Secrets of Power Presentations top ten for 2009

"Secrets of Power Presentations" by Peter Urs Bender made the Books for Business Top Ten List for 2009 - as reported in the Globe in Mail.

This book is a simple guide to more persuasive and effective business presentations. It is currently in limited supply. This book was first published in 1991 and has made the Books for Business Top Ten List many times.

Watch for the new revised issue out in 2010.

George Torok is licensed by Peter Urs Bender to deliver programs on Power Presentations.

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


Power Presentation Tips 27: Paint Word Pictures

Power Presentation Tips 27

Paint word pictures

A powerful way to create visuals within the minds of your audience is with picture words. The best presenters learn to master this technique because it is so effective.

Tear down this wall
See the imagery in this line from President Ronald Reagan's (Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall) speech at the Brandenburg Gate, West Berlin in 1987.

"From the Baltic, south, those barriers cut across Germany in a gash of barbed wire, concrete, dog runs and guard towers."

War of the Worlds
Visualize this scene from H.G, Wells' book, War of theWorlds:

"The end of the cylinder was being screwed out from within. Nearly two feet of shining screw projected. Somebody blundered against me, and I narrowly missed being pitched onto the top of the screw. I turned, and as I did so the screw must have come out, for the lid of the cylinder fell upon the gravel with a ringing concussion. I stuck my elbow into the person behind me, and turned my head towards the Thing again. For a moment that circular cavity seemed perfectly black. I had the sunset in my eyes."

What's Cooking?
Another place to find inspiration for visual language is in cookbooks. Can you see how to prepare this Almond Toffee recipe?

"Line the rectangular cookie sheet with tin foil and broken almonds. In large sauce pan melt butter, sugar, and water. Stir continuously, with a wooden spoon, until mixture reaches a caramel color, and pour gently over nuts and spread to cover. Let set, about 1 hour, and break into irregular pieces. Bite, chew slowy and savor the taste. Lick fingers when done."

Now review your presentation for opportunities to add more color and imagery. Transform your words into paint brushes to decorate the canvas of your listeners' minds.

George Torok

PS: tell me how this tip helps you.
PPS: Thanks for your comments and feedback.

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Use the microphone when you present

Use the microphone:

  • If there are more than 40 people in the room.

  • If the speakers before you used the microphone.

  • If it is a large room.

  • If you are soft spoken.

  • If the room has bad acoustics.

  • If you have something important to say.

  • If you want to play with your vocal nuances.

If any of the above is true - Use the microphone.

Your audience will hear you better.

Forget the macho “I don’t need a microphone” stuff.

Use the microphone.
Your audience will hear you better.
It is easier on your throat.
You can make better use of your vocal range.

Use the microphone.
It is your friend.

Naturally you will need to practice with a microphone to use it right. It is a tool and all tools require knowledge, skills and practice for best results.

George Torok

Presentation Skills Coaching

Presentation Skills Training

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


Public Speaking for the Holidays: Beware

Like weddings and funerals, the holidays gather people together. Often people who don’t really want to be together. The holidays might collect family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and business associates.

These holiday gatherings often lead to unplanned speeches. The formula of unplanned speeches, unpolished public speakers, holiday cheer and mixed emotions can be embarrassing, explosive or just plain painful.

You are public speaking any time that you are speaking to more than one person. Read these tips for your holiday speeches.

If you suspect that you will be expected to speak then prepare your speech. If you are the host, the group leader, organizer or most colorful character – you will be expected to speak. Write a few key words or names on an index card.

The most likely speeches for the holidays include:

  1. Welcome
  2. Thank you
  3. Cheers
  4. Congratulations
  5. Enjoy

Keep your presentation as short as possible. For example if you are giving a toast – it could be “We each have our own reasons to celebrate this holiday season. I thank you for celebrating together.”

Do not tell a joke. Most likely it will not be appropriate. If it might offend one person then it is inappropriate. Just remember that even the best comedians have bombed.

It’s best to schedule the speeches before the drinking starts. If you’ve started drinking keep your speech to one or a few words or decline.

Do not present your imitation of the boss, grandpa or Mary from accounting. Just imagine how you would feel if the next speaker did an imitation of your or your spouse.

No one came for the speeches. Keep it short. (I can’t say this enough.) Your goal is to have your speech quickly forgotten. People will forget your speech as long as you don’t embarrass or offend them.

Holidays are for celebration regardless of how tough the year was, how much you hate your cousin or how badly the turkey was burned. If you can’t bring yourself to say two positive words – then say one positive word. Then shut up and sit down.

Holiday speeches are not for kissing up to the boss, criticizing, bragging or being sarcastic.

Celebrate, be thankful then shut up so the rest can celebrate and be thankful too. They will celebrate the holidays and be thankful that you’re finished your speech.

George Torok

Executive Speaking Coach

Presentation Skills Training

PS: "Inspired by the 'Public Speaking and The Holidays' blog carnival. Check it out:"

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


Power Presentations Tip 26: Schedule the Questions

Power Presentations Tip 26:

Schedule the Questions

Allow and encourage your audience to ask you questions.

They are more engaged and therefore will learn or buy more.
It will make your presentation feel more like a conversation.
They might have gaps in their understanding that prevent them from accepting your message.
It allows them to test and you to demonstrate your deeper understanding of the topic.

When should you accept questions?
There is no right time. You might take questions ad hoc throughout or only during scheduled question periods. You might have one or several question periods. It depends on the presentation topic, style and length. A long presentation should allow for several question periods. It also depends on the audience style, level of understanding and mindset.
The important thing is to tell the audience how and when you will take questions and then follow your stated rules.

You should never end on the question period. You should always end with your closing statement. You could take questions near the end of the presentation. Then you end the question period and close with your prepared close. That way you finish strong and as planned.
If you end on the question period you take the risk that the last question might be a negative or weak question. Have you ever seen a presenter end with questions and then shrug and say, "Well I guess that's all."Want a terrible way to end a presentation.

If you are using designated question periods then warn listeners that the question period is coming up. That way they can mentally prepare their questions and be ready.
Questions demonstrate interest and engagement. Be clear on how you will schedule questions.

George Torok
Presentation Skills Training
Presentation Skills Coaching

PS: tell me how this tip helps you.

PPS: Thanks for your comments and feedback.

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


CAPS Convention 2009 Calgary

CAPS Convention 2009 in Calgary

If you are in the business of professional speaking then the event of the year is the annual convention of your national professional speakers' association.

As a Canadian speaker, I am an active member of the Canadian Assocation of Professional Speakers, (CAPS). I was there at the first CAPS convention in Toronto 14 years ago. I'm not sure of that date. Naturally I will attend the upcoming CAPS convention in Calgary this month.

Professional speakers include trainers, facilitators and keynote speakers. Many of our members also coach, consult and write. The common thread of CAPS is professional speaking. Many professional speakers are often referred to as motivational speakers. Although some speakers don't like that label the truth is that people need to feel motivated to listen, learn and act.

Attendance is open to non-members - but hurry it's this weekend in Calgary.

This is not the place to learn how to speak in public although presentation techniques are usually featured as one topic. The main reason to attend the CAPS convention is to learn more about improving your speaking business. You might be inspired by the keynote presentations, learn ideas from the workshops and especially pick up creative and effective ideas from the other speakers at this convention. As professional speakers we tend to share our best ideas openly.

Are you a professional speaker? Then in Canada this is the event for you.

See you at the CAPS convention.
See details about the CAPS convention here.

George Torok
Profesional Speaker
Canadian Business Speaker
Canadian Motivational Speaker
Past CAPS National Director

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


Selling Your Ideas to Senior Management

Polish Up Your Public Speaking Skills in Advance!
By Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

It's no secret—the higher up the corporate ladder you go, the more important your public speaking skills become.

If you have your sights set on increased responsibility and the job title and salary that go with them, you will need to position yourself ahead of the crowd—in advance. At all stages of your career you need to sell yourself, your ideas, your value, and your ability. To position yourself for promotion, learn what it takes to sell yourself and your ideas to senior management.

Perhaps you're already speaking up in team meetings and getting your ideas across effectively. If so, how do you feel about facing a room full of senior management or at least 5 around a board room table, all staring at you? What is different? Well, for one thing the stakes are higher. All business communications are important, but with senior management as your audience, you are in the hot seat. Who wouldn't be nervous?

Don't worry. You are human. This is a perfectly natural way to feel. Remember, they can't see how you feel, only how you look and act. You want them to focus on and consider your proposals, not your anxiety. And you'll look cool and collected when you follow these Frippicisms for dealing with senior management.

Seven Fripp Do's

1. Practice. A report to senior managers is not a conversation; however, it must sound conversational. Once you have your notes, practice by speaking out loud to an associate, or when you are driving to work, or on the treadmill. Make sure you are familiar with what you intend to say. It is not about being perfect. It is about being personable. (Remember, rehearsal is the work; performance is the relaxation.)

2. Open with your conclusions. Don't make your senior level audience wait to find out why you are there.

3. Describe the benefits if your recommendation is adopted. Make these benefits seem vivid and obtainable.

4. Describe the costs, but frame them in a positive manner. If possible, show how not following your recommendation will cost even more...

5. List your specific recommendations, and keep it on target. Wandering generalities will lose their interest. You must focus on the bottom line. Report on the deals, not the details.

6. Look everyone in the eye when you talk. You will be more persuasive and believable. (You can't do this if you are reading!)

7. Be brief. The fewer words you can use to get your message across, the better. Jerry Seinfeld says, "I spend an hour taking an eight-word sentence and making it five." That's because he knows it would be funnier. In your case, shorter is more memorable and repeatable.

Three Fripp Don'ts

1. Don't try to memorize the whole presentation. Memorize your opening, key points, and conclusion. Practice enough so you can "forget it." This helps retain your spontaneity.

2. Never, never read your lines—not from a script and not from PowerPoint® slides. Your audience will go to sleep.

3. Don't wave or hop. Don't let nervousness (or enthusiasm) make you too animated—but don't freeze. Don't distract from your own message with unnecessary movement.

Where to Start

1. What is the topic or subject you are reporting on? Be clear with yourself so you can be clear with your audience.

2. Why is your topic important enough to be on the busy agenda of senior level managers?

3. What questions will your audience be asking? Can you answer them early in your presentation?

Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE
Sales Presentation Trainer, Keynote Speaker, Executive Speech Coach - Patricia coaches clients on the three essential aspects of presentation: simplifying organization, mastering content, and perfecting delivery.

Click here to read Fripp's blog, THE Executive Speech Coach.

Fripp always offers powerful advice on business presentations. I have learned much from her over the years and always enjoy watching her speak.

George Torok
Executive Speech Coach
Presentation Skills Training

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