How to Warm Up for a Presentation

Today’s the day. You have a presentation to give. It’s your biggest audience yet. The organizers tell you there could be as many as five hundred people in the room. You can’t afford to screw up now. What thoughts run through your mind? Will I screw up? Will it go well? What if the technology fails? What if the audience gets bored? What if they don’t laugh at my jokes? What if… Read More

Why You Should Become Intentional

Sometimes when I work with clients, there’s a moment when the full implications of what I’m asking from them in terms of intentionality become clear. Wait, you mean that I’m responsible for my body language from the moment I walk out on stage until the end of the presentation? Or, you mean I have to be conscious of my body language for the entire meeting? The shocked look in their eyes reflects… Read More

Five Common Rookie Storytelling Mistakes

In honor of this week’s launch of our new online course, Presentation Prep: 10 Steps to Persuasive Storytelling, I’m devoting this post to some of the rookie storytelling mistakes I’ve seen in my 18 years as the President of Public Words Inc. But first a word about our course. We’ve teamed with an online course development company called Choose Growth, and we’re hoping that you’ll find it fun to do, easy to… Read More

Authenticity, Artifice, and Presentation Prep

We live in an era when the demand for authenticity trumps a number of qualities that our society (and others) used to deem more important. Authenticity has always loomed large, in other words, but its stock has risen and fallen depending on the times. Right now it beats out excellence, cool, and artifice; to jump to the top of the charts or the bestseller list, you have to be ready to open… Read More

What’s Wrong With Acronyms?

Just because it’s possible to sum up the key takeaways in your presentation in one of those annoying acronyms doesn’t mean you should yield to the temptation. “And here’s an easy way to remember the four rules of successful selling – C. R. A. P. –  where C stands for Connection, R stands for Rapport, A stands for Assumptions and P stands for Positioning!” Of course, the silliness of the word phrase… Read More

How To Get People To Pay Attention To You

We all know that the industrialized world is awash in information today; many have observed that this information overload puts a heavy burden on would-be communicators to get the attention of their audiences. Whether it’s a distracted spouse, a teenager playing a video game, a team worried about impending layoffs, a board that finds your report on sales initiatives tedious, an audience that’s looking forward to lunch, or a press corps that’s… Read More

Can You Present Well Sitting Down?

One question I get asked regularly is about sitting down to present. If there are only a few people in the room, if it’s an informal setting, if we’re used to presenting seated, if it’s a board meeting and all the board is sitting, if I want to send out a casual message, if I don’t want to be too authoritative – then can I present sitting down? Often, the real reason… Read More

The Three Tasks of a Public Speaker

The work of a public speaker is never done. You can never complete your expertise – true knowledge of a subject is the work of a lifetime. You can never finish perfecting your presentation – even Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech had some slips of the tongue, and it is generally considered one of the best speeches of the last century. It’s too early in this century to talk… Read More

Eye Contact And Public Speaking — It’s Not What You Think

The invention and wide use of eye tracking technology in psychological studies means we can finally re-visit that old chestnut that absolutely everyone has heard of about speaking:  make eye contact. And apparently it’s time to re-think that old rule. A recent study, not surprisingly, perhaps, shows that it’s not as simple as just, “Make eye contact with your audience.”  It turns out that people are less persuaded by more eye contact… Read More

Seven Ways to Enchant an Audience

How can you go beyond the usual efforts to create a successful presentation – and enchant the audience?  What are the secrets to creating magic with a speech?  Here are seven ways to take your speech beyond the ordinary.  Some of these will be familiar to you, but I’m guessing that at least one will be fresh and help you find a new level of connection with your audiences. 1.    Tell a… Read More