Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Public Speaking - Tom Antion Testimonial from Amy Reineri Amy Reineri explains how Tom Antion's ebook "The Ultimate Guide To Professional Speaking" helped her make more money in her speaking business.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Public Speaking - Creating a Favorable Learning Situation

With the world of technology changing at such a rapid pace, it's not surprising that more and more presentations are being geared towards the technological side of learning, or the "hard skills" types of programs. The nature and content of these programs has to be different from the "soft skills" or motivational programs because the needs and the expectations of the audience are different. The attendees look upon the time spent as a learning investment. They expect high content to be delivered in an understandable and usable manner during the allocated times.

Humor, as an end in itself, will not be appreciated. It's best to use humor that is specific to the discipline and that will probably only be understood and/or appreciated by the attendees who have an intimate knowledge of the topic. (General humor will be considered as time wasting and not relevant to the topic.) Stories are another good type of humor. Stories to which the attendees can directly relate, and ones that demonstrate practical methodologies of what to do or what to avoid, will assist the attendees in empathizing with the information being taught. On the other hand, typical "shaggy dog" stories and tales that would normally bring the audience to tears or result in a standing ovation will fall flat when addressing a technical audience.

Most technical session attendees are used to receiving information through a highly structured and organized means. They generally appreciate a bulleted outline of what is to be covered and expect the presenter to cover all of the points promised in a timely and expeditious manner. Time will become critical because of the volume of information to be delivered without leaving out anything important. Always evaluate your material for flow and time allocation and remember that the audience has no idea of what you leave out, as long as you address each point promised to some degree.

If you are concerned about having too much material for the time allocated, seriously consider creating a detailed handout with all of the relevant information and only address the spots of critical concern in the presentation. Technical audiences always appreciate having a written document with lots of details that they can refer to later.

As with every other learning situation, your presentation should be geared to the needs of the participants. The most important characteristic to consider for a one-to-three-hour session is the demographics of your participants. Demographics are not just age, sex, income, and education, although these may be very important to know. You also want to know the learners' level of knowledge about the subject, their problems and needs, and how they are going to use the information you are giving them.

Learn more about giving great presentations!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Presentation Skills - What to Do After Identifying a Story?

When you come across a story in a book, or when you have a personal incident you think will make a good story, ask yourself the following questions:

* Is it clean?
* Can I use it in a professional presentation to make a point?
* What point does it illustrate?
* What other points does it illustrate?
* How many categories should I file it in so I can find it when I need it
* What should I say to lead into the story?
* What should I say following the story?
* Where should I put it in my presentation?
* Is it better than something I am already using?

Just thinking about the answers to the above questions will make your storytelling better. Many presenters just slap any old story into their presentation, any old place, because they like the story. That is not the way to do it.

Make the best presentations you can.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Presentation Skills - Stage

The stage background can be a distraction. If possible, I try to find out what my background will be so I don't blend right in. If I have a blue curtain and I wear a blue suit, it will be harder for the audience to separate me from the background. Wall sconces directly behind the stage can be a distraction. I try to have them turned off or I remove the bulbs.

Lighting from behind is aptly called backlighting. Unplanned backlighting usually causes the front of you to darken considerably. However, planned backlighting from above is OK because it is used to put a halo effect around your head which makes you stand out from your
background. I beg for this all the time because it's the only way a guy like me is ever going to get a halo.

Also check to see that any risers and stairs to the risers don't squeak and are sturdy. You may fall down on purpose some time for fun, but you don't want to accidentally fall if you can help it. If you do fall, use a pre-planned ad-lib like: "Give me an inch and I'll take a fall."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Public Speaking - Too Much To Drink

An audience that has been at a cocktail event of one hour or longer usually means you will have some boisterous audience members to deal with. You could be faced with hecklers, disruptive and loud people, loud snoring sleepers, etc.

Unless you are a comic who is very good at mild insult humor, you SHOULD NOT use heckler lines like: "Hey, buddy. There's only one Mic. and I've got it. Or, If I'm going to make an ass of myself up here, I want to do it myself."

When you suspect you may have a problem because of a long cocktail hour, let the meeting planner know in advance that he or she should be prepared to tell the heckler that there is a phone call waiting. This gets the person out of the room where the meeting planner can try to calm them.

Request in advance that the bar be shut down when you are speaking, or people who really like to drink will be getting up and down during your presentation distracting everyone.

Many professional speakers guarantee their work EXCEPT when the audience is drunk or too tired. Patricia Fripp, C.P.A.E, told me about a time she was booked to speak to a vegetable company. They had the meeting in a winery. The entire group including the president were pickled. The meeting planner forced her to go on. Patricia said, "Half the crowd missed me completely and the other half saw two of me. I guess it evened out."

Remember, you are the one standing up there looking foolish. Take every precaution you can when alcohol is flowing.

Great presentation tips learned over time....

Friday, March 18, 2011

Public Speaking - Connecting With The Audience

Connecting with the audience

Audience members assimilate information in three different ways. Some people hear the information, some see the information, and some feel the information.
Although most individuals switch their emphasis frequently, one style usually predominates for a given individual. The styles of information transfer are called
respectively auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.

For you to connect with the most audience members, you should include information throughout your program that appeals to all three of these styles.
People that are primarily visual assimilators may be daydreaming throughout the portions of your presentation where you are using only words to convey your
information. They will perk-up when you use a visual aid such as an overhead, flipchart, or prop.

People that are kinesthetically oriented are looking for those words that describe feelings and that evoke emotions. They will also wake up and come to
attention if you have them come up on stage with you and you shake hands with them or put your hand on their shoulder (not in Asia). Auditory assimilators
might just love to hear you talk or they might like to hear a recording of JFK or some type of music.

When you plan your program so that auditory, kinesthetic, and visual elements are interspersed throughout, this will increase your chances of
connecting with all the audience members and decrease the chance that old Mr. Sandman will come knocking on their heads.

More Tips to be a Better Presenter!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Public Speaking - Costumes

No, you don't have to go on-stage in a gorilla suit, although you could if you wanted to. A costume can be anything from a flashy tie, to a feathered hat, to a full blown shiny Marca Polina outfit (the feminine Marco Polo) complete with an illuminated magic wand, that my friend Sally Walton wears when she talks about the magic art of "Communicating Across Cultures." Costumes add a flare and excitement to your presentations and certainly help to make them more memorable.

If you don't like to wear costumes, get the audience members to wear them. Better yet, get the "big shots" to wear them and you will probably be the hit of the meeting. I was doing a customer service talk for a pizza franchise and I had one of the senior managers march into the meeting wearing a filthy, doctor's lab coat with ketchup all over it (fake blood). I had another senior manager come in with a crisp, new lab coat. I asked a simple question, Which manager would you like operating on you? Of course, all the junior managers yelled out that they wouldn't let either one of these people operate on them. Everyone was laughing and joking around, but the point was made. They must keep their employees looking clean and neat because nice customers won't want to be served by grungy food service workers.

Costume characters can be hired to hand out fliers at your event, entertain, and generally create an air of fun and excitement. The local heart association has a "blood drop" costume they use when they are soliciting funds. There are literally hundreds of costumes available through costume shops or mail order. Just make sure, as always, the theme of the costume matches the theme of your presentation or event.

Make more money for your presentations!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Public Speaking - International Best Foot Forward

Put Your Best Foot Forward Mexico/Canada

  • Do not call Mexicans by their first name until invited to do so.
  • Mexicans hold a handshake, squeeze of the arm, or a hug longer than people from the United States and Canada do.
  • Do not give a knife or a letter opener as a gift. This symbolizes the severing of friendship.
  • In Canada, do not take sides in debates about contentious national issues such as the place of English and French languages in Canadian society.
  • If going to Quebec, have business cards printed on one side in English and the other side in French.
  • Realize that Canadians get down to business quickly. Meetings are well organized and extraneous discussion is kept to a minimum.

    Put Your Best Foot Forward Europe

  • Humor is everpresent in English life. It is normally self-effacing, sarcastic, and sexist. (This doesn't mean that you, as an outsider, can joke about what they joke about.)
  • In France, never violate the French sense of privacy! Never ask personal questions such as income, address, job, etc.
  • In Germany, men rise when a woman enters the room, except at a business meeting.

    Get more international meeting tips!
  • Friday, March 11, 2011

    Public Speaking - Bloopers

    Bloopers are clumsy mistakes that are usually made in public. The television show TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes and many blooper books are indicators of the interest we have in other people's goofs. Here are two from All Time Great Bloopers by Blooper Snooper Kermit Schafer and one from More Press Boners by Earle Tempel, and how you might use them in a presentation.

    A while back I heard about a DJ on WIOD in Miami, Florida who said, "This is Alan Courtney speaking. Don't forget, tonight at nine, our special guest . . . (pause) . . .will be . . . I forgot." Well, I haven't forgotten why we are here today . . . or (For an introducer) I couldn't possibly forget who is here with us today.

    Mayor Daley of Chicago was being interviewed on TV following the riots during the Democratic convention. The mayor stated, "The police in Chicago are not here to create disorder, they are here to preserve it." I hope I don't create or preserve any disorder in my presentation today.

    From The San Leandro, CA News: I saw a notice in the newspaper the other day. It said, "Industrial Boulevard is empty because it is a road to nowhere. Work is underway to extend it." If we keep developing the obsolete widget. We will be on the road to nowhere too.

    Use humor in your presentation to make more money!

    Wednesday, March 09, 2011

    Public Speaking - 5 More Reasons For Humor

    HELPS EMPHASIZE POINTS AND IDEAS. Anyone who has ever taken
    a simple speaking course knows that you must hit your audience on the head
    with your point over and over before they get it. Humor is one of the hammers
    you can use.

    DISARMS HOSTILITY. Nonfrivolous humor can be used to take the edge
    off audiences that are clearly against you.

    REDUCES RELATIVE STATUS. Many of you are what I call the "big-shots" of your
    organization. Your position as boss creates a big barrier to
    listening. Don't forget, "BOSS" spelled backwards is double-SOB and that's
    the way your audience will look at you if lord your status over them. Making
    a little fun of yourself (self-effacing humor) will do wonders for opening lines
    of communication.

    Introducers come in all quality levels. If you get one that makes you sound like
    God, it will create expectations in the audience that you couldn't possibly live
    up to. Humor can neutralize that problem instantly.

    Sometimes you have to deliver tough negative messages. The careful use of
    humor can help you do your dastardly deed without creating unnecessary

    Monday, March 07, 2011

    Public Speaking - Juxtapositions


    Juxtaposition is the placing, side by side, of two ideas or items usually for the purpose of comparison or contrast. I staged an event at Washington National Airport where I had a huge 450-pound man and a very small man (three feet eleven inches) dressed as chauffeurs. They were waiting at the gate for a man from Japan arriving for his first visit to the United States.

    To take the comical juxtaposition one step further, the small man was holding a gigantic sign with the Japanese man's name on it and the extra large man was holding a similar sign, except it was about the size of a business card. Believe me, we had the attention of everyone in the gate area. What a visual! Now let's look at two specialized types of juxtaposition:


    Warren S. Blumenfeld, Ph.D., in his book Pretty Ugly states, "I {passively tried} to warn you oxymorons had {almost absolutely} no socially redeeming quality except that they make people {smile out loud} and are addictive." His first book on the subject was called Jumbo Shrimp.
    According to Dr. Blumenfeld, "An oxymoron is two concepts {usually two words} that do not go together, but are used together. It is a bringing together of contradictory expressions."
    Terms like old news, extensive briefing, direct circumvention and random order are oxymorons. Also concepts like an advanced state of decline and expecting a surprise are oxymorons.


    A pleonasm is the bringing together of two concepts or words that are redundant. A pleonasm is the bringing together of two concepts or words that are redundant. How many times do I have to tell you? I stole that from Dr. Blumenfeld, but I've already credited him a couple times and Art Buchwald says that's enough. Combinations like frozen ice, sharp point, killed dead, sandy beach, young child, positive praise, and angry rage are pleonasms.

    Make more money speaking in public than you ever thought possible.

    Friday, March 04, 2011

    Public Speaking - Pre-Planned Ad-Libs 1

    Some humorous things to say when things go wrong during your presentation:


    *Humor can't fix everything.
    * I would fix this, but the only thing I learned in shop class was how to call
    for estimates.
    * That's what I get for buying this at a flea market.
    * I'll fix this right up. Just give me a hammer.
    * Does anyone have some SuperGlue?
    * Does anyone have a dollar bill on them? [If possible, go into the audience
    in search of a dollar bill apparently to fix the broken item.] It won't fix this,
    but maybe I can bribe someone to get me another one.
    * We really didn't need that [with sarcasm] MAJOR PORTION OF MY
    PRESENTATION did we? All great speakers have a plan. Unfortunately,
    I don't. No. I'm just kidding [go to alternate plan and you had better have
    * I know it's time for a BREAK, but this is ridiculous.
    * This item just took a break so why don't we take one too. Let's resume at....
    * Just when I was smokin,' this darn thing gets broken. Let's [take a break,
    alternate plan, etc.]


    * I guess I'll have to donate a portion of my fee to the electric company.
    * The caterer will be here shortly with carrots for everyone.
    * I guess God tried to hit me with a lightning bolt, but hit your electric box
    * I hope my talk hasn't left you in the dark.
    * It appears that I need to shed some more light on this subject.
    * Since you're all sleeping anyway, I decided to turn off the lights.
    * This is carrying energy conservation too far.

    Find out how to make more money as a public speaker!

    Wednesday, March 02, 2011

    Public Speaking - Response to Introduction

    The first important part of an opening is your response to your introduction.
    From here on, what you say is very important because it characterizes you to the
    audience. If you typically introduce yourself, you can skip this part for now and
    review it when you do a presentation where you are introduced. A response to
    an introduction is what you say to or about your introducer or what you say
    about what your introducer said. Can I make that less clear for you?

    For instance, if your introduction was too flattering and syrupy you could

    * After that, I can't wait to hear what I have to say.
    * Now I know what it feels like to be a pancake with too much syrup on it.
    * My mother would have been proud because you read that just like she
    wrote it.

    If your introduction was too long you could say:

    * This is not the second coming.
    * I have been feeling a little sick lately. I thought I had the flu, but I guess it
    must be my eminence.
    * If you had gone on about me much longer, I might have started to believe
    some of it.

    For an introduction that is too short you could say:

    * That was the shortest introduction I have ever had. My life just passed
    before my eyes and I haven't even been up here long enough to die.
    * Hey! What happened to all that good stuff I paid you to say?
    * I know I don't deserve all the nice things that WEREN'T said about me in
    that introduction.

    If you're doing a funny talk and the introducer is a GOOD friend you
    could say:

    * I normally don't allow a long introduction and in the short amount of time
    * I gave you Joe, you were starting to screw that up.

    If you're on a program with several big-name speakers you could say:

    * Most of the speakers you've heard here today are like a Who's Who of
    speaking. I'm more like a Who's He/She?

    Sometimes you will get an introduction that is just bad. Say:

    * Thank you very much for that INTERESTING introduction.
    * If I'm going to bomb, I want to do it myself. I don't need your help. (Be
    careful when, how, and to whom you say this one. You don't want to take the
    audience out of in fun.)

    A safe approach when you get a bad introduction is to just skip the response
    and make general comments to the audience. You don't want to embarrass the

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