Public Speaking

Boring speaker introductions – and what to do about them

I’ve seen two speaker introductions in the past week, one in Toronto, the other in Durham Region, and neither of them did what speaker introductions should do. They were flat, unimaginative and uninspiring. But they don’t have to – and they shouldn’t – be that way.

Organizers provide a speaker introduction
It’s standard practice for conference organizers to provide a speaker introduction and a thank you message.  But they’re often written by people who have no particular feeling for the topic or the speaker and they usually provide pretty basic information. And too often, that basic introduction gets read word for word in a tone that says, “I have to read this to you. It’s kind of boring but I have to do it”.

Throw it away
Here’s a hint: It’s not necessary to use the prepared introduction at all. You can throw it away. And in some cases the speaker would be better served if you did that. Instead of using the canned introduction, you can do a little advance research on the internet to dig out some interesting facts about the speaker and use them to do the kind of speaker introduction that benefits everyone.

Talk to the speaker you’re introducing
A Google search is a good place to start, followed by Linked In, Facebook and other social media sites. And hey, here’s a novel approach: how about talking to the speaker before the presentation and jotting down a few significant notes? You just might uncover some hidden gems.

Most speakers are flattered
And if you feel a little shy about approaching the speaker before the presentation I suggest that you just relax and do it anyway. Most speakers are flattered and happy to share some personal tidbits. An informal chat will probably be good for both of you. I’ve seen a number of introducers, who were clearly in awe of the speaker, add their personal discomfort to the formal (read: b-o-r-i-n-g) introduction. You don’t want to do that and a quick chat with the speaker will help you avoid it.

You’re introducing people
Think about it. What are you doing? You’re introducing people who’ve never met: the speaker and each member of the audience. Now, admittedly the introduction is one-sided, with the speaker being introduced in detail and everyone in the audience not being introduced individually at all. But really, the purpose is the same: you’re trying to build a bridge between the speaker and the audience. You’re telling each member of the audience why they should be interested in this person. And by doing that, you’re telling the speaker that the audience has been prepared to open their minds to the presentation.

Warm up the audience
What most people don’t know is that an audience needs to be warmed up. The speaker needs to develop a bit of a relationship with members of the audience before they are ready to accept and trust what’s to follow. It’s like any other introduction: You have two strangers coming together for the first time. Neither knows the other and there’s this cool breeze in the room until they break the ice. Your job as the person who’s introducing the speaker is to shorten that getting-to-know-you phase by telling the audience who it is who’s about to address them and why the presenter and/or the presentation will have value for them. You’re the front person, the warm up guy/gal.

Generate excitement
If that process is reduced to an obligation and a formality I think it should be dispensed with entirely because the silent message is: “I’m bored, this introduction is boring and the speaker may be boring too.”  But the implied message should be: “I’m excited to be here. I’m delighted to be introducing this dynamic speaker. You’re really going to like this . . .”

Get the process started
The speaker needs you; the audience needs you. You are a very important person if you’ve been selected to introduce someone. You set the tone and the mood. You get the process started.

Get a little animated
I like to get a little animated when I introduce a speaker, to share a few significant things in their background and to wind it up with something like “Would you please join me in giving a warm welcome to . . . Jane Doe!” It’s my tamed down version of Ed McMann’s famous nightly introduction on The Johnny Carson Show: “And now . . . h-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-re’s Johnny!!”

Ad lib
Obviously, you don’t have to go as far as Ed McMann. In fact, you may be able to do a very adequate job with the material conference organizers provide. All you have to do is rewrite the main points into bullets set in large type that you can easily read.  And ad lib from there. Keep your bullets short enough that you can scoop them up with a glance (without losing eye contact with your audience), show your smile in your voice as well as  your face and generate a little excitement.

Keep it short
One final word: I like short introductions that take about a minute or less. There are occasions where a longer introduction is appropriate but, for most presentations, a one-minute introduction is perfectly adequate. We don’t want to hear an entire biography; we just want to know why we should listen to this person and what he or she is likely to provide for us. We want to be warmed up, to get a little excited and anticipate what’s to follow.

You can do this
You can do this. It’s easy. Just create some good material, get a little excited and share your excitement with the audience.

Need a guest speaker?

If your group needs a skilled guest speaker or workshop leader, I’d like to help you. I provide a range of communications key note presentations and workshops. Please visit the presentations and workshops pages of this website and contact me to discuss how I can help you.

Need a presentation trainer?

Would you like help dealing with public speaking training and other communications issues? I provide one-on-one presentation training and group public speaking training sessions that provide tools to best develop your public speaking skills. Contact me today.  You’ll be glad you did!

About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a public speaker, speech writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and throughout Ontario, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.

The King’s Speech says it all

The King’s Speech, had me sitting on the edge of my seat when my wife and I went to see it, just before it received several Academy Awards. That’s because I heard Lionel Logue, the speech therapist, saying many of the things I find myself saying in my public speaking workshops.

“You don’t have to be afraid . . .

There were so many places in the film where I was nodding and silently muttering “Absolutely!”, to myself that I can’t remember them all. But there was one snippet of dialogue in the film that stood out from the rest. It sent me scrambling through my pockets for a scrap of paper and a pen to scribble these words in the darkness: “You don’t have to be afraid of the things you were afraid of when you were five”.

People are running and hiding

No truer words were ever spoken. And yet, this world is full of people who are still running, hiding and trying to protect themselves from things that happened when they were small children. I encounter them all the time in my public speaking workshops. I have helped more clients than I can remember to exorcise cruel teachers, bullies and traumatic events that they’ve hidden, sometimes from themselves, since childhood. These people had been swallowing their self confidence because they were still intimidated by people and events that no longer had any logical place in their lives.

The King’s Speech deserved an Oscar

I’m no film expert, so I can’t comment on whether The King’ Speech deserved an Oscar Award for best picture. But I do know that The King’s Speech deserved an Oscar Award for the truisms it points out in regard to public speaking. Obviously, the stakes were much higher for King George VI than they are for most of us. And obviously, the king’s speech impediment was the primary focus of the film. But it if you just substitute the word “public speaking” for “stammering”, the film is full of messages for anyone who is required to speak in public.

The first step in resolving fear

I had to smile when Lionel Logue told the king that he could help him improve his speech “. . . if you want to change”. That was one of my “Absolutely!” moments. Because, believe it or not, the first step in resolving fear of public speaking is to want to change. And you might be surprised at how many people really don’t want to change. Because they’ve become so accustomed to their fear that it’s become an integral part of them. And if they let it go, they will no longer be who they’ve come to believe they are.

They will be more capable

And they’re right. They’ll no longer be who they’ve come to believe they are. They will be more confident and, because they are more confident, they will be more capable and more satisfied with their own existence.

The truth

I thought The King’s Speech was a very moving film. Not because the primary character had to deliver a speech that could affect the future of the entire western hemisphere, but because it told the truth about the fear most of us have toward public speaking. More people need to hear and heed the words of Lionel Logue: “You can do it . . . you needn’t be governed by fear . . .”

Need a guest speaker?

If your group needs a skilled guest speaker or workshop leader, I’d like to help you. I provide a range of communications key note presentations and workshops. Please visit the presentations and workshops pages of this website and contact me to discuss how I can help you.

Need a presentation trainer?

Would you like help dealing with public speaking training and other communications issues? If so, please contact me to discuss my public speaking training programs. I provide one-on-one presentation training and group public speaking training sessions that provide tools to develop your public speaking skills. Contact me today!

About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a public speaker, speech writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.

Slutwalk as presentation training

I found a couple of intersecting stories in two Toronto newspapers recently that underscore what I often say in my presentation training sessions. The first story, which appeared in Toronto’s Globe and Mail, was about the city’s first-ever SlutWalk, which attracted 3,000 people who walked from Queen’s Park to Toronto’s police headquarters on College Street. I’ve learned since that the movement has spread to at least 20 cities in the United States, as well as to England, Scotland, Wales, Argentina, Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden. All of this because of one well-meaning, but obviously misguided comment made by one police officer to fewer than a dozen women.

Apology was not enough

It all started when, during a personal safety presentation, Police Constable Michael Sanguinetti, told a group of 10 women at York University: ““I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” Sanguinetti later apologized but his apology was not enough to soothe the angry women who organized the first SlutWalk because they believed they should be able to dress any way they liked without fear of assault.

Charlie Sheen bombed

The second pair of stories that raised my eyebrows, which at first appear to have no relation to the first one, was a review of the opening presentation of Charlie Sheen’s Violent Torpedo of Truth tour in Detroit, followed the next day by a second review of his performance in Chicago. Sheen bombed in Detroit; people walked out. However, by the next day an enterprising former Toronto disc jockey saved the tour in Chicago by changing the format.

Focused on themselves

So what do these seemingly unconnected stories have in common? Well it’s simply this: the speakers, Sanguinetti at York and Sheen in Detroit, got into trouble because they were more focused on themselves than their audiences.

Under-estimated his audience

In Sanguinetti’s case he saw himself as an authority figure, which he is in his professional capacity. In his world he’s in charge. He tells people what to do and they do it. Nobody questions him. So his sense of power is quite understandable. Where he made his mistake was in underestimating the power of the people he was speaking to, who have made his life a living hell ever since he uttered those unfortunate words. Interestingly, Sanguinetti and Sheen made exactly the same mistake, based on their perception of their own importance and power. In Detroit, Sheen said and did exactly what he wanted to say and do, assuming he didn’t need to answer to anyone – not even his audience. So his presentation was focused exclusively on gratifying himself; his audience could take it or leave it. They left.

Fixing the problem

What’s interesting is that former Toronto DJ Joey Scoleri was able to recognize the show’s problem and rectify it almost immediately. He knew that all he had to do was to take the focus off of Sheen and put it on the audience. So the next night in Chicago he turned the show into a question and answer session with himself as moderator. All of a sudden the audience became involved. They were no longer watching a public display of self-destructive abuse; they were exploring the man they had come to see.

You owe your audience

Sanguinetti and Sheen could have saved themselves a lot of grief simply by remembering that when you get up to speak, no matter how much power you have, your audience is more powerful than you are. You owe it to your audience and yourself to think of them first. Think of who they are. Think of what’s important to them. What are their values? How can you deliver your message in a way that will be meaningful to them? Because in the end they are the ones that matter – not you.

Need a guest speaker?

If your group needs a skilled guest speaker or workshop leader, I’d like to help you. I provide a range of communications key note presentations and workshops. Please visit the presentations and workshops pages of this website and contact me to discuss how I can help you.

Need a presentation trainer?

Would you like help dealing with public speaking training and other communications issues? If so, please contact me to discuss my public speaking training programs. I provide one-on-one presentation training and group public speaking training sessions that provide tools to develop your public speaking skills. Contact me today!

About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.

Public speaking training: courage, humility and practice

Jim Coyle wrote an interesting column in the Toronto Star a while back about Ontario power Generation president Tom Mitchell that makes some statements about public speaking training. Mitchell had just delivered a speech to a Toronto crowd on the refurbishment of the Darlington generating station, just east of Toronto. As he waxed poetic about the complex “nuclear choreography” required, he joked about his speaking skills, referring to his description as his “inner artsy coming out”. He added that, “Public speaking was not a required course in engineering school.”

The value of courage and humility

It takes courage and humility for someone at Mitchell’s level to make that kind of comment. But he obviously recognizes the value of courage and humility when it comes to public speaking. You don’t have to be “artsy” to be a good speaker; you just have to be genuine. And Mitchell has obviously learned that lesson well. He’s discovered that taking any and every opportunity to speak in public builds presentation skills. For someone in his position, building skills in public speaking, training yourself to communicate effectively, is absolutely essential. You learn by doing. Public speaking itself becomes public speaking training.

An opportunity to connect

And when you become comfortable with speaking to groups, something very satisfying and valuable happens. As Mitchell puts it, “. . . I’m beginning to like it a bit . . . it gives me an opportunity to connect with people – and vice versa.” Did you notice that last phrase: “it gives me an opportunity to connect with people – and vice versa”? That’s an awesome ability – to be able to connect with people and have them respond.

Charismatic leaders inspire

We’ve all heard about the charismatic corporate or political leader who can “connect” with his or her people, inspire them and encourage them to follow him or her anywhere. And most of us have worked for the taciturn boss who speaks when he or she is spoken to and generally avoids human contact. And those of us who have had that opportunity are familiar with the outcomes.

We build bonds

The real value of public speaking and training ourselves to communicate effectively is the bond we build between ourselves and our audiences. It’s hard to build a positive relationship with someone who’s afraid of you. And it’s hard to resist someone who can take you into his or her confidence.

Reaching out gains support

Mitchell knows this and he uses it. By opening himself to his audience, Mitchell opens his audience to him. “Lately I’ve been focused on this subject of connections,” he says, and goes on to goes on to say that he feels his industry has “become disconnected” from the people it serves. And based on some of the comments I see in the Toronto Star and other media, I’d say he’s right. But let’s give credit where credit is due. Mitchell knows that by reaching out, by standing up and speaking, often to a skeptical audience, he can gain more support than if he let his fear of public speaking control him and force him into silence. Particularly because negative rumours fill the silences left by those who refuse to embrace the opportunity to communicate.

Need a guest speaker?

If your group needs a skilled guest speaker or workshop leader, I’d like to help you. I provide a range of communications key note presentations and presentation workshops. Please visit the presentations and workshops pages of this website and contact me to discuss how I can help you.

Need a public speaking trainer?

Would you like help dealing with public speaking training and other communications issues? If so, please contact me to discuss my public speaking training programs. I provide one-on-one presentation training and group public speaking training sessions that provide tools to develop your public speaking skills. Contact me today!

About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.

 

Presentation notes? Absolutely!

I’ll be doing a presentation in Richmond Hill next week and, as usual, I’ll have my trusty notes with me. I wouldn’t think of doing a presentation without notes. It would be like taking a trip to an unfamiliar destination without a map. And that’s because every presentation I do is slightly different.

Why use them?

So if every presentation is different, why do I need notes? Well, that’s because I like to take little side trips here and there. And when I’m finished those side trips I like to come back to where I left the main topic. My presentation notes are a little different from a map. They’re more like a compass that brings me back when I want them to. I use them, but only to remind me where I am and where I want to go next.

It depends

Most public speakers feel that doing a presentation without notes is more polished, and on at least one level I suppose it is. But does that mean that working with presentation notes is somehow amateurish? I don’t think so. It depends on several things. It depends on the audience. It depends on the style of the address. And I think what it depends on most is how you use those notes.

What comes next?

No one wants to hear a speech that’s read word-for-word. But no one wants to watch a polished presenter squirm because he or she just had a momentary memory lapse, can’t remember what’s supposed to come next and doesn’t know where to go to find out. While I’ve seen lots of speakers who can apparently do a 45-minute talk without presentation notes, I’ve seen a lot more who know how to cleverly hide them. It’s very rare speaker who works without a net of some kind.

Essential information

It’s not a matter of whether you have presentation notes or don’t have them. It’s entirely about how you use them. Like I said, my presentation notes are like a compass for me and, like a compass, they provide essential, but minimal information. They consist of sub-headings with bullet points under each one. With a quick glance at my presentation notes I know exactly what I want to talk about for the next few minutes and if someone asks a question or makes a comment while I’m delivering the next section I always know exactly what point I want to come back to. My notes keep me on track and the presentation on time because I note where I should be time-wise  beside each sub-head. So if I need to jump ahead at some point I can do so smoothly.

I’m there to inform

My notes are precious to me because they ensure that my audience is going to receive every piece of information I want them to have. I’m not there to impress; I’m there to inform. And if having a sheaf of papers in my hand or on a desk is distracting then I’m doing a lousy job of engaging and informing. Because if I’m truly engaging and informing, no one is even going to see those papers let alone be distracted by them. Instead, they’ll be listening to my words, considering them and deciding how and if they want to put them into practice.

Presentation notes add value

Solid presentation notes used effectively can add significantly to the value of your presentation. And as you’ve heard me say so many times before, the value you impart is all that really matters.

Need a guest speaker?

If your group needs a skilled guest speaker or workshop leader, I’d like to help you. I provide a range of communications key note presentations and workshops. Please visit the presentations and workshops pages of this website and contact me to discuss how I can help you.

Need a presentation trainer?

Would you like help dealing with public speaking training and other communications issues? If so, please contact me to discuss my public speaking training programs. I provide one-on-one presentation training and group public speaking training sessions that provide tools to develop your public speaking skills. Contact me today!

About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.

Ignatieff’s presentation style is improving

While Canadian Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff remains the butt of comedians’ jokes for his aristocratic bearing, I think he deserves marks for getting his presentation style together – finally.

He changed his presentation style

Ignatieff, whose intellect and association with academe has separated him from common Canadians, struggled through his first year as the Leader of the Opposition to make a connection with average Canadians. But his bus tour this past summer went a long way toward softening his image as a cold, aloof elitist who was just going through the motions of caring about average people. The tour was a carefully planned political strategy designed to connect the leader with the voters and it might have failed if Ignatieff himself hadn’t changed his presentation style.

He showed his personality

And what he did was very simple: he acted like himself instead of someone else’s vision of how he should look, talk and act. He ignored his advisors, let his hair down, took the tie off and talked to people as one concerned Canadian to another instead of a snob who was controlled by party mandarins in Toronto. And it worked like a charm. While his official approval rating with voters remained about the same, those who took the trouble to meet him in person were impressed with his presentation style and his personality. And those individuals were the people the Liberal Party were targeting with this tour. Because they could help lay the fabric for a future election campaign. And even those who could never support him in an election came away with a positive impression.

He showed his humanity

All of this came about because Ignatieff stopped using prepared texts for every statement he made and he let his own instinct override his advisors; he showed his humanity. And showing humanity virtually always makes a connection. Now, obviously if he were commenting on a crisis he’d be wise to stick to the script and, as anyone in public life knows, it would be necessary for him to be aware of what he was saying and how his words could be interpreted at all times. It’s a skilled politician who can show feelings while controlling the message, which is why so many of them hide behind prepared texts.

You can do what he did

You may not be running for office but, when it’s your turn to get up and speak, I suggest that you consider your presentation style. Personally, I like to work with point form notes and let my instinct decide how I should get them across. You may want to try that to see if your presentations feel more spontaneous for both you and your audience. You may just find that you make a much stronger connection.

Need a guest speaker?

If your group needs a skilled guest speaker or workshop leader, I’d like to help you. I provide a range of communications key note presentations and workshops. Please visit the presentations and workshops pages of this website and contact me to discuss how I can help you.

Need a presentation trainer?

Would you like help dealing with public speaking training and other communications issues? If so, please contact me to discuss my public speaking training programs. I provide one-on-one presentation training and group public speaking training sessions that provide tools to develop your public speaking skills. Contact me today!

About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.

Presentation training elected Toronto’s mayor

Toronto’s new mayor obviously did some presentation training with a public speaking trainer and paid close attention to at least one of the skills he learned.

Focus, focus, focus

One of the first lessons a presentation trainer would have taught Rob Ford, Toronto’s new mayor would have been focus. There are thousands of issues in a city the size of Toronto and one of Ford’s biggest presentation training tasks would have been to select those key messages that would resonate best with Toronto voters.

One message takes the prize

Ford knew what the Toronto electorate wanted and he promised to deliver on their wants. He promised to cut the waste at Toronto City Hall and reduce expenses across the board without reducing services. Because he was long on promises and short on specifics, he was criticized by most of Toronto’s political pundits. But Ford stuck to the mantra he and his public speaking trainer focused on. Whoever worked with him understood that, even if it’s heavily criticized, a single message repeated again and again is more powerful than a number of messages or a change in direction.

His focus was obvious and intentional

On election night, Toronto political pundits said his focus on a single message was a strong factor in his decisive victory. In his victory speech, Ford himself said “We were focused. They could not get us off our message.” Ford must now shift his focus to reaching out to those he will need to help him begin to deliver on his promises. If his commitment is strong enough, if he can win the allies and follow up words with actions, he may again surprise his critics and deliver much of what he promised. That will require an incredible amount of focus, hard work and probably more than a little good luck. For Rob Ford, the hard part has just begun.

Need a guest speaker?

If your group needs a skilled guest speaker or workshop leader, I’d like to help you. I provide a range of communications key note presentations and workshops. Please visit the presentations and workshops pages of this website and contact me to discuss how I can help you.

Need a presentation trainer?

Would you like help dealing with public speaking training and other communications issues? If so, please contact me to discuss my public speaking training programs. I provide one-on-one presentation training and group public speaking training sessions that provide tools to develop your public speaking skills. Contact me today!

About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.

Keeping cool under pressure

I see that Bill Clinton is doing a lot of campaigning for Barack Obama these days. That’s because Obama is having a tough time with the electorate. The star of the 2008 election campaign has lost his shine, pummeled by sagging polls, demonization by the Republican Party and rejection of his policies by the US electorate. But what’s interesting, from a communications perspective, is Obama’s outward appearance.

He keeps his cool

Where former president George Bush, tended to reveal his personal feelings in his face and his body language, all of Obama’s current unpopularity does not seem to faze him. He always appears cool, easy going, and uncaring. He has said he would rather be a one-term president who does the right things than compromise his principles for a second term. He appears, at least on the surface, to tread the high ground and be impervious to what’s happening around him.

Confidence is a winner

Obama is smart enough to know the importance of keeping his personal insecurities to himself. That unflappable exterior is as least as powerful as his oratorical skills. He knows how to use words and phrases that inspire people and express his sentiments. But he knows people will remember his image long after they’ve forgotten his words.

No need to tell all

Sometimes what you don’t say in a presentation can be as important as what you do say. Obama wouldn’t dream of telling you he was nervous, even if he was and yet the first words some public speakers say are ‘Oh I’m so nervous’. Admitting to your audience that you’re nervous undermines their confidence in you. But if you just relax, take a deep breath, focus on the value you’re providing, and move forward you’ll probably make a strong impression. That’s what Obama’s doing and that’s his lesson for us.

Need a guest speaker?

If your group needs a skilled guest speaker or workshop leader, I’d like to help you. I provide a range of communications key note presentations and workshops. Please visit the presentations and workshops pages of this website and contact me to discuss how I can help you.

Need a presentation trainer?

Would you like help dealing with public speaking training and other communications issues? If so, please contact me to discuss my public speaking training programs. I provide one-on-one presentation training and group public speaking training sessions that provide tools to develop your public speaking skills. Contact me today!

About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.

Making a promise adds power

A good way to get and keep your audience’s attention when you’re doing a public presentation is to make a promise. When you commit to what you’ll deliver at the beginning of your presentation you can grab attention right away. Your promise can sound something like this:  “Over the next hour or so, I’m going to share with you the four best ways to ____________”.

Create curiousity

Tell your listeners exactly what to expect. If you know your audience, aim your promises directly at what matters to them and use words and phrases that are meaningful to them, you’ll create curiosity and interest in your presentation. You’ll also enhance your credibility as an expert in your subject area.

Training yourself to use this approach

Training yourself to use this approach when you’re public speaking can help you to hold your audience. They’ll know what’s coming and be waiting for the information you’ve promised. One public speaker I know here in Toronto likes to use a slight variation on this technique. He likes to follow each promise with a question: “Would that have value for you?” In addition to being a public speaker he’s also a sales trainer and he uses each question as a trial closing. He’s testing the audience members to see if they want to buy what he has to offer. But he’s also building suspense. He knows the audience will want the information he’s providing, but by asking the questions he increases their anticipation of its value.

Deliver what you’ve promised

As long as there is audience anticipation there is attention. But of course, anticipation by itself is not enough; you must follow through and deliver the value you’ve promised. That’s simply part of the bargain. And it’s important that you do that in a logical order and build on each previous point, then sum up at the end and do a brief review of each of the points.

Deepen understanding and acceptance

By reviewing at the end you will deepen your audience’s understanding and acceptance of what you’re telling them. Repetition drives your message home. That’s why we keep seeing the same commercials over and over again on TV. I’ve talked about repetition here before http://www.sayitwithpower.ca/public-speaking/repetition-adds-power and I’m repeating it for one good reason: repetition adds power. Obviously, you don’t want to overdo it but if your presentation is focused and balanced, using devices like promising value and following through on delivery will strengthen your message and help your audience to retain it.

Need a guest speaker?

If your group needs a skilled guest speaker or workshop leader, I’d like to help you. I provide a range of communications key note presentations and workshops. Please visit the presentations and workshops pages of this website and contact me to discuss how I can help you.

Need a presentation trainer?

Would you like help dealing with public speaking training and other communications issues? If so, please contact me to discuss my public speaking training programs. I provide one-on-one presentation training and group public speaking training sessions that provide tools to develop your public speaking skills. Contact me today!

About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.

Repetition adds power

As difficult as it can be get up and share information with an audience, it can be more difficult to get them to retain what you’re saying. A good way around that is to use simple repetition.

Remember Obama?

If you think back to the Obama campaign in 2008, you’ll automatically think of Obama’s tag line “Yes, we can!” With those three simple words, Obama captured the imagination of the American people and he repeated them hundreds of times during the campaign.

I want people to remember

You’ll see lesser known speakers do the same thing. For example, if you came to one of my presentation training workshops, you’d hear me talking about relaxing and providing value. And you wouldn’t hear these phrases just once you’d hear them several times throughout the public speaking training session. That’s because I believe in them and because I want people to remember those messages from my presentation training course.

Drive your message home

Let’s face it, when you do a 45-minute public presentation no one is going to remember everything. And they’ll even forget those parts of the speech that are most important to them if you don’t repeat them. So no matter what you do in other circumstances don’t hesitate to repeat yourself when you’re doing a presentation. Training yourself to do that and making it a natural part of your presentation will help to drive your message home.

Need a guest speaker?

If your group needs a skilled guest speaker or workshop leader, I’d like to help you. I provide a range of communications key note presentations and workshops. Please visit the presentations and workshops pages of this website and contact me to discuss how I can help you.

Need a presentation trainer?

Would you like help dealing with public speaking training and other communications issues? If so, please contact me to discuss my public speaking training programs. I provide one-on-one presentation training and group public speaking training sessions that provide tools to develop your public speaking skills. Contact me today!

About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.