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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Easy Change to Make with Your Presentation’s Q&A

I recently read a presentation suggestion on Twitter that I think missed the mark. This presentation expert stated speakers should never end their presentation with a question-and-answer (Q&A) session because the speaker could lose control of the audience and go over on time. Now, I agree with staying within you time allotment (and actually finishing early), but that is why you need proper presentation planning. I have a different suggestion for your question-and-answer session — multiple Q&A breaks! Why I suggest having multiple Q&A sessions during your presentation. If you’ve ever seen me present in person or on a webinar, you’ve probably seen me do this presentation tactic. I try to break up every one of my presentations into three segments and have three corresponding Q&A sessions. I include multiple Q&A sessions to do multiple things: Gives the audience a chance to ask their question when it is more relevant. A

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The Coolest, Most Powerful Presentation Trick

A presentation blog interviewed me the other day, and the interviewer asked me my favorite presentation trick, hack, or technique. (Don’t fret, I’ll share the interview once it is published.) I told him my favorite, most powerful presentation trick is simple, free, and oddly, seldmonly used — it is the black screen. The black screen does multiple things: It surprises the audience (in a good way) and everyone perks up wondering what is about to happen All eyes go to the presenter (because the visual aid isn’t stealing the spotlight anymore) You can dive into something deeply personal or important while having the entire audience’s attention This presentation technique dovetails my post from a few weeks ago, The Power of Speaking without a PowerPoint. Best yet, this powerful presentation trick is free! You can use the black screen presentation technique in two ways: Some presentation remotes have a button to turn

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Why I Can’t Fix Your Presentation the Day Before

Occasionally, I get phone calls from frantic people saying, “I have a presentation tomorrow, HELP!” I’ve even gotten a few, “My team has this huge bid presentation tomorrow, and we’re not ready.” As much as I’d like to help, I’m limited to what I can do the day before and you’d be amazed how often these people also have no time for me to coach them today anyway. Somehow, I’m supposed to magically update their PowerPoint and, poof, they’ll be prepared and a better presenter because of it. You know it doesn’t work that way. Why I Can’t Fix Your Presentation the Day Before The Presentation Isn’t a Priority – I get that people panic and sometimes just running your presentation by someone gives you the reassurance and confidence you need to rock your presentation. However, most of these frantic calls come from people that procrastinated way too much and still

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Surprising #1 Tip for Presenting Great Webinars

I was talking with a client the other day who was interested, and a bit nervous, about starting to do webinars. He asked me if I had any tips on presenting great webinars. I simply said, “Sit at the edge of your seat.” He thought I was joking and replied, “That is your big tip on presenting webinars, to ‘sit at the edge of my seat’?” If you’ve read my blog posts about giving webinars or downloaded my guide about presenting webinars, you may have heard this tip about how to sit before. Since he was so dumbfounded by it, I thought I’d share my explanation to him why sitting at the edge of your seat is so important for webinars. Your Body Langauge Adds Excitement – Even if your audience can’t see you sitting at the edge of your seat, they can hear it. Much like the old adage that

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The Power of Speaking without a PowerPoint

It is ironic that you can give a more powerful presentation without a PowerPoint since the word “power” is in the program’s name. Previously, I’ve discussed whether you even need a visual aid. Last week when I was working with a client to prepare his team for an upcoming bid presentation, we had a good discussion to determine if they need to create a PowerPoint. Until the 1987, PowerPoint didn’t exist and the idea of a visual aid meant using a poster or prop. Think about the great presentations of modern times – Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream”, John F. Kennedy’s “What Can I Do For My Country”, and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and every State of the Union all had one thing in common – powerfully delivered presentations without the use of a visual aid. So why do 90% of business presentations today include a PowerPoint? [My estimation,

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