Do you want to be the type of presenter who can command a room? If so, you’ll want to check out our newest workshop. We’re partnering once again with the Phoenix Business Journal and offering a presentation skills workshop entitled “3 Steps to Own Any Room.”
The workshop will be held Thursday, Sept. 20, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Arizona Better Business Bureau, 1010 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85014. Lunch will be served.
EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT: An exclusive 20% discount is being offered to readers of this blog. Use offer code SPEAK when checking out to receive your discount.
Our last three Phoenix Business Journal workshops sold out quickly so be sure to register today!
“My values, our values, aren’t about pointing fingers. They are about offering a helping hand.” — Kathleen Blanco, first woman to be elected governor of Louisiana
Pointing fingers and effective public speaking simply don’t go together. Pointing is often perceived as arrogant, aggressive and rude — not characteristics we want to project to an audience when making a business presentation or speaking in public.
What’s more, pointing at someone in the audience during a talk — for instance, to call on someone during a Q&A — can create a perception of “you” and “them” rather than “we” and “us.” A pointing finger can be perceived as divisive. And anything that can come between you and your ability to make a better connection with your audience should be eliminated.
But what if you are pointing at someone in a friendly way to commend them? What if you were pointing, but smiling and saying something like, “Joe here, he did a great job!” Even when you are announcing good news or saying something nice about someone, a pointing finger lessens the positive impact of your message.
What to do Instead of Finger Pointing
So what should you do instead? How do you point without pointing?
If you do need to acknowledge someone in your audience, try extending an arm toward them with an open hand. This will be seen as a much friendlier, more inclusive gesture. It’s also easier to see from a distance, which could be helpful for those in the back row if you’re speaking in a large room.
You can even use this gesture to call attention to a PowerPoint chart or any inanimate object. “Handouts will be on that table when the session is over.”
An extended arm with an open hand is a great gesture on or off the stage. Try using it in everyday conversations with work colleagues, friends and family. Use it to draw attention to people and objects. Like most things, if you do it often enough, it will become second nature.
What We Say, How We Say It
What we say, and how we say it, directly impacts our body language and gestures. Try shouting angerly and you will find yourself instinctively pointing fingers and making fists. But the opposite is true as well — by changing our gestures to open and friendly, we can affect what we say, and how we say it in a positive way.
You may find that gesturing in a more welcoming, more inclusive way, instinctively changes your word choices and the tone of your voice.
Eliminating weak language in your business presentations and speeches will help you to be a more effective leader and a better public speaker. Unnecessary equivocating phrases such as “kind of,” “sort of” or “just wanted” will chip away at your credibility and sabotage your own effectiveness. Instead, use powerful, straightforward language and seek to be inclusive with your audience.
To be more inclusive, think “influence and include’ rather than “command and control” or “more we and less me.”
Compare these phrases:
“This is sort of my plan to get the ball rolling.” vs. “This is our plan to get the ball rolling.”
“I just wanted to say thank you for all of your hard work and dedication.” vs. “Thank you for your hard work and dedication.”
“In my opinion, we should take a different course of action.” vs. “Let’s take a different course of action.”
If you want to be perceived as a leader, speak with confidence, conviction, and inclusiveness in areas where you are certain, committed and need the support of your audience. When you speak like a leader, you’ll have a more powerful presentation and inspire more listeners to take action.
Keeping a virtual audience engaged can seem like a daunting task. They can see you, but for the most part, you won’t be able to see who you are presenting or talking to. So how do you keep an audience like that engaged beyond having an entertaining presentation? In this post, we’ll review some simple tactics on how you can keep a virtual audience engaged.
1) Demand Undivided Attention
The simplest way to get a virtual audience to engage with you and your presentation is to ask for their undivided attention from the beginning of the presentation. As them to put away their phones, close out of all the other tabs they might have open in their browser windows and dedicate the next block of time to the presentation and what they will learn.
2) Ask questions/Polls/Quizzes
To keep a virtual audience engaged include questions throughout your presentation. You can ask questions in the form of polls or quizzes as well. If there is a chat functionality enabled, you can ask participants to leave their response in the chatbox. For example, you can say “If this makes you feel frustrated type 1 in the chatbox”, or you can present different scenarios and ask your audience to type in the scenario they identify with.
3) Include Interactive Elements In Your Video
Interactive videos are a great way to keep a virtual audience engaged. Interactive videos can include click-throughs to landing pages, quizzes, or play certain sections based on the viewer’s choices. There are some great tools out there to help you create these types of videos like Vizio, or you can check out YouTube, as it allows for simple video interaction cards that can lead your viewer to subscribe to your channel or watch a related video or playlist.
A simple way to keep a virtual audience engaged is to host a Q&A based on the subject of your presentation. The whole presentation can be a Q&A session or you can present and leave time at the end for some questions.
5) Include Your Audience In The Broadcast
Live videos are a great way to increase reach for your social media channels, and what better way engage an audience than to give them a chance to be included in the broadcast. On Facebook Live (on mobile), Hangouts On Air via YouTubeLive and Instagram Live Stories, you can have someone broadcast with you in real time! Give your participants a chance to be on air with you to keep everyone engaged.
6) Offer Bonuses
Offering a bonus for those who stay through the end of your presentation can be a quick tactic to keep a virtual audience engaged. Some software will let you know who stayed until the end, or you can simply offer a link, or coupon code at the very end of your presentation to keep things simple.
7) Conduct Chats
One final way you can keep a virtual audience engaged is to conduct chats after a presentation. Perhaps you’ve interviewed someone and the second part of that is for your audience to continue the conversation in a chat or even a live stream session with the interviewee.
I hope these seven tactics to engage a virtual audience come in handy for your next presentation!
ABOUT THE GUEST BLOGGER
Dhariana Lozano has been in the social media and digital marketing world for over seven years. She is the co-founder of Supremacy Marketing, a boutique social media marketing firm based in New York City. Her experience includes creating social media strategies and consulting for both B2C and B2B brands to help them stand out and break through digital walls for ongoing success. She blogs at DhariLo.com where she provides social media tips, resources, and courses. You can see her work published in Social Media Week, Social Media Today, and the AgoraPulse blog. You can connect with Dhariana by sending her a tweet @Dharilo.
If you’re a low-energy public speaker, here are a few tips to add a little “umph” to your speeches or business presentations. I believe there are three aspects of public speaking that are inextricably linked together.
If you manipulate any one of these three, it will affect the other two:
How energetic you feel
How wide you gesture
How loud you speak
When you are feeling energetic inside, you naturally gesture wider and talk louder. Likewise, when you gesture wider, you naturally talk louder and begin to feel more energetic. And when you talk louder, you naturally gesture wider and feel more energetic.
Try this test. First, stand up. You’ll always have more energy standing and should always choose this option to speak if it doesn’t look awkward to do so.
From your standing position start speaking about any random subject very softly and try gesturing very wide, with your arms outstretched like a great bird. It’s hard to do, isn’t it? It requires focus and concentration to speak softly and to gesture widely. It’s not natural. Your voice instinctively will start to get louder as your gestures get wider. Next, try speaking loudly but gesturing small and close to your chest. That’s equally hard to do, right? Again, it’s not the way we are wired and it feels awkward.
So, if you need a little energy punch in your speech or business presentation, try standing up, putting some air under your wings and talking a little louder than you typically do. You’ll feel your energy — and your ability to engage your audience — rise to the occasion.
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s once gave this advice on public speaking: “Be sincere. Be brief. Be seated.” FDR’s advice is spot on, especially for today’s audiences who seem to value authenticity and brevity above all else.
To master sincerity, focus on being personal, being yourself, but not being perfect. FDR mastered this technique in his famous “fireside chat” radio addresses to the nation.
But what’s the secret to being brief? How do you make your points as powerfully as possible in the shortest amount of time? Answer: Structure.
Having a thought-out and orderly structure to your speech keeps you focused and relevant and keeps you from rambling. Roosevelt mastered this technique as well.
In our coaching practice and workshops, we teach simple but powerful speech structures that you can easily adapt and use in business presentations, speeches and anywhere you find yourself speaking in public. Want to learn more? Let’s talk. Schedule a Speaking Sucess Strategy Session with us today. We promise to be sincere and to be brief!
Phoenix Public Speaking Principal Consultant Paul Barton will discuss exactly what it takes to be an effective public speaker and business presenter in the “Blueprint for Public Speaking Success” talk in Phoenix on Friday, March 2.
Simple but powerful ways to define the qualities needed to be a good speaker.
How to use the blueprint to assess your skills — what areas are you good at, what areas do you need to improve.
New ways of thinking about what it means to be an effective communicator in the Digital Age.
This one-hour informal talk is free to attend but you must register. Seating is limited to the first five people who sign-up. The talk will be held in a private conference room located within a Starbucks. It’s a cozy atmosphere that is conducive for insightful conversation. Participants are asked to bring pen and paper, and be prepared for an interactive discussion. Hope to see you there!
Many folks use the words “podium” and “lectern” interchangeably when talking about public speaking and business presentations. The two words actually refer to two very different things.
A podium is a small platform on a stage. You stand on a podium. A lectern is the piece of furniture that often supports a microphone and usually has space for a speaker to place his or her notes. You stand at a lectern.
This isn’t a grammar website, but hey, we thought anyone interested in public speaking would want to know the difference. And now you do.
By Julie Solomon
CMO, CCS Presentation Systems Guest Blogger
As the Chief Marketing Officer of one of the largest audio-visual integration companies in the country, I am always asked to make recommendations and offer guidance for business presenters and other speakers on what they should use for their presentations.
Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. You are scheduled to give a business presentation at a new location and you are sweating the technology. How early do you need to get there to make sure everything works? Will your laptop connect? Do you have the cables you need? What about internet access on their network?
My best advice is this: Choose the right software and you don’t need to panic anymore.
Simply by jumping on the internet from the room’s in-house computer you can: easily open, deliver and save presentations anywhere, from any device — including Chromebooks and iPads; connect your audience’s devices to your presentation to get them engaged, contribute ideas and answer questions; gather live feedback; and so much more.
It all starts back at your home or office when you use the SMART Notebook software to build your presentation. A subscription lets you install SLS on up to four computers. Choose from over 7,000 learning objects in Gallery Essentials to enhance your presentation, including images, backgrounds, dynamic files, video and audio content. You can even search for and embed YouTube videos directly by opening the YouTube add-on. You can also include assessment questions through SMART Response that will track participants’ answers and a myriad of other exciting, interactive features all rolled up in one software suite.
‘Now, you have the ability to make your presentations as dynamic and innovative as you are.’
If you are presenting in a location that has a touch display, you can really show off. Use hand gestures to zoom, pan, flick, and swipe. Scale objects or pages, flick an object or swipe between pages. You also can touch the interactive display to shake objects to quickly group and ungroup them. Use a variety of different tools, including pens and paintbrush, to create and emphasize, draw in any color and even convert handwriting to text or calligraphy.
The days of death by PowerPoint are over! Now, you have the ability to make your presentations as dynamic and innovative as you are. To quickly learn the software and how to revise and expand your existing presentations, reach out to our local team of professional trainers. You can attend a workshop at our headquarters in Scottsdale or make arrangements to work with them one-on-one.
ABOUT OUT GUEST BLOGGER
Julie Solomon, Chief Marketing Officer at CCS Presentation Systems in Scottsdale, manages all marketing and training activities for CCS Southwest and oversees national brand marketing for CCS locations across the US. In addition, she is responsible for fostering relationships with audio/visual vendors and new corporate and education customers.
ABOUT CCS PRESENTATIONS
One of the largest groups of audio/video integration companies in the country, CCS Presentation Systems Inc. provides integration, installation, training, and maintenance of audio-video equipment to businesses, schools, and government clients. Products include LCD/LED large format displays, interactive collaboration tools, digital projectors, digital signage, audio systems, room control and more. CCS is the preferred supplier to the Education, Corporate, Government, and Non-Profit markets, boasting more than 350 employees in 13 states, with annual revenue in excess of $115 million. Phone: 480-348-0100