Saturday, June 28, 2014

How to Deliver Slides

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

If you are using slides as part of your presentation, here are 8 tips for delivering them effectively:

1.    Use a PowerPoint remote control so you can advance the slides without having to be tethered to the computer.

2.    Black out the screen when you don’t need the slides (for example, during audience exercises or Q&A) so you can stand front and center.

3.    Stand to the left of the screen so the audience, which reads left to right, will see you and then your slides.  (This also applies even if the screen is above you).

4.    Decide what you want to say for each slide – what is the message? If there is more than one message, considering splitting the material into two slides).

5.    Focus on how to begin your voiceover of the slide and how to end it.

6.    Practice a clear transition to the next slide so you don’t end up saying “um,” “ah,”…

7.    Decide if you want to give copies of your slides to the audience (they will read ahead) – or provide a document with the same content rather than slide copies.

8.    Face the audience and make eye contact with them - position the computer so you can see the computer screen rather than having to turn and face the big screen to see what’s coming next.

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Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How to Introduce Yourself Quickly - Video

Ever go to a networking event or business meeting where you had to introduce yourself quickly? Watch my short video for strategies for introducing yourself quickly.  This is the most popular video on my YouTube channel, with over 95,000 views!
 
If the video does not play, go to



Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com

Monday, June 16, 2014

How to Engage the Audience When Presenting

by Gilda Bonanno LLC www.gildabonanno.com

When you present, it’s important for you to connect to the audience so they pay attention and understand your message.  Here are 9 strategies for engaging the audience:  

1.    Know the audience
If you know the audience and understand how they like to receive information, it's much easier for you to construct a presentation that makes sense to them.  For example, you lead off with a problem statement and then provide a solution.  Or, you go chronologically through the history of this project.  If you speak “their language,” it will be easier to keep their attention.

2.    Start strong
Don’t waste too much of your precious first few seconds thanking everyone and making comments about the weather or logistic announcements. Capture the audience’s attention by launching right into your content with a startling statistic, provocative question, relevant story or bold statement of your message.

3.    Use real examples
Use real examples whenever possible, because that helps your audience see and understand what you’re talking about. You can keep names confidential if necessary; for example, “One of our clients who works for a pharmaceutical company said they loved our product because…”

4.    Be descriptive, not bland
Use evocative language and vivid imagery.  Choose expressive words that paint a picture in the minds of your audience. 

5.    Vary your body language
Don’t speak in a monotone or stand stiffly and stare at the floor. Use natural gestures and make eye contact with different people in the audience. Vary your voice and facial expressions to give meaning to your words.  

6.    Stay on topic
Don’t allow questions to lead you off on a tangent. Take the question off-line if you can’t answer it quickly or it’s not on topic or interesting to the rest of the audience.

7.    Use pauses wisely
You want to keep the flow of the presentation moving, but you don’t want to speak so quickly that people can’t keep up with you.  Use pauses to give the audience a chance to absorb what you’ve said, to give yourself time to think of what to say next instead of “um” and “ah” and for dramatic effect.

8.    Ask real questions
Asking questions of the audience can be a straightforward way for you to engage people.  If you do ask questions, be clear when they are real questions that you’d like answers to and give people a chance to think about their answers.  And don’t promise audience involvement if you have no intention of following through on that promise. 

9.     End strong
Don’t just end with “No questions? OK, uh, thanks, I guess we’re done…”  Even if you take questions, make sure you’ve prepared a conclusion for after the questions.  End with a powerful restatement of your message, a rhetorical question to the audience or a motivational declaration.

Following these 9 strategies will help you capture and keep the audience’s attention throughout your presentation so they understand and remember your message.



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Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Public Speaking: What and How to Practice

Planning and practice are crucial to the success of your presentation, particularly if you’ve presenting on a new topic, in a new environment or in front of a new audience, or if the situation is high-stakes and high-impact.

Here are some guidelines for what and how to practice:
Practice the building blocks
Focus on your opening, conclusion and the transitions from one section to the next.  These are the building blocks of your presentation and if you are confident about them, it will be easier to deliver the rest of the presentation.  And you will use fewer pause words like “um” and “ah” to get from one section to another.

Practice is not about memorization
You’re not practicing to memorize word for word what you’re going to say. Memorizing can be disastrous because during the live presentation, you will be in your head trying to remember what comes next rather than in the moment engaging the audience. Practice to become comfortable enough with the information so that you can say it a variety of different ways with the same meaning.

Time your content
One of the worst mistakes a presenter can make is to go over the time limit, or said another way, to deliver an incomplete presentation because you ran out of time. Time your presentation so you get an average for how long it takes to deliver.  And if it’s too long, cut out content. 

Do a dress rehearsal
Practice is not sitting at your desk and flipping through your slides.  The concept of a dress rehearsal is borrowed from the theater.  A few days before the show opens, the performers get into costume and do a full run-through with full staging and orchestra.  The purpose of a dress rehearsal is to get comfortable not only with the content but also with the environment and logistics. 

If you can’t do your dress rehearsal in the actual room you will present in, practice in as close to the real environment as possible.  Figure out where you will stand or sit and how the slides will look from the audience’s point of view.  Understand the lighting and the sound.   

A dress rehearsal is also important if there are new elements such as:

  • New content that you’re just getting familiar with
  • Using a microphone or PowerPoint remote for the first time
  • A larger room than you’re used to
  • A more senior audience than usual
  • New technology such as live streaming or video conferencing
  • Having to dress in more formal clothes, such as a suit
Now you might say, “My presentation is 45 minutes.  I’m not going to stand up and do a 45-minute dress rehearsal.”  If the presentation is important enough (high-stakes with potential for a big positive – or negative – impact on your job and career) and you are motivated, yes, I think a full 45-minute dress rehearsal would be very helpful.

And with each presentation you prepare for and give, you will get more comfortable with your content and the room environment, and require less practice time.

Yes, it takes time to practice, but it’s time well spent.  The more time you spend upfront on your practice, the more you will be able to deliver your presentation with confidence and clarity.  You’ll be able to focus on connecting with the audience rather than worrying about what could go wrong or a logistical detail such as how to use the microphone.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How to Engage the Audience When Presenting

by Gilda Bonanno LLC www.gildabonanno.com  
 
When you present, it’s important for you to connect to the audience so they pay attention and understand your message.  Here are 9 strategies for engaging the audience:  

1.    Know the audience
If you know the audience and understand how they like to receive information, it's much easier for you to construct a presentation that makes sense to them.  For example, you lead off with a problem statement and then provide a solution.  Or, you go chronologically through the history of this project.  If you speak “their language,” it will be easier to keep their attention.

2.    Start strong
Don’t waste too much of your precious first few seconds thanking everyone and making comments about the weather or logistic announcements. Capture the audience’s attention by launching right into your content with a startling statistic, provocative question, relevant story or bold statement of your message.  

3.    Use real examples
Use real examples whenever possible, because that helps your audience see and understand what you’re talking about. You can keep names confidential if necessary; for example, “One of our clients who works for a pharmaceutical company said they loved our product because…”

4.    Be descriptive, not bland
Use evocative language and vivid imagery.  Choose expressive words that paint a picture in the minds of your audience. 

5.    Vary your body language
Don’t speak in a monotone or stand stiffly and stare at the floor. Use natural gestures and make eye contact with different people in the audience. Vary your voice and facial expressions to give meaning to your words.

6.    Stay on topic
Don’t allow questions to lead you off on a tangent. Take the question off-line if you can’t answer it quickly or it’s not on topic or interesting to the rest of the audience.  

7.    Use pauses wisely
You want to keep the flow of the presentation moving, but you don’t want to speak so quickly that people can’t keep up with you.  Use pauses to give the audience a chance to absorb what you’ve said, to give yourself time to think of what to say next instead of “um” and “ah” and for dramatic effect.

8.    Ask real questions
Asking questions of the audience can be a straightforward way for you to engage people.  If you do ask questions, be clear when they are real questions that you’d like answers to and give people a chance to think about their answers.  And don’t promise audience involvement if you have no intention of following through on that promise. 

9.     End strong
Don’t just end with “No questions? OK, uh, thanks, I guess we’re done…”  Even if you take questions, make sure you’ve prepared a conclusion for after the questions.  End with a powerful restatement of your message, a rhetorical question to the audience or a motivational declaration.

Following these 9 strategies will help you capture and keep the audience’s attention throughout your presentation so they understand and remember your message.


Sign up to receive more public speaking and networking strategies from Gilda's e-newsletter: http://www.gildabonanno.com/Pages/newsletter.aspx


Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com