Category Archives: Presentation Skills

Improve your Zoom Presentations

In the era of remote work, do you find yourself  delivering informal presentations using Zoom? Are you frequently presenting while sitting down versus standing up? Wonder how to highlight key points while using a virtual platform?  Not sure what to do with your vocals when delivering over phone or virtual platform like Zoom? These questions are frequently asked of our expert Presentation Facilitators when we work with companies to grow their teams’ public speaking skills.

During these days of remote or hybrid workplaces, many professionals deliver presentations via zoom, webinars, or in small meeting rooms where sitting down makes more sense. So how do the stand-up delivery skills work in these sit-in situations? Turns out that all the speaking skills that are traditionally used in a stand-up forum are transferable to a seated speaking engagement such as Zoom, with some adjustments. For example, eye contact is just as important sitting down as standing up; even more so when you are in a small intimate meeting space. So use your eyes to connect briefly with each person around the room or around your screen. Similarly, gestures are important for stressing key points, and changing the pacing of your verbal remarks. While your gestures may be smaller in a screen, the same principles of delivery are important to consider. Think about your timing, your gesture zone, and your placement of your hands. keeping your gestures above a meeting room table is key to ensuring people “see” your message.

What about your vocals? Think you can forget about varying your pitch, your pace, your projection or your passion? Definitely not; a boring, monotone presentation is killer especially if you are speaking via zoom or another virtual platform or teleconference. So remember the importance of varying your vocals, changing your pitch, adjusting your projection and emphasizing key words while seated. It will be the difference between a mediocre presentation and a great one!

Bottom line, if you deliver presentations seated or standing up, it is extremely valuable to learn how to use expert performance skills such as eye contact, vocals, body language and gestures. Check out our Powerful Presentations training course for a good overview of speaking skills that deliver – whether you’re sitting down or standing up, and whether it’s a live presentation or one delivered via virtual platform.

Advance Your Presentation Skills with Questions

When you think of delivering a presentation, you might think it’s all one-way with you as the lecturer sharing key facts and graphs, while the audience listens intently. Actually, you couldn’t be much further from the truth, especially if you want to be an engaging presenter. When you watch a powerful presenter they have a way of weaving lots of interactive techniques into their remarks, with questions being one of the most powerful tools in the tool chest.

Sounds simple but in reality it helps to sort out the different ways you can use questions to keep the audience focused. Let’s take a look at three question techniques including:

Starting Broad
One way to start a presentation is to start with broad, general questions. Let’s say you’re going to give a talk on driving a foreign car on the autobahn. You might start with a broader question first such as – “Who here has ever driven on a busy highway?”. By asking this broad question you are establishing a common topic and you can drill down from there. Some people think of asking a series of questions much like a funnel; beginning from the top of the wide top of the funnel then working to the narrow end. With this in mind you can start with broad questions at the top of the presentation then work your way toward more specific questions. In this case, after having asked a broad question in the first moment of your talk, you might later add in more specific questions about driving cars in Europe, driving on the right side of the road, or ultimately driving on the autobahn in Germany.

Asking For Examples

To get your audience more involved in a topic it really helps to ask them for examples as they relate to your key messages. Not only do participants like to be more involved, the whole session benefits from the sound of different voices and opinions on a topic. You might say “Who here has an example to share with the larger group?”. It can be helpful to let the group know you value their expertise; in fact most professionals respond very well to opportunities to share their experience. For example, if you are talking about strategies to resolve conflict in the workplace you might ask participants for examples of strategies that have worked for them. You can even make a list on a whiteboard or flipchart to summarize the examples provided. By gathering examples from your audience you can also assess how to better customize your comments to meet their real life needs.

Connecting the Dots
Questions can be used very powerfully to connect your various sub-points and tie them back to the larger theme in your presentation. If you understand that most audiences need assistance connecting all the various ideas in a logical fashion you will see how the following question will be a crowd pleaser. When you come to the end of a section of your speech, pause then ask “Why is this important to us here at Company X?”. Look around the room. Hopefully someone in your audience will have understood the points you’ve made well enough that they can summarize them for the crowd. Alternatively, you might do a quick summary by answering your own question. People want to know how all the information you share will change their lives, transform their workplace or generally make a difference.

By using questions throughout your presentation you will help your audience understand the topic more clearly, prompt interaction, and connect messages to your overall theme. And that makes for a presentation worth listening to.

Why is the Title Important?

What’s in a title? Attraction! Interest! Engagement! You have a fairly vast subject to present. And everything leads to everything. At our presentation training events, you begin to understand that you old method of approaching presentations, data dumping, is death to the audience.

Your audience is like all humans these days; busier than busy. “Why should I spend my precious time with you?” they ask (subliminally). You better have a clear and solid answer if you want to capture their attention; if you want to be a success.  Presentation training will help you structure a strong message and hook their attention. We will teach you about the 4 A’s – a technique for engagement.

How is your presentation title?  In just 3-5 words, you are setting the direction of your short time together. You are giving them the ‘what’. But they also need the ‘why’.  Why will their time with you bring THEM more success?  A Presentation Training seminar can help you understand this hook.

So brainstorm titles. Have fun with it. Come up with at least five to choose from. Which one jumps out at you that will jump out at them as being a topic that they can’t do without?

 

Handling Tough Q&A as a Presenter

Do you feel confident about your upcoming presentation but worry about responding to tough questions or comments from your audience? Our Presentation training programs address strong behavior styles and how to handle them with ease.

A dominant “Doer” may not exactly heckle, but they can ask some very tough questions or make statements that may rattle you.  Our Powerful Presentations™ program can help you increase your skills and insights learning how to retain a poised look and sound, even under these trying conditions.

Another behavior style that can test your confidence are “Talkers”. They love the floor and can disrupt the flow of your presentational by impulsively asking a question in the middle of your thought.  How do you handle that?  Our variety of presentation training seminars will help you discover some powerful and effective tools for coming out ahead in these situations.

How can you possibly know the answer to every question asked, even if it doesn’t come from a forceful Doer or a poorly self-managing Talker? You can’t! But you can learn how to deftly recover and deliver a truly successful presentation in spite of challenges.

Learn how our interactive Presentation training seminars, Presentation training courses, and Presentation training workshops can benefit your team.

Presenting from a Positive Place

Feeling nervous about an upcoming presentation?  There are so many factors that are out of your control, however.  You may get a tough audience who are hard to engage or simply unhappy people.  It’s a challenge to not let this affect your presentation.  However, presentation training can prepare you for this challenge and teach you skills and strategies for rising above it to deliver an outstanding presentation regardless of your audience’s state of mind.

 

A Master by the name of Don Miguel Ruiz writes about not taking anyone else personally. That’s hard to do at first. But, like anything practiced well, you can train yourself to do just that. In fact, presentation training can help you be proactive and hone this very practice so as not to be caught off guard by negative energy from your audience.

 

While you are presenting, we at the Presentation Training Institute say that you are in fact the leader while in front.  And that also means you are leading from happiness to inspire audience members to greater happiness.   Presentation training can help you make the connections needed to equate both mood and relevant material for meeting your audience’s overt and inner needs.