​PowerSpeaking Blog: Tips and strategies for crafting presentations

How Louis CK Tells A Joke

How does Louis CK, master stand-up comic, tell a joke?  Grab 8 minutes of time to witness the analysis of construction, his economy of words, and his purposeful delivery. He’s a genius! 207 words to the entire story…we hope you enjoy. 

Who is the best stand-up comic you’ve seen? Why? Please share your response in the comments section below.

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Center of Attention: Dealing With Audiences and Devices

The prevalence of personal devices — from laptops to smartphones to tablets and now even smartwatches — poses a challenge for presenters. When you're speaking, you are trained to want an audience's undivided attention. It's natural to feel irritated or disheartened during a presentation when you see people looking down at their phones as opposed to looking up at you.

In today’s world, as a speaker, we may need a new mindset. An audience glued to their devices isn't always the kiss of death. In many ways, devices are simply another tool to help enrich and enliven your presentation — or at least something you can simply work around. Here's how:

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Coaching Yourself: Technology and Tips to Keep Learning

After you’ve taken a workshop or engaged with a professional speaking coach, you may have improved a lot, but you will continue to fine-tune your skills as you apply them at work. Becoming a compelling presenter is a learn-by-doing process, and it’s never-ending. So it’s important to know how to be a good coach for yourself going forward. Fortunately, we have tools close at hand and we have some experience of what makes coaching effective. We just have to apply those to ourselves. Here are some ideas:

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Business Storytelling: Collecting, Cataloging, and Calling Forth a Narrative

At the core of every insightful presentation is a story. Human beings naturally seek out a narrative.

But the process of becoming a storyteller doesn't start with writing and rehearsing the presentation; it begins in observations of everyday life.

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Breaking Through 'The Real Glass Ceiling': Executive Power Culture

 

For decades, people of all backgrounds have sought to break through what they consider a "glass ceiling" to live up to their full potential at work. Often referring to the struggle for highly qualified women to break through an invisible, unspoken barrier and achieve the highest echelon of executive leadership, the question is what gets in the way. 

There are multiple reasons that quality candidates aren't promoted when they should be. While this glass ceiling may be in response to socially held prejudices and misconceptions (relating to gender, race, sexuality, and background), the basic obstacle that stands in the way of the promotion of many to senior and executive positions is simply the culture of power that permeates the highest levels of business leadership.

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Lean On Me: The Importance of Having a Sponsor When Presenting

You’ve been asked to present to upper management. You’ve done the research. You’ve worked hours to get everything to logically flow and the numbers to tie. When a subject matter expert is asked to present to decision makers, the hurdles can be a challenge. These spaces are typically "by invitation only," meaning that — regardless of how innovative your idea may be — you need someone on the inside to help steer the way. 

This is where a sponsor — another high-level decision maker who acts as your guide within these rooms — can be an invaluable asset. When making steps to put yourself in front of executives, business leaders, or other managers, a sponsor can be the difference between a cold, indifferent presentation environment and a warm room full of decision makers who are open to your ideas.

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The Value of Discomfort and Dissonance in Presentations

We live in a world of immediate gratification, constant engagement and the never-ending pursuit of comfort. From our abiding attachment to the smartphones we collectively check nearly 8 billion times a day to the streaming music and video services that provide us 24/7 access to the media we love on demand, effective presentation skills rely on pulling people's focus from these distractions and getting them to actively listen. If it is a topic built around data knowledge and subject matter expertise, this can be a significant challenge.

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PowerSpeaking eBook Preview: Narrative Evidence and Analytical Evidence

Coming soon, PowerSpeaking will be releasing its latest eBook "Narrative Evidence: Bringing Your Data to Life with Storytelling." The eBook is designed to act as an introduction for subject-matter experts to the importance of constructing a compelling, engaging narrative to aid in presentations. In anticipation of the eBook's release, we wanted to explore one of the central concepts of both the eBook and our HighTechSpeaking® program: the value of narrative evidence to support the value of anecdotal evidence to provide greater understanding and meaning of dense data.

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Tough Questions: Tips for Dealing with Difficult Audiences

If you are feeling apprehensive about public speaking or presenting, typically at the root of the anxiety is fear of embarrassing yourself. With careful preparation and focus on delivery, it can be easy to avoid embarrassment in a monologue style presentation. But what about when you open up the floor for questions and comments?

Audiences can be tricky: Even if they're your peers, co-workers, or experts in a certain field, everyone has their own agenda and emotional logic. By giving a presentation and soliciting feedback, you are inviting a variety of different personalities to listen and comment on your work. Audience member responses can range from boredom to outright hostility for reasons that may be unclear to you. To conquer a difficult audience, follow these tips:

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