Learning Styles

Learning Styles are very important and they surround us everyday. It is thought that they are most important while people are still young and in school. That may be where it is most important, but the truth is that people go into different careers because of their learning styles, so if you will be talking to a group of people from a single profession or a group of people of different professions it is important to take their learning needs into consideration if you have any chance at getting the message across to them. This blog will be a series throughout the month and will discuss the different learning styles and what they may require. In the hay-day of the psychometric and behaviorist eras, it was generally believed that intelligence was a single entity that was inherited and that human beings could be trained to learn anything if it was

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Business Situations, Are you Prepared?

Business professionals usually find themselves in one of two situations, either presentations or prospect meetings, both are important and both center on talking to people. Actually most of life involves people talking to other people. I have said many times that presentations can make or break a company. Presentations work because the audience is getting the experience live and are able to relate to you the speaker. Simple one-on-one conversations are easier, less scary, and are usually the go-to method for gaining business, but they often keep you look like a colleague or equal. So if one option is simpler than the other, then why stress to do the more complicated one. Well, there is a need for both and it will be your responsibility to decide when each is appropriate so you and your team are properly prepared. If you are involved in any business group, chances of you having

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“Make It Work”

As a fan of Project Runway, I find myself watching it and relating most to Tim Gunn’s famous line “Make It Work”. Although he is normally talking to the designers about working with the materials they have or finding a way to make their ideas work, the saying holds true to many different parts of life, including presentations. Whatever your profession and whatever the topic of your presentation there is always a way to “Make It Work”! It’s about finding the right way or various ways of talking about the subject and conveying the message to the audience, and it will probably take quite a bit of trial and error. Try verbally rehearsing it first, talk to the dog and see how you feel, are you following what you are saying? Second grab a co-worker and ask them if they followed the conversation. Third step is to voice record yourself

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Attitude My Friends

Yes, attitude is necessary, but only good attitude is acceptable. Going into a presentation with a huge ego is dangerous and can easily turn off your audience. It’s like the saying, “When mom’s happy, everyone is happy.” The same goes for when the boss is happy the office is also happy; it also carries to your audience. If the presenter has a good attitude the audience does too. Even if you don’t like the topic or are tired of talking about it, you must flip the switch on and make it look like you love the subject. Find the balance between all the emotions and use it to your advantage. The audience can easily absorb the attitude of the presenter making the whole experience a hot mess if the presenter is egotistical or in a bad mood. Presentations should be about the audience and teaching something that can be useful. It

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Personality…Anyone?

It’s important when you are doing a presentation to put yourself into that speech so the audience can get a feel for who you are as a person. That is what they connect to after all. A speech is just words if the presenter doesn’t show their own personality, so inject your own personality and put your twist on it. Let your passion and enthusiasm shine through and don’t hide behind your Powerpoint. I’ve given many presentations while I ran an outreach program at the local zoo, audiences told me that they could tell I loved animals. I truly enjoy animals and thoroughly enjoy talking and teaching about them as well. I have always stuck by the motto “talk about something you know”, but you need to take it a step further. Make your topic fun and interesting for yourself first, then make sure that it is something the audience

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Can You Hear Me Now?

Majority of the message that you send to the audience comes from your body language, however your voice is the first runner up. Most Americans get the majority of their information from simply listening, so it is important that the message is delivered properly. This involves several components of your voice. If you are any distance away from people, it is important that the back section of your audience be able to hear you. Your volume needs to come from your core, not just your voice. That is made easier with good posture and when you are facing the audience. You will want to make sure that you are talking to the back of the room first and look at the people that you are talking to connect them. Nervousness is one of the top contributors to a weak voice; you don’t need the audience’s approval to be a good

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No Wrong

During the course of the many presentations that I have given, every technique that I had tried was through trial and error. I would try something to see how it worked and if I were comfortable utilizing it. I would then continue to tweak my presentation strategy and wording constantly, slightly changing the presentation to have a stronger explanation and tailor the speech to the audience. Since I had given so many presentations about the same thing, the changes were a must in order to keep myself sane, but they were helpful in continuing to get the message across in better words. This advice is the same for any presenter. If you continue to give a presentation about the same thing frequently, it is extremely easy to get burned out and board. Keep your future presentations fun and interesting by experimenting a little bit, play around with different phrasing, different

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To Sit, or Not To Sit

To sit or stand? The immortal question for presenters. Okay, it might not be an immortal question, but there are benefits and drawbacks to both sitting and standing. Each are appropriate in different times for example, one-on-one client meetings vs. formal presentations. Depending on your situation, you will have to determine what will work best. The skills you master for more formal presentations will greatly help your one-on-one skills. Standing is better when giving a formal presentation, but not always appropriate for example at your prospect meeting who wants you on their team. Team being the key, sitting although easier, tends to make you look equal. If you wish to remain the expert, then standing is your best option. Consider the tone of your presentation. If you were going to a rock concert, you wouldn’t expect to sit. The Black Eyed Peas are highly energetic and so you would probably be

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Prepare for the Worst or Prepare to Be Your Best?

Preparation is the key to a successful presentation, that is true. Proper preparation entails taking everything into consideration, developing a strong strategy, and executing the plan flawlessly, but when preparing, do you prepare for the best or the worst? It may be best to prepare for the worst and hope for the best, says the realistic side of me. Preparing for nothing to go wrong and keeping the “it can’t happen to me” attitude can make disaster if problems occur and you don’t know how to handle them. Stay positive but be a realist and know how to handle the hiccups. Think through what could possibly happen and what would be the best way to handle of avoid them. What would you do in each of the possible scenarios, talk it out and when practicing plan for something to go wrong. It sounds bad but it will give you practice

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Multiple Professions/Backgrounds/Ages

If you will be speaking to multiple audiences, perhaps more strategy and preparation will be necessary. It is possible to speak to multiple audiences at the same time and it can be successfully, if done carefully. I have gone through this scenario multiple times and thought it came out fabulous. The key is to discuss information that is suitable to all of the multiple audiences. For example, animals pretty much appeal to everyone, so what I had to do was vary the complexity of the animal facts so that everyone learned something each audience was satisfied. I would talk for a minute on a preschool age level, then elaborate on that for the older kids in the audience. The kids and adults stayed interested and involved as I progressed in complexity. I have seen other presentations where multiple professions were present at the same time. Targeting all of the different

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