Pace, Pause and Passion

Pace, Pause and Passion

Improve your presentation delivery by varying your delivery. Practise your presentation delivery with this phrase.

'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;

Voice drills are most effective when you preform them several times and exaggerate individual aspects. That way you hear and feel the differences.

First - say that phrase as fast as you can - even running the words into each other. Don't emphasise any words. Just concentrate on speed. Do it three times and try to be faster each time.

Second - say that phrase as slow as you can. Draw each word out as long as you can. Do it three times and each time slower.

Third - say that phrase with an exaggerated pause between every word. State each word clearly and draw out the pauses between each word as if you were reading a death sentence for your loved one. Do it three times - each time with the pause longer.

Fourth - say that phrase injecting passion into every second word. Contrast is important. Play with it and do it three times.

After this warm up - say it as if you wanted to enthrall your young children or grand children.

Hear and feel how powerful you sound.

Merry Christmas

George Torok

Presentations Skills

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.


Sales Presentation Tips

Make Your Case
By Kelley Robertson

At an industry conference this past week, I saw and heard several different sales presentations as sponsors of the conference presented their products and services. Unfortunately, most of them missed the mark. Yet, delivering an effective sales presentation is critical if you want to succeed. Here are few key points to consider.

Start with impact. Don't waste valuable time talking about your company or its products, services or solutions. Instead, demonstrate that you understand your prospect's pain, problem, concern or issue. This will capture their attention.

Show, don't tell. Whenever possible, use props in your presentation. Instead of telling your prospect the results you can help them achieve, show them a testimonial letter or video that outlines a key outcome.

Focus on your prospect. Most sales people fail to make the presentation about the other person and use a lot of "I" or "me" or "we" language. But your customer doesn't care about you. They want you to talk about them.

Show the ROI. Also known as the WII-FM theory-What's In It For Me? Every sales presentation MUST focus on how your customer will benefit from using your product, service, solution or company.

Modify your approach, use these steps and you will notice an improvement in your results.

Have a productive and profitable week!
The above is from the 59 Second Sales Tip by sales expert Kelley Robertson.

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Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.


Power Presentations Tip 16: Open with Pizzazz

Power Presentations Tips 16

Open with Pizzazz

Your presentation is composed of three parts - the opening, the body and the close.

Your opening is important because it should do three things for you:

  1. Grab the attention of your audience.
  2. Establish rapport with your listeners.
  3. Introduce your topic.

Grab attention

Instead of blowing a whistle, clapping your hands or shouting, "Hey people!" try this. Stand at the front of the room, look at the group and say nothing. As you catch the eye of an individual, smile at them and nod your head to signify yes. Eventually the room will quite down, folks will stop shuffling papers and they will pay attention. It might take several seconds. But it is an effective way to start.

Establish rapport

Talk and look directly at individuals in your audience. Never read your opening from a script. That appears cold. Have you ever watched a speaker read his opening line that includes stating his name? Did you wonder why he had to read his name?

Stand still during your opening and minimize gestures so you look calm and in control.

Speak at a pace that is a little slower than normal so they hear every word clearly. Speaking slower deepens your voice which makes it sound more trustworthy. Also, speaking slower will allow you more opportunity to breathe to calm your nerves. Hence you will look and sound more confident.

Speak in a conversational tone. Do not start with, "How is everybody today?" and force the audience to respond with false enthusiasm.

Introduce your topic

An effective opening line is to make a startling statement, quote a dramatic statistic or pose a rhetorical question. Make the topic of your presentation clear from the beginning. Don't make small talk or ramble about something unrelated to your topic. Don't start with a joke. You could start with an analogy or short anecdote that relates to your topic.
Open your presentation with pizzazz

George Torok

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Bad Opening - Bad Accountant

Bad opening - bad presentation - bad accountant

The speaker mumbled something about being anxious about speaking before such an august group. Then his next three lines were:
  1. "Bear with me."
  2. "I hope that I don't bore you too much."
  3. "Anyways."
Never, never, never start your presentation like that!

What a turn off.

The speaker was the accountant delivering the financial report at the association AGM. No where is it written that "Accountants must be boring." Yet that is exactly what this accountant was. What an incredible credibility killer that can be. How can we the members trust the numbers if we can't trust the accountant or his confidence?

If the accountant doesn't seem to enjoy talking about the numbers - what does that say about the numbers?

If the accountant seems nervous when presenting the financial report - why should we believe the report?

Why don't more accountants understand that preparing the financial statements is only half of their job? The other half, more valuable half, is interpreting the numbers and presenting the numbers with confidence and credibility.

George Torok
Executive Speech Coaching
Presentation Skills Training for Accountants

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Power Presentations Tip 15: Move on Purpose

Power Presentations Tip 15

Move on purpose

Should you move when you present?

It depends on what you want to accomplish with your movement.

Our eyes are attracted to movement. Military snipers must learn this pinciple in order to survive on a mission. It is movement that reveals their position.

You can use this principle to your advantage when you present.

Move when you want to catch the attention of your audience. You could stride across the front of the room. You might wave your hands. After you have their attention and want your audience to listen, stand still while you speak.

Why? Because our brain tends to focus on one sensory input at a time. You've seen this principle in action if you have been driving your car in an unfamiliar neighborhood and turned the volume down on your car stereo so you could focus on reading the street signs.

As human beings our sense of highest brain priority is our vision - especially related to movement. It is our vision that enabled us to avoid the predators and find our food. Movement meant threat or food. When we see something moving we perk up and watch attentively while toning down our other senses.

If you pace while you speak your audience will watch more than listen. If you want to walk while you speak then only move when the words are not important and stand still for the important words. This technique will make your standing-still words so much more important.

If you must move when you present, move on purpose to enhance your words.

George Torok

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Fire Alarm During Your Presentation

Fire alarm rings during your presentation

What do you do when the fire alarm rings during your presentation?

I’ve witnessed this happen to two other speakers and this week it was my turn. It’s a lot easier to think logically after it is over. It might never happen to you – but perhaps you should be prepared for the fire alarm to ring during your presentation.

About eight minutes into my breakfast presentation to the local chamber of commerce at a fancy restaurant the fire alarm rang. The alarm was annoyingly loud so naturally I stopped speaking and forced a smile.

You can imagine my first thoughts. They were angry selfish thoughts. Why now? Why me? However I did not convey those thoughts on my face.

We were not immediately able to discern if the fire was real, however I did smell smoke. After the alarm stopped and started two more times over the next five minutes we left the room and several folks moved outside the restaurant. No one panicked. For some reason I was reminded of the scene on Seinfeld when George noticed what he thought was smoke at the children’s house party and ran out of the house yelling, “Fire, Fire”. In his panic he trampled the old lady. Of course I didn’t think that anyone would see the humor at the moment so I said nothing.

After about 10 minutes we learned that there was a kitchen fire that was extinguished. We regrouped in another room that was free of smoke and I resumed my presentation. Of course I had to shorten my presentation to finish on time. Yes I left some things out. Always be prepared to shorten your presentation.

There is no question that the talk of everyone that day was about the fire at the breakfast presentation they attended. Perhaps they also talked about the great speaker.

The fire might have been a strange blessing because it made the breakfast presentation much more memorable.

What should you do when the fire alarm rings during your presentation?

Stop speaking and look calmly at your audience.

Stop thinking about your presentation and think about their safety and comfort.

Make eye contact with the meeting MC or chair and ask him/her to check it out.

When the alarm stops announce that we are checking it out and will let you know immediately if there is any danger or need to leave the room.

Do not ignore the alarm. It might be a real threat.

The audience is looking at you as the speaker to take charge and some of them will be concerned or even afraid.

Point out the exits to people and remind them to move calmly if they need to leave.

State the oblivious – “We don’t yet know the nature of the problem and anyone who wishes to leave is welcome to move calmly to the exits”. Give permission to people who want to leave.

Assign two or three other people to check out the hall ways and exits.

If you don’t have solid answers after about five minutes than instruct everyone to leave the building. If you see flames or heavy smoke – that is a solid answer. Then move people quickly.

I hope that this never happens to you but in case it does – be ready to act appropriately. Lives could be at stake.

George Torok
Professional Speaker
Business Speaker
Motivational Business Speaker

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Power Presentation Tips 14: Blackouts and Brownouts

Power Presentation Tips 14:

Shining through blackouts and brownouts

One thing you needn't worry about is experiencing a blackout during your presentation. I mean you - not the room lights. A speaker blackout happens when the speaker gets so nervous that he loses consciousness, and falls down. You don't have to worry about this happening to you because if it happens you are finished your presentation. You're done. Someone else has to decide what to do with you and the audience.

I've never seen that happen. So don't worry about a blackout.

However you should be prepared for brownouts. A brownout happens when the speaker forgets what comes next. If you haven't yet experienced a brownout then you are lucky so far. But don't count on luck; instead be prepared to handle a brownout because it will happen. It happens to every speaker and more often than you know because the speaker handled the brownouts so well.

What can you do to handle brownouts?

Pause and smile.
Often this technique alone will relax you enough to remember where you were and what comes next. The bonus is that your smile tells the audience that everything is ok.

Check your notes.
This is why point-form notes on index cards are so handy.

Repeat or rephrase the last thing you said.
This is like rerunning the recording in your brain and helps you refocus your thoughts. The audience believes that you do this for impact. If that doesn't work you could quickly summarize the points you have covered so far.

Ask a rhetorical question.
"What comes next?' You are really asking yourself this question but the audience perceives it as engagement. The bonus of this question is that someone who was paying close attention might shout out the answer for you. You nod and smile and carry on. They might shout out the wrong answer. In either case it buys you time to think and decide what to say next.

These techniques help you to relax, buy time and refocus when you experience a brownout. Most importantly - don't let the audience know of your inner turmoil. You don't need to deliver your presentation exactly as you prepared. You just want to get your message across.

George Torok

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Make a better impression in the boardroom

Ten ways to make a better impression in the boardroom

Under the gun and don't know what to say? Here's how to communicate like a pro under pressure.

You're in a hard-nosed business meeting that has taken a turn for the worse? Your ideas aren't being understood. Your questions are being met with ego-crushing blank stares. Your window of opportunity is closing fast.

How do you turn things around?

We presented Peter Urs Bender, author of four Canadian best sellers, with ten tough scenarios and asked him to explain how to get the upper hand during each awkward business situation. What follows are his answers to each scenario.

Scenario 1. You're a small business owner in a serious negotiation with representatives from an international company. You need to separate a gap between the parties-what can you do?

Peter's advice:
1. Don't be intimidated. You may be playing hardball with the big guys, but there's no need to tremble. Put your best face forward and remember, the big guys make mistakes, too.

2. Be yourself. Don't puff yourself up into someone you're not. Genuine modesty is recognized and respected.

3. Be prepared before you meet for the most difficult questions they can ask you (Will you be in business tomorrow? Have you ever dealt with a client like us? Do you think you can satisfy our increasing business demands?)

4. Underpromise and overdeliver. For instance, if they ask for more information say you'll supply it within a couple of days. Then deliver tomorrow. Speed of response commands universal respect.

Scenario 2: You are a shy person who finds communication embarrassing. What can you do, and what icebreakers can you use to help them forge meaningful relationships with others?

Peter's advice:
Smile, even if you don't feel like it. Look the person in the eye, even if you feel uncomfortable. Ask a question to which he or she cannot answer "yes" or "no". "How do you feel about XYZ?" is a great opener, or "From your point of view, what do you think about XYZ?"

Scenario 3: You're in a meeting where you need to communicate with an individual who doesn't understand English or who has a very heavy accent and cannot be readily understood. How do you avoid embarrassing the individual? Is it rude to say that you're having difficulty understanding the person and asking them to repeat themselves?

Peter's advice:
Yes, I highly recommend you repeat the question in a warm, questioning manner. Get the person to repeat as often as you need to. One way to get another person to speak more slowly, is to speak deliberately more slowly yourself.

Scenario 4: You've been tossed into an unexpected meeting and haven't time to do background research about the topic you will be discussing or the individuals who you will be meeting with. What can do to avoid being labeled as a "fledgling business owner who is both disorganized and unprepared"?

Peter's advice:
Always be dressed as if you were about to meet the Pope. Always be sure you have a 30-second infommercial on your business to present to anybody, anywhere, at any time.

If you don't know the answer to a question, admit it and get back to your questioner as quickly as possible with the answer.

Unexpected meetings can often present positive opportunities. You get to present your business or your point of view in a non-confrontational setting.

Scenario 5: You're in a stressful situation and want to instill a sense of comfort and relaxation in other people. What verbal and non-verbal communication methods can you use to do this?

Peter's advice:
To make people relaxed, "Act Relaxed." Put on a smile, speak slowly, and with your warmest voice. For more information on "Voicepower," go to However, there are exceptions. If you have to announce a layoff or the death of a spouse, please be aware that a smile doesn't help much. As a matter of fact, it can work against you.

The best way to deal with a difficult situation with employees or your own people is to be as open and honest as you can.

Scenario 6: You're in a business meeting when a potential business partner puts their foot in their mouth and utters something that offends you. What can you say to get around the awkward situation and still sound professional?

Peter's advice:
Put on a gentle smile and say "I feel completely differently about that!" Don't argue with a colleague in public, but when you're out of the meeting, clarify the situation.

Scenario 6: What if you say something that you regret, but cannot make a public apology, and you find your ideas under attack. What can you say to smooth over a situation?

Peter's advice:
As a leader, you can always make a public apology, even if it risks hurting others. If you have said something you regret, apologize for it as quickly and as publicly as possible. Clearly indicate what you meant to say, as opposed to what people thought you said. Often your ideas come under attack because others misinterpret them. Clear up the misinterpretations right away.

Scenario 8: You're in a business meeting and want to be noticed without communicating an over-aggressive and unpopular persona. What can you do?

Peter's advice:
If nobody talks slow in your group, talk slow. If nobody stands up, stand up. In other words, stand out from the group without using aggressive tactics.

Scenario 9: You're in a meeting and someone is intentionally trying to "trip you up". What can you do to control your nervousness so that you are unable to communicate effectively?

Peter's advice:
In Secrets of Face-to-Face Communication, page 82, I talk in detail about how to control one's emotion. In a nutshell, create an anchor, something that will cause you to breathe deeply and relax the tension in your jaw, neck, and shoulder area. A good anchor is squeezing the thumb and forefinger of your right hand together, and imagining a Stop Sign. This image reminds you to breathe deeply and relax these muscles. There is more along this line in the book.

Scenario 10: You want to communicate interest in a business venture, but don't want to sound too eager or naive. What can you do?

Peter's advice:
Both eagerness and naivete are no sins, and are often seen as positives. Both do indicate beginners in business, and experienced business professionals make allowances. The trick is not to appear simple-minded. Listen closely. If you're not sure of yourself, offer comments only where it seems appropriate. Ask questions not only to get information, but to demonstrate your interest.


Peter Urs Bender was one of Canada’s most dynamic and entertaining business speakers. He died in March 2003 after a brave fight with cancer. He is the author of four best-selling business books: Leadership from Within, Secrets of Power Presentations, Secrets of Power Marketing Secrets of Face-to-Face Communication, and Gutfeeling. To read excerpts from his books visit

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.


Power Presentation Tip 13: When should you finish

Power Presentations Tip 13

"What time should I finish?"

Know the answer to this question before you begin your presentation. And be prepared to cut it short because things change.

Before you present to a group always know how long you have been allotted to speak. In many cases the agenda will state a start and stop time for your presentation. When it doesn't or when the meeting gets off schedule then you should ask the meeting chair (quietly if possible) just before you start, "What time should I finish?"

Don't assume that you still have the 30 minutes that you were told two weeks ago. Don't assume that the agenda hasn't changed. Don't assume that the temperament of the group is what you prepared for.

My Mistake
Don't make the mistake that I did recently. I was to deliver a new presentation to a small informal group of associates. We deviated from the agenda. There was a delay with the projector (which I usually don't use). I was anxious about testing my new presentation on this group. And anxious about the equipment delay I launched into my presentation. About ¾ of the way I realized I didn't know what time I should finish. And I had more material than I had time.

It's always better to ask and risk embarrassment then be silent and wonder forever. So I turned to the chair and asked, "When should I finish?" He gracefully allowed me five more minutes.
I should have asked him that question just after the equipment was set to go. But I was anxious.

It was an easy mistake to make and this time it was not a critical presentation.
You might not have that luxury when you present. Learn from my mistake.

Four more tips

If you have called the meeting and told people that you want 30 minutes of their time - finish in 29 minutes. They will be impressed.

To stay on time - place a small travel clock where you can clearly see the time.

Never annoy the chair by asking your audience if they want more.

Write the stop time on an index card and place it next to your clock.

George Torok

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Effective Executive Speaking

Effective Executive Speaking

I completed the delivery of another three-day training program at the Canadian Management Centre in Toronto. The program is called, "Effective Executive Speaking". As you might guess this program is for executives, senior management or executives-in-training. The caliber of students is high. Their expectations are high.

I have been delivering this program for the Canadian Management Centre for close to 12 years. My colleague in the delivery of this program is the Canadian literary icon, John Robert Colombo. Among many other honours he is a recipient of the Order of Canada.

John Robert Colombo and I work well together in spite of our incredibly different backgrounds and perspective. Our presentation styles are vastly different, yet we follow the same principles. We are both students of Peter Urs Bender, the author of "Secrets of Power Presentations." We respect each other's strengths and contributions to this executive speaking program. We also have become friends.

As you can imagine this collaboration provides a powerful learning environment for the executive students of this program. We witness gratifying results.

George Torok
John Robert Colombo
Effective Executive Speaking
Canadian Management Centre

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Speaking to High School Students

Speaking to High School Students - a tough audience

I spoke to high school students at the Furture ACES conference in Talisman. This is a personal development program for high and middle school students from Toronto.

Here is the summaryof the Future ACES program from their website:

"Future Aces™ is a proactive character-building initiative that can become the foundation within which to support other social skills programs. The principles of the Future Aces™ philosophy are the guidelines used in all of the Foundation’s initiatives and programs. This philosophy challenges individuals to make more responsible lifestyle choices that benefit themselves and society."

I delivered two sessions on public speaking. I do this once a year and have been speaking to them for at least six years.

I donate my time and energy to Future ACES for a few reasons. Number one is that speaking to high school students keeps me humble and challenges me to be a better presenter. They are a tough audience even though they don't intend to be. Some of them have a way of sitting upon chairs that I find strange.

I'm used to speaking to business owners, managers and professionals who are demanding but follow the rules of decorum that I prefer. I had to learn to present differently to this audience of young teens. To keep their attention the presentation had to be much more interactive. I learned to remove humor and examples that they would not understand. And I throw more questions at them to keep them engaged.

If you think that you are a good speaker - try speaking to high school students. That will bring you down a notch or few.

Of course there are other reasons why I do this.

There is a special sense of giving to young minds who appreciate the value in what you offer them. Of course not all young minds appreciate your value. I think that we all have a responsibility to help shape young minds. The Future ACES program is impressive in it's goals, organization and accomplishments. I enjoy being associated with such a positive program. I am encouraged by the opportunities that youth have today.

So I contribute my small piece.

It is ironic that so many of my current interests were shapped by my high school days. More importantly, several of my current successes are linked to my high school failures.

On top of the two one hour presentations was a five hour drive. The day was mentally and physcially draining. I'm glad it's over and I look forward to next year.

George Torok
Public Speaking Pro
Presentation Skills Success
Toronto Speech Coach

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Speaker Net News

Speaker Net News

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If that description fits you then be sure to register for this free newsletter written by professional speakers for professional speakers.

Each issue features items sent in by the newsletter readers:

  • Tips on subjects like sales and marketing, travel, technology, great resources, saving money, PR, conducting better presentations, and other topics key to the speaking business
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George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives
Motivational Business Speaker

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Power Presentations Tip 12: No, it's not okay

Power Presentations Tips 12

No - it's not okay

The speaker was delivering a product demonstration. He made a statement then added, "Okay?"

And he did it after every few sentences. In fact, he seemed to get lazy and shortened it to, "Kay?"

If you were there you might have shouted, "No, it's not okay!" I certainly was temped to express my annoyance out loud. Instead, I left the room.

Beware of repeating words that add no value to your presentation. "Um" and "ah" are the most common. These are filler words - words that speakers use while they are thinking about their next real words.

You can indentify filler words in a presentation by these two criteria. They add no value to the sentence and they are repeated throughout the presentation in a similar pattern.
The filler words damage your presentation in three ways. They create static around your real words. Some listeners adapt by tuning out the filler words which makes it more difficult for them to hear your real words. Keen listeners will hear every filler word, get annoyed and leave the room like I did. Some of these folks leave their body there but their mind is elsewhere.

Using "Okay?" at the end of your statements is particularly annoying because it sounds like a school teacher admonishing misbehaving students.

If the speaker in this example wanted to confirm understanding of important points then he would have been better to use any one of:
Is that clear?
Are you with me?
Does that make sense?

When you use those questions, look at the audience, pause for several sections, nod yes, and then move on.

That would be okay.

George Torok

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Presentation Skills Question for the Expert

Presentation Skills Question for the Expert:

How do I recover from a memory lapse?

Presentation Skills Expert:
There are a few techniques you can use to recover from a memory lapse.

The first thing to do is to smile and pause. When your audience sees you smiling they assume that you are in control. The pause gives you time to recover.

Pause to regain your thoughts and the attention of the audience.
Repeat the last thing you said. That can jog your memory and the audience thinks that you repeated for effect.

Ask a rhetorical question, "Where do we go from here?" That question might trigger your brain to get on track. Or it might even trigger your audience to throw out some helpful suggestions for you.

George Torok

Presentation Skills Coach

Presentation Skills Articles

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Opening your speech

Opening your speech

Imagine yourself at mission control; 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - Speak!

When the space shuttle blasts off - those first few seconds of lift are critical. It comprises a small portion of the total journey, yet if someone errors - they crash and burn. The beginning of your speech is much the same. If you error in the opening your speech will crash and burn.

The mission of your opening is to 1. Grab their interest; 2. Establish rapport; 3. Introduce your topic. Here are 10 techniques you can use to launch your successful speech.

10. Startling statement. Use a strong attention grabbing statement - with facts, statistics or unusual information. "The greatest fear is to speak in public. The second greatest fear is to die."

9. Suspense/ Surprise. Start with a suspense-building sentence or take them in one direction - then hit them with surprise. "It was a dark and stormy night - it was my wedding night."

8. Story/Anecdote. Tell a short story. Begin your story with the word imagine. It is an engaging word. "Imagine that we could travel back in time to witness the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk."

7. Quotation. When you use a quotation you tap into the credibility and power of the person who stated those words. "I have a dream, cried out Martin Luther King Jr." Quote from people well known and well liked by your audience.

6. Challenging Question. Questions are always powerful and engaging. This could be a rhetorical question. "Are you ready for the recession? When the going gets tough will you be prepared?"

5. Compliment the audience. Be sincere - don't say, "You are the most beautiful audience I have ever seen." Instead say something that impressed you about the group, 'I am very impressed with the hospitality shown to me by you today. This lives up to the reputation I have heard about your community work.'

4. Occasion. Comment on the occasion - especially if it is an anniversary or awards night. "To speak to you on your 10th annual awards dinner is an honour." Or uncover some information about the group that outsiders would not normally know. "Happy Birthday to your founding president." This takes a little research - and is worth it.

3. Prop or visual. Catch their attention and set the mood with a funny hat, uniform, or stuffed bear. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), would blow a cloud of smoke on stage before he made his entrance. It always got a laugh. You might roll a ball across the stage or play with a yo-yo. What you do before you speak can be powerful.

2. Previous speaker. Pick up on something a previous speaker said or did - especially if that was the president or chairman of the board. Build on what they said. It shows that you listened and gives you more credibility if you agree with the boss. Before you speak ask a participant, "What was the funniest thing that happened so far?" Try to build on this to get a laugh. Comedians call this technique a call back.

1. Engage the audience. Ask a question that requires the audience to answer, or one that is sure to make them laugh. "How many of the women in the audience have had an affair with Bill Clinton? - - How many of the men?"

Bonus tips:

Don't start with "My topic is..." or "Today I am going to talk about..." Both of these are boring.

Never start with an apology. "I'm sorry we are running late." "I'm sorry the president couldn't be here." "I'm sorry about the meal."

Once you take your position on stage, enjoy a long pause before you speak. Silently count "1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi".

Smile as you first look around the audience. Look like you are happy to be there even if you don't feel that way.

Get them to laugh early. You'll feel better and they will decide to like you sooner.

We return to Mission Control.10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - Close - and that's another story.

© ESCB George Torok is host of the weekly radio show, Business in Motion; coauthor of the national bestseller, Secrets of Power Marketing and an international keynote speaker. He delivers programs that develop thinking and communication skills. You can reach him at 800-304-1861. To register for your free presentation tips


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Tim Gard Professional Speaker

Tim Gard - professional speaker

If you want to be a better speaker, watch and learn from other speakers - political, business and profesional.

Notice the techniques that work or don't work and ask yourself, "Why?".

Notice their style and decide if it conveys who they really are - or is it forced and plastic.

Tim Gard is a professional speaker. He talks about simple every day issues and he has a unique style that is Tim Gard. I've seen hims speak a few times and enjoy his presentations.

Watch this short video and notice how he brings the audience into his stories and especially how he waits for the auidence to get it. A big part of comedy is waiting for the audience to get it. Count the seconds that he waits and you will get the idea of how long you might wait.

Tim Gard is speaking at the national convention of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

I will be there and I look forward to seeing Tim Gard present again.

George Torok
Canadian Business Speaker
Speech Coach for Executives
Presentation Skills Training

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

Power Presentation Tips 11: Stand Proud

Power Presentations Tips 11: Look like a Gold Medal Champion

Stand Proud - Look like a winner.

Accepting the Olympic Gold medal for your country is no time to look timid. While you are watching the Olympic Games notice how the medal winners - especially the gold medal winners - stand when they receive their recognition.

Observe the body language - feet firmly planted, body erect, shoulders back, head up, smiling, eyes aglow and one or both arms thrust triumphantly high. Even if you missed the competition and watched the awards ceremony with the sound turned off - you still know who won.

Often your audience is watching you with the sound off - more often then you might think. They might be day dreaming or considering whether they should listen to you. It takes less effort to look than to listen so first they look at you before deciding to listen to you.

And even if they are listening they stop listening to you while they are digesting your words and listening to their own thoughts.

Your audience sees much more than they hear. And they will remember more of what they saw than what they heard. That's one of the reasons we tend to remember faces better than names.

What does this mean to you?
When rehearsing your presentation be sure to rehearse how you look. You will convey the wrong message if you slump like a cynical Woody Allen or slink like a treacherous Gollum. Rehearse in front of a mirror to get your body language right. Get yourself in the right mood by imagining yourself accepting the Gold medal for your presentation. When no one's watching stand in front of that mirror and thrust your arms high in jubilation.

We're watching you but maybe not listening. Delivering your presentation is no time to look timid.

George Torok

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Canadian Professional Speakers

Canadian Professional Speakers

Here is a new blog that is the unofficial blog for the national convention of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

The 2008 CAPS convention is Nov 30 - Dec 2 in Toronto, ON.

If you are a professional speaker in Canada - then you must attend this convention. It is the meeting place for movers and shakers in the Canadian professional speaking business.

This is for professional speakers who are paid for their expertise - not the celebrity speaker who is riding a name of fame.

Visit the new Canadian Professional Speakers blog.

Register for the 2008 CAPS national convention.

George Torok

Charter Member and past national board director
of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

Why speakers fail

Why speakers fail

In any discussion about the best executive speach coaches of the world one name that is sure to come up is Patricia Fripp. Why? Here are the top three reasons that I can think of:
1. She is the best that I have seen;
2. She has years of experience over most of the other speech coaches;
3. She is well known and respected by the members of The International Federation for Professional Speakers.

I had the opportunity to be coached by her years ago and continue to take every opportunity to observe her work and learn from her.

Below is a bang-on report by Fripp about why speakers fail.


Three Reasons Speakers Fail to Hit the Mark
by Patricia Fripp and Jeff Davidson

My prolific author and speaker friend Jeff Davidson and I had a conversation about some of the ways speakers fail. Hope you enjoy some ofthe ideas Jeff wrote on the subject. There are many ways to successfullydeliver a presentation and many more to fail at it. Here are three common mistakes that speakers make, professional speakers included; all three have to do with a lack of adequate preparation.

1) Not Understanding the Assignment
Before ever leaving your own office, it is critical to understand why you have been scheduled to speak to this group at this time. Such understanding necessitates that you read about the organization, get information about the audience's current challenges and hot buttons, and learn what the meeting planner has in mind for the presentation. Five-minute conversations over the phone with a meeting planner do not tend to supply you with all you need to know in that area.

If you're a celebrity speaker, you are brought in so that people in the audience can go home and say "I saw so and so." It barely matters what you speak about as long as you are semi-coherent and don't offend the group.

From the rest of us, however, the people in the seats desire to hear ideas and concepts that directly relate to the professional andpersonal challenges they face. Or, they want to hear about issues ofuniversal importance, i.e. affecting their communities, state, nation,or the planet. The only way to come armed with the proper information about the scenario and setting is to spend at least an hour researching the group and the situation.

2) Failing to Know Your Audience
Beyond understanding the setting and why you are invited to speak, knowing the audience is itself an art and a science.
* Who are they?
* What is their age range?
* What is their educational background?
* How long have they been with the organization?
* What is this particular meeting designed to do?

Probe even further. How far have they come? Do they know each other or are they assembling for the first time? What will they hear before and after the presentation? What did they hear last year or at a similar meeting? How would they like to feel and what would they like to "get"as a result of your presentation--when they leave the room, how will they be changed?

As you can quickly surmise, the answers to these questions are not ones that you can intuit. You have to ask the meeting professional who hired you, the movers and shakers who will be in attendance, and other key operatives of the organization. This usually requires an email or fax request, sometimes reviewing the questions by phone since your contacts will be very busy.

Unless you find answers to these types of questions, and there isn't much more that you could know, don't accept the presentation. Without this information, your presentation may hit the mark if you are incredibly lucky, but chances are that you will simply dance around the periphery of what you need to do and say to be successful. If it's a one-time presentation, and you don't intend to do much more speaking, you'll probably be able to get away with this.

If you want to speak professionally, however, there is no effective substitute for "knowing the audience."

3) Not Arriving With Sufficient Clearance Time
Whether your presentation is across the world, across the country, or across town, increase your probability of success by arriving in plenty of time. This may require coming in the night before you're scheduled to present.

When you arrive early, you gain a considerable advantage which can often be the make-or-break factor in the success of your presentation. You get to settle in, calm down, check out the facilities, walk the room, talk to people, check out equipment, and arrange things. In doing so, you give yourself the edge over the speaker who arrives "just in time." These days, with affordable mobile technology, you can be productive all day long wherever you are, so arrive early!

Come to hear practical and brilliant advice to help you get to your next level of speaking development at the November Patricia Fripp Speaking School. Then in Seattle stay for Fripp and Fripp!- Fripp Seattle (Redmond) Speaking School November 6-7, 2008

Patricia and Robert Fripp Speaks:
Beginner to Mastery Redmond, LA and Phoenix, November 8-9-11

Patricia Fripp learning materials


Powerful advice. The best in any field constantly seek out the best in that field to learn from them. Fripp is the best that I know and that's why I learn from her.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives
Presentation Skills Training

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

Presentation Skills Book

Presentation Skills Book

eBook on presentation
by Khalid Aziz.

The only eBook on presentation will help you to become an expert in presentation skills.

Presentation skills books are widely available, but here at last is the presentation skills ebook which really hits the spot. Khalid Aziz’s Presentation Skills Book will help you develop your executive presentation skills beyond all recognition.

“I make good presentations and bad presentations. The trouble is, I don’t know why the good presentations are good or indeed why the bad presentations are bad”.

Presenting is an art, but also a skill which can be learned. This ebook takes the mystique out of presenting using ‘The Aziz Methodology’…. practical tips for honing your presentation skills.

When you’ve read this Presentation Skills ebook you will:
Be able to prepare a ten minute presentation in half an hour
Have all the tools to become a stunning presenter in 6 weeks
Be able to present with passion and impact

PowerPoint Presentation can be fun

PowerPoint Presentation can be fun

Here are two more PowerPoint Presentations from the contest.

Finally some folks are demonstrating creative ways to leverage the "visual" aspect of PowerPoint. I guarantee you that you won't sleep through these PowerPoint Presentations. I bet you can't say the same about all the PowerPoint Presentations you have experienced - or delivered.

Mr. Presentation
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: stick figure bullet points)

Presenting with text
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: presentation design)

See the other entries in the contest at

George Torok
Motivational Business Speaker
Presentation Skills Coach

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

Better PowerPoint Presentations - story telling

Better PointPoint Presentations - story telling

Enjoy this light and illustrative PowerPoint presentation about how to use and tell better stories within your business presentation.

This show demonstrates that a PowerPoint presentation can be and should be engaging, entertaining and effective.

This PowerPoint presentation was an entry in a contest conducted on

Storytelling 101
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: rockstar maverick)

PS: Read Presentation Power does not come from PowerPoint

George Torok, Speech coach for Executives
Presentation Skills Training

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Presentation Recovery after a Flop

Presentation Recovery after a flop

A business presenter should never try to be a comedian. Yes, it is a good idea to include humor, but don't relay on the humor to make your point.

We can learn a lot from stand up comedians whose job is to be funny and make people laugh. So when a joke flops - what do you do?

Watch how one of the best, Johnny Carson, recovers from a flop - hereeeees Johnny!

Always be ready to recover when things flop. More likely it will be a technical or logistical thing in your presentation. Keep a saver line ready to save your presentation.

George Torok
Presentation Skills Training
Presentation Skills Coaching

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Power Presentation Tip 10: Emphasize key points

Power Presentation Tip 10:

How to emphasize your key points

Your audience doesn't need to remember your presentation word for word. You probably only want them to remember your key points. But if they don't remember your key points then your presentation was a waste of time.

What must you do to ensure that your audience remembers your key points?

You need to ensure that they hear it, understand it and see the relevance. If you do all that, then they will most likely remember your key points.

Help them hear

No one is listening to every word you say - except you. When you are about to say something important use these techniques to grab their attention:
Say, "This is important."
Pause just before and after the key point. That's like putting quotation marks around it.
Say the important point slower. This is especially applicable when stating your name or giving your phone number.

Help them understand

Use language that all of your audience can easily understand. Avoid jargon and the ten-dollar words. Use charts, props or other visuals to illustrate your point.

Make it relevant

Connect your point to your audience. Show how it affects them or has affected others like them. This is why political elections are won or lost.

Two more things

Repeat your key points. Say it at least three times during your presentation. That helps them to remember it. When you are trying to memorize a name or line you will repeat it to yourself several times.

Tell a story or anecdote. A good story told well will grab attention, clarify understanding and relate to your audience. And they will remember your key point because they will first remember the story and then your point.

George Torok

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Power Presentation Tip 09: Why do you say that?

Power Presentation Tip 09: Why do you say that?

Has this ever happened to you? You said something that you thought was significant and your audience gazed at you glassy eyed.

You were hoping that they were thinking about what you said. Instead they were wondering, "Why did you say that?"

Sometimes your audience might be thinking that - but often they won't say that. Instead they sit there quietly and daydream, hoping that you will finish soon because they have already stopped listening.

What can you do to avoid this glassy eyed trauma? How can you keep your audience interested and actively listening?

Inject the following statements and questions into your presentation.

"The reason I tell you that is..."
This statement grabs them and lets you answer their silent question, 'Why do you say that?"

"Why is that important to you?"
This is one of the best rhetorical questions you can ask - and then answer. Use this question in every presentation you deliver at least once but no more than three times. It emphasizes that your statement is important to them.

"How can you use that?"
This is a good question right after you demonstrated a product, explained a technique or revealed an opportunity. You could treat this as a rhetorical question and answer it - or you could encourage your audience to provide their suggestions.

"You might be wondering, what does this mean to you?"
Everyone's favorite topic is themselves. Draw the connection between your message and your listeners.

The reason I tell you that is so you will become a more successful presenter.

George Torok
Presentation Skills Training
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Important Presentation Question

Important presentation question

What is the most important question that you should ask before you deliver your presentation?

When should I finish?

Don't accept, 'Take as long as you like." Insist that the program organizer tell when you should finish. Repeat it back to them to clarify. "I should finish by 1:30."

"Take as long as you like." is a formula for disaster.

Once you know when to finish - finish on time - even if it means cutting your presentation.

George Torok

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

Power Presentation Tip 08: No Jokes

Power Presentation Tips 08: No Jokes - no kidding

Beware of that ancient book that suggests you start your presentation with a joke. Don't do that. No jokes please. Jokes don't fit anywhere in a business presentation.


Three reasons:

1. You are not a comic.
Stand up comedy is very difficult to deliver well. It takes skill and a lot of practice. And still the great comics tell jokes that bomb. You don't have their skill or resilience. And when your joke bombs the audience is scratching their heads wondering, "What was that all about?"

2. Relevance.
In most cases the joke has nothing to do with your presentation. So even if it turns out funny your audience is still left scratching their heads and wondering, "What was that all about?"

3. You are not Don Rickles.
Most jokes make fun of somebody else. Don't make fun of your audience. They will not like you for it. Don't make fun of some other group. Some of your audience will feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about your prejudice. And they will not like or trust you.

You can still make them laugh
However, you should use humor. And the best person to make fun of is you. Tell a funny story about something silly that you did.

The audience will warm up to you for two reasons: One, because you made them laugh or smile. Two, because you revealed a flaw. This demonstrates that you are imperfect - like them. And we like those who are like us - especially those who share our flaws and pain.

It is more important for the story to make your point than it is to be funny. Watch for more on story telling and other humor techniques in future Power Presentations Tips.

No jokes. Instead reveal a flaw. The audience will like and trust you more when they see themselves in you.

George Torok
Business Speaker
Presentation Skills Training
Canadian Motivational Speaker

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Turn listeners on - not off

How to turn your listeners on - not off

Enjoy this excerpt from:
Lynda Goldman's Communication Capsules

"When are you going to understand that if it doesn't pertain to me, I'm not interested?" - Murphy Brown

People today are B&B: Busy and bored. To capture their attention, in writing or when giving a speech, you have to make them say a mental "Yes" in the first three minutes of your connection.

The mental "Yes"

Ask yourself, "What's keeping my audience up at night? What are they worried or frustrated about?"

For example, if you're a financial planner preparing a presentation on retirement, you could begin by asking your audience:

"Do you ever wonder: How much money will I need to retire comfortably? What will I do if my health fails? Who's going to take care of me when I grow old?"

If you said yes to any of these questions, you're in the right place because that's what we'll be talking about today."

When you start off with the questions that are on your audience's mind, people immediately bond with you because they're thinking, "That's exactly what I've been wondering about!" They'll pay attention because you've expressed their concerns. Now they are eager to hear your answers.

The next time you want to capture the attention of people who are busy and bored, make sure to include content in your first 3 minutes that makes them say a mental "yes". They'll be on the edge of their seats.

Do you need help writing your next speech or presentation? Call Lynda Goldman for Words That Sell.

To your continued success,

Susbscribe to Lynda Goldman's tips here.

George Torok
Executive Speech Coach
Presentation Skills Training
Canadian Motivational Speaker

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

Power Presentations Tip 07: Be present

Power Presentations Tips 07: Be present when you present

That might sound funny to you. However, you might have noticed that some speakers don't appear to be with you when they are speaking to you. Perhaps they appear fidgety as if they prefer to be elsewhere. Perhaps they read their presentation or recite the words in a mechanized fashion. Perhaps they never look at you.

How can you avoid those mistakes?

What can you do to really be there?

Greet and talk to some of the audience members before the formal program starts. This helps to build rapport and create some friendly faces for you.

Pause for five seconds before you begin speaking to look at the audience and acknowledge their presence with a nod and a warm smile.

Look directly at individuals in your audience while speaking.

Mention something positive about the group, event or venue.

Do not read your presentation. Talk from keyword notes.

Know your message well enough so you don't need to memorize it.

Listen to your own words while you speak. Don't speak like a robot.

Listen to and observe your audience. Adapt your delivery just as you would during a friendly conversation.

When a distraction in the room occurs - acknowledge it and move on.

Be present. Be in the moment and you will appear more powerful and more engaging.

George Torok
Presentation Coach
Presentation Skills Training

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Toronto Presentation Coach

Toronto Presentation Coach

"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."
Sam Kohn, President, Kubik

Presentation Coach with real Business Experience
Executive speech coach and presentation skills training. Learn how to deliver million-dollar presentations from a business presenter. George Torok has two decades of corporate management experience. He has delivered hundreds of board room presentations. He has suffered through more. He is a business person who learned to communicate well. He is not an actor or professor telling business how it should be. Instead he has taken the best lessons from other fields and applied them to business first hand.

Effective Executive Presentations Instructor
George Torok has instructed the Effective Executive Presentations program at the Toronto facility of the Canadian Management Centre for more than the past decade.

Arrange for one-on-one speech coaching or group presentation training for your managers, professional experts and sales team.

George Torok
Toronto Presentation Coach
Toronto Speech Coach
Toronto Presentation Skills Training

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

Your Presentation: This is important

When You have Something Important to Say

When you are presenting a report to your management, a proposal to the committee or changes to your staff they are not hanging on your every word. When you get to the key points - you want them to listen, believe and remember. Use these techniques to give your words impact.

1. Announce, "This is important." Then give the important stuff. Teachers do this by saying, "This will be on the exam." You could state, "This is a million dollar tip."

2. Pause, just before, and after, you say the important stuff. Notice the effect of the pause at the awards night when they say, "May I have the envelope please?"

3. Lower your voice to increase the believability. Practise this, "And in conclusion," (lower your voice) "I am the best one for the job." Then try it in a higher pitched voice and notice the difference.

4. Make them laugh just before, then get serious and deliver the important message. When we laugh we open our minds and are more willing to accept new information.

5. Move before - then stand still while delivering the important stuff. This is especially effective for those who pace or move a lot when they speak.

6. Look your audience in the eye - don't read the important stuff. If you have to read it - then it looks like you don't really know it or believe it.

7. Smile. We believe those who smile at us. We also prefer to listen to speakers who smile at us. We listen with our eyes and our ears.

8. Tell a story of how this lesson was learned or applied. The earliest lessons were stories told by our cave-dwelling ancestors. They were remembered. If only the lecturers of today remembered the wisdom of our ancestors.

9. Repeat it three times during your presentation. If you want it remembered - repeat it and repeat it again.

10. Reinforce the message with images. We retain images better than words. Attach your message to word pictures, visuals and body language.

George Torok
Presentation Skills Coach
Presentation Skills Training
Business Speaker

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

Free Presentation Tips

Free Presentation Tips

Register for your free Power Presentation Tips from George Torok, "The Speech Coach for Executives". Receive these free presentation tips every two weeks by email.

Click here now to start receiving your Free Power Presentation Tips.

What are people saying about the Power Presentation Tips?

"Your Presentation Tip #2 arrived just as we were putting together four different presentations to a variety of client levels in different categories and different countries. It was helpful to be reminded of some of the basics - to help pull it all together. One of my favourite quotes is "man needs more to be reminded than informed", and this was helpful."
Marion Plunkett,
Founder Plunkett Communications Inc.
Toronto, CANADA

"This tip is a superb reminder of what I know is a powerful way to get and keep the room engaged, and is something I should be doing not just in formal presentations, but in my day to day presentations with people I love."
Jamie Lord,
Worldwide Creative Director
Hong Kong

"GREAT TIP… Actually I'm about to attend a week long leadership course in which we will be giving presentations…I will use these suggestions…"
Alberta Williams,
CDFM, Financial Manager Federal Highway Administration, DC Division
Washington, USA

"Recently I made a presentation and applied a good number of tips from your edition, I must say, it worked well, thank you so much."
Bennett Size,
SHE & Training Manager Iron Duke Pyrites (Pvt) Ltd

"I just want to thank you for this great tool. I have read your books and tried to follow your guide in regard to presenting in front of an audience. These latest tools are awesome!"
Jo-Ann Cino,
Senior consultant, (Top 10 in Canada) Investors Group Financial Services
Oakville, Canada.

"As a Toastmaster (more than 10 years), your message rings true to me. It reminds me to keep my priorities straight. I can only agree with you. Some speakers make it about them, and consequently, the audience responds accordingly, or not. Keep those tips coming."
Claude Desroches
Berlin, Germany

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Power Presentation Tip 06: Focus on the 80%

Power Presentation Tip: 80 will get you 90

Imagine if you were successful 90% of the time. That would be amazing.

We humans have a natural urge to try to please everybody. That is the main reason we have trouble saying "no".

That urge to please everybody can sabotage your effectiveness as a presenter. When delivering a presentation you need to focus on the key decision makers.

With most audiences you will have a 10-10-80 split.

10% adore youThe first 10% of the people will adore you no matter what you do. You don't need to do anything spectacular to impress or convince these people. Recruit them as assistants. Feed off their support but don't overdose on the adulation.

10% dislike youThe second 10% are like poison ivy. Tangle with them and you lose everything. These people will dislike you no matter what you do or say. You can't reach them. Don't knock yourself out for them. It's best not even to directly engage them. Ignore their snarls and don't take it personally. Even Superman had enemies.

Your target is 80%The 80% remaining are the people who can be convinced. They are movable. So focus your presentation on them. Design and deliver your presentation for this 80%. Actively engage them. Notice their reactions. Adapt to their mindset.

When you move this group you will have achieved 90% acceptance. And 90% is an overwhelming success.

Focus on moving the 80% of your audience that can be moved. Don't waste your effort on the unmovable or the adoring fans.

George Torok

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Presentations: Handling Questions with Authority

Presentations: Handling Questions with Authority

At some point during your presentation you will be expected to answer questions from your audience. They might have some burning questions that need to be answered before they buy into your message. Handling their questions with authority can make the difference for you between a successful presentation and a waste of time. This is the opportunity for the audience to test your knowledge on the topic and commitment to your message.

1. Explain at which points during the presentation you will take questions and how individuals will be recognized to speak. Point out the microphones they should use. State the rules that must be followed to ask questions.

2. Prepare how you will answer questions - especially the worst questions. Imagine how confident you will look when they hit you with the killer question - the question that is intended to skewer you to the wall. Instead you smile and calmly respond with a positive answer. Craft and rehearse the answers to these difficult questions before the presentation.

3. Maintain control of the questioning. Formally recognize the questioner before they speak and limit the number of questions. Allow only one person to speak at a time.

4. When listening to the question look at the questioner while moving away to include the whole group. Paraphrase the question for the group. State your answer to the group. Beware of answering only to the questioner.

Read the rest of Handling Questions with Authority.

George Torok
Free Presentation Tips
Presentation Skills Coaching
Boardroom Presentations

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Presentation blog: Authenticy Rules

Presentation Blog: Authenticity Rules from Rhett Laubach

Followup to my last post, here is another neat blog on presentation skills from professional speaker, Rhett Laubach.

Recent blog posts include an enlightening approach to the use of PowerPoint Slides, a nostalgic connection to the Elvis in you and several helpful links to convincing research. I especially appreciate the explanation along with diagrams of how best to organize the seating of your audience.

Check it out at:

George Torok

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.