Proven Tips for Making Presentations that Connect

Delivering Presentations that Make Unique Connections

Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D.

 

Lecturing remains one of the more popular methods to transmit information and ideas by teachers, trainers and speakers.  As students and audience participants we are quite familiar with the approach.  Lectures can be informative, boring and overwhelming depending on the compelling nature of the message and the presenter’s style and clarity of message.  The lecture method usually is one-way communication and allows for little or none audience participation. The result is audience misunderstanding, loss of information and poor retention.

 

Research reported by Ralph Nichols, distinguished communication professor at the University of Minnesota, reports that listening is a learned skill.  His research findings indicate that most people forget fifty percent of what is said in the first two minutes, and twenty-five percent after eight minutes, and can retain the rest of the information only for about a month.  To retain more information participants need to use active listening skills, try to anticipate where the presenters’ lecture is going and get an opportunity to interact with the material.  In addition a study conducted by the U.S. Department of HEW, showed that we retain only 10-25% of what we hear after a thirty –day period. The lower the interaction the lower the retention. Given this information what are the reasons that so many presenters still prefer the lecture method?  And how can we improve the effectiveness of lectures?

 

Some presenters prefer one-way communication methods, such as lecturing, because they can transmit large amounts of information to audiences in a short period of time. Presenters find lectures efficient because the flow of information can be directed and controlled with greater precision.

 

On the other hand, from the receivers’ point of view they experience one-way communication as being “talked at” rather than being “communicated with”. Listeners find it difficult to figure out where the speaker is going and to focus attention unless they are provided a roadmap for the lecture. The audience has little or no opportunity to get involved or provide feedback on the messages being communicated.

 

The question becomes how do we capture listeners’ attention and provide methods and tools to help them understand the presenter’s lecture?  We must develop techniques and messages that are perceived as involving participants and providing opportunities for interaction.

 

How do you do this as a lecturer?  By creatively modifying your approach to pay more attention to how adults listen, learn, and absorb new information and ideas.  At the end of the day, a presenter must focus on the needs of the audience rather than on what they want to present.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Approaches and Techniques for Winning Presentations in a New Age:

 

  1. Structuring presentation—Effective presenters provide roadmaps for their speech. They design and present lectures that are well-organized and easy to follow.  There’s an “attention grabber” for the opening, a preview of what is ahead and three or four chunks of information that make-up the body of the presentation, and a closing that summarizes important content, information and key messages. Exceptional closings let participants know where they have been and “wave the flag” and passionately call for action.

 

  1. Repetition and restatement of critical information and the significant overriding message for the presentation. Effective lectures use multiple and clear examples to illustrate the critical information.  They keep the learning goal “top of the mind” and provide clear and concise information.  Effective presenters always try to see their message from the audience point of view.  A technique, which helps, is to ask—What is in it for the audience to pay attention and how can they use this information back home to make their worklife more fulfilling and satisfying?

 

  1. Make the presentation appear to be interactive, engaging and a conversation not a one-way monologue.
    • Provide individual reflection/think time, encourage pairing-up with another participants to exchange ideas and then share perceptions with larger audience
    • Ask rhetorical questions
    • Survey the audience with powerful trigger questions
    • Provide a partial outline of the lecture to help align audience thinking and tracking the presentation
    • Feed forward structuring message; for example, these three points are critical
    • Stimulus prompts; these are three important diagnostic factors for determining risks of heart attack_______, ________ and ________.

 

  1. Use the make me feel important (MMFI) rule to find unique ways to connect with the audience. Create a psychological safe climate by building closeness and openness of participants. You do this by using people’s names, nodding your head, looking people in the eye with one thought rather than scanning the room.  Use natural gestures, which are experienced as inviting; for example open hands rather than pointing a finger.

 

 

  1. Use analogies to express your message and create understanding. The human brain is use to dealing with visual images and tying new ideas to information already known. The dictionary defines analogy “as a likeness in one or more ways between things otherwise unlike.”  The analogy is one of the most powerful communication techniques and yet it is the least used form of evidence for speakers. One of the main reasons for it’s under use is that the development of an analogy takes imagination and creativity by the presenter to tie the analogy to the main goal of the presentation and to listener’s interests and needs. For example: Exercising every day is as hard as saving money, but it pays off in the long run.

                   

 

 

                   

  1. Statistical and factual evidence. In a technical presentation statistics are the most frequently used form of evidence.  Unfortunately, numbers and facts can over load the listener’s ability to process and retain information.  When using graphs and visual support explain each bit of information and build the slide one idea at a time.  To strengthen credibility, state whom conducted the research and their credentials.

 

  1. Story Telling. Your experience or others experience related by means of a story is a form of evidence because it gives the listener tangible evidence and illustrates the viewpoint of the speaker.  The communicator’s personal self-disclosure and involvement through stories brings the evidence to life; first-person life. Story telling helps make your presentation believable and conveys your human side.

 

  1. Examples make the information concrete and tangible. Examples can take ideas from the theoretical to the practical.  Because of the massive misquotes and misuse of statistics, even examples have become automatically suspect by many listeners.

 

  1. Communicate in common and understood language. Often presenters out of habit, comfort and sometimes to demonstrate their expertise use professional jargon and lose the audience.  Do not assume that listeners understand complex technical language.  If you need to use technical language, provide definitions or a glossary handout to facilitate communication.  In order to facilitate impact and effectiveness of presentations it is important to keep your language clear, concise and compelling.  Remember your goal is to connect with the audience and impart information and ideas listeners can use to their benefit.

 

Summary

It is important to remember that the single overriding goal of a presentation is to provide meaningful content in an entertaining and engaging way so that participants focus their attention, understand material and are receptive to implementing new ideas back on the job.  The whole preparation, presentation and content of a lecture must therefore be directed not to the speaker but to the audience needs and wants.  I encourage you to try some of the above interventions so that your lectures may be perceived as more of a two-way communication by using more interactive exchanges, experiential exercises and stories that will make your presentations more memorable and your message relevant.

 

 

Want to give Audience-Centered Presentation? Learn these 3 skills.

Exploring Empathy, Responsiveness and Relevance as keys to Audience-Centered Presentation
Daily Quote: ” Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action.”  Daniel Goleman, Social Intelligence  
The R.A.T.E.R. is a useful tool to measure your ability to be Audience-Center in presenting or public speaking. Your ability to see and relate to, understand and respect the inner world of others, doesn’t mean agreeing with the other person’s perceived experience . For many, empathy is what I’ll call a touchy-feely word. “It’s all about feeling and relating to what others feel , isn’t it? – being compassionate. Does that really have any place in the hard-nosed world of business? One of the problems with empathy is that it is often confused with being ‘soft’ – overly sensitive, compassionate and even emotionally “mushy” or sentimental. It can be associated with tolerating bad performance or bad behavior, which is probably more to do with avoiding conflict than empathy.

Let’s be clear, empathy is simply the ability to comprehend and be respectful of the inner state/experience of others, it does not mean agreeing with the other person’s perceived experience or condoning the actions they take based on their interpretations. It is also not just limited to understanding another’s feelings. Empathy includes an ability to identify and articulate another’s perspective, expectations, wants and needs. Great communicators are empathic because they try to see the world through the eyes of their audience. By doing so they show respect and caring for their audience and when people feel respect they respond. There is an old saying, “I don’t care about what you know until I know that you care.”

As an empathic presenter you need to be  self-aware and sensitive to how their own behavior impacts others.  Empathy is outward and inward looking. Learn to be responsive and respectful as a presenter by identifying audience needs and being “quick on your feet” to provide relevant examples and tell engaging stories about your ideas. Show respect and and empathy your audience will respond in kind.

Self-Coaching Challenge: To get at this topic in short form, I’d ask you to take this self-evaluation to score yourself on a scale of 10, where 1 is awful and 10 is being masterful as a presenter in crafting and demonstrating empathy, relevance and responsiveness toward the audience members.  What follows are three questions about empathy. How do you stack-up?

1. Empathy is Item #1 I work-in to my message when presenting to others? _____

2. I am a full-fledged student of empathy, aiming for the same level of “professional mastery and excellence” that I’d aim for in a specialty like Human Resources, Brand Marketing, Finance or Business Strategy____________.

3. I stop at different times during my presentation to see how the audience is taking–in or understanding my message ________.

 

 

 

 

Stuck on How to Design Your next Speech? Use the proven Design Framework Called R.A.T.E.R.

 

” A presentation is a sequence of concrete examples and stories that snap together to form a compelling argument…If you use only one tip, this is the one. The #1 mistake we’ve observed in presentations—and there is no close second—is that the message is too abstract. The presenter offers concepts and conclusions but not evidence. He talks at a high level about the big picture, but gives no concrete details that might make the big picture understandable and plausible. He may sprinkle in a few stories or examples, but they are treated like garnish. Most people communicate
with, say, 3 parts exposition to 1 part example. That’s exactly backwards. In a compelling presentation, examples aren’t garnish, they’re the entrée”. Heath Brothers from the article Presentations Made to Stick 

As a speaker and communicator, you are the one who is shooting the “free throw to win” the game. You must “stick it” to win. You must have the right mindset, relaxed muscles and arc to make the shot.  Every single day, you are delivering messages and trying  to make ideas stick and persuade others to change or behave in a certain way.  So how do you connect with and make messages stick? Trying using the R.A.T.E.R. 

  • RESPONSIVEchallenge your audience with something new or ideas they can use. Be responsive to their interest and needs. Answer questions as they are asked. Do not put people off by saying, ” I will answer it later”. Be “quick on your feet” and adapt to audience interest and needs. If you are not sure you are meeting their expectations ask them. For example, how are we doing here? Is this information meeting your expectations? If not change directions. Don’t ignore the disinterested looks or signs of boredom.
  • ASSURANCE- provide credible information and examples of idea or solution benefits and how it has worked in the past. Use powerful examples and stories to assure audience that your message has importance to their situation the ideas being presented are credible.
  • TANGIBLES-bring concrete ideas and provide pragmatic examples or metaphors that make the ideas less abstract. Avoid generalizations and professional jargon. Make message clear, concise and concrete. This is the spot to provide demonstrations or if possible physical prototypes, so audience members can see and touch what you are talking about.
  • EMPATHY-Show the audience that you care and understand their problems, skepticism, views  and ideas. Obviously, presenting facts and evidence in your speech are important, but connecting with the audience requires both empathy and an emotional message.
  • RELEVANT  information needs to be presented along with pragmatic audience-centered solutions and ideas that raise the audience members curiosity and interest in what you have to say. In addition, try to sprinkle your speech with supportive evidence and stories showing the benefits, viability and urgency of  your ideas so that attitudes can be changed and action initiated to improve their quality of life.

Part II: Connecting With Your Audience: Be Caring, Authentic and Responsive

Playbook for “Presenting to Win”

Daily Quote: They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Carl Buechner

In a world where communication effectiveness is the critical key to success for team and interpersonal interactions–many of us do not spend enough time on improving our people skills. In essence, my vision is to change the world of presentation one performance and one person at a time. The way I teach it varies from engagement to engagement and person to person. Some of my teaching is one on one coaching, sometimes in small groups and some times to large audience trying to model and demonstrate effective engagement and connection strategies and tactics.

My Presenter’s Playbook to Win: Includes but is not limited to the following principles:

1. Embrace the challenge of the presentation and opportunity to show your best.

2. Trust and believe in your message and ability to deliver it in a memorable way.

3. Get out of worrying about acceptance and results and into the process of connecting with the audience

4. Be audience-centered and focused not self-centered and arrogant.

5. Be prepared to accept surprises and be confident that nothing will upset you on the platform.

6.  Learn to be flexible and open and ready to change at any moment by reading your audience and listening for non-verbal feedback

7. Don’t just “wing it”  learn to love planning, design and deliberative practice.

8.. Love your message and audience–don’t effort or try so hard be authentic. Learn to be in the moment and play to your natural strengths

9. Respect audience attention span and learning capacity.–Don’t over load them with facts , figures and information

10. Remember — Perfection is a killer to spontaneity so be  present in the moment and  have fun doing it. Be audience -centered by being responsive, caring, and saying things that are relevant and interesting to the audience.

Part 1: Audience-Centered Design for Presentations

” Unless you try to understand the person you are speaking to, you will be seen as irrelevant and unresponsive to their interest and needs”. M.W. Hardwick  

Think of designing your presentations like choosing a Christmas gift.  I love to unwind at the end of the day with a bourbon and water. However, my wife, does not like most hard liquor drinks. Yet she loves wine, so a wine-of-the-month club membership would be a great gift for her. Think of designing your presentations from the this same point of view. Stop focusing on yourself and what you like and want to give the audience and shift your thinking to focus more on what the audience needs and wants. This approach highlights two critical variables of the R.A.T.E.R. presentation development model ( relevance. responsiveness). Building in this type of design thinking makes your speech or presentation more relevant and responsive to audience members needs and problems in their daily life’s.

For your next “big” Presentation Test your Message for “stickiness”?

Framework for “Sticky Messages”

” Remember that to create a “sticky idea”  it needs to be understood, remembered, and it changes something”. Heath Brothers

There are a number of tests to check that you have created a memorable and believable message. The main test of success in delivering a key message is that you commit it to memory. This will increase the perception by audience members of your credibility. Do this your main task is to be able to communicate your message with passion and clarity without your notes. Test yourself.

Then say it to a colleague – see if they can say it back to you. You may find that they say it back to you in a way which is easier to grasp. In which case change it.

An hour later, ask members of your presentation review team to listen and give you feedback on how memorable and relevant your key message is to the overall topic being discussed.  Ask the team the next day if they remember the “sticky” message. If they can still remember it a day later, well done – you have got yourself a memorable sticky, relevant and believable message.

Check your message against these two standards–the RATER developed by Dr. Hardwick and SUCCESs model developed by Heath brothers in their book–Made to Stick

Want to Make Your first Step Toward Effective Public Speaking? Try these 3 Proven Methods.

“Unique connections, even if there are 1 or 500 people in your audience, are purposeful, personal, and passionate. Your message needs to be relevant and responsive to the audience needs and interest.” -Coach Mark

We all know that a lack of effective communication skills (public speaking) will seriously harm your career and relationship prospects. Whether you are a project manager, frontline employee, or CEO, your ability to communicate in a clear and compelling manner will be important component on how successful you will be. If you can not communicate and connect with your different shareholders your great ideas and intellect will not matter.  So how do you go about making a positive impression and gain credibility with any audience.

1.  Your audience will respond warmly if you remember to not just talk or lecture at them but find creative ways to connect and engage with them.

My first rule of sticky presentations is “NO Connection = NO Interest.”

This is plainly intuitive, if you have sat through a boring presentation, you disconnect because the presenter does not take your needs into consideration  and does not make the message relevant to your problems, needs and interest.  So the question is, “how to effectively connect with your audience?

a. The easiest way to create a connection is to meet as many people 1 to 1 before you walk on stage. Then, use some of the information you have gathered in your “meet and greet” conversations to salt into your opening remarks. This technique provides a valuable time for you to get to know people and gather information that makes your present come alive to the audience.

b. Create audience member engagement and involvement. Your audience does want to be a passive vessel for you to empty your message into; they want to be an active and engaged part of  your presentation. Right at the beginning of your presentation, pose a challenging question or use a quick activity like an audience survey to find out their needs and interest in your topic; this kind of activity always works because the audience now feels that you care about them and you have provided an opportunity for them to think about and provide input into the presentation design. This method provides content so that your message can be customized to their interests and questions.

The question or activity, must align with the audience members current reality, needs and issues to get and hold their attention. If I am presenting to a group that has been told, “You HAVE to be in attendance to receive CPE credits or other reasons. I might ask “What would they rather be doing  than be at this presentation?” Or I might ask the audience to tell another member what would make this a great presentation. After their short discussion I will conduct a shout out session to get some feedback on their discussions.

Having created some engagement through involvement we can link this to the subject of the presentation like this, “Knowing you are interested in “A”  let’s begin by discussing why “A” is important…”

My second rule of presentation skills is, “No Competence=No Confidence”  

I have seen competent people lack confidence in presenting and confident people lack competence (nothing is as dangerous as a confident fool!).

When coaching people to feel confident to present well, I use the Cognitive Behavioral Technique of Mental Rehearsal that when confronted with anxiety or performance confidence issues. This CBT technique encourages  finding a trigger of something you are already confident doing such as playing the piano, or shooting a foul shot in basketball etc. and tap into this past experience and feeling of confidence so that you can access this feeling in your mind and body before presenting. For some people this lack of confidence or anxiety about presenting is a “double bind” that we must feel some confidence to attempt to present well and only when we do this will we gain the competence; and with competence comes confidence! An effective presenter is also competent in the subject matter of their presentation. Sometimes this just means you are competent to share your perspective on a limited piece of information.

So when getting ready for your presentation learn everything you can about the topic and subject to be discussed by doubling the amount of prep and practice compared to the allocated length of your speech. For example, for a  1 hour speech put in at least three hours of prep and practice time.You may only speak about 10% of what you know but your competence will show when you can make your subject matter clear, concise and compelling.

This brings me to my third rule, “No Compelling Message No Memory or transfer by Audience to Action ”

People will only remember one or two or three points from your presentation, so plan your presentation so that those 2-3 points will stick with them. Techniques for making a point stick include:

  • Repetition – remember kinder garden and repeating your ABC’s over and over.
  • Gestures or Actions – get the knowledge from the mind into the body with a powerful physical trigger.
  • Visuals or Video – we live in a multimedia world so use powerful graphic or short videos to create a visual link to your sticky points.
  •  Story Telling– powerful personal stories engage the audience and are great memory triggers for your message.

So in Summary, here are my 3 Rules for Making Sticky and Effective Presentation Skills

1.  No Connection = No interest

2. No Competence =No Confidence

4. No Memorable Message = No Transfer to Action  

Sticky Presentations: Five Process Secrets for Connecting with Audience

” Before your message can stick, your audience has to want to hear about your idea and you need to believe in it”. 

Clear, concise and well prepared content and message is critical for a successful presentation, and yet this not enough. A speaker must also be able to deliver the message in a compelling way in order to connect with the audience. Together these factors are essential for presenters to capture the audience attention and interest. Knowledge is shared and curiosity is raised in the hope of moving the audience toward change in opinions and a commitment to action. In this process the presenter wants to be seen and experienced as an effective and authentic communicator.

So what are some effective and proven methods you can use to  accomplish this goal of being perceived as interesting and a compelling presenter:  

1. Showing-up, Being present and Believing . Open with confidence, energy and strong presence. Focus on the audience needs and by providing interactive elements.

Presentation experts call this taking command of the room. I call this moment being present. This method will help you overcome nervousness, if it is combined with a powerful quote, compelling statistic or story. Another way is to use interactive elements 
in your opening.
Break down the wall between speaker and audience. Step out from the podium and ask the audience a question and have them answer by a show of hands or have them face a partner and interact. People will put up with a nervousness and  stumbling in your presentation if you are involving them.   This approach sets the stage for an effective presentation by demonstrating empathy and raising curiosity of audience members.

2. Provide a “roadmap” for the presentation. This technique signals to the audience what topics are to be covered. Many presenters use this technique to ask audience members if there are any other ideas they would like to learn about or do some of the topics not meet their expectations. Using this approach says to audience members you are willing to be flexible and provides a great opportunity for audience involvement and engagement. Some presenters are anxious about using this technique because they think they will lose control. Trust me this techniques works and you have the ability to say no new topics and it provides more information about the audience needs which provides many benefits for you as a presenter.

3. Be quick on your feet—be aware of audience members body language and non-verbal cues during the presentation so you can assess how you are doing. Don’t ignore negative signals.
Pick up on sagging energy in the room, audience frowns, or arms folded etc.
Make sure your body movement matches your message. If you’re trying to be convincing, your hand gestures should be symmetrical. But don’t make them too rehearsed; your physical motions should be driven by emotions and words. If you keep your hands down at your sides, you tend to look scared. Aim to have you hands more level with your chest, on what Samuels calls the “passion plane.”

4.  Engage audience by designing parts that play to different learning styles —Include a visual, auditory and kinesthetic experiences by surprising them with different activities. People learn differently so if you include all three types of information you’ll connect and engage more audience members.

5. Give the audience AHA moments.  This presentation technique provides and leaves the audience with  ideas, insights and memorable moments. Maybe you’ll hand something out to the crowd (self assessment quiz)  or bring something surprising on stage. An AHA moment can be most effective at the start or end of a presentation but can be used through the presentation to capture audience attention, interest and engagement with the presenter and topic under discussion.

 Remember, make  sure you have a strong and energetic opening, message deliver and close.

We often start strong but don’t think about where we want the presentation to go. Do you want everyone to stand up in the end? Do you want them to say something simultaneously? Plan even the last couple minutes in advance. Don’t just say for example, “well that’s it for now” and start to pack-up to leave.

Secrets for Excellent Presentations—There are None. Just Lessons Learned.

I am going to share some idiosyncratic and insightful stuff today from Dr.Tom Peters, famed management and leadership guru for over forty years, In this rambling and some times incoherent reflections on Presentations and public speaking Tom nails a few great points for all of us to learn from in the art of speech giving. Here are a few of his ideas for you to noodle on today or review before your next speech.

Quotes that say it all:

“The only reason to give a speech is to change the world.”—JFK

“In classical times when Cicero had finished speaking, the people said, ‘How well he spoke,’ but when Demosthenes had finished speaking, they said, ‘Let us march.’”—Adlai Stevenson

Tom’s stuff  reinforcing the quotes— ” Reason’s for Total commitment to the Problem/Project/Outcome.

As JFK told us, above, keep your mouth shut unless you commit yourself 100% to moving a mountain—or at least a hillock.

Reason #1: Why bother to go through this hell unless “it” matters to you—a lot!

Reason #2: If you are not committed, somehow or other it will show through like a spotlight as you present. People can smell belief, passion and commitment and energy and determination—or the absence thereof .

Reason #3 . Fix Your Attitude before Presenting–Have you ever said to yourself before a speech I don’t want to be here. I have to be here. Well, that’s not true—except in a way it is. The peerless leadership guru Warren Bennis made an extraordinary assertion. He said: “leaders have no particular desire to be leaders. Instead, there is something they must get done. And to get it done, they must put on the leader’s mantle”. You could say the same thing about speechgiving—or you ought to be able to. I haven’t traveled my 5,000,000 miles or so to give speeches. I’ve traveled those miles to have the opportunity to present a set of ideas I care deeply about; and, at 70, I’m still traveling. (I assure you the thrill of air travel has long faded.) Change the world? That’s a bit grandiose. But, try to make a wee difference? That’s my story—and, within reason, I judge that it will be the case for any long-term successful speechgiver.

Reason # 4. Know what the hell you’re doing unless you specifically make it clear that you are merely providing early conjectures. JFK tells us not to open our mouths unless we aim to change the world. I’d add, perhaps unnecessarily, don’t open your mouth until you know what the hell you’re talking about. You’ve got to be clear, albeit indirect, that you’ve worked your ass off on this topic—and would not ask the audience to waste their time listening to you pontificate.

Reason #5. A compelling “Story line”/“Plot.” A speech, long or short, to an audience of 1 or 1,001, will only grab the recipient if there’s a powerful/compelling story-with-a-plot unspooling. First, evidence from the neurosciences supports this—our brain reacts to stories. Second, please listen up, research by the likes of Steve Denning reveals that stories are as important as hooks to techies and economists as to an audience, presumably, of poets. A good speech has a good story at its core. A good speech is, in effect, a string of stories that takes us from here to there—and makes us, in effect, say, “Let us march.” Stories. Stories. And more stories. Use personalized stories or short vignettes you believe in and are relevant to audience members.

Reason #6 Negative doesn’t sell. Period. Negativism can kill a speech in … 30 seconds.

Final Tips and challenges–

 Speech giving is a “One 2 One” conversation:

Talking and connecting to one-guy-at a-time with good body language on both of our parts,

I’m getting through to all 1,500 people. If I’m talking to “everyone,” from behind a podium, I’m getting to no one!

A Presentation is an Act. Never forget you are an ACTOR.

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Relax! Be yourself! ARE YOU NUTS? One of the most commonplace pieces of speaking advice is to “be yourself.” What a crock. No, you should not be stiff. Or look as if you were on the way to the guillotine. But you are performing a professional act.

And  as I—and FDR—said, you are an actor when you’re on stage. And you are putting on a performance. Can you imagine a coach telling one of his players before the Super Bowl,“go out there and be yourself”? I want to look as though I’m comfortable, sure, but I am also controlling every move and every breath to achieve an end that is a matter of professional life or death to me—not in terms of “success” or “failure,” but in terms of my determination to pass on a message I believe is of the utmost importance. Indeed, enjoy yourself—in the Green Room after the speech!

CONNECT! CONNECT! CONNECT!

You have all the time in the world to connect. Of course you don’t! But you must spend the opening minutes creating trust and camaraderie—not silly camaraderie, but something more like empathy. You can’t appear to be wasting time, but you must sink your personalized hooks to connect with others. (I am adding these examples of how to gather info and build rapport with audience members. Before the speech arrive early and talk with a few people to get a sense of who they are and what is relevant or important to them about managing others? Personalize the conversation by asking inquiry type of questions.. Where did they grow-up? Where did they go to school?. How long have they been with the company and in there present position? How much technical or management training have they been required to get annually? What is their biggest problem in managing others? What one thing or question if answered would make this a great speech? )

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Only connect! For example,

“ That was the whole of her sermon.

Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted.

And human love will be seen at its height.

Live in the fragments no longer.

Only connect …

—E.M. Forster, Howards End

I am sure if you read Tom’s full paper on presenting you will pick-up other stuff I did not touch on here. So do yourself a favor and read his entire piece because it is very insightful and we seldom get someone who for 45 years has been successful in captivating and inspiring audiences all over the world. Oh, and by the way Tom Peters receives 65,000 to 70,000 dollars in speaking fee his performances.

Have fun with his material and let us know what stuff you found important. Coach Mark

Unique Connection: Principle #1– For Engaging and Influencing People

Principle #1: Limiting Information vs. Data Dump Engages the Imagination
“Focus and engagement can mean the difference between a highly persuasive presentation and a long, convoluted, and confusing one. Why say more when you can target and make a difference in the audience members attitude, thinking and future action? Remember when communicating and connecting with others oftentimes the person who has a clear and concise message rather than a long-winded and disorganized message wins.

With a “unique connect” there is a certain rhythm to communicating and developing a positive response to your message. When presenting if the speaker creates a connection it can lead to a great value proposition. Unique Connectfits – fits the need and wants of the audience, fits the problem and opportunities being discussed, and fits within a larger system of effective relationship building and leadership. A great presentation engages and influences the attitudes and behaviors of people. A great speech changes how people think, relate and work.  A focused and engaging presentation allows others to see and discover ideas and opportunities for changes that produce a new and better life. A great presentation, like great leadership, has the power to inspire and change he world.

The ability to constantly achieve “unique connections” through exceptional communication techniques , like setting clear expectations, requires a solid and “sticky” message strategy, one that answers the question that keeps most leaders up at night.

How do we make a difference and stay relevant in a cluttered, confusing and disengaged world?

How we can connect more as presenters and public speakers:Learn more about empathy

Empathy—mirror neurons show that being connected to someone is not just in the mind. There are these fundamental physiological and  behavioral moments that are occurring continuously with other people who we’re not aware of. There is a solid grounding of neurological research which is completely consistent with this hypothesis.

Power of Empathy:  Presenters who demonstrate empathy and caring are rated higher on presentation evaluations because they can reach out beyond themselves and their subject matter and connect to other people’s experiences and needs. At the core people discover unseen opportunities and problems when they have a personal and empathic experience and connection with the world around them.

For most of us that means we need to have an experience to walk in other people’s shoes. It also means not judging differences physical or idea wise as bad ugly or stupid. When we are being empathic we must see and understand without judgment. Having the ability to reach out and touch, understand and connect with other people and the world around us is what empathy is all about. It provides us with the courage to take risks long before the rest of the world is tuned in. Simply put people who have the ability to use their brain to care and connect are happier and more successful in the world. We develop an intuitive or gut reaction to see the world from many points of view and listen to people who matter the most. When we practice empathy we are open to new ideas and ethical concerns. This in turn provides the impetus to build and support a culture of clarity and concern focused on people rather than on fame, wealth and material things.

Leadership Effect Part 1–Framework for Success 4 M’s of “AHA or WOW” Presentations

 

How many presentations and lectures have you heard? Probably in the thousands or too many to count.  Of these communicators how many provided some useful “take homes” or hit the high bar  called the “AHA” or  “WOW” factor? On a regular basis I survey my students and seminar audiences on this question for many years.  Their answer is that you can count them on one hand.  The critical question becomes—What makes these speakers outstanding or creates an AHA reaction.

1. They have executive presence—firm hand shake, good eye contact, dress, smile, sense of humor and inspire  us because of  a positive or touching story delivered with authenticity and passion.

2. They are high energy communicators who are speaking in common everyday language, seem approachable, confident, credible, inspirational, and connect in unique ways

3. They deliver a clear, concise, compelling, relevant, and believable message

4.Their message is memorable and retained–It’s “sticky”.

 According to many studies, public speaking is rated the number one fear of  for many people. Even ahead of death, nuclear war, the dentist, and bankruptcy. 

I want you to consider how your thoughts, mental frameworks (fear and anxieties), and assumptions effect what message is presented and how it is received.

I want you to learn how to align your message, mental attitude, mechanics, and memory so as not just survive a presentation, but to create an environment that is comfortable  inspirational, persuasive, and compelling for listeners. And in addition, a satisfying experience for you.  Our goal is to create a learning environment that facilitates the growth and development of presenters by increasing their ability to be confident performers.

We know that future behavior can be improved with openness for change, an acceptance of feedback, and a plan to overcome bad habits. We help you to identify your strengths by understanding how to align the message, mechanics, and mental game for speaking.

If our tools and techniques are used it will be easier for you to develop new habits by focusing on the identification of strengths and areas in need of improvement.  If we succeed in helping you to develop and communicate the essence of your message and increase your comfort and impact on others we will succeed in our goal as performance coaches.

The “big idea” I am talking about when looking at the way we communicate and interact is leadership.  Leaders lead with their ideas, words, and presence. The way people speak and deliver words of praise or criticism reveals their values, beliefs and philosophy of life. It is the essence of leadership.  This is what we call the “leadership effect”.  The “leadership effect” holds that leaders will be judged by the realism, authenticity, and relevance of their communications not by their position or place on the organization chart.

Like it or not, our self-awareness, mental presence, confidence (mental state), eloquent mechanics (voice, gestures, movement, body language, eye contact), and messages (verbal impact) determine how we are received and perceived by others. Leaders influence action through the art and mastery of thinking and speaking straight and naturally.

 

Learn to Win from Within: Part 2–Audience-Centered Presentations

Part ll Self-3 : Radiate through your Presence  

Presenting your ideas is a risky proposition that takes clear thinking, courage and openness to other points of view. There’s something special about  someone who keeps their vision high, ideas clear and shows flexibility when challenged–they radiate authenticity. They’re connected to how they want to be of service, what they want to create, and the power of what they have to offer.

What they radiate isn’t coming from expectations–how they’ll perform, what other people will think and the end of speech smiles on the evaluation sheet. It comes from loving what they do, having ability to influence with meaningful stories, communicating clearly at the level that everyone understands and having fun doing it. Do not make the mistake of taking the importance of communication for granted  – communication matters. Put simply, the ability to effectively communicate with others is often the difference between success and failure. Don’t be fooled into thinking your title, education, influence, or charisma can take the place of clear, simple and sound communication skills.

While the aforementioned characteristics certainly won’t hurt, they can be quickly eroded and/or undermined by making poor choices in the words you use.

If you communicate well the radiance you project is coming from the pure, utter joy of feeling alive and connected. Being connected to their passion and other people–of being excited that they get the privilege of doing what they know they were meant to do communicate to be understood.

It’s not about winning, money or recognition. It’s about being real and authentic.

Unique Connect # 2: Setting Clear Expectations and Checkpoints

“Clear expectations help us forge positive connections with others. It’s a state of mind and a way of being that act as a catalyst for unique connections”. MWH.

Want to help your presentation stay focused on your message? Then try setting clear goals that link directly to the relevance of your topic and audience expectations. Then pay attention to how engaged the audience is in the ideas you are presenting and get feedback during the presentation on how the audience is receiving and responding to your message. If things are not going well be quick on your feet to change directions and show your responsiveness to their verbal and non-verbal feedback. Besides using a checkpoint during your presentation try getting more specific feedback after the presentation on what worked or didn’t work in your presentation and what audience members are taking away from the conversation.  You’ll know you’re communicating good enough when audience members  answer these questions without hesitation:

  • What was the main message of the presentation?
  • Did the presentation meet your expectations?
  • The information provided makes you want to change a point of view or behavior?
  • How will I know or measure my change in attitude or behavior?
  • How will I know when I have made a difference with this new information and ideas?
  • How will I give feedback to the speaker on what I am now trying to change?
  • Good luck with your next presentation and don’t miss our posts on –How to design and deliver a powerful opening and close.

 Good luck with your next presentation and don’t miss our posts on –How to design and deliver a powerful first impression and close.

 

 

 

Before You Start Presenting: Stop,Think and Plan

Preparation Framework and Design Worksheet

 

Presenter Name:______________________________

 

Meeting Date  and Time:________________________

 

Purpose or Goal of presentation:

 

  • The primary purpose and goal of my presentation today is … ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

  • What is the “sticky message and take Home  for this presentation is… ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

   

Agenda Outline by time Increments  

 

  • Topical outline for the presentation: At least three key topics supported by story or factoids or concrete examples

            Topic I ___________________________________________

  • Story___________________________________
  • Examples________________________________
  • Factual Evidence__________________________

Topic 2_____________________________________________

Topic 3_____________________________________________

 

The end result or benefit for back-home actions are… ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Close with Commitment and Call for Action:

 

  • I would like you to leave by telling us one important thing you learned today that you are committed to try back in your practice ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Presenter Close: “I’d like to leave you with two important points that I know can change your interaction and level of satisfaction when working with patients and doctors on your team:

Point #1 :_____________________________________________

Point #2______________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How your perceptual Lens and Mental Maps impact Reality–Story of the Nude Lady

Here is an interesting and enlightening story on how we are all depended on the lens we look through to see the world.:

“Three men are in a car driving down a city street early one morning . . . The car pulls up at a stoplight, and crossing the street in front of the car is a beautiful young lady who catches the attention of all three men. Her beauty is particularly apparent because she is wearing no clothes.

“The man on the right becomes engrossed in thoughts of how nice it would be to be with this lady under other circumstances. His mind races through past memories and future fantasies of sensual pleasures . . .

“The man sitting in the middle is seeing an example of modern decadence. He’s not sure that he should be looking closely at the girl. First miniskirts, he thinks, then topless dancers, and now they’re out on the streets in broad daylight!

Something must be done to stop all this! He thinks that he should begin by straightening out the playboy on his right.

“The driver is seeing the same girl that the others are observing, but is simply watching what is before his eyes. Since his ego is uninvolved, he sees neither good nor bad, and as a result, a detail comes to his attention which was not noticed by either of his companions: the girl’s eyes are shut. He realizes that the lady is sleepwalking, and his response is immediate and uncalculating. He stops the car, steps out and puts his coat over the woman’s shoulders. He gently wakes her and explains that she must have been sleepwalking and offers to take her home”
Gallwey, pp. 41-42

W. Timothy Gallwey, in The Inner Game of Tennis, offers this story, told by his friend Bill, as an analogy for three kinds of tennis players:

Here they are:

  1. ” The positive thinker, filled with self-esteem because of his superior attitude and mental toughness that make up the core of your game
  2. The negative thinker, constantly analyzing what is wrong with him and being negative toward himself if his game isn’t up to standards of his game
  3. The player of the Inner Game, simply observing, enjoying and doing that which seems natural and reasonable.”

Same styles seem to apply to how presenters approach public speaking.