Memorial Day has come and gone. It’s officially summer. It’s time for the 2013 Summer Presentation Skills Reading List. DC’s had it’s full share of rain, so the Summer heat and humidity can not be far off. The Greene family will be heading off to the beaches of Bethany and Rehobeth in Delaware. Yes, lots of Thrashers Fries will be consumed. In August we’ll zip up to upper Minnesota, near Hackensack, MN, for a couple weeks at a family lakeside cabin.
2013’s Summer Presentation Skills Reading List consists of books that are designed for speakers who aspire to take their presentation skills to the next level. If you’re giving presentations on a regular basis, then you’ll relate to many of the stories in the books. Apply the information to your presentations and you’ll be a better speaker by the Tuesday after Labor Day. Have a fun, safe, and magical Summer.
Want more presentation tips? Watch Charles’ videos on speaking and presentation skills or read Charles’ weekly presentation tips. From the fundamentals of speaking to PowerPoint pointers, Charles covers all aspects of public speaking. Have a specific presentation question? Send him a message. Even during the summer, he’ll respond to your presentation skills questions.
Charles Greene III Presentation Magician
Recently Billy Joel, of “Piano Man” fame, held “An Evening of Questions and Answers and a Little Bit of Music” at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. During the Q&A portion, Michael Pollack, a student, asked Mr. Joel if he could accompany him on piano for “New York State Of Mind.” Billy Joel, the composer of the classic ode to Manhattan said, “Okay.” A buzz then took over the crowded room. See the video below for the performance and interaction between Mr. Joel and Michael Pollack.
Watch the video of Billy Joel & Michael Pollack.
Would you discuss quantum physics with Stephen Hawking? Play singles with Serena Williams? Con Ricky Jay? Are you ready for your moment in the spotlight? Michael Pollack had chutzpah. He also had confidence in his preparation. He was ready for his moment.
Charles in Central Park – New York State of Mind
Michael Pollack’s 3 areas of readiness:
1) Ready to request. Michael Pollack was willing to stand up and state his request. He had the confidence to know that this was his moment and that he was ready for it. All he had to do was make his request known.
Regardless of how wonderful your idea may be, it requires that you have the confidence to put it out there. The world is filled with great ideas. Most do not get heard, because people are afraid to share their ideas with other people. Be ready to share your idea with the rest of the world.
2) Ready to fulfill the request. Malcolm Gladwell has stated that it takes about 10,000 hours devoted to a particular talent to reach a level of Mastery with that skill. Michael Pollack demonstrated that he had put in those hours. When Billy Joel asks “What key do you play it in?, Michael responds, “What key do you want?” That’s Mastery.
With speaking, it can take over 300 presentations to match Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 Hour Theory.” Experience & long-term commitment impacts skill. Practice your presentation skills so that you can exceed expectations of your audiences. Be ready for your moment in the spotlight.
3) Ready to stay within his role. When Michael Pollack sat at the piano, Billy Joel confers with him for just a moment. Michael Pollack then played the song well, very well. He never took over or strayed from his role as the guest accompanist. In jazz they call this “playing it straight.”
In speaking, many presenters don’t “play it straight.” They speak beyond their given time slots. They try to outshine others speakers when on a panel. They break out the thesaurus to impress their audience. It’s always better to “play it straight.” Take less time than your allotted time to deliver your message. Be supportive of your audience. Use clear words, especially when explaining intricate ideas.
Confidence without preparation: A plan for disaster Many people believe that they can “wing” it when it comes to speaking and giving presentations. They don’t put in the time before the presentation to properly prepare, know their audience, select the the best structure for their message, or practice their presentation. Unfortunately, we all know of lots examples of people taking the stage without being ready, without having prepared for their moment before an audience.
“Winging it” is dangerous. Remember Clint Eastwood and “The Chair?” Great actor, but the his last minute decision to try something different, left a lot of people wondering, “What was that all about.? That’s not the impression you want to leave with the your presentation audience.
Be ready for your moment. Polish your presentation skills Everyone can be a better public speaking. Everyone can improve their presentation skills. To do so it takes time and dedication. You must be willing to practice the small and big things of presenting. You must read the books, blogs, and notes of great speakers. You must present whenever possible so that you can attain your 10,000 hours needed to reach Mastery. Do all this and you’ll have a nice set of “presentation chops.”
Have thoughts about being ready and practicing your presentation skills? Leave a comment below.
Public speaking? See for yourself.
Take a giant leap forward towards becoming a better and more confident public speaker. Use video to improve your public speaking skills by seeing what’s really going on with your presentation skills. If you’ve never seen yourself speak, chances are that you do something of which you’re not aware. Most presenters have some tic, habit, or mannerism that distracts their audience. Until they see themselves on video, they don’t realize they do “x” while speaking. Video yourself and review the video at least three times. Then make adjustments for improvement.
Video is now easier than ever.
When you video your public speaking presentation, this final product is not destined for your local Cineplex; it’s simply for viewing on your computer screen. You don’t even have to edit this footage. Getting started is neither expensive nor difficult. In fact, you may already have most of what you need. If not, your initial investment could be as low as $150 – $250. After purchasing the equipment, the rest is easy; it just takes commitment.
Get basic gear.
Here are a few recommendations for basic video equipment: a small camcorder, phone video recorder, or camera with video capacity. You’ll want to place your video device on a tripod or some stabilizing unit. You could use a larger more professional camera, but for most situations you’ll want a small and non-obtrusive camera. See my specific equipment recommendations and sample video links below.
Watch the video for 3 video camera options.
Can you here me now? Don’t forget the audio.
Along with the video portion of your recording, make sure you have fairly clean audio. It doesn’t have to be perfect; interruptions for applause or laughter may be fine. Set your recording device at the back of the room. Placing it near a speaker will help it pick up your voice. Alternatively, you can record your voice separately with a pocket device, but that adds another layer to this task.
Watch & learn.
Once you have recorded your public speaking presentation, transfer it to a computer with a large monitor. You want to see yourself on a bigger screen than one provided on the recording device. Don’t worry about seeing yourself on the “big” screen. No one, not even professional speakers, likes seeing himself. But the professionals have learned that video review is a part of the process of getting better. If you’re hesitant to see yourself, remember that your audience is seeing you, so you might as well know what they are seeing.
3 Reviews is the magic number.
Watch your video at least three times. Review your presentation with the sound on and the sound off. Take notes. With the sound on, listen to what you are saying and how you say it. Do you use a lot of filler words? Do your sentences trail off? Is there vocal variety in your voice? When you watch the video with the sound off, focus on your non-verbals. Do you move around too much or not enough? Do you connect with your audience by looking at them? Do you gesture oddly?
Commit to use video.
If you want to be a better speaker, make the commitment to use video. Record as many presentations as you can. Review them and critique your speech and your style. If you don’t like what you see, remember that you’re in control. Make adjustments, fine tune your presentation skills, and leap towards becoming the great public speaker you want to be. Use video to get you there.
3 Basic High Definition Video recording device suggestions: Kodak Zi8 camcorder: Kodak no longer makes Zi8 HD camera, but it is readily available on EBay. This small pocket camcorder is versatile as it has an input for an external microphone. The recording medium is an SD card. Purchase an SD card that is at least 16 gbs. Video shot with Kodak Zi8
IPhone: An IPhone 4/4s/5 can record video in full HD using the back camera. Mounted on a tripod and steady mount, it will be fine. An external mike can be plugged into the IPhone. Various camera/video apps are available, but stick with the basic video program. The recording media is internal, but make sure that you have enough space to record your presentation. Remember to place your IPhone in airplane mode. You don’t want an in-coming call to disrupt your presentation or your recording. Video shot with an IPhone 4s and Edutige microphone
Watch this video by Carl Kwan. You can record your video with a camera at the back of the room while recording the audio with an IPhone or digital recorder that is placed in your pocket. This is the set up that I typically use. This set up ensures that I get clear audio. The microphone that I use with my IPhone is the Edutige Microphone Voice Recorder, which I highly recommend. To add some space between you and your IPhone, get the Edutige Microphone cable kit. It has a 50″ cord as well as an in-line volume control and headphone jack. Final item, don’t forget to use the wind screen on your microphone.
Want to quickly improve your presentation skills? Use an evaluation card after every public speaking opportunity. Evaluation cards are a great way to get real and immediate feedback from your presentation audience.
Evaluation cards let you know the true effectiveness of your presentation. Did you grab their attention? Did your message have value to them. Did you connect with your audience? Regardless of how much work you put into your presentation, the audience always has the final say.
The key to an effective evaluation card is to have simple questions that can be easily answered. My evaluation card has 8 questions. The first five questions are short and can be answered with a numerical rating of 1 – 5, 5 being the top level. Below the video, you can see my full evaluation card along with comments on each question.
Speaker Evaluation: Charles Greene III Presentation Magician Using the scale of 1 – 5, respond to each of the following statements, where:
1 = Strongly Disagree 2 = Disagree 3 = Neutral 4 = Agree 5 = Strongly Agree
The speaker grabbed my attention.How strong was my opening?
The presentation had value for my professional life. As a business speaker I want to know if my message connected with them on a professional level.
The speaker was able to stimulate and maintain interest. Did I keep them interested? Attention levels always drop in the middle of a presentation, but what did they think?
Satisfactory explanations were provided to questions asked. How were my responses to their questions? Did I give them what they requested?
I received value from this presentation. Was it worth their time? Was it an educational experience?
What did you like best? What was the highlight? What is the one thing that they’ll remember most?
What did you like least? What was the low-point? Every presentation has one.
What question do you have now that you wish had been answered by this speaker? Even though I allow lots of time for Q&A, there might be a topic that wasn’t covered or needed more time for discussion.
The critical 3 questions – The final three questions require a little more thought, but provide me with the best information for future improvement and growth.
Question 6 “What did you like best?” The responses to this question rarely give me new information, but it sets up the next two questions, which are critical in providing the best evaluations for improvement of your presentation and professional growth as a speaker.
Question 7 “What did you like least?” Every presentation has a weak link. Even though you may repeat the same presentation, the weak spot can change from audience to audience. Sometimes it can be a specific message point. Sometimes it can be a factor that is totally out of your control, like the temperature of the room. Knowing what your audience like least will give you a sense of what they experienced while listening to your presentation.
Question 8 “What question do you have now that you wish had been answered by the speaker?” The responses to this question tell me what I need to address more closely in future presentations. These responses have also given me direction for new presentation on a specific topic.
You might be thinking, why not use only questions 6, 7 & 8? A three question evaluation card might work, but the additional questions will give you better vision of how an audience viewed your presentation.
Feed back from an evaluation card is invaluable. Get it as often as you can. It provides you with the best window into how your audiences view your presentation. Reading the responses to an evaluation card will let you quickly improve your presentations. However, it’s your job to decipher their responses, make adjustments, and then incorporate the revisions into your next great presentation.
If you have questions on how to create an effective evaluation card, simply send me a message and I’ll take a look at your work.
Have a super day!
Charles Greene III Presentation Magician
Presentation Skills: PowerPoint has never killed anyone, yet millions have suffered from “Death by PowerPoint.” PowerPoint has a 95% share of the presentation software market. It’s the de facto visual aid used in corporate presentations. Every day over 30 million PowerPoint presentations are created. Unfortunately, most are awful.
There’s nothing wrong with PowerPoint. It’s a great tool — a hammer, a toothbrush, or a fork — make the tasks easier to accomplish; however, when used inappropriately, the tools work ineffectively at best and cause grave harm at worst. Imagine using a fork to brush your teeth. Ouch! Great tool. Wrong application. Most people use PowerPoint as a glorified word processor, filling their slides with lots of text. Great tool. Wrong application.
Shift your thinking - Let’s reframe a PowerPoint presentation as a road trip, a pleasurable drive on a wide-open road. The presenter is the driver, and the audience is the passenger. As the driver you invite your audience to join you on a PowerPoint road trip.
You should use slides that have strong visual images with few, if any, lines of text. Imagine your slides as canvas to be drawn on, containing as little text as possible. Think images. Think pictures.
On a PowerPoint road trip, you’ll take your audience on a tour of your thoughts and ideas using highly visual signs. You use each new sign as an opportunity to tell a story, and at the end of your trip, you deliver your passenger to a new destination. Hopefully, they’ve been transformed by the experience and share it with others.
Rearview mirror – If the story above is reminiscent of your slide deck, then your presentation skills get the checkered flag. You understand how to inform your audiences with highly visual signs and guide them toward a clearly defined destination. However, if your presentations seem closer to a rush-hour commute in heavy traffic, then it’s time for a tune-up of your slide deck.
Video – PowerPoint Road Trip – 5 point checklist
Speed read – Your presentation slides should resemble interstate highway signs – clearly visible with highly legible text. Presentation slides should provide essential information that can be absorbed in seconds. Unfortunately, most presentation slides resemble historical markers – lots of small text meant to be read while standing still.
Consider the following signs.
Which sign can be read while traveling at highway speeds?
Look at the following three examples of presentation slides that feature Washington, DC.
The first one lays out the city’s story like a book. It has a paragraph’s worth of full sentences. It’s a document, not a presentation slide. No presenter is needed to deliver this information. The audience can read the text and understand the story.
The second slide is Washington’s story formatted with bullet points – too many. Although not a document, this slide still has too much information, which makes the presenter unnecessary. Once again, the audience can read and understand the information on its own.
The third slide example is just the city name and an image. It has the efficiency of a highway sign. The slide is highly visual with minimal text. This slide gives the presenter maximum flexibility. The information can be absorbed in seconds, yet it requires a presenter to give it meaning and relevance.
Five point checklist for tuning up your presentation skills and creating a PowerPoint road trip.
1) Know your destination – Have a clear and concise message. Make sure that you know where you are taking your audience.
2) Be a responsible driver – Respect your audience. Do not read your slides to your audience. Connect with them with more than just your words. Use eye contact, vocal variety and movement to reach out and engage them.
3) Create clear signs – Design slides that are highly visual and support your key message. Use as little text as possible, maybe two or three words.
4) Pack light and tight – Tell your story with only the essentials. Use the fewest and strongest points to support your key message. When in doubt, leave it out.
5) Fuel your presentation – All road trips should start with a full tank of gas. Your personal passion is the fuel that will power your presentation. Like a car without gas, your presentation won’t go far without passion. So, fill‘er up with premium.
Charles on the road in Morocco.
Happy trails – Having been both a driver and a passenger with PowerPoint presentations, I know that it’s pleasurable to be in either seat when this checklist is followed. My thoughts on PowerPoint have been formed from my use of the tool in presenting a wide range of information, my research on the subject, and my time spent in the company of true masters of the tool at the Presentation Summit. My thoughts on road trips come from several very memorable experiences.
Driver’s manuals – Make a pit stop and read the books of Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds. No matter what your presentation software choice, PowerPoint, Keynote, or Prezi, their “less is more” thinking about presentation skills will point you in the right direction.
When you’re giving a presentation, audience inattention is never far away. It’s like gravity; it’s always there. Fortunately, you can fight audience inattention. Add video to your presentations and attention levels will soar.
Adding video to Powerpoint and Keynote presentations is easy. However, for your video to have impact, there are issues to consider beyond embedding a video file into a slide. The following 4 tips and bonus video will make your use of video in your presentations more successful.
4 tips on adding video to your PowerPoint presentations
1. Keep the video segments short. Stay within the range of 30 to 45 seconds. Think television. Most TV commercials are in that time range. The ones that are longer tend to have lots of action, and music. Unless your video is from Steven Spielberg or Gordon Parks, use a short video to grab attention and make quick point.
2. Travel with slide and video files together. Save your slide and the video files together in same folder. Always keep them together. The same is true when you create back ups of your presentation, on a thumb drive or on the cloud. Keep them together. When you play the video during your presentation, your slide software will search for the video file. If the file is not found, the video will not play. That’s not good.
4 Tips on adding video to your PowerPoint presentation.
3. Check your audio. Your video needs to be heard as well as seen. Make sure that your audio is connected to a sound system. If you are connecting your computer to a projector with a standard VGA connection, you’ll need an additional cable to get the sound out of your computer and into a sound system. Even if you are using an HDMI connection, test the audio of your video before your presentation. The key word is “before.” Make sure that the audio can be heard and that the volume is set to the right level.
4. Create an entry slide. An entry slide is simply a photo of your video slide. It’s placed it right before the slide that contains your video. An entry slide allows you to have the video appear on the screen before it actually starts. This gives you time to introduce the video. To make the video play, simply advance to the next slide and the video will start automatically. This technique lets you to use a basic wireless remote and have better control of your video start.
These 4 tips are based on lessons learned from actual experience. Hopefully, knowing these tips will let your avoid problems that I encountered. Leave a comment and let me know how these tips work for you.
Bonus video – D0es your presentation need a TV commercial? – The video is from Carl Kwan. Carl is a presentations, promo-video, and marketing consultant from Canada who has been based in Seoul, South Korea since 2004.
Carl gave me permission to share his video with you. He’s got some great thoughts on adding video to your presentations. For more ideas on presentation skills, check out CarlKwan.com.
Don’t forget, leave a comment and let me know about your experiences and how these tips work for you. Tweet these tips and share.
It’s Halloween week. In Washington, DC and along the Eastern seaboard we’re all hunkering down and waiting for Sandy, Hurricane Sandy. This could put a serious crimp in my daughter’s costume plans. Getting dressed up is fine, but showing off your Princess-Spider-Ballerina costume in front of real people makes all of the difference. It’s the emotional sensation of a live audience that makes everything different.
Live audiences energize performances. In a former life I was a stage performer at a Six Flags amusement park. I sang and danced as a part of a twelve member cast in a thirty minute production. After many months of practice and weeks of full-dress rehearsals, nothing beat the pulse of a live show. There was always something different, something better, when there were people in the theater. Receiving positive attention and hearty responses from the audience, the performers exuded greater energy.
Lift your presentations. It’s is the same with public speaking and corporate presentations. You can practice for hours, as you should. You can do full dress and tech rehearsals, as you should. But, there will always be something different, better, when you actually present in front of an audience. They’ll give you a lift that can’t duplicated during your practice sessions with empty chairs.
“When the audience comes in, it changes the temperature of what you’ve written.” Stephen Soundheim
Dare to compare. Take a look at a Pecha Kucha* presentation (6 min 40 sec) on Houdini that I recently delivered to a conference room packed with people. Something truly magical was created by the audience’s interaction and responsiveness.
Eight months earlier I did the very same Houdini Pecha Kucha presentation. On that occasion there was no audience, only an empty room. Can you sense the difference?
Without side by side comparison you’d never know the difference of how good the presentation could be. In isolation both presentations are fine. However, seeing one than the other, one is clearly better. Never underestimate the power of an audience.
Seek out an audience for your message. Your presentations, whether to groups of three or three hundred, will be affected by the presence of people. They’ll give you a lift that lets your presentation soar higher than during your practice runs.
Imagine being personally invited by Governor Mitt Romney to speak at a national conference. Envision being introduced as the special mystery guest of the evening. See yourself speaking to an audience of 10,000 people in the room while millions of others watched on television. It would be an amazing offer for most speakers, a once in a lifetime opportunity.
If you accepted the invitation you would probably prepare, worry, prepare some more, and then practice a lot. Right? Not if you are Clint Eastwood. For his speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL, Mr. Eastwood did not prepare, practice, or worry. Clint Eastwood is not “most speakers.” He’s a living legend.
Go ahead. Make his day. Ask him for a copy of his speech in advance. He’ll tell you that he doesn’t have one because he doesn’t know what he’s going to say. Most speakers could never get away with that. But then most speakers are not Clint Eastwood.
So ask yourself, do you feel that lucky in front of your audiences? Would you wing it and let the chips fall as they may? I hope not. We mortal speakers must deliver presentations that are thoughtfully prepared in advance and fully vetted. Here are four lessons learned from Mr. Eastwood’s turn at the dais that all of us who aren’t Clint Eastwood should apply .
1) Know what you are going to say long before you say it. Mr. Eastwood had three points that he wanted to convey: Not everybody in Hollywood is on the left, Obama has broken a lot of promises, and people should feel free to get rid of any politician who’s not doing a good job. Mr. Eastwood had ideas in mind, but he didn’t think about how he was going to say them until after he took a nap on the day of the speech. Because of a lack of preparation, when the speech ended everyone forgot his message points and remembered “The Chair.”
Preparing a speech takes time. Begin your preparation as soon as possible. Long before the big day arrives you should do the following presentation skill basics. Think about your audience. Define your message. Choose an appropriate story structure for your message and supporting points. Make sure that all of your information supports your key message points. This preparation and editing phase will help ensure that your key points, not furniture, gets the starring role. (Learn how to prepare.)
2) Be aware of your time. Mr. Eastwood was originally told to speak for six or seven minutes. His time was then cut to five minutes. Mr. Eastwood spoke for twelve minutes. According to Mr. Eastwood, “When you’re out there, it’s kind of hard to tell how much time is going by.”
Time warps when you are in front of an audience. Ask for signals to stay on time. Use a highly visible time marker. Hit your key message point early. The five-minute speech that you practiced in your office will be much longer when spoken “live” to a sizable audience. You must make allowances for factors that will eat away at your time – spontaneous questions from the audience, interruptions of a ringing cell phone, or a previous speaker running long.
3) Practice. Practice. Practice. Mr. Eastwood admits that when it comes to giving speeches, “I really don’t know how to.” As for the Tampa speech, Mr. Eastwood stated “I didn’t make up my mind exactly what I was going to say until I said it.” He hates teleprompters and chose to speak extemporaneously. Clint Eastwood, a Hollywood legend, could wing it.
Until you become a cinema icon, practice your full speech at least fifteen times. Know your presentation like you breathe, without thought or hesitation. Don’t memorize your presentation word for word, but work to know the key words of your main key points and their supporting ideas. This will give you flexibility when you speak while ensuring that you cover your key message points.
All good speakers became great by working on basic presentation skills and then applying massive amounts of practice. Practice presentations aloud with all of your props — slides, white-boards, remote clickers. You’ll discover little things that should be removed, changed, or adjusted when you give your presentation a full-dress rehearsal. Think of these adjustments as massaging your talk into proper alignment. (Learn how to practice.)
4) Improvise with limits. It was only in the last few minutes before walking on stage that Mr. Eastwood decided to use the chair. He built his prime-time presentation on a last-minute improvisation. He says that he was in the Green Room “when I saw the stool sitting there, it gave me the idea.”
Be creative, but take measured steps to make each presentation fresh. Presenters should take advantage of situations that can make their speeches better and more “in the moment.” Improvising is a learned skill that should only be applied after lots of audience experience. Even then, give serious thought and caution before improvising large parts of your presentation. If you’ve never attempted a new idea and have not had time to work out the details, leave it out. A good speaker knows his limits.
How you present is always your choice. You can deliver your next speech like Clint Eastwood or you can be the new sheriff in town and give a presentation that’s prepared and practiced. Follow the above four points and no one will wonder why you brought in the extra furniture.
Presentation Skills: The Q&A of a presentation often stokes fear in seasoned pubic speakers. Of all possible presentation elements – opening, stories, demonstrations, closing – the Q&A has the tendency to make even well versed speakers lose control and fall flat. As it’s usually near the end of the presentation, a poorly handled Q&A session leaves the audience with a negative impression of the presenter’s message. Don’t let this happen to you.
“Does anyone have any questions for my answers?” - Dr. Henry Kissinger -
One common fear that causes many presenters to dread the Q&A session is the fear of unknown questions. This fear, like most, is unfounded as the reality is that the presenter controls of the situation. The audience can ask any question, but the presenter chooses how to respond.
In general your answers should be brief and direct. Your responses should not be mini presentations. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger would begin his press conferences: “Does anyone have any questions for my answers?” As Dr. Kissinger’s quote suggests, be prepared with your answers in advance of their questions.
Presentation Skills: 5 tips that will let you take control of your next Q&A session.
1) Don’t end your presentation with Q&A.Although most presentations end with the Q&A, superior speakers don’t. Ending with Q&A might mean having to respond to a question that drags you on a tangent away from your main message. The better strategy is to follow your Q&A session with a short closing that recaps your main message points. Regardless of the last question asked, ending the Q&A with a brief recap will redirect attention back to you. This means that the last impression will be your message. You get the final word.
2) Know the top ten questions of your audience. Regardless of your subject matter your audience will only ask a small range of questions in relation to your information. To find these questions out in advance, meet attendees before your presentation and ask them their top concerns about your information. The same questions, usually 8 – 10, will come up again and again as you present to different audiences. Learn the standard questions to your presentation information.
3) Prepare fifteen responses to the “top ten” questions. Create a variety of ways to respond to your audience’s standard questions. This will give you flexibility in how you answer. As you learn your audience’s primary questions, prepare responses that are brief and direct. Practice your delivery because how you answer a question is as important as what you say.
4) Repeat the question. Repeating the question ensures that everyone hears it. One technique of professional presenters is to restate the question to get to the core issue. This requires that you listen to the question, summarize it and then verify that your restatement addresses the questioner’s central concern. This technique allows you to strip away the extraneous parts of a question and go right to the heart of the inquiry.
5) Acknowledge when you don’t know the answer. Yes, at some point you’ll receive a question to which you don’t know the answer. It’s okay. Just don’t fake an answer. You’ll lose credibility if you evade the question or fake a response. First, acknowledge that you don’t have an answer. Second, promise the questioner a follow-up response at a later time. You could also address the question to the audience for an immediate answer. As long as you’ve done well with the rest of your presentation, asking for assistance from the audience will display your confidence to handle the situation.
Your Q&A, like the other elements of your presentation, should be well practiced. Familiarity with your subject and audience will give you opportunities to learn the “top ten” standard questions in advance and prepare the best responses. Apply the above information and fear not the raised hand. In a short time, like Dr. Kissinger, you’ll have the answers even before they know the questions.
For weekly tips on presentations skills, connect with Charles Greene III on LinkedIn or visit this page.
Charles Greene III Presentation Magician
Chris Matthews is at the top of that game of movers and shakers in Washington, DC. Matthews is the well-known host of “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” host of “The Chris Matthews Show,” journalist, and political commentator.
Matthews is a feisty gentleman of the fourth estate who always brings high octane passion to his work. Besides being heard and seen by millions of tv viewers each night, Chris Matthews is also read by millions. He’s the author of five best-selling books. In his latest “Life’s a Campaign,” Matthews presents his structure for giving a perfect speech. In his chapter on public speaking “Speak Out” in “Life’s a Campaign” the Toastmaster alum, former congressional staffer, Presidential speech-writer lays out his six step speech system.
Chris Matthews states, “Being able to express yourself, to make your ideas not just listened to but heard, is important in just about every situation, from corporate meetings to family conclaves. Nothing will make a job like easier – and less daunting – than to break it up into tasks.”
Chris Matthews’ Six Step Speech System:
1)Ice-beaker: Give your audience a chance to know you. Let them know that you are one of them.
2)Tease: Captivate their attention so that they’ll sit up and take notice.
3)Anecdotes: Bring stories that connect you with specific people, or the occasion for which all of you are gathered. Sharing personal connections will lead to converting the audience into a community.
4)Download: Deliver your main message, point by point, in bite-sized tweetable bits.
5)Relief: Let them relax. Tell them a light-hearted story that drives your message home.
6)Send-off: Give a clear restatement of your main message and leave them with a “wow.” Then signal your finish and wait for the applause.
Chris Matthew states, “This six-step system is a wonder. It works for me; it will work for you.”
My only suggestion on Chris’ steps is that you not wait until you are on stage to begin step one, the ice-breaker. Chris can light up a dark room with his rock-star personality. For us mortals, begin breaking the ice as soon as you walk through the door. Go to the event early. Be introduced or introduce yourself to as many people as possible. Smile. Fostering familiarity with your audience before you take the stage will allow you to begin your speech with a room of friendly faces who are primed and ready for step two, tease and captivate.
Presentation structure examines the delivery framework used by successful speakers. Choosing a proper speech structure is a key element of preparation, one of the “Three Magic Keys to a Successful Presentation.” Not every structure will work in every situation. The key is to examine as many structures as you can and then select the best one for your particular message and event.