How Young Professionals Speak to Older Audiences

Today’s workplace has three distinct generations – Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials (and some count the microgeneration “Xennials“). As I’ve mentioned before, public speaking is one of the best ways to portray your expertise and an amazing way to generate new prospective clients, but how is a young professional supposed to speak to older audiences? 9 Keys to Speak to Older Audiences Self-Confidence – First of all, realize that you know things that others do not and you have knowledge to share. You do not need to be near retirement age to be knowledgeable enough for public speaking. For example, TED Talks feature numerous young professionals with strong messages. Speak About What You Know – I always suggest that you should speak about what you know, so you are confident in your message. When you’re younger than most of your audience, this advice is even more crucial because you don’t want

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Problem Speaking in Jargon

We’ve all sat through a boring presentation where we don’t understand a word the speaker is saying because he is speaking in code and he might as well be speaking in a foreign language because no one understands him anyway. (You’ve probably sat through more than one of those presentations; I know I’ve seen dozens of them.) I always tell people to simplify their message and avoid speaking in jargon (aka “code”) because speaking over your audience’s proverbial head is fraught with problems. Even using the word “fraught” in my last sentence can be too complex for some audiences to understand, so I should say that speaking in code is full of risks. Changing your vocabulary does NOT mean you’re “dumbing down” your message and language, instead your sharing your message with more people and ensuring it is understood. After all, when you’re presenting, you want people to understand what

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Where Should I Practice My Presentation?

You’ve heard me preach to “practice, practice, practice” your presentation, so logically, you may ask, “Where should I practice my presentation?” Does anywhere and everywhere answer your question? The key is to practice your presentation as many times as it takes to be comfortable with the material so you don’t need to read your notes, allowing you to engage your audience and enjoy your presentation. You need to talk out loud because just going through the presentation in your head doesn’t help you remember your wording and you think faster than you speak, so your timing is off if you silently go through the presentation. Secondly, you need a place with some privacy so you’re not self-conscious about interrupting others, therefore a plane, subway, or coffee shop will not suffice. During your practice, you need to talk out loud because just going through the presentation in your head doesn’t help

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Save Time Creating Presentations – Recycle & Reuse Presentations

Last week I while writing a guest post for a content marketing blog about developing presentations, I realized that I always write about creating presentations from scratch, but sometimes that isn’t necessary. Sometimes, when appropriate, you can reuse presentations, which will save a lot of time creating presentations. Before I dig into reusing presentations, remember that the content needs to be audience-centric and if you have similar audiences and topics, it may be okay to reuse past presentations. An easy way to repurpose a past presentation is to use the same thesis and talking points, but this time use different examples or dive in deeper if you have more time available or the audience is already more knowledgeable about the topic than your previous audience. Don’t recycle a past presentation because you’re being lazy or waited too long to properly prepare for a presentation. When I was still at the zoo, I

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How to Sleep Well the Night Before a Big Presentation

I don’t think anyone would disagree with me that sleep is important, but how are you supposed to sleep well the night before a big presentation? That’s a tough one because most people fall into one of two camps: Can’t Sleep Because of Their Nerves – Most people fear public speaking, that isn’t anything new, and even seasoned professionals have some anxiety about presentations. (It’s a good thing actually.) Sometimes these nerves get the best of us and make it difficult to sleep the night before a presentation. Can’t Sleep Because Mind is Racing – Many presenters continually go over the presentation in their head throughout the day when they are not rehearsing and it is difficult to sleep because they’re still rehearsing, even silently in their head. When these presenters try to turn off their brain to relax enough to fall asleep, their brain keeps running through the presentation. 9 Tips

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Simple Technique for Multiple Presenters

I love blowing people’s minds with something so simple. You see, I’ve coached hundreds of presentations including keynotes, thought leadership, and high-stakes bid presentations as well as done thousands of presentations myself, so I’ve made observations about presentations including a simple technique for presentations with multiple presenters — step forward when speaking. Let me explain the importance of this subtle, yet powerfully simple technique. Whether you have two, three, or five presenters, the presenters need to come across as a unified team so you need to do some things alike, but not everything. When one member is talking, that person needs to be the expert and be the focus so the audience keeps their eyes on that presenter. (That speaker should step away from the lectern too–last week’s post.) Regardless the size of the stage or area you’re working with, you need to add some subtle spacing between the person

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Why You Shouldn’t Stand Behind the Lectern

If you ever took a speech class in high school or college, you were probably told (and shown) to stand and deliver a presentation behind a lectern. Standing behind the lectern is “old school” speaker protocol that doesn’t fly with today’s audiences. You were taught that by an instructor that was either more traditional and believed in lecturing or by someone untrained in proper presentations skills, which is normally the case since schools stopped offering offer public speaking classes in the past 15-20 years and require presentations in other classes like English and History. (But not teaching students how to present gives me a reason to coach presentations, so it isn’t all bad.) So you’re probably wondering why you shouldn’t stand behind the lectern and potentially what is a lectern, in case you’ve always called it a podium. First off, a lectern is a tall stand with a sloping top to

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What to Do Before & After a Presentation

  I had an odd occurrence the other day revolving around the topic of what to do before and after a presentation. It started with me retweeting a British presentation coach Simon Raybould’s tweet that said, “Preparing in ADVANCE means you’ve got ‘free time’ before the audience arrive[s] to get your head straight. Makes a HUGE diff.” [Yes, I’m a bit jealous of his Twitter handle @presentations.] Later that evening, my husband told me about a presenter many of his colleagues recently saw that hid from the audience before his presentation because he didn’t like to network, then abruptly entered the room when he was introduced, clapped his hands to get started like how an elementary school teacher would get a rowdy class’ attention, and after the presentation, he left just as abruptly. Although this presenter’s message and content were worthwhile, everyone was talking about his odd entrance and exit. Most of

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My Biggest Pet Peeve with Presentation Slides

The other day, my husband told me about Prezi’s acquisition of Infogram, an infographic and chart maker. (If you didn’t know, he’s a fan of Prezi.) Our conversation reminded me of my biggest pet peeve with presentation slides – illegible charts and graphics. I hate when a presenter includes a chart, graphics, and even text so small and hard to read that the presenter has to say, “You can’t read this, but…” Those words should never be said because if the speaker was audience-centric, the slide would never be so difficult to read. How to Prevent Having Illegible Charts Think Simple, Skip the Fine Details – Keep charts and graphics clean with minimal content that shows the gist of what you’re saying. You can leave off the tiny numbers and just explain the significance of the chart. If the chart isn’t significant, then do not include it. (Infogram can help with that,

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Can You Present Sitting Down?

Can you present sitting down? Of course, you can present sitting down. You can sit and talk at the same time right. The real question is, “Should you present sitting down?” If you’re doing a keynote presentation on a stage, it probably doesn’t make sense to sit down. You’re on a stage for a reason, so people can see you. Also, standing (especially on a stage) positions you as the expert. Occasionally, I’ve seen a few presenters sit on the front of the stage to have a casual talk with the audience. Other presenters will sit on a stool if they can’t stand for long periods of time. Usually sitting presentations are for informal conversations, and potentially sales presentations and bid presentations. When you sit at the same level as your audience, you appear as a peer or team member instead of the expert. You need to make the call

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