​PowerSpeaking Blog: Tips and strategies for crafting presentations

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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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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Techniques from the Stage: Actors' Advice to Presenters

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."

 It's one of Shakespeare's most well-known lines, taken from the play As You Like It. While many may or may not have seen the play itself, the words have taken on a life of their own owing to the core truth buried in them: In our everyday lives, we take on roles and put on performances for our peers while trying to make ourselves understood.

Nowhere is this a more apt metaphor than when giving a presentation. You may not be an "actor," but many of the techniques that actors use to convey emotion and captivate audiences can be used to make executive and technical presentations more compelling. Here are few proven acting techniques that can enhance your next presentation:

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Behind the Scenes of TED Presenters

 

TED Talks — an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, and Design — are almost universally considered the gold standard for successful public speaking. Curated by author and entrepreneur Chris Anderson and the TED leadership team, videos of TED speakers at conferences routinely go viral, racking up millions of views from all over the world.

The short, compelling presentations are delivered by thought leaders, craftsmen, artists, scientists, executives and innovators in a variety of fields. Filmed at TED conferences nationwide, speakers vary greatly and have included countless luminaries, including Sarah Silverman, Tony Robbins, Elizabeth Gilbert, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Al Gore, J.K. Rowling and many, many more.

What unites all these different figures? They have all harnessed the most effective presentation skills to deliver persuasive, insightful, funny, emotional and — most importantly — compelling speeches to rapt audiences on the TED stage. Here is a guide to what makes a TED talk so engaging and what tools subject matter and technical experts can use to make their own presentations as compelling — straight from the experts themselves.

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Presenting Emotion-filled Talks with Composure

We coach clients to use a variety of facial expressions during talks to convey meaning and persuade. (Sport a poker face and you force audiences to work harder to grasp your meaning.) Expressing appropriate emotion during presentations can help move a conversation forward. But what happens when your strong emotion during a presentation hinders message delivery and distracts the audience (it might be while delivering sad news or happy news, or experiencing frustration or anger)? How can you stay on message, convey the information you must, and stay composed? The following tips will help you be effective in this unique talk scenario.

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The Goal is Presence: Lessons from Amy Cuddy’s Book

 

“The state of being attuned to and able to comfortably express true thoughts, feelings, values and potential.” 

This is how Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy defines Presence in her book of the same name. 

Cuddy has followed up her "fake it until you become it" TED talk, which illuminates the positive effects of ‘power posing’ on confidence, with this new work, subtitled “Bringing Your BOLDEST SELF to your BIGGEST CHALLENGES.”  presence.png

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Five Proven Tips for Greater Vocal Impact

 

We’ve all seen presenters whose voice quality sets the audience’s attention drifting. Their content might be strong, but they speak too softly, mumble or go too fast to be understood. Your voice is a critical aspect that can make your data come alive and your projects stand apart from the crowd. The following tips for voice help you convey your content with greater engagement and leadership presence.

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