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Phoenix Public Speaking coaching and workshops

Archive for talent development

Speak Well Without a Script

 

How do you speak in a structured, conversational way, stay on point and on time, and do so without a script? This video unlocks the simple but powerful secret that can supercharge your public speaking and business presentation skills. Give it a tumble and let us know what you think.

Hey, keep your pants on!

 

A lot of tips have been written for Zoom hosts and presenters, but what about participants in the audience. You can’t hide in the back row like you can at an in-person meeting. Watch this video for some participant pitfalls to avoid during a Zoom meeting.

Don’t blow your credibility

 

In communication, especially personal communication like public speaking, credibility is everything. Want to know the fastest way to blow your credibility as a public speaker or business presenter? This video will tell you the pitfalls to avoid when making presentations.

You can drag and drop in Zoom

 

Did you know that you can drag and drop in Zoom? Do you know why, as a business presenter, you’d want to? This tip will help you to better connect with your audience on Zoom.

Making Public Speaking Fun, Less Scary

Can public speaking be fun? How can you conquer public speaking fear? Should you use a green screen when presenting on Zoom? What role does storytelling play in public speaking? What are common mistakes to avoid? These and other questions are answered in the lively podcast interview I did with Book Marketing Mentors recently.

Book Marketing Mentors is a first-rate podcast and I am very thankful that Susan Friedman, CSP, asked me to join as this week’s guest expert. I’ve been a huge fan of Susan and her podcast since it began about four years ago. I always get a few actionable tips off of every episode. So, this time, I was the one giving tips.

Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

LISTEN NOW

 

Oh, and you can also download a PDF transcript of the entire podcast. Hey, it makes great bedtime reading! LOL

DOWNLOAD THE TRANSCRIPT

 

Why I Coach Public Speaking

Did I choose public speaking coaching as a career or did it choose me? Here’s the story of how I went from a 20-year career in corporate communications to became a public speaking and business presentation skills coach.

Winning Combo: Research + Anecdotes

Here’s the fastest way to become an expert on any topic that you need to speak on – research. Yes, solid research can give an immediate boost to the credibility of your business presentation or persuasive speech.

Pick credible sources for your research and be wary of advocacy groups that have a clear bias. My general rule is: the more controversial your subject is, the more credible your research sources need to be. If you do choose an advocacy group that is clearly on one side of an issue, make that clear and consider having a counter opinion from someone on the other side of that issue.

You don’t want to give a full citation in your presentation because, well, that’s just plain boring. However, you do want to mention the research you gathered in a conversational way, such as “According to the Centers for Disease Control …” or “I think Bob Burg had it about right when he said …”. This casual mention will let your audience know that you’ve done your homework.

Meanwhile, you do want to have the full citation at the ready in case members of your audience ask about it after your presentation has concluded. You may get a skeptic who wants to validate your source. Or, you may get someone who is excited about the citation and wants to share it with their colleagues.

Finally, consider this: A presentation with good research data but without a story to illustrate your point lacks emotion and makes it more difficult for your audience to connect with your point. The audience may be numb from all the data. Does that sound like any business presentations you’ve sat through? In contrast, a presentation with colorful personal anecdotes but without research data may lack context and may strain credibility. The audience may be left thinking “that’s your story, but what about everyone else?”

So, what’s a poor presenter to do? Here’s the winning combo: Combine your research data with personal anecdotes. It might go something like this: “So, now that you’ve heard my story, you may be wondering how this issue affects people nationwide. Let’s look at the data.”

Now that’s a powerful 1-2 punch. Boom!


RELATED POSTS

Using Data to Tell Your Story

3 Ways to unNumb Numbers

 

Engage and Transform Your Audience

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The first time I remember being aware of public speaking was when I was 10 years old. It was a sermon at church and it was the first time that I had seen a large group of people focused on just one person speaking.

Even more amazing to me was how the audience reacted. The laughed when he told a joke and and they nodded in agreement during his stories. They were engaged.

Following the sermon, the parishioners met the pastor on the front steps of the church. They said good morning and shook his hand. Many told him what the sermon had meant to them personally. Some of them were transformed by it.

The lesson I learned that day was the magic of public speaking: the ability to engage and transform an audience.

Do you remember the first time you saw a public speaker? What was your reaction? Tells us about it in the comments section below.

Equipment to Look and Sound Your Best to Engage a Virtual Audience

By Paul Barton
Principal Consultant

Lights, camera, action! If you’re going to present frequently in a virtual world, you need to look and sound your best to be an engaging speaker. That may require an equipment upgrade to get the right look and sound.

When the COVID-19 virus hit and the lockdowns began, like most everyone, I had to pivot quickly. I had been a public speaking coach on the move. With my rolling computer bag and MacBook Pro laptop, I went from client to client, from Starbucks to Starbucks. When my home office suddenly became my sole place of business, I tried several “do it yourself” solutions to look and sound professional. I experimented with lighting, green screens, and the built-in equipment, but I just couldn’t get the quality I needed to be an effective presenter.

Eventually, I decided to make the investment to upgrade my equipment. I wanted high-quality but budget-friendly equipment. And once I made the switch, it became one of those decisions where I thought, “Why didn’t I do this before?”

I have since qualified as an eSpeakers Certified Virtual Presenter and I’m now fully prepared to present high-quality virtual workshops for corporate teams or virtual conferences.

The following are the equipment choices I made for a total of $347. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, no one is compensating me in any way for these endorsements.

> Lighting: After consulting with my professional photographer friend, Patrick Rapps, I chose the Neewer Ring Light. It has a dimmer control that adjusts from 1% to 100% and it puts off very little heat. It does not come with a stand, but as a speaker and musician, I had an extra mic stand. It is now mounted so that it is shining head-on at me. My Neewer also has come in handy for casual family photos elsewhere in the house. Cost: $66.

> Camera: The built-in FaceTime HD camera on my iMac just wasn’t cutting it. I chose the highly recommended C922x Pro Stream Webcam, a full 1080p HR camera. It clips on top of my iMac and also can be mounted in a wide variety of places. It has built-in light correction and a 5-foot cable, so it’s versatile. It also has built-in microphones that are better than the iMac built-in microphones, but not as good as my next choice. Cost: $151.

> Microphone: The webcam mic was better than the iMac built-in, but not nearly as good as my Blue Yeti. You can hear the difference between the built-in mic and the Blue Yeti. The Blue Yeti has settings for cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo. That makes it good for Zoom meetings, podcasts, and even recording my guitar for those random “public speaking blues” songs I post on my Instagram occasionally. The Blue Yeti also has a volume control, a mute button, and zero-latency headphone output. Cost: $130.

So, those are the equipment choices I made. I encourage you to shop around and discover what works best for you. And when you find the right fit, you’ll be well on your way to being a virtual business presenter that can turn heads, win hearts, and get results.

RELATED POSTS

Zoom Dos and Don’ts

5 Tips to Make You a Better Videoconference Presenter

5 Tips to Conduct a Virtual Meeting

Pros and Cons of Green Screen Background

How to Blur Your Virtual Background for a More Realistic Look

Pros and Cons of Green Screen vs. Authentic Backgrounds

By Paul Barton
Principal Consultant

The great Zoom meeting debate is on – green screen vs. real background. What say you? Which do you prefer? If you’re not sure, here are some things to consider that will lead you to the answer that’s best suited for your presentation.

Green Screen Do’s and Don’ts

Green screen for Zoom meetings

My $7 “green screen”

Green screens can provide a layer of privacy if you don’t have an attractive home office and they can be professional looking when done correctly. But if you want to look professional, ditch the unrealistic and distracting views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the fun but silly palm trees blowing in the wind. Instead, go with a simple background, such as a solid color with your company logo or an uncluttered photo.

Canva or Snappa offer Zoom templates that you can easily customize. You can slightly blur your photo for a more realistic look. If you use the Zoom built-in virtual background without an actual green screen behind you, your audience will likely see your head warp as you move.

I know some folks who painted an entire wall green or purchased green screen backdrops. These solutions work well and are a good choices if you’re using them enough to warrant the time and expense. However, there are less expensive options. I set up a simple green screen in my home office using an appropriately colored green blanket I bought at Walmart for $7. Then I created a solid-colored Zoom background with my company logo for meetings I was hosting and a solid colored non-logo background for meetings where I was a participant.

Although I was able to get my green screen to look good, I prefer my actual bookshelf background for most business situations.

Actual Background Do’s and Don’ts

Bookshelf background for Zoom

Note empty space for head

A natural background allows you to show your audience a bit of your personality. And, of course, it’s also more authentic and less pretentious.

If you go with a real background, make sure it is framed correctly on your webcam, free from clutter, and lit properly. A well-placed book and a houseplant can add a nice touch to the ambiance of your presentation. However, make sure the area behind your head is empty so you don’t have knickknacks or plants appearing to grow out of your head.

In addition to my bookshelf, I also had a large foam board logo printed at OfficeMax and hung it on a blank wall for presentations that I deliver from a standing position. This is what I use to record my online courses and marketing videos.

The Bottom Line on Zoom Backgrounds

As Zoom meetings continue to be the way we do business meetings, conferences and even networking events, we’ll continue to weigh the pros and cons of virtual backgrounds and the actual backgrounds. Whichever option you choose, make sure your background isn’t distracting. As always, you are the star of your presentation, not your background or technology.

The bottom line is this: Choose the background option that will best connect with your audience. A virtual conference audience with hundreds of participants may respond best to a presenter that stands out with a professional-looking green screen background. However, a 1-on-1 coaching client or a small group may engage more with a presenter that has a more personal background.

As with all effective communication strategies, let the audience guide you to success.

 

RELATED POSTS

Zoom Dos and Don’ts

5 Tips to Make You a Better Videoconference Presenter

5 Tips to Conduct a Virtual Meeting

How to Blur Your Virtual Background for a More Realistic Look