Getting Over Yourself

February 26, 2013

What’s more powerful a visual than PowerPoint?

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 12:19 pm
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If you’ve never snoozed through someone’s bullet-pointed PowerPoint presentation, then maybe you’ve never been to a PowerPoint presentation. Few people seem to have the hang of the concept of “visuals”– mistakenly thinking that having something on the screen constitutes visual aids. And I love to get on my soapbox about that subject. But this time I’m going to concentrate on a vibrant alternative.

Some of the strongest “visuals” I’ve ever “seen” in a presentation have been the words coming from the speaker. Your life (and the happiness and satisfaction of your audience) will be much easier when you look at your topic from the standpoint of using stories and examples as much as possible to make your points. Those make for visual words that the audience will focus on and remember. It doesn’t matter who your audience is or what your topic, drawing verbal pictures for your audience will make your presentation more successful. And it will be way easier for you to deliver.

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Watch out for those wrists when you’re speaking

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 12:09 pm
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Body language is pretty thoroughly covered in many sources. But there are some things I see people do fairly often that aren’t sending the right message and yet don’t show up much in body language discussions. And they happen both in conversation and in presentations.

One major thing that I see a lot is bent wrists. You see people flapping their wrists back and forth rather than gesturing with the whole arm or forearm. And sometimes when they come to the end of a thought, then bend those wrists to fold one hand over the other. It looks quite stilted and distracts from the message. My goal always is for the speaker to be invisible, that is, to not distract from the message by doing things that aren’t natural and draw attention to themselves.

Another distraction is tension your upper arm that essentially glues it to your body and results in tight motions from elbow to hand. In general gestures should be fluid and not involve serious bending of individual joints–wrists, elbows, fingers.

You can look in the mirror to see how tight it looks when you limit your motion in this way.

February 12, 2013

Don’t blow your speech by promoting yourself!

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 11:11 am
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So, you’ve been asked to speak to a group to share your expertise and you’d like to get some business out of it. It’s tempting to tell them how good you are at what you do and how passionate you are about it. But, they’ve come to learn something not to worship at your altar. So, if you allow yourself to succumb to that temptation, you’ll not only not get business, you’ll get bad reviews that will reach farther than that audience.

Your best bet to connect with these people (and maybe even get business) is to focus on tips you can give them that will make their lives or their jobs easier. You don’t have to give away the store, you just need to give them some specific things they can use. They’ll feel good about you, they’ll see you as the expert, and they’ll keep you in mind when they (or someone else) needs what you have.

In some cases, there will be people who love what you say but aren’t willing (or able) to do it themselves, so you can add–in a friendly way–that they can do this themselves. But, if it isn’t a match for them, that’s what you’re in business for and you’d be happy to serve them. And that would be a pretty small part of your speech.

Stay focused on helping them rather than promoting yourself and you’re more likely to get results.

February 7, 2013

3 Things you can do to sharpen your presentations

First, are you spending enough time really getting to know what your audience cares about – in life and in your subject. It’s pointless to tell them what you want them to know if you don’t arrange it around what they’re interested in and how your topic relates to them.

Second, seamlessly weave in something everyone’s thinking about or familiar with. This month offers several possibilities. It’s not too late to find something about the Super Bowl that helps your point. Or Valentine’s Day, or the Academy Awards. If you do a good job of connecting the dots between these and your subject your audience will stay awake and get your point. It’ll also be easier for you to give.

Third, don’t blow off the closing. Ever. Give it your full attention while you’re planning what to say so that it sounds and feels like closure to you. And then do the same when you’re delivering it. Bring your whole self to the party as you say it rather than letting yourself think about sitting down.

These 3 things give you sharper content, give you a happier audience, and make you feel good about what you’ve accomplished after it’s over. Give it a try.

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