Executive Speaking Weblog

Communication – the future of business

Just Because You Can Does Not Mean You Should

Posted by Presentation Skills on June 1, 2010

Last weekend I attended a conference where the presenters would just not stop talking. Each person on the agenda felt they had a duty to congratulate the last and next speaker for the job they had done. Then there were other speakers who to 20 minutes to say what could have been said in 5.

What was the result of this? because there were so many speakers (5 in 20 minutes) the whole event lacked rhythm. We could not settle into the speakers and listen to the message they had. It was like trying to watch TV with the ads coming thick and fast. Those that did have extended times to speak lacked substance and the audience stopped listening.

What is the solution?

Make sure that every person who gets up to speak will add value to the event message and deliver value to the audience. If they don’t add value, do they really need to speak? Just because someone can speak, doesn’t mean that they should. As the great philosopher Groucho Marx put it, ‘Very few sinners are saved after the first 20 minutes of a sermon.’

Cheers

Darren Fleming

Australia’s Corporate Speech Coach

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Posted in Business Presentations, Executive Speaking Skills, humour in presentations, Martketing your speaking skills, nervousness, Politics and speaking, PowerPoint, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking courses, public speaking humour, public speaking tips, Sales Presentations, Toastmasters, Understanding your audience, World Classs Business Presentations | Leave a Comment »

Inform, Entertain, but be Incomplete.

Posted by Presentation Skills on May 11, 2010

The objective of any sales presentation is to instigate follow up action. This could be your audience approaching you for more information, picking your brains about a particular point or them giving you an order for product. What ever it is, you need to ensure that you have contact after your pitch. The best way to do it is to be informative, entertaining and incomplete.

  1. Be informative – give information of value that your audience wants. This is why they are listening.
  2. Be entertaining – keep them entertained so they stay listening – this does not have to mean laughing.
  3. Be incomplete – omit nuggets of information. If the audience wants that information they will then have to approach you one-on-one to get it. You can then take the sales process to the next level.

Your thoughts please….

Cheers

Darren

Posted in Executive Speaking Skills, humour in presentations, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking tips, Sales Presentations, World Classs Business Presentations | 2 Comments »

I’ve got eye contact – now what?

Posted by Presentation Skills on March 29, 2010

Just about every speaking book, blog or coach will tell you that eye contact is important when speaking. And while eye contact is important, that is not the whole game. What should you do once you have made eye contact?

The effect of making eye-contact is driven home by what you do once you have made it. There are several things you can do, depending what you want to achieve.

  1. Stare – This is when you hold the gaze for too long and the other person becomes uncomfortable. Generally not conducive to good communication.
  2. Stare down – This is when you show your position of power/authority over the person by holding them in your gaze. You let them go when you are finished ‘drilling’ them, or they break eye contact admitting their subordinate position.
  3. Break eye-contact. This happens when you feel that you should move on because you don’t want to be caught staring. There are 3 ways to break eye-contact. Break by looking down puts you into a submissive position and shows weakness/lack of confidence – almost like saying sorry for looking. Breaking by looking up has the similar feel of being ‘caught staring’, but is not submissive, but it is still not strong. It still gives the impression that you are moving on after being caught staring. Breaking eye contact horizontally shows that you are just moving on with your eye contact. This is the best.
  4. Move on as part of the natural flow. If your eye contact is moving from person to person when addressing an audience, it will put you in a position of control over yourself and others too. This gives you a sense of authority that your audience wants.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Cheers

Darren Fleming

Australia’s Corporate Speech Coach

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Posted in Business Presentations, Executive Speaking Skills, nervousness, Politics and speaking, presentation skills, Public Speaking books, public speaking tips, Toastmasters, Understanding your audience, World Classs Business Presentations | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Political Speak: We believe vs. the Facts

Posted by Presentation Skills on March 15, 2010

With elections in South Australia and Tasmania this coming weekend, as well as a Federal election and Victorian election due sometime this year, it is appropriate to look at political language – and I’m not talking about politically correct language.

In election mode you will hear speakers from all sides of politics telling us what is the right way to think on a particular topic. Unfortunately though, the words that they use will often detract from the message given. For example:

When someone prefaces a comment with ‘We believe…’ or ‘The labor/Liberal party believes…’ they do so to give power to their statement. Unfortunately it does the opposite. When you add statements such as ‘We believe’ you are by definition offering an opinion. And as we all know, opinions are never wrong – but they are debateable.

What should be done instead of offering an opinion? Simply state your opinion as a fact.

Instead of saying, ‘We believe putting in a highway is the best thing to do’ say, ‘Putting in a highway is the best thing to do.’ The difference is subtle but profound. Your audience is no longer hearing an opinion, but a fact. Facts are much harder to argue with than opinions.

Next time you hear your local Poli offer their opinion, ask yourself if you would believe them more if they gave you a fact instead.

As always, your thoughts are appreciated.

Cheers

Darren Fleming

Australia’s Corporate Speech Coach

Posted in barack obamas inaugural speech, Executive Speaking Skills, John Howard, kevin Rudd, Politics and speaking, public speaking tips, Sales Presentations, Understanding your audience, World Classs Business Presentations | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Why the Fear of Public Speaking?

Posted by Presentation Skills on February 4, 2010

Why do people fear Public Speaking?

There are many statistics that state public speaking is our greatest fear. Apparently it is higher than the fear of spiders, snakes, flying and even death itself (though there are not stats on the fear of dieing from a snake or spider bite while flying)

Why do people fear public speaking so much?

It is something that was conditioned into us in school and we live out in the workplace.

As teenagers at school, the teacher forced us to stand in front of our classmates and deliver a book report. We were given no practice or advice on how we should do it. Being self-conscious teenagers, we stood up and immediately thought everyone was judging us – and judging us poorly! Is it any wonder why there is such a real fear of public speaking. Now at work, when we have to stand and speak, we relive those school day fears and tell each other how much we hate public speaking.

But the reality is far from our school experience. People want to see us succeed. After all, who wants to have to sit through a boreing presentation?

Overcoming your fear of public speaking is very easy when you are shown how to do it. Just like learning to drive a car, it was easy to learn how when someone showed you! How do you do it?

  1. Stop telling yourself and others you don’t like public speaking
  2. Stop telling yourself you are no good at public speaking
  3. Give public speaking a go
  4. Get help from someone who knows about public speaking. You would not go to a mechanic to get legal advice, so go to a speech coach to get speaking advice.

Now, imagine yourself commenting on this.

Cheers

Darren

Posted in Business Presentations, Executive Speaking Skills, nervousness, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking courses, Understanding your audience | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

How Will You be Different for Your Clients in 2010?

Posted by Presentation Skills on January 11, 2010

With 2010 promising more than 2009 ever could, how will you be different for your clients? Will your sales team visit them and offer the same products in the same old way, just hoping that they will need your products this time?

Or will you enable them to be different. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Break the mould: Give staff permission to vary the traditional sales presentation. If the client sees the 2010 sales presentation as 2009 extended, why would they pay attention? They have seen it before!
  2. Then jump on the bits of the mould: Encourage your staff to try something different. Just because your staff have permission to try something new in the sales presentation side does not mean that they will. Actively encourage them to be different.
  3. Equip them: Give them the tools to be different. This includes training, support material and maybe even pricing structures (though this is not as important). If you want things to change, how will they change unless you drive the changes with a new approach?
  4. Get ideas from industries not related to you. If you are in the superannuation game, look at what the food sector is doing to sell their product. You will be amazed at what you can learn. If you look at your own industry too much you will put the blinkers on to what is possible. Industry experts have their place, but keep your eyes open for someone who knows nothing about what you do. That is the person who will question the norm.

If 2010 is to be different to 2009, how will YOU make it different. As always, your thoughts are appreciated below….

Cheers,

Darren Fleming

Australia’s Corporate Speech Coach

Posted in Executive Speaking Skills, nervousness, PowerPoint, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking courses, public speaking tips, Sales Presentations, Understanding your audience, World Classs Business Presentations | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

The 5 minute Annual Sales Conference

Posted by Presentation Skills on December 10, 2009

Keep you team and audience interested at the next sales conference by insisting that every person presenting does a lightning talk. These are the instructions:

1. Maximum time allowed: 5 min + Q&A time (time set by you)
2. Slides: Every speaker has 20 slides (no more; no less)
3. Slide transition: Slides automatically move on after 15 seconds (slides cannot be repeated or returned too)
4. No logos on the screen (we know who you work for!)
5. Lights in room stay turned on.

What is the result:
1. Speakers who focus in on their message
2. Speakers who do not waffle
3. Speaker who know their material because they cannot read the slides
4. Audience members who can remain awake through what would otherwise be boring presentations
5. Shorter and more enjoyable presentations

This is how lightning talks work. http://vimeo.com/7021316

Will this work for sales conferences? YES. You just need to be in tune with your message.

Follow these instructions and the annual sales conference will be worth attending for more than just the boozy nights!

Cheers

Darren Fleming

Australia’s Corporate Speech Coach

Posted in Business Presentations, Executive Speaking Skills, Executive Speaking Video, nervousness, PowerPoint, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking tips, Sales Presentations, World Classs Business Presentations | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Comfort vs. Competence

Posted by Presentation Skills on November 23, 2009

Many people say that they are comfortable when speaking to groups. Unfortunately comfort rarely equals competence.

What they mean by saying they are comfortable is that they do not feel nervous when standing in front of a group. This is not usually a good thing. Elton John once told Andrew Denton that he is always nervous before his concerts. He is not alone in performers who feel this way.

Being comfortable has nothing to do with how effective your presentation will be. Effective presentations are about connecting with your audience and having them adopt your message. They are not about you feeling comfortable.

Feel the energy that the opportunity to present gives you. Don’t call it nervousness; call it excitement!

As always, your thoughts on this are appreciated.

Posted in Business Presentations, Executive Speaking Skills, humour in presentations, nervousness, Network Marketing, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking tips, Sales Presentations, Understanding your audience, World Classs Business Presentations | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Has Westpac got it wrong?

Posted by Presentation Skills on November 11, 2009

Westpac Banking Corporation in Australia recently launched their TV advert campaign about how they have changed. The campaign highlights that they are now more customer focused. The only problem is, the ads are not saying that.

The key line in all the ads is ‘I am… We are…’ then they explain what that means. Their explanation includes being ‘Factor 30 sunscreen’, ‘not swimming for 30 minutes after eating’ (what ever that means!) and other lines aimed at getting Gen X & Y to remember the fun of their childhood.

But I don’t care about Westpac – I care about me, in the same was as you care about you.

Your thoughts please…….

Cheers

Darren Fleming

Posted in Business Presentations, Executive Speaking Skills, nervousness, Politics and speaking, PowerPoint, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking tips, Sales Presentations, Understanding your audience, World Classs Business Presentations | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Solution

Posted by Presentation Skills on October 28, 2009

Often we have to present information that we don’t think our audience will understand or accept. This new information may be moving them away from what they have always believed or it may be stretching them to consider doing something completely different. It may simply be beyond their level of comprehension. The question is, ‘How do we get around it?’

The solution is always based on the problem. Here are the steps:

1. Tell the audience that you will be sharing something new (prepares for learning)
2. Tell them the benefits of what you are presenting (WIIFM)
3. Tell them who will be doing this in the future (third party endorsement)
4. Tell them that it may take a few explanations to get it – and that you want them to question it (shows strength of argument)
5. Tell them why industry leaders will be adopting your new ideas (gets the audience to self-select as industry leaders)
6. Tell them what your idea is.

Please share your thoughts below.

Cheers, Darren

Posted in Business Presentations, Executive Speaking Skills, nervousness, Network Marketing, presentation skills, public speaking, Public Speaking books, public speaking tips, Sales Presentations, Understanding your audience, World Classs Business Presentations | Leave a Comment »