Tag Archives: presentation skills

Eight Surefire Ways To Ruin a Meeting or Presentation

25 Mar

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1. Show up late and look really stressed out.   Mess up your papers, tussle your hair, dart your eyes around a little.  This will let your audience know right up front that this is just not going to go well and that you’re likely wasting their time.   Nothing says “ruined presentation” like one that just wasted everyone’s time.

2. Dress like you just crawled out from under a rock.  Spill a little coffee on your tie, wrinkle up those dress shirts.  This drives home the message that you don’t really care very much about what they think of you, anyway.

3. Dive right into your presentation.  Don’t even acknowledge your audience and, by all means, do NOT address them as individuals.  Addressing them in any way beforehand will only make them more comfortable and may even make them (gasp!) like you a little.  No, no.  Jump right in.  An angry, uncomfortable audience is a great way to ruin a presentation.

4. Only use bullet slides.  Pack those slides with so much bulleted content that it would take a microscope to read and a genius to decipher meaning.   This way, your audience is sure to be confused.  With any luck, they’ll also miss out on key pieces of information.  Bingo.

5.  Look all around the room but never directly at your audience.  Alternatively, if that doesn’t work for you, you could try looking rapidly at everyone, never settling your eyes on any one individual.  These methods of eye movement let your audience know you really don’t care how they feel about you or your presentation.

6.  Wander around a lot.  Maybe walk back and forth aimlessly a little or wander around in circles.  Turn your back on the audience for long stretches of time.  Just be sure to never stand still because if you aren’t moving it might mean that you are paying attention.  Or, worse, that you are focused.  Acting focused is a terrible way to ruin a presentation.

7.  Ignore a slide now and then.  Heck, they can SEE it, right?  Let them figure it out.

8. Do you know a lot of fancy words that no one really understands?  Use ’em.  A lot.  This is sure to set you apart as unapproachable, arrogant and unlike anyone in the room.   No one likes an arrogant presenter, right?  Right.  Presentation ruined.  You’re welcome.

Now, call us if you’re ready to do it right.

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“Show” Them You Mean Business.

26 Aug
“Don’t just tell your story. Show your story.”  Diagrams (white board, flip chart or scrap paper on the desk used to enhance your presentation) not only help the audience understand your concept but also bring life to your ideas.  When your presentation format calls for a “stand and deliver” style, diagrams give you the opportunity to add a level of excitement to any subject. Studies have shown that even the simplest of illustrations (bulleted points, sketching a process or crafting a chart) will hold your audience’s attention far longer than a presentation without any graphics.   And remember, it’s not about the quality of the artwork.  It’s about helping your audience see and understand the message.
Here are just a few examples of what we feel are effective diagrams.

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At Fuller Communications, we know Diagramming.   Let us talk to you about how you can bring a whole new level of energy to your next presentation.

SPECIAL OFFER:  Send us an example of a presentation diagram that worked for you and be entered to win a free copy of Success Simplified, a true communications bible with a chapter contributed by our own Ted Fuller.  Image

One Size Fits All? Not in Business.

17 Jul

Today, you’re presenting a new idea to your peers.  It’s a game changer that will affect how they go about their day to day selling process.  Tomorrow, you’ll present the same idea to your boss.  She’ll love the extra money it will bring in to her department.  If all goes well, you’ll present it to your customers next week.   Better get to work preparing a top-notch presentation!  Right?   Wrong.   (Well, sort of.)

One idea, yes.   But, three different audiences means three very different presentations.

At Fuller Communications, we’re in the business of helping people know their audience.  Armed with unique and dynamic tools, we work with our clients to teach them how to use their audience’s buzz-words, body language and personalities to form strategic and  customized presentations.  Got a boss that’s always in a hurry?  Talk to her using words like “efficient”, “fast-paced” and “cutting edge”.   Have a customer who requires a little extra hand-holding?  Be sure your presentation includes words like “partnership”, “teamwork” and “collaboration”.

When you consider precisely who your audience is before drafting your presentation, you gain a critical ability to speak their language.   And, when you can speak your clients’ language, you can gain their attention, their trust and, ultimately, their business.

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What’s Your Story?

2 May

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“I loved it.   From the very first page, I just couldn’t walk away.  I related to the characters, empathized with their situation and felt personally connected to their story.  And as it drew to its dramatic conclusion, I was almost disappointed it had to end.   I look forward to the next…

 …presentation?”

It’s true.  Often, a strong presenter must view his or her presentation as an opportunity to tell a story, weaving in many elements of a best-selling author.

Open Big

The curse of a bad book is an inability to grab the reader early.   If it hasn’t grabbed your attention in the first few chapters, chances are good that you’ll put it down and forget about it.   The same goes for presentations.  At the start of a presentation, your listeners are ready to be captivated.  But, with very passing minute, you stand to lose them.  Grab ‘em early and hang tight.

Development Your Story

The most memorable characters in literature are often the ones to whom we can best relate.   When presenting in business, know your audience and adjust your presentation accordingly.   Show them how your presentation relates to them as individuals, not just as a group.  If your listeners are personally invested in your story, they’re far more likely to listen.

Don’t Ramble

A writer’s best friends are his eraser and his Editor.   When you’ve finished building your presentation, go back and look at it again.  And again.   Chances are good that there’s room for reduction.

Finish Strong

You know that feeling you get when you finish a really great book?  Give that feeling to your listeners.   Leave them feeling inspired, motivated and grateful for the time they’ve invested in you.

“How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall?”

16 Jan

ImageYou’ve heard the old joke.  A tourist walks up to a man in Times Square and asks “Excuse me, but how do you get to Carnegie Hall?”  The man replies, “It’s simple.  Practice, practice, practice.”

This may not have been the answer the lost traveler sought but that doesn’t make it untrue.  In fact, practice (particularly as it applies to business presentations) is the single best thing you can do to ensure your message comes across accurately.   Practice has proven to reduce one’s own anxiety, enhance confidence and produce a superior product for your audience.

Don’t have time to practice?  Hogwash.   Any presentation worth giving is a presentation worth practicing.    Clearly, an unrehearsed, stumbling, bumbling, stuttering presentation can be damaging to your message and your credibility.  If you didn’t take the time to rehearse and perfect your message, how whole-heartedly could you possibly stand behind it?

Consider the following tactics to help better prepare for your next presentation.

1)   “Your Mirror is Your Friend.”   We know.  It can be painful.  But watching one’s self in the mirror for the duration of a practice presentation can teach you a lot about your physical presence.

2)   “Do I Really Sound Like That?”   Yup.  That Mickey Mouse voice on the audio recording is yours.  Ignore the tone and focus on the words.  Are you speaking too quickly?  How many “umm”s or “ahhh”s do you count?

3)   “You May Be Wondering Why I Gathered You All Here…”  Use your home audience.  Your spouse, your parents, even your kids can be a valuable practice resource.  Simply having others’ eyes on you while you speak helps you better prepare for the real thing.

Just a few simple steps can mean the difference between a successful presentation and a disastrous one.   So, give your audience credit.  If you walk in unrehearsed, they’ll know it.   It’s hard to focus on your words (no matter how brilliant) when they’re accompanied by a nervous twitch, a lopsided tie or a flurry of disorganized papers.  Conversely, if you walk in confident, self-assured and well prepared, they’ll listen.  They’ll see that you stand behind your message and cared enough to deliver it properly.

“If you don’t practice, you don’t deserve to win.”

Andre Agassi, 8-time Grand Slam-Winning Tennis Champion

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Hurry Up and Slow Down

2 Oct

For years now, communications in the workplace and in our personal lives have been firing on all cylinders.  Emails, texts, tweets, live video conferencing and more have led to a frenetic “now, now, now” mentality.   We receive a text and we reply immediately.   We fill even precious seconds of downtime with Outlook, Facebook, Words with Friends and Twitter.

I’ll admit it.  I see that little red dot on my Smart Phone, hovering over email and some cosmic force compels me… Must.  Click.  Button.   And, once opened, it’s difficult to sit back and leave my reply for another moment.    Instead, I shoot off a reply at the first opportunity, clearing one small task from an ever growing “to do” list.  It’s cyberspace tennis and we’re all just trying to ensure the ball lands in someone else’s court.

There’s no doubt that, at work and play, we are often blessed by this new ability to get our messages across quickly.  But, have we consequently lost the ability to provide thoughtful answers to the more important questions?   Are we putting important relationships at risk?  Do you know when to seek out a face-to-face meeting?  Do you know when to stop a text rally and pick up the telephone?

Clearly, there are times when we know to communicate more personally.   No one wants to be laid off by a boss, dumped by a girlfriend, or denied a raise over email. Email and text messages are ideal for succinct, clear, emotionless details sent between people with a mutual understanding of the relationship.   Sending a text or email allows us to focus on the “objective” of the message but not the human recipient.  There’s little room for relationship development, tone and emotional clarity in 140 characters or less.

The idea exists that showing emotion in the business world is a sign of weakness.   However, let’s keep these examples in mind.

  • Would you buy a car online?  Or, would you be more likely to buy it from a man who loved the vehicle so much that his eyes lit up when talking about a recent road trip?
  • Would you be more likely to help out a co-worker who walked into your office and humbly asked for assistance?  Or, would you help the one who asked over text message?
  • Would you be more motivated by the boss that looked you in the eye and gratefully shook your hand after a job well done?  Or, by the one who shot off an email later that night?

Think about it the next time you’re racing to get your message delivered.  There’s a time, a place and a need for speed in our lives.  But, there’s also great opportunity in taking the time to stop, think and put down the device.  Your message may not get there as quickly.  But, it might just get there more effectively.

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