dress exactly the same – that only confuses your listeners. If you all look the same, how can we tell you apart?

Million Dollar Tip
Each team presenter could start his/her portion with the rhetorical question, “Why am I here?” Then answer the question. That will help your listeners understand why you are there. They will be silently asking that question and will be pleasantly surprised when you voice it and answer it for them.

Follow this advice and your team presentations will be more successful and more profitable.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives

“In the end, the numbers speak. You demonstrated to us how to cut a 60-minute rambling presentation, into a 12-minute clear, concise and focused presentation that helped us secure a $10 million project. My team now has the knowledge, skill and attitude to present professionally.George, “Thank You”. I appreciate your expertise, your professionalism and of course, your sense of humour which lead us through some grueling sessions.”

Sam Kohn, President
Exhibits International

Presentation: Why are you Speaking?

Most Important Presentation Question

Creating your presentation starts with you asking and answering this important question, “Why are you speaking?”

You need to answer this question before you create your presentation so you deliver the right message. If you don’t know why you are speaking – then shut up.

You should be able to verbalize the answer to this question in one short sentence. Perhaps you want the client to buy your premium service, your staff to work together like a team or your investors to contribute another million. Be clear on the answer to this question, then design your presentation to clearing answer it for your listeners.

For example a client of mine was preparing a presentation to a new prospect. We explored this question, “Why are you speaking?” They suggested that it was to show that they are capable to do the job. On further probing we realized that “capable” was not enough. What my client really wanted to get across to their prospect was that the prospect would be stupid not to buy from my client. We needed to create and deliver a presentation that positioned my client as hot and irresistible.

That realization changed the nature, words and tone of the presentation. Capable just doesn’t cut it when you want to leave the impression of hot and irresistible.

Ask yourself, “Why are you speaking?” And you will create and deliver more focused presentations.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives
Motivational Speaker

Kramer's Arrogance

Kramer’s Arrogance

Remember Kramer’s meltdown at the comedy club? What surprised me about this incident is that a seasoned pro like Kramer, (Michael Richards), succumbed to fear. When you let the fear of rejection defeat you, you will say stupid things. Every presenter must be willing to deal with rejection. That is the number one rule about selling, presenting and comedy acts.

What ever you do some people might not like you. Or you might wrongly think they don’t like you because of what they do or say. Ignore it. That’s life.

As a business presenter you often are under a lot of pressure. It is normal to be nervous when presenting to your clients. And it is normal for things to go wrong. You would be foolish if you destroy yourself. You might be bidding on a $20m project, presenting your idea to the management team or selling your $50,000 proposal.

If it appears that your presentation is not going well – what should you do?



Restate the last thing you said.

Then, pause and smile.

If you said something stupid, correct and move on. If you were distracted by a question, comment or interruption, pause, smile and move on.

Never attack your audience or any members of your audience. Always give them the benefit of the doubt. They might have misheard you and you might have misheard them.

When things go wrong in your presentation: pause, smile and move on.

Never attack your audience. Never! Because you will lose everytime.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives
Presentation Skills Training

Foul Language at the Learning Annex

Foul Language at the Learning Annex in Toronto

I attended the two-day program by the Learning Annex in Toronto. The keynote speakers included George Foreman, Tony Robbins and Donald Trump.

What surprised me? Foul Language and Profanity

Tony Robbins
When did “shit” become a main stage word? Tony Robbins said the word several times during his presentation. At the same time he danced around the word “penis” with the phrase “Mr Happy”.

I wonder why Tony Robbins used these words. They did not help his presentation in any way. As the hero of many profesional speakers why was Tony Robbins so unprofessional?

Donald Trump
Donald never mentioned the word “shit” nor anything about his “penis”.

He did say “frigging”. He said the word “fucking” once while recounting a conversation he had with a banker. And he mouthed the same word while expressing his opinion about President Bush.

In Donald Trump’s case his use of these far more vulgar words fit his message. I wasn’t offended. I expected to be offended by him.

George Foreman
Curious that the most street-tough-punk of the bunch did not use offensive language. Good on you George! Read more about George Foreman's presentation here.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives

PS: What other words should you avoid when speaking?

Public Speaking: People Say Disgusting Things

People say Disgusting Things
People say the most disgusting things. I’m not talking about rappers, shock jocks or foul mouthed comics. They intend to be offensive so it is no surprise that they offend.

I’m talking about business presenters who do not intend to offend but do. These include executives, managers and sales professionals. Not only do these well intentioned business people offend but they often sabotage their own presentation by the stupid things that they say.

Who are these business people? Managers, customer service reps, sales staff and even executives. These folks offend and self-sabotage in meetings, on the phone and in presentations.

What are these self-sabotaging words and phrases that kill deals, derail careers and ostracize the uniformed?

When used as either an answer to a question or as a precursor to your statement, you demean both the listener and the value of your message. It is a sarcastic word.

“Not, never, can’t, worst, won’t, pain”
Avoid or minimize negatives. The exception is if you fix pain and problems – then start with the positive words. E.g.” I help you relieve back pain.”

“I think” or “I guess”
Watch out when tagging these limp phrases to the end of your statement. It suggests lack of confidence and steals your credibility.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend”
The two negatives at the beginning of this sentence steal the power from the endorsement. Try, “I suggest”, “I strongly recommend” or “I recommend”

Through training hundreds of business professionals and coaching dozens of business executives on their presentation skills I have complied a list of 21 of these “disgusting words and phrases.” To discover the whole list click here.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives
Disgusting words and phrases

Bill Clinton a Powerful Speaker

Former president Bill Clinton is still a powerful speaker. Why? Notice the passion and intensity evident in this photo. Long after his term as president Clinton still captivates his audience.

Bill Clinton projects both a down-home charm and intoxicating sense of power when he speaks.

Clinton has a speaking style that eclipses all presidents from the past few decades.

Clinton versus George W Bush - no contest. And Bush senior is not even in the ball park.

Peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter had the down-home appeal but not presidential presence. Ronald Reagan was the Great Communicator because he was folksy and he could deliver a line on que. A result of his acting days. Even when he was shot, Reagan had the stage presence to say, "I forgot to duck."

Then we go back to JFK for a great orator. "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Bill Clinton has them all beat. We might not experience a bettter presidential public speaker for a long time if ever.

Look at the passion in this photo. It is a classic Churchillian pose with one hand on the lectern and the other raised to incite his audience to action.

Who cares what he was saying - it is the passion that persuades.

No wonder that Bill Clinton still commands more than two hundred thousand dollars for a speech and no wonder that folks still line up to see and hear him speak.

The above photo was shot by Brent Perniac when Bill Clinton spoke recently in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives

Brent Perniac is a professional photographer of celebrities
See more samples of his work

Presentation Skills: Your Speaking Voice

Presentation Skills: Your Speaking Voice

Be Heard!

There is one rule above all others when speaking: Make sure that your audience can hear you! If necessary, use a microphone. There is absolutely no excuse for not being loud enough. Practice projecting your voice before your presentation. In general, it is better to be too loud than too quiet.
In my teaching experience less than 1% of my students were too loud. Your aim as a presenter is to be heard and understood. People cannot understand you if they cannot hear you.

Air Intake

It is easier for you to speak loudly and powerfully if you breathe properly. Effective air intake and appropriate pauses during your talk will help you control the volume of your voice. Slow down your delivery if you are having volume difficulty. Breathe from your diaphragm or stomach and not from your chest. You know that you are filling your diaphragm if you make yourself “fat” with air. Practice proper breathing as much as possible before you present.

Vary Your Voice

Vocal variety is important when you speak. Periodically change your speed, pitch, and volume, going neither too fast nor too slow. Do not mumble in a monotone. A deeper tone signals more confidence than a high pitched one. Also, if you catch yourself stumbling or not knowing what to say, slow down and possibly even stop to catch your breath and collect your thoughts. If you blank out or choke, just smile! Only people with great self-confidence can smile, therefore the audience will assume you know what you are doing!
At the time you rehearse, practice using your voice to emphasize certain words and phrases. You should train your voice to deliver on its own so that your brain can concentrate solely on the message.
When we are nervous we tend to speak faster. Rapid flow of words encourages shallow breathing. If you want to reinforce an image of confidence, slow down. It is much easier for you to breathe deeply when you don’t speak too quickly. The audience will also be impressed by the power you project.

The above is an expert from the book, Secrets of Power Presentations.
Reprinted with permission of the author and publisher.

George Torok
The Speech Coach for Executives

The first licensee for Power Presentations

Power Presentations is a registered trademark of Peter Urs Bender

Presentation Skills for Engineers

Presentation Skills for Engineers

Engineers are not normally applauded for their presentation skills. Maybe that’s why they got into engineering. They don’t want to talk to people.

On the other hand do you want a person who designs bridges or rockets with a communication problem?

Perhaps more engineering schools should teach and emphasize presentation skills.

Kudos to The School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials at the University of Newcastle on Tyne for this webpage of links to articles about presentation skills.
Looks like some helpful links to good articles. Maybe we can expect better presentation skills from engineers.


As engineers, it is vitally important to be able to communicate your thoughts and ideas effectively, using a variety of tools and medium. You will need to develop and use this skill throughout your years in University; when you attend job interviews and especially when you start working in the big wide world. But, it is often said that engineers do not possess the ability to communicate well. Of course that is a load of b*&%@ks - not enough coaching and practise that's all!
This page contains links to material that is designed to improve your presentation skills. Most of the links are to the Web sites of business consultants, so they should know what they are talking about. If you are a member of the IChemE, you should have received a little booklet entitled "Communication Skills for Engineers and Scientists". Nevertheless, you may still find these links useful.

Read more about presentation skills for engineers.

George Torok
The Speech Coach for Executives

Presentation Skills for Engineers

Public Speaking : Tips for Speaking on Television, Videotape,

Great Public Speaking: Public Speaking : Tips for Television, Videotape,

Public Speaking Tips for Television and Video from Tom Antion

When you are speaking before television or video cameras, what tips should you keep in mind so you can look your best?

Tom Antion covers it nicely in this post on his blog about public speaking. He has listed some practical advice. When you are speaking before the camera, read these speaking tips from Tom Antion.

Enjoy the tips and “break a leg”

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives

Power Presentations: Hold Attention

Hold the attention of your listeners

First be aware that you will never hold 100% of everyone’s attention. It is extremely difficult to hold 100% of the attention even when you are talking to one person. Because our brain processes information much faster than you can speak – we will often be starving for input. When we don’t receive enough input we daydream. So forget about holding the attention 100% of the time. Instead focus on grabbing their attention back. Sprinkle your presentation with attention grabbing techniques – especially just before the important parts.

How to grab attention

The first key to grabbing attention is “changes”. Change helps to fight boredom. Other keys are relevance and being real.

  • Change your pace of speaking – faster or slower
  • Deepen your voice
  • Change your posture
  • Ask a rhetorical question
  • Ask a question of the audience
  • Make a bold statement
  • Say “This is important.”
  • Use the word “you”
  • Do or say something unexpected
  • Tell a personal story
  • Admit a personal flaw or failure
  • Make them laugh
  • Issue a warning or reveal an unnoticed threat
  • Pause, look at the audience and smile
  • Speak to their specific needs and circumstance
  • Use the name of the group or individual audience members
George Torok
The Speech Coach for Executives

The above is an excerpt from "Secrets of Power Presentations" by Peter Urs Bender.

Association Speaker

Association Speaker

Do you need a powerful speaker for your next association conference or convention?

George Torok speaks regularily for association events.

Is George Torok the right speaker for your professional association?
You decide. Review the list of associations and comments from them. When you are ready contact him directly to discuss your specific speaker needs. 905-335-1997

Does George Torok understand association needs?
Yes. He has been an active member of many associations. He has served several on committees, project teams and on the association board. He has served on both local and national association boards. George has arranged special events for his association and he has selected, hired and managed speakers.

He often is a guest speaker for association meetings, conferences, workshops and national conventions. Many associations bring him back for another conference, seminar or special event. George Torok is the association professional speaker. For associations, George Torok is the combination of Mr Inside and Mr Outside. That means he brings both humble insight and brash perspective to your members.

What associations has George Torok helped as a professional speaker, seminar leader or consultant?

What articles are available for reprint in your association publications?

George Torok
Executive Speech Coach

Presentation: Argument

Presentation: Argument

If you have a strong case – clarity is the key

If you have a weak case – persuasion is the key

Are you clarifying or persuading?

How strong is your case? What do you need to do to get the message across?
George Torok

Presentation Disaster

Presentation Disaster

To ensure that your presentation is a success you must prepare for presentation disaster. It might sound strange – but a good way to prepare for success is to be prepared for disaster.

How can you ensure that your presentation will be a success? List the possible disasters then plan how you will deal with them. They might never happen but when they do – you will be prepared. And nothing showcases a leader more than taking charge during a disaster.

Presentation disasters can be both minor and major. Consider too that disaster is all a matter of perspective. When it is happening to you it feels like a disaster.

What are some of the presentation disasters for which you might be prepared?

You might feel nervous.
The fear of public speaking is fairly common. So if you experience it – don’t worry. Learn how to combat speech anxiety. Read more about dealing with speech anxiety in this article by John Robert Colombo.

You might verbally stumble on a word.
When we are numerous we can mispronounce a word. You can pause and say the word again. If you still fail in getting it right – find another word that means the same or smile at your audience and say, “You know what I mean.”

No one laughs at your funny line.
There are many possible causes. But don’t worry about it. Pause to let the message sink in. Smile to show that you enjoyed the funny line. As long as they got the message they don’t need to laugh out load. Consider that they might be laughing inside.

Your computer or projector dies.
This is common so you better be well prepared for this technology disaster. Have a backup system ready to go. And be prepared to present without the computer show. Remember the presentation is about your message – not your computer.

An audience member keeps interrupting you.
Depending on the circumstances you could say, “Thanks for your help, but I work alone,” Or you state, “Please hold your questions until I call for them.”

These are five common presentation disasters. If you want to be a successful presenter then don’t be surprised, instead be prepared to deal with these disasters. Do that and you will shine like a leader.

George Torok
Executive Speech Coach

Speech Anxiety: Lawrence Olivier

Speech Aniety: Lawrence Olivier

Imagine Sir Lawrence Olivier nervous before his performance
Speech Anxiety experienced by Sir Lawrence Olivier.

There are many other approaches to the feeling of unease we experience when required to perform in public. For instance, Marshall McLuhan, the philosopher of communications, had a distinct "take" on this condition. It is well known that Sir Laurence Olivier, despite his standing as a great stage and screen actor, experienced profound stage fright throughout his entire performing career. He writes about the forms his panic took in his theatrical memoirs, and he puzzled as to why he continued to feel this way despite his vast experience appearing before audiences around the world. In later years he came to regard the excess sweat his body produced, the jittery nervousness, etc., as simply symptoms that his body was warning him that he would shortly have to appear before audiences and perform in public. He was able to ignore these sensations and feelings while on stage, but not before or after.

He was drenched in sweat.
Why did Sir Lawrence Olivier experience Speech Anxiety?

McLuhan's view of the matter is that of a social psychologist. Sir Laurence felt little or no anxiety prior to the performance. Anxiety levels spiked when he entered the dressing room and removed his regular clothes and stood there semi-dressed before donning his costume (the robe of King Lear perhaps). During this period of semi-dress, he had no role to play. He was no longer the man known as Sir Lawrence; he was not yet the character known as King Lear. Having no role to play, he had no way to deal with his fears and apprehensions. Once on stage, there was no problem. Techniques honed over years of training and decades of performing simply took over. After all, he was a consummate actor. The situation was reversed when he stepped off stage and entered the dressing room where he removed the robe of King Lear. Once again he was nervous and he found he was drenched in sweat. He was no longer the actor, but not yet Sir Laurence. He would never receive visitors in his dressing room before or after a performance. Once he had showered and changed into his regular clothes, he was himself again. It was as if he had been living a nightmare.

The above is an excerpt from an article about Speech Anxiety by John Robert Colombo.

Speech Anxiety
Fear of Public Speaking
Stage Fright

George Torok
Executive Speech Coach
Motivational Speaker

Speech Anxiety: Freud, Jung & Alder

We are born naked and helpless.

Sigmund Freud on anxiety.

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, placed great emphasis on the fact that we are born naked and helpless. From birth we experience panic and we express it in cries and in tears. As adults we may not express the panic directly by crying out loud or weeping in public, but we still feel this initial sense of dread when we have to "expose ourselves" before the eyes of others. Freud saw the level of anxiety to be a reversion to infantile behaviour.

We assume our enemies--our listeners--are aware of our secret weakness.

Carl Jung on human frailty and public speaking fears.

Carl Jung, the analytical psychologist, noted that human beings display the characteristics of archetypal figures, especially heroes of Ancient Greece. The warrior hero Achilles is one such figure. Achilles was invulnerable to his enemies except for one part of his anatomy: his "Achilles heel." Except for this tendon, he was invulnerable and impervious to the attacks of his enemies. Achilles resembles the 20th-century comic-book character Superman, the caped superhero who is all-powerful except in the presence of Kryptonite, rocks from his home planet Krypton. Each of us has an Achilles heel or fears Kryptonite. It is our zone of vulnerability. According to Jung, we assume our enemies--our listeners--are aware of our secret weakness. They know we are vulnerable and hence we feel fear.

We are powerless before powerful people.

Alfred Adler on why we fear public speaking.

Alfred Adler, the Austrian psychiatrist, made many contributions to individualistic and humanistic psychology. After examining the nature of neurosis, he popularized the concept of the "inferiority complex." It was Adler's view that, when we "present" ourselves before others, we stand "." We project our talents and abilities, our information and knowledge, onto other people. We empower them, but at the same time we disempower ourselves. We elevate them as we lower our sense of self. This projection leaves us feeling uneasy, uncanny, and vulnerable.

This is an exerpt from an article on Speech Anxiety by John Robert Colombo.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives

Shyness: Zimbardo

The Shyness factor Zimbardo:

The Root of Speech Anxiety is Shyness.
Philip G. Zimbardo, the well-known cognitive psychologist, has devoted decades to the study of the "shyness factor" as it affects people of different ages, backgrounds, businesses, and cultures. He found that shyness figures in everyone's life. Most people admitted to him that when under pressure they experience symptoms of anxiety: the jitters, sweaty palms, knocking knees, facial flushes, watery eyes, leathery tongue, dry mouth, wild heartbeats, shortness of breath, memory lapses, mental confusions, high anxiety limit the list to one dozen symptoms of chronic shyness.

Zimbardo found that there are differences in the ways that shyness is handled by peoples of different countries and cultures. Such differences may account for variations in reporting levels of shyness and presumably in experiencing high or low levels. For instance, people he interviewed in Japan admitted to experiencing a greater degree of shyness when meeting with strangers than did people he interviewed in Israel. But across the board he found that everyone owned up to some degree of shyness, some people to an alarmingly high degree, even when being interviewed by Dr. Zimbardo! Shyness is thus a characteristic of human nature brought about by our physiology, neurology, psychology, and social conditioning.

No one should feel that nature has singled him or her out for a special affliction. No one should feel freakish because he or she panics when faced with the need to present in public. It is human to feel some anxiety. Some people experience more of it, some less. Successful speakers are men and women who have found ways to find relief from these sensations and emotions. They have found ways to make them "work" for them.

Execerpt from article by John Robert Colombo

George Torok
Executive Speech Coach

Speech Anxiety

Speech Anxiety: Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking
By John Robert Colombo

This article addresses these questions about speech anxiety and the fear of public speaking.
1.Why do we fear public speaking?
2. Is speech anxiety normal?
3. What can we do to face our public speaking fear and speech anxiety?

Fear of Public Speaking or Speech anxiety is a general term for the sense of fear or panic that overtakes a person when he or she is called upon to speak or otherwise perform in public. There are other ways to refer to it: anxiousness, nervousness, "the jitters," stage fright, fear of public speaking, performance anxiety, etc. It usually strikes when someone has to deliver a presentation before a group of people. It makes little difference whether the audience is large or small, composed of familiar or unfamiliar faces. Psychologists consider speech anxiety to be a special case of what is commonly known as shyness.

What do psychologists: Philip G. Zimbardo, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Alfred Adler say about speech anxiety - the fear of public speaking?

George Torok
Executive Speech Coach

Presentation Jokes - Should you tell a joke?

tell jokes in your presentation
Presentation Jokes

No jokes please.

If you are performing stand up comedy – tell jokes. That’s what the audience wants. They want to be entertained. They don’t want a message. When you are delivering a business presentation don’t tell jokes. Your audience did not come to hear jokes. They came to hear your message.

Remember that the purpose of your presentation is to get a particular message across in a convincing way that moves your audience to act in the way that you desire. In a business presentation you might want your audience to buy, to approve, to work, to donate or to volunteer. That is your purpose and everything in your presentation should focus to achieve that purpose.

In a business presentation your purpose is not to tell jokes. In fact you should avoid telling jokes. There are three reasons:

1. Most business presentations cannot tell a joke well in front of an audience. It might look easy but those standup comics know the art and science of telling jokes and they practice a lot.

2. Too many presenters tell a joke that has nothing to do with their message. The disconnect leaves the audience confused, Instead of listening to what you say after the joke they are thinking, “What was that about?”

3. Most jokes make fun about other people – some other race, sex, culture, religion etc… That might offend some of your listeners. Don’t use humor that pushes people away from you.

You can and probably should help them laugh. So how can you help people laugh without telling jokes during your presentation?

Tell funny stories or anecdotes about yourself. Tell them about some thing you goofed up, a personal frustration or a minor flaw. Reveal your imperfection.

When you do that the audience warms up to you because they see you as human – imperfect like themselves. And the bonus is they might laugh or at least lighten up. And that is all you want. There is no need to have them rolling on the floor convulsed with laughter.

Two important rules to keep in mind when telling a story:
1. Keep is as short as possible. Be sure to rehearse it well.
2. The story must support your message.

There you have it – no more excuses for telling jokes in a business presentation. Start practicing your funny stories. Watch for more tips on telling stories later.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives

Presentation Content

Presentation Content

The content of your presentation is important. Yet, it is not only what you say that makes the difference, it is how you present it that determines if and how your message will come across. Understanding is the test of effective communication. If your concept is not grasped, you did not do a good job.


It is unfortunate that the way we communicate often distorts what we are trying to say. Your topic is not everything. It is what you do with it that really counts! There are some exceptions of course. Some presentations do succeed in spite of the poorest techniques. You can announce a 20% raise or two extra weeks vacation for your staff and they will not care how you do it! You can do a terrible job and they will still love you. The power of certain messages is sometimes enough in itself. However, most of the time, the way you say it determines whether you will be understood and have your ideas accepted.


You have to believe whole-heartedly in your message. If you do not, it will show. Let us assume that head office asks you to explain to your people that every department in the company must remain open 30 minutes more per day, but you do not agree. You have a choice: Do not present, change your mind, or resign. Remember: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way”. Do not talk to your staff until you are in harmony with the topic.

The above is an excerpt from the book, Secrets of Power Presentations.

George Torok

Questions for your Speech Coach

Questions for Your Speech Coach

If you know that you need a speech coach, then here are some questions you might ask your prospective speech coach.

Tell me about your most unusual or most challenging presentations that you have delivered.

Tell me about some of the books that you have read recently on presentation skills.

Tell me about some of your speech coaching triumphs.

Tell me about your experience working with executives and executive issues.

Show me what your clients say.

Your best speech coach is one who speaks as well as coaches.
Your best speech coach is one who has experienced some of your speaking challenges.
Your best speech coach is one is constantly learning as well as teaching.

George Torok is the Speech Coach for Executives

To arrange for Executive speech Coaching – call 905-335-1997

Speech Coach for Executives

Motivational Speaker

Motivational Speaker

Do you want to be a motivational speaker? With a clear understanding of the fundamentals of motivation and some simple presentation techniques anyone can be a motivational speaker.

A motivational speaker is one who encourages people to do what they already know they need to do. A motivational speaker cannot make people act against their own self interest. That is not motivation – that would be coercion.

How do you motivate yourself?
How do you motivate your staff?
How to you motivate others?

So if these are questions that you want answered then visit this new blog - Motivational Speaker.

Don’t be afraid to be a motivational speaker. You don’t need to walk on coals and you don’t need to be perfect.

Go ahead learn more about motivational speaking.

George Torok
Motivational Speaker

The World of Communication

The World of Communication

If two otherwise equally qualified individuals compete for the same senior position in an organization, most of the time the one with better communications skills gets the job. Information and the ability to convey it is power.

But it is not just speech. Communication takes place in many forms - audio, visual, sensual - through sounds, images, and physical impulses. It consists of talking, listening, looking, touching, tasting, feeling, smelling, acting and much more.

It can involve sending messages through photographs, posters, books, newspapers, magazines, television, radio, recorded sound, video tape, computers, fax machines, and other forms of electronic telecommunication.

Everything you do and everything around you communicates messages. There are unlimited ways for you to organize ideas and communicate them to others.

Today we are experiencing an information and communications explosion. Years ago it seemed possible to give full attention to just about all the important ideas we heard in any given day. There were only a few television stations to choose from and only a handful of monthly news publications, popular magazines and newly published books in any given week.

Today, our choices are unlimited. There are more books and magazines to read, movies and television programs to watch, and speeches and lectures to listen to than we can possibly digest in a single lifetime.

Look in any bookstore, library, video outlet, or at the number of different courses available in any university. We are so swamped with “communications opportunities” that we cannot absorb all of the messages being conveyed.

There is so much communication noise going on in our world that it is very difficult to decide what we should pay attention to. We must make such choices quickly to keep up with the flow of data to which we are exposed. To cope, we tend to filter out most attempts to communicate with us and give our attention first to those ideas which “grab” us most, like the ones that are creatively conveyed to hold our interest.

Because of today’s information explosion, we must learn to compete with all of the other messages out there. It is critical that we communicate as quickly and effectively as we can. The challenge in today’s world is to capture other people’s attention – to get them to turn their concentration away from others and focus on us and our ideas.

The above is an excerpt from the soon to be revised and republished - "Secrets of Power Presentations".

Presentation Preparation Time

Presentation Preparation Time

How long does it take to prepare your presentation?
A survey conducted by Zoomerang and reported by Wallace Immen in the Globe and Mail stated that 36% of executives complained that presenting data in meetings is tedious. Twenty-four per cent said they dread it. That means that 60% of executives would rather not deliver presentations.

The time to prepare was the biggest complaint with 45 per cent needing an hour or more to prepare. And 34 per cent have endured all-nighters to prepare for an important presentation. (Wow – I haven’t done that since university.)

How long should it take to prepare a presentation?

It depends on how new the information is to you, on who you are presenting to and the importance of the presentation.

The rule of thumb is three hours of preparation for every hour of presentation.

But that is only a rule of thumb. If you are an effective presenter, know your topic and know the audience you can succeed with very little preparation.

However consider the example of my client who worked three days on a 12-minute presentation. As a result of that presentation he won a $10M contract. He already knew his topic and the audience. But he was willing to invest his time to fine tune his delivery. Three days of preparation to close a $10M deal sounds like an excellent return on investment.

I think it was worth the three days of preparation.

If executives better appreciate the value of their message and the delivery of that message then they might invest the time, money and effort to become better business presenters.

If you are a good executive presenter you could be ahead of 60% of the pack.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives

Your Speech: Intelectual Property

Your Speech: Intellectual Property

Your words – both written and spoken are your intellectual property. Of course the same applies to other writers and speakers.

Be careful what you steal – or are tempted to steal. Copyright law protects a work when it is created. A speech is created when it is delivered. An article is protected when it is written.

After I delivered a speech to an accounting association, an audience member approached me to compliment me on my speech. She then commented that she enjoyed my funny stories so much that she had written them down for her husband to use – because he was a speaker.

In shock I pointed out to her that these were my stories - my intellectual property and not for others to use. She shuffled this off with – “Oh don’t worry – the two of you will never be presenting at the same event.”

She missed the point. You would think that an accountant would know better. Breaking the law is not about getting arrested – it is about breaking the law. Did someone mention Enron?

If you plan to quote other sources extensively – ask for and obtain permission. If you quote short pieces – be sure to give credit. Don’t be a thief – even a clever one.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives

Presentation Skills: New Year

Presentation Skills: New Year

What skills will help you the most this year?

The usual suspects might be time management, delegation, stress management, problem solving, communication, and presentation skills.

If “presentation skills” is on your short list then this blog is one place for you to stay tuned.

On this Executive Speech Coach blog you will read tips, insights and examples of presentation skills. You will learn about presentation traps to avoid. And you will hear about dumb mistakes from presentations that I witness. (Just don’t ask me to testify against them.)

You will also see links to articles and tips-lists about presentation skills.

You will hear about upcoming teleseminars, programs and books about presentation skills.

Watch for the new Business Presentation mentoring service to be launched soon.

Have a happy New Year – and be a better presenter!

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives

Practical Speaking Tips: #1

Drink Water

Before you give a speech, deliver a sales presentation or make phone calls - drink one to two glasses of water. It lubricates your vocal chords, helps your voice and gives you needed fluids that you lose while speaking. Lukewarm water is best; cool water also works well. However, ice water is not good for your vocal chords. Avoid dairy more

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives