Keynote Presentations

Keynote speeches and workshops require the L F T P elements.

L – Does the presentation make you laugh?

F – Does it make you feel? Does it touch your heart?

T – Does it make you think?

P – Is the point of the message profound?

The height of listening is frequently immediately following the laughter. People love to laugh. Laughter helps you connect with your audience. Speeches are not stand up comedy routines, but a dash of humor not only breaks up the message, but enhances the message. Humor comes from life itself. Humor is in the situation.

“Michael, I know you are a little nervous about your first speech, but just relax. Take a deep breath. You will do fine. It is only four to six minutes.” He did take a deep breath and spoke for four minutes and twenty one seconds. “Michael, other than alternating between flushed red and ghostly pale, you did just fine. You inhaled before the speech and exhaled after. Next time it is really desirable to breathe during the speech as well.”

Humor derives from a stressful situation and the need to release that tension. “If you are going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now,” Marie Osmond.

Do you need to use humor in your keynote speeches? Only if you want to be paid and invited to speak again.

Decisions are frequently made on feelings rather than logic. If you walked into a car showroom, would you be more likely to purchase if the salesman told you about the disc brakes, and the technical details of the engine or how sexy and classy you would look driving the car? Combustion engines do not stimulate my blood pressure.

Messages are remembered and repeated when they touch your heart and evoke emotions. What attracted you to your best friend or your lover? The appeal was an emotional stirring, not a cold logical fact. Messages in keynote speeches must touch your feelings.

What is the point of the keynote speech? Does it cause you to think? Parts of keynote speeches must stimulate thought. If all you want is humor, you will go to a comedy club. If you only want the tears to flow you can go to the animal shelter and feel sorry for the poor neglected and abused creatures rescued from living “on the street.” Memorable and impactful keynote speeches also inspire thought provoking ideas.

The fourth element is significant. Keynote speeches which people remember and repeat contain a profound message. When the message resonates within you and strikes a nerve, you tend to remember it. Stories demonstrate the point.

Through a series of unfortunate events and a couple of bad decisions, the money did not exist to send my older son Doug to college. “Doug, I am so sorry that I do not have enough money to pay your college expenses.” “Mom, you put yourself through college. You raised us alone. Why would you expect less of us?” Can’t begin to tell you the pride and love I felt for my son. What outstanding logic, understanding and feeling. Who says teenage boys are all hormones and no common sense. Way to go, Doug.

Keynote speeches which are remembered and repeated make you laugh, feel, think and deliver a profound message. L (laugh), F (feel), T (think), P (profound.).

For more tips and techniques on keynote speeches, join me at

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Foiled and Embossed Presentation Folders

One of the easiest ways to dress up a relatively simple package or set of advertising brochures for your company is to simply develop a sharper presentation folder. It is interesting that you can buy these fairly inexpensive if you buy in bulk. Lets say about $.75 to $2.00 each. This is not too much and will up your professionalism by 100%.

Presentation folders should have your logo in a crisp format either foiled or embossed, with a slogan, which is a simple statement underneath or along the edge. Some folks go a little further and have pictures also. This makes sense although any pictures you use should most likely also be used on your Companies Website. Why? Well it is important to keep the presentation folders and all your advertising and marketing material consistent you see? A simple to the point message is most well received by your future customers and clients.

There are many inexpensive things you can do to compete against the big boys and carry that same level of professional image without faking your way into looking too corporate and too expensive and turning off your potential clientele who may think you look too expensive. Consider all this in 2006.

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Better Presentation Skills – Don’t Rely on Technology and PowerPoint!

In speaking, PowerPoint and visual aids have their place. They can engage an audience, make them laugh, or reinforce your points. However, most people use visual aids very poorly.

These days, I choose to not use PowerPoint in my presentations. I did once for one of my very first engagements, simply because before agreeing to use me the client said, “send us your PowerPoint.” Not knowing any better, I went out and created one for the client.

I have to say that as a speaker I can see the appeal. The presentation was so easy because my PowerPoint basically served as my notes! I didn’t have to think about what to do or say next, because I would just click “next” and boom! There on the screen was what I was supposed to talk about.

However, the fact that this makes presenting easier is no reason to do it poorly. When I tell clients or an audience that I am not using PowerPoint, they almost always let out a sigh of relief. Some burst out into applause! Why do you think that is? Because most PowerPoint stinks! People put too much information on their slides, put on images that are out of focus or too small to read, and worst of all, just stand there and read the slides to the audience. That is the kiss of death!

Your visual aids, whatever they are, must support your speech, but they should never be a crutch. As you prepare your visuals, ask yourself one simple question: if the A/V went down, could I still deliver my content effectively? If the answer is “no,” then you need to re-work the slides until the answer is “yes.”

In fact, for your next presentation create it as if you were going to deliver it without visuals. Then, go back and add in visuals that will support points, add impact, aid retention, or make people laugh.

Your audience will thank you.

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Video Your Live Presentations and Become Your Own Best Critic

My last article dealt with video-recording yourself when you practice your presentation or speech. While I value the lessons learned by video-recording yourself in practicing, don’t stop with your rehearsals. The next step is to record your live presentation or speech. How you deliver in front of a live audience will be a bit different than your delivery in practice; and, both situations need to be studied.

By recording the actual presentation, you will be able to see yourself in action. Do you smile at times? Do you have enough volume? Were you heard? Were you making eye contact with your audience? Did you look natural and comfortable? Were you understandable? Did the pitch of your voice rise because of your nervousness?

Many of the questions I am asking here are not covered in my first article because recording yourself in a practice session will not produce nervousness – at least it shouldn’t! But my questions here deal with how you handle your nervousness. For example, the pitch of the speaking voice will only rise unnaturally because of nervousness. On the other hand, you may speak distinctly in your rehearsal but be considerably less intelligible in the live situation because you are subconsciously pulling back your volume.

Maybe you were speaking too quickly. Speed is one of the most interesting components of public speaking that can never be judged honestly until you hear yourself in a recording. You may speak at a good pace in normal conversation but increase your speed dramatically on stage because of excitement, nervousness, or because you want to get it over with as quickly as possible.

These are some of the easy questions to ask yourself as you listen and watch your performance. But you need to go even further. How did your audience react to you? Many who successfully finish their speech or presentation often don’t remember what happened. They are so thrilled to have it over that they can’t remember specifics.

This is where the video-recorder can be most beneficial. If you have a few jokes that have gotten no response, for example, then maybe you should change your style of delivery. Not everyone can tell a joke successfully. Maybe your humor is funny to you but not to your audience. On the other hand, your audience may have laughed at something you said that you had never considered humorous before.

This actually happened to me many years ago. In talking about voice, I was discussing the role of the diaphragm in supported breathing and I said, “we all have one (a diaphragm) we just don’t use it”! Upon hearing that remark, this one particular group burst out laughing. I had never thought that that statement was funny, because in discussing the diaphragm in the past, I had never thought of it in its other role as a contraceptive device.

You may have a wonderfully supportive audience who thanks you and was enamored with your presentation. But you still don’t a visual or an aural representation of what really happened until you are able to playback the video and watch yourself in action.

Become your own best critic if you want to be the best that you can be in public speaking.

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Presentation Skills: Using Humour

If you are a stand-up comic or a natural story teller, you may well decide to use humour as a way of making your presentations or public speaking opportunities memorable. For the rest of us, it is a high risk strategy.

There are three main reasons why attempts at humour in presentations and speeches can fall flat.

The audience does not understand

Humour often depends on colloquial use of words and expressions, or familiarity with cultural icons and references. Throwaway lines and punch lines may depend on speed and timing for their effectiveness. In a culturally diverse group of people where many are not native speakers in the language you are using, the subtlety or implied meaning of your words may be missed.

In preparing the presentation, consider the relevance of the content for the whole audience, and plan where you will pause for effect. During the presentation, have the punch line on a flip chart or PowerPoint slide for reinforcement, and enunciate your words very carefully.

The audience does not appreciate

Humour is often at the expense of other people, grouped by race, religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender, age, profession…or simply the part of town where they live. A joke in poor taste can alienate people in seconds.

Play safe. Don’t make comments at the expense of others. You never know who might be in your audience.

You fluff your lines

It is tempting to use humour as an ice breaker at the start of a presentation. But effective humour requires confidence, clarity and perfect timing. At the start of a presentation you and your audience have not yet settled down. You may not have their full attention and they have not tuned in to your way of speaking. You may be nervous and most likely to speak too quickly or, dear forbid, forget your lines completely.

Only use humour when you are feeling confident and sure that you have rapport with your audience.

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Personalised Present – An Efficient Way of Advertising

Personalised present offers a fantastic and an efficient way of advertising. It is a low cost product, which offers many opportunities to attract more new customers, quite frequently. It comes in wide varieties to suit your budgets and can market your business identity in an impressive manner. It serves as a great marketing item, which can help you to get noticed by people, everywhere and can be personalised for various events. It offers a low risk way of promoting a product, reliable enough for leading you towards a successful marketing campaign and will also help you to develop good relationship with your customers.

1. Photo Frame is one of the most common personalised present. It looks modern, unique and awesome and makes a wonderful Wedding, Christening or Anniversary gift. There is a large space, for imprinting company name, logo, messages and any other details. It can be used as trade show giveaway and makes great gift for any business environment, whether formal or informal.

2. Personalised teddy bear makes a fantastic baby gift. It comes with a knitted jumper, embroidered with brightly coloured thread. This item can really help you exhibit or promote your product among your potential clients and customers and offers a great way for discovering a new market for your brand. Besides all that, it will make a favourable impact and will keep your business name in front of everyone’ minds.

3. The more practical the personalised gift, the more memorable it is. It needs not be expensive to impress your recipients. Just like personalised mug filled with chocolates and treats with your own message. This will make a perfect personalised present for Father’s Day, Birthdays and even Christmas. You can also give it to your colleagues, business clients, customers, grandparents or even friends, as a way of showing them, how much you value these people.

4. With a large variety of beautiful colours and designs, you are sure to grab a lot of attention. This item will also ensure a great exposure for your company across the global market, which will leave your mark and get the respect for your company.

5. Hardback journal can also be personalised with your company message. This item will offer an insight into your family and can be passed down through generations. You can make it into a present of real class and elegance, which will make a professional impression on your clients. It allows a great way of expressing appreciation of your clients, employees and business partners.

Personalised present is quite an economical and excellent way of promoting your brand or company name. It makes extra special present for your loved ones and shows how much thought you have put into getting just the right thing. Personalised present can really increase your visibility and can help you create brand awareness. It can really help you reap the rewards that a successful promotion can create, increasing your sales, generating good profits for your business and making it to grow and prosper.

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Are You Inhabiting “Past Tense?” What If You Shifted Your Focus to the Present?

Do you live in past tense? This question is prompted by a quote from one of Lisa Unger’s novels (Black Out): “Most of us don’t live in the present tense.”

Note: Normally, when I’m reading in bed at night, I don’t have a highlighter close by… because I’m reading novels to relax, not to find inspiration or ideas. I am actually trying to get my mind OFF of work and ON to sleepy land. But here I was, reading Unger’s novel, and I was struck by her statement that “Most of us don’t live in the present tense.” I’ve been thinking about this idea since then.

Living in the past is a dull and lonely business; looking back strains the neck muscles, causing you to bump into people not going your way. ~Edna Ferber

Can we agree that it is harder to stay positive when your neck hurts and if you are forever crashing into people?! Let us consider that metaphorically (and not just literally).

Concepts that are associated with the past include:

  • yesterday
  • last year
  • 5 minutes ago
  • ancient
  • then
  • historical
  • non-current
  • medieval
  • olden (oh, my)
  • previous
  • former
  • ex-_________

Yikes! Wouldn’t you rather be today, now, and current?

Why would you be staying in the past tense?

  • Were you younger then? Yes.
  • Were you less wise then? Probably.
  • Were you with someone else then? Maybe.
  • Were you living somewhere else then? Maybe.

I could go on with a jillion questions at this point, but YOU are the one who needs to take a look at why you are spending so much time in the past tense (if you are). What is it that seemed “better” then than now?

If you can go back and recreate some aspect from the past that you wish were still in place now, then do so! For example, let’s say you muse about being in college. You think about the fun you had, the classes you loved, being on campus…whatever brings back good memories. Well, what if you created some aspect of that now? Get it? NOW. You could go back to school, you could go research something in a campus library (usually called knowledge centers now), or you could go sponsor a group on campus. There are a multitude of possibilities, but until you figure out what it is that keeps drawing your attention back to the past, you won’t know what you need to recreate for now.

Here’s another question? What is it about NOW that you don’t seem to like (or otherwise you wouldn’t be looking back to the past, right?) Figure that out and begin to address the current situation, as needed.

As Jan Glidewell admonishes us,

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.

Don’t let your present run out like that.

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Presenting – Presentation Skills Advice

Whether you are a university student giving a presentation on a project, a middle manager giving a talk on this months figures or a psychology expert giving a seminar on dyslexia in children presentation skills are vital in order to succeed. The ability to speak to a room or hall full of people can be a daunting one. Whether you know the people or even if they are complete strangers standing up by yourself and commanding an audience’s attention is tricky no matter whom you are. This can be even more difficult for people with learning difficulties like dyspraxia and dyslexia.

There are various methods to get through presentations from imagining your audience naked to imagining you are talking to a friend. Different techniques will work for different people so it is all about finding what works best for you. However there are a few things that everyone can do to get by when speaking in public whether you’re dyslexic or not.

As with most things in life preparation is the key to success. If you walk into a room with out any real understanding of what you are going to talk about how can you expect to do well? If you know your subject inside out then you should be able to breeze through it and handle any questions asked by the audience with confidence.

Technique is the other skill that you should work on and this is something that everyone needs to take into account. One of the most common problems when people give presentations is that they tend to read their notes rather than use them as a guide. This is terrible for the audience as it results in the speaker talking into their chest rather than making eye contact with the audience and making them feel involved and interested. The best way to overcome this is to use reminders in your slide show or presentation utilities.

If you are having problems looking at your audience the best thing to do is to look directly at the back of the hall over the heads of the audience. The audience will think you are looking directly at them and will feel engaged while you won’t have to focus directly on one or two people. Practise is the other thing that will help you overcome fears of giving a presentation and will help you to build your confidence.

If you are still having problems after all of this then you can always hire someone to give you presentation skills training or attend an evening class at a local college or university. These people will have a wide range of techniques, learning methods and facilities that will allow you to practise and perfect your skills till you are confident enough to do it yourself.

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Brilliant Presentations Are Vital To Your Business

Why? If you’re, say, a furniture polisher or a widget builder, why does it matter whether you can deliver a brilliant presentation or not?

The answer is simple: people buy people. You are your best ambassador for your goods and services providing, that is, you’re not a bumbling, mumbling, red-faced bundle of embarrassment when it comes to your turn to speak.

If networking plays an important part of your marketing strategy – and if it doesn’t, it really should! – every time you go to a new event your presentation skills are put to the test. Speak fluently and confidently about yourself or your business or both, even if for only sixty seconds, and you have a much better chance of winning new customers than if you’re tongue-tied or, worse, if your lack of confidence makes you sound stern or brusque.

The other, but no less important, benefit of speaking well in front of a group is that your own confidence will grow every time you do it. As you become more and more proficient, you’ll find that you will actually look for opportunities to deliver presentations and your enthusiasm will show.

For the thousands of glossophobes – people who are terrified of public speaking – there are in the world, this may sound like bad news, but you may be pleasantly surprised at how quickly and easily you can improve your public speaking skills.

The first step is, of course, to acknowledge that you will have to put a little work into becoming a better speaker; after that just follow these three simple ways to kiss the tongue-tied you goodbye and say hello to the fluent, confident version of yourself:

1. Visualise yourself making a brilliant presentation. If you’re nervous your negative side has probably pictured a poor outcome hundreds of times; improve your chances of a positive outcome by consciously creating mind-movies showing you delivering an absolutely wonderful presentation. Picture the audience cheering at the end of it, picture yourself looking calm and confident, knowing you’ve done a great job.

2. Check your material. All you need for a simple, brilliant presentation, is a beginning, a middle and an end. If what you say seems to have rather more elements than that, think again and remember that simple is good.

3. Practise. Practise and practise some more. Practise in front of a mirror first, then in front of a friend or friends, listen to their feedback and ACT on it!

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Crazy Busy? Get Instant Presentation Skills Training!

As an entrepreneur, student or sales professional, you know the constant demands on your time. If you’re strapped for time, and frazzled with a crazy busy schedule, there is hope. Use these 7 tips for instant presentation skills training.

These days, the heat is on. In every industry, in every business, the mantra is repeated over and over: Do more with less. Get more done with less staff. Get more sales with less support. Get more results with less training.

It’s not fair, really. But it is the way things are in most companies-both large and small.

If you’re feeling the budget crunch and the time crunch at the same time, no fear. Giving powerful presentations is still 100% possible. In fact, you may have budget shortfalls and tight timeframes working in your favor.

Use these 7 instant boosts to get results-without hurting your wallet.

Tip 1. Sketch Out Your Story
Instead of jumping right into script writing or PowerPoint planning, do something different. Sketch out your message at a whiteboard. This will help get your creative juices flowing. Plus, it’s a whole lot more fun than drowning over data at your computer.

Tip 2. Collaborate
Don’t fall into the trap of planning your presentation alone. Grab your colleagues and friends in for a quick collaboration session. Hey, everyone loves adding ideas and suggestions while refining your whiteboard story.

Tip 3. Tell A Story
Storytelling is hot. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a wizard at narrative or a natural born comedian to do a good job. Find a theme that works for your target audience, content and personal style. Wrap your message up with a bow by framing it with a story.

If storytelling seems like a foreign language to you, get help. Ask a presentation coach to advise you on the best stories or metaphors to communicate your message. Alternatively, take a self-study online course on business storytelling to brush up your skills.

Tip 4. Connect With Pictures
You’ve heard it before: “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But are you using this wisdom in your presentation? Check your whiteboard sketch and collaboration. Are you highlighting key ideas with colorful pictures? Are you sketching out a simple icon so anyone will understand your message?

Plan your story with pictures. It’s the fastest way to trigger whole brain creativity-for yourself, your team, and ultimately, your clients.

Tip 5. Use Testimonials
As smart and persuasive as you are, nothing beats the words of a satisfied customer. Show your current clients and prospects what other people are saying about you, your products and services.

Gather quotes whenever you can from clients. Get their permission to share their impression, show their picture, and show their video testimonials. The more you make gathering and using client comments in your presentation, the easier your life will become.

Tip 6. Show Evidence
What causes the tipping point from ‘consideration’ to buying? Evidence. Hard, solid and tangible evidence is best. If you’re selling a product, bring in a sample. If you’re providing a service, show a process map to explain the value with a simple diagram.

The more relevant evidence you show, the easier it is for people to ‘get it.’ Plus, more than likely this is material you already have lying around in the office. To you, it’s familiar ground. To new clients and prospects, it’s the tipping point.

Tip 7. Communicate With Passion
Your excitement is contagious. Communicate to every client and prospect with energy and passion. Hey, it doesn’t cost a dime. But it is worth a million bucks.

What do you notice about these 7 tips for powerful presentations? They are easy, fast and fun. If you’re short on time, crazy busy and need to do more with less-you’ve got your roadmap to success.

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