Monday, June 30, 2008

Seven Tips To Be A Memorable Speaker

Writen by Tracy Brinkmann

1. Be different. Memorable speakers do not attempt to be one of the crowd. Memorable speakers set themselves apart – they stand out. They stand out with something they do or say, the way they present themselves or their material. One technique I use in my speeches is magic. A simple magic trick can easily drive home a point you want your audience to remember. Memorable speakers do not just stand in front of the audience and talk.

2. Remain positive. Regardless of the topic, memorable speakers remain positive. Memorable speakers consistently try to communicate a message of what TO do rather than what NOT to do. To be a memorable speaker spend more time in your speech giving your audience tips and techniques to help them get out of their rut or fix their problem rather than spend a lot of time telling them how they got into the situation. You can use the downside as a tool or a speaking point but focus the majority of your attention on the upside.

3. Be confident. As an experienced speaker I can tell you that it does take confidence to just make my to the podium, stage or microphone and start speaking. I have seen far too many less than memorable speakers slowly make their way to the stage and begin speaking like a shy little school child. Be confident in your speaking abilities. The best way to build that confidence is to practice, practice, and practice. Follow the practice process I laid out in my article The practice process (get a copy or view online Finally, give speeches, long or short, at every opportunity, nothing beats experience to boost your confidence.

4. Use humor. Memorable speakers know how to tickle the funny bone of their audience, and they are not afraid to do so. More importantly then know not just how but when and where to use (or not to use) that humor. I have a number to humor tips in my articles "Speaking with Humor" and "Boom! Goes the joke bomb!" (get a copy, or view them online

5. Call to action. Memorable speakers always give their audience a call to action. Now matter what the topic of the speech, a memorable speaker will give their audience the know-how then call them to action against that knowledge. Challenge your audience to go out and improve their business, life, and health with the material you share every time you close your speech.

6. Engage the audience. The average person's mind will be able to process far more bits of information that you can utter even on your faster day. Therefore, if you do not engage the audience through questions, activities, or thought provoking stories and examples, you will loose them. Do not let your audience think about anything else except the material you are trying to impart upon them. Get them to participate in your material. Talk with them rather than just talk to them.

7. Be yourself! Do not try and imitate those great speakers you watch. Watch them for tips and techniques. Watch them to see what works and what does not work. However, when you develop your own material, make it your own. When you get on stage, present your own material in your own way. With YOUR style. Your audience came to see you, not Zig, or Brian or Anthony or someone else; they want to hear YOU. Be yourself and you will be far more memorable a speaker.

Think Successfully & Take Action!
Tracy Tracy Brinkmann is an goal setting and success counselor. Through his company Success Atlas, he provides goal-setting, motivational & educational material, & training via live presentations as well as digital/audio products. Sign up for his free e-Zine

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Premature Burnout Dont Let This Happen To Your Projection Lamps

Writen by Mark Boehm

Voltage surges or voltage spikes as they are sometimes called can shorten the life of any projection lamp. In some cases they can shorten lamp life by as much as fifty percent. If your projection lamps are only lasting a portion of what the manufacturer calls "The rated life" then you may want to consider using long Life Projection Lamps.

First you need to have a basic understanding of projection lamps and the typical voltages that they are exposed to in their every day life. We will begin with the term "Voltage Spikes".

Typically and according to electronic theory, the devices that you plug your house hold appliances into as well as your Audio Visual Equipment, are receiving 120VAC at 60 Hz. Now that's simple enough, and most of us are familiar with those voltages. But did you know that there are very few power stations that produce exactly 120VAC. Because of weather conditions, the condition of transmitting wires and other variables the voltage that you find at your outlet will not always be exactly 120VAC. In fact in some areas this voltage may swing from as much as plus or minus three or four volts. This is what we are referring to when we use the term "Voltage Spikes".

Projection lamp filaments are rated at a particular voltage rating, based on an average voltage that they will encounter over their life span. Yesterday's halogen lamps used 120VAC to operate, while today's halogen projection lamps generally operate on an 82 volt power supply. When the voltage exceeds the rated filament voltage it shortens the life of the projection lamp.

The long life projection lamp was developed to help reduce the cost of projection lamp failure due to voltage fluctuations. So how do Long Life Projection Lamps work?

The filaments of long life projection lamps are engineered to have a rating of five percent higher than standard projection lamps. These filaments are designed to handle the "Voltage Spikes" or power fluctuations that standard projection lamps can't. And in most cases, projection lamps that operate under lower than the manufacturer ratings will last longer as well.

Unfortunately there is a down side to all of this. Like anything else, when you do something to gain on one end, there is something you have to give up on the other. Changing the filament rating on projection lamps to a higher rating reduces the amount of light output, (lumens) they produce. In some cases as much as a thirty percent reduction in the light output. An example of this is the use of an 82 volt halogen lamp burning on 86 volts. The lamp would produce 14% more light, but with a life of only 70% of its rated life. This same lamp with a long life filament would produce less than 15% of its rated lumen output but with an increased lamp life of more than 25%.

In some cases the brightness (lumens) required for projection far outweigh the necessity to increase projection lamp life with the use of long life lamps. It becomes a matter of choice for each user as to what their priorities are when it comes to projecting their images and presentations.

Mark Boehm is the president of

For more information on this subject:

What I Learned About Powerpoint Presentations In The Military

Writen by John Kilgo

As a military officer I've learned quite a bit about using PowerPoint and learned the hard ‎way how to brief complex information in a short amount of time. I'd like to share my ‎experiences with you so that your next presentation will be a surefire success. ‎

First, in my opinion, success begins with your slide show and its set up. This is one case ‎where less is more. PowerPoint is a powerful piece of software with a ton of good ‎features that have their place, however, fancy transitions, embedded sounds, and odd ‎colors can cloud a presentation and distract from you objective – getting your point ‎across. So, with that being said, I offer the following suggestions:
‎ • Use a slide master – found under View – Master – Slide Master. If you set this ‎up right you can eliminate a lot of formatting later.
‎ • Follow the KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) Principle. Eliminate the flowery ‎background and the fancy fonts – a simple black and white slide that outlines ‎your points in quick succession will go much further than a pretty slide lacking ‎content. Also these stripped down presentations will be smaller and load ‎quicker, reducing wait times when you're briefing away from your personal ‎computer.
‎ • Show the "Bottom Line Up Front" that is, from the beginning, let your audience ‎know what your point is and reinforce it along the way.

Second, how you give the presentation tells a lot about your comfort with the information ‎and your preparation. Remember you're the one giving the presentation, and therefore ‎you're in control of the information flowing and you can lead the audience where you ‎want them to go. I offer the following suggestions:
‎ • Watch your body language – what are you doing with your hands and arms? ‎Are your arms crossed over your chest or do you frequently gesture with your ‎hands? Neither is 100% right or wrong but I submit that keeping your arms ‎crossed over your chest sends a signal that you don't want to be there and ‎frequent hand/arm gestures can distract from your presentation.
‎ • How do you give the information? Don't be the presenter that reads the slide ‎verbatim to the audience. If you've done your homework you should have set ‎up your presentation so that as the audience reads your slides, your narration ‎amplifies what's on the screen or provides clarification for complex slides. ‎Nothing frustrates an audience more than having a slide read to them.
‎ • Make eye contact and keep the audience involved. You've come to tell them ‎something or sell them something, etc…so to that end, the more you involve ‎them and make it clear why you're there; then your point is more likely to sink ‎in.
‎ • Utilize concrete examples in your presentation and be able to articulate where ‎you got your information from. While some presentations can make use of ‎emotions, I submit that empirical data goes further than raw emotion 9 times out ‎of 10.

In summation, I think GEN Colon Powell said it best in his book, MY AMERICAN ‎JOURNEY, when briefing – tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, and then ‎tell them what you said. It's a good construct to follow. Have an agenda slide, give the ‎presentation, and then recap for your audience. Utilize the opportunity to engage your ‎audience and never ever read slides to your audience. ‎

Not everyone has an instant affinity for public speaking and working with PowerPoint. ‎However, with some practice and keeping a few simple tips in mind, you can greatly ‎improve your public speaking ability by adding PowerPoint slides.‎

I live in South Florida and have a passion for Swiss watches and run an on-line watch store ( in addition to my military career.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What Annoys Audiences About Powerpoint Presentations

Writen by Dave Paradi

When you prepare to deliver your next PowerPoint presentation, your audience should be first on your list of considerations. Unfortunately, too many presenters annoy their audiences. An online survey of 688 people who regularly see PowerPoint presentations revealed the following top annoyances (item and what percentage of the respondents cited that item as one of their top three annoyances):

The speaker read the slides to us 62.0%
Text so small I couldn't read it 46.9%
Slides hard to see because of color choice 42.6%
Full sentences instead of bullet points 39.1%
Moving/flying text or graphics 24.8%
Overly complex diagrams or charts 22.2%

The top four annoying mistakes are the same as a similar survey done in 2003, suggesting that presenters are not getting much better at presenting clear information in an appealing manner.

The survey also asked for written comments in addition to the ranking and 415 people wrote in with additional ideas. The comments covered a wide range, but most common were three areas:

1. Delivery of PowerPoint Presentations

Many audience members wrote to comment on how the delivery of the PowerPoint presentation was a big problem. The areas of greatest concern were:

a) The use of PowerPoint when another communication method would have been better. Too many times it seems that PowerPoint is the default communication method and people have forgotten that a simple memo or one-on-one conversation would be much better.

b) The presenter is not familiar with how to deliver the presentation using the equipment. Comments cited the lack of knowledge of many presenters on how to smoothly start a presentation and keep the flow going during the presentation when using PowerPoint.

c) The presenter is not prepared to add to what the slides say. This seems to be caused by the presenter not knowing the topic well enough, or the mistaken use of PowerPoint as a teleprompter where the speech is read to the audience (echoing the top annoyance in the ranking).

2. Poor Slide Design

Even when the presenter is prepared and knowledgeable, poor design of the slides causes confusion among audience members. They focused on these areas as the ones of most concern:

a) Poor selection of colors and fonts make the slides hard to see. While a computer has the ability to produce millions of colors and hundreds of fonts, not all of them should be used together. Colors must have enough contrast to be seen and fonts need to be clear and simple in order to be read when projected. If the audience can't figure out what is being projected, the visuals are of no use.

b) Misuse of the Slide Master and Slide Layout leads to inconsistent appearance of slides during the presentation. Audiences are looking for consistency during the presentation in the look and basic layout of the slides. This makes it easier to follow the presentation. Too often they are guessing as to what the next slide will look like and forced to search on every slide for the relevant ideas.

c) Backgrounds should be clean and not distracting. Audiences find backgrounds that contain numerous graphics, symbols and text distract from the information that is supposed to be central to the slide. They also commented on how stark black on white slides are too bright and need some simple color and design to make them appealing.

3. Overuse of PowerPoint's features

Each version of PowerPoint seems to contain more and more features designed to make it easier to add flashy graphics, animation and multimedia to presentations. And too many presenters think that just because the feature is there, they should be using it. Audiences were clear that use of animation to entertain instead of inform or adding multimedia audio or video segments to show off the presenters talents were unnecessary and certainly took away from the message being presented.

Millions of Dollars Wasted on Annoying Audiences Each Year The respondents to the survey were also asked how many presentations they see and how prevalent these annoying mistakes were.. Just over half of the respondents (54%) see 100 or more presentations per year, making them well qualified to identify how often these problems occur. And the news from this group of frequent presentation audience members is not good. One third of this group said that more than half of the presentations they see suffer from these annoying items and another third of this group said at least one in four presentations have annoying elements. This suggests that a significant percentage of the estimated 30 million PowerPoint presentations done each day fall in to the annoying category. An annoying presentation wastes the time of the people attending and causes enormous rework as ideas are not clearly communicated. This wasted time adds up to tens of millions of dollars each year. And this is money that can be saved by creating and delivering better PowerPoint presentations.

What Can Be Done?

Presenters need to focus on three things that will help them communicate more clearly when using PowerPoint:

1. Prepare a simple slide design with contrasting colors and clear fonts. Use a similar layout for each slide so that the presentation is consistent in appearance for the audience.

2. Simplify the content of your slides. Use less text, more graphics and try to do less on each slide. Keep the slides focused and the audience will be able to follow your message much better.

3. Prepare yourself for the presentation. Learn how to use the equipment and know your subject well enough that you presentation becomes a conversation with the audience instead of reciting a speech.

If you keep the audience as the central focus of your presentation, with a goal to clearly communicate with them, you can greatly improve your PowerPoint presentations.

Dave Paradi is the co-author of Prentice Hall's "Guide to PowerPoint", a text used at the Wall Street Journal's #1 ranked MBA school, and his ideas have been featured by international publications. Dave's "practical not technical" approach and customized presentations have audiences walking out of his sessions with ideas they can begin using immediately. He offers a free PowerPoint e-course, newsletter and articles on his web site at

Friday, June 27, 2008

Presentation Sensory Orchestration

Writen by John Dir

There are many factors that have been considered over the years which help people distinguish between good and poor presentation techniques. In the sea of information for preparing a great presentation, the focus is usually centered on visual aids, and speaking techniques. Certainly, the primary attention given to information and speaking quality is warranted, because so many times, one or the other is seriously lacking when efforts are unsuccessful. These principal elements are the first steps in achieving a style that will immerse the audience in what they are receiving, and cause them to engage or disengage in the process of absorbing what you have to share.

On a higher level, successful presentation is actually centered on the art of sensory orchestration. No matter what you are presenting, or how well prepared you are to get the point across, there will always be a percentage of the audience that does not come along for the ride. In order to increase the number of people who do identify with you, there are some little known areas of skill that merit consideration. Historically, there have been some people who have applied these elements with great success, either consciously or unconsciously. Effective sales presentations incorporate many of the same elements that can move people to support a political agenda.

As a speaker, it is important to understand how to use the advantages presented by your environment, how to appeal to the needs of the audience that your subject or product offers to resolve, and how to engage people with the use of familiar imagery that allows them to identify closely with what you are telling them. Appropriate sensory orchestration of sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste can be interwoven with your message to reinforce participation and acceptance of the concepts you are presenting. Most speakers are familiar with engaging the audience through sights and sounds. People use these senses when they listen to your speech, and look at the various forms of media that you employ. Many presenters do not understand the increased benefits they can obtain by intentionally engaging aspects of the remaining three senses; smell, taste, and touch. The influence on learning and acceptance which each of the three remaining senses have are worth examining individually.

1. Using Taste - How often do you find yourself recalling a situation or circumstance associated with a past experience that is triggered by something you are eating? This experience can be good or bad. Maybe you get a sense of comfort and love from recalling the taste of your grandmother's apple pie, or a sense of dread from being forced by your patents to eat cold spinach as a form of punishment before you were allowed to leave the table. Have you ever found yourself recalling a particular social function you attended during a meal that includes an item from the menu presented at that event? Does information you heard during a meeting at work come flooding back to you when you taste a particularly bad cup of coffee?

When you focus on the association between tastes and learning, it is not a great leap to recognize how these same processes can be intentionally used to create new connections. During a presentation, a speaker can introduce common elements like sweets, drinks, or other snacks to engage and reinforce the information being absorbed by the audience. You can use food to reward people for response, or introduce food items during particularly strategic portions of the informative session . As the audience members partake in eating, they will also be physically reinforcing what you tell them on an autonomic level. Have you ever wondered why speakers begin their presentations while the audience is finishing up their dessert? Taste is a powerful tool for including in the presentation arsenal.

2. Using smell - Like taste, the sense of smell can create powerful associations in the learning process. Again, the effect of odors can be positive or negative in establishing these connections. The smell of popcorn, cologne, scented candles, or other pleasant odors create autonomic connections to the events which take place when these are introduced into the environment. With a little imagination, you can reinforce the learning process by incorporating scents along with segments of information you have to share. When people smell these things again, they will be more likely to remember portions of your own information, whether they realize the connection or not. In earlier times, film makers experimented with the power of smell by incorporating smells from "scratch and sniff" cards that were used interactively with portions of the movie. Whatever level of success this practice demonstrated, the very thought of "scratch and sniff" cards brings back a flood of memories to those who participated in viewing these films.

3. Using touch - It is a well researched fact that in the process of human interaction, the sense of touch plays a significant role in establishing more effective communication. A handshake, or a touch on the shoulder, or any other sort of physical contact can initiate a more powerful sensory orchestration between people. The sense of touch transfers a level of intimacy that is not possible to capture by sight and sound alone. A good speaker can make an extra connection with the audience by shaking hands with them as they enter, or spending time after the presentation meeting with the people who have listened. You can use participation as a tool, bringing people from the audience up to assist with some portion of the demonstration, and making physical contact with them as they come to the stage.

If you make no other connection, you will find a closer association being established with the members of the audience you have physically touched. How many people have you seen at a live concert whose greatest and most memorable thrill was being able to touch or be touched in some way by the performer? This impact is effective whether the event is big or small. Touch can also be used and reinforced through a reward system. You can give people something in return for their participation in your presentation. This reward can range from a special document, to a trinket of some kind. No matter what you choose to personally give them, the act will go a long way in gaining their positive response to your message.

If you have traditionally found yourself giving presentations by appealing to only two of the five available senses, you should make an effort to experience the benefits of adding sensory orchestration techniques to the mix.

Director of Software Concepts BHO Technologists - LittleTek Center. Please provide a rating for the article to help us determine future content choices.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dump Your Speeches For Leadership Talks

Writen by Brent Filson

The CEO of a worldwide business asked me to help him develop a talk he planned to give to several hundred of his top executives. He said, "I feel as if I'm Daniel going into the lion's den."

Indeed, it was the business equivalent of a lion's den that he was entering. Hired from a competing firm, he was a stranger to the company, a company hobbled by declining market share and bad morale caused by the arbitrary actions of the previous CEO, an isolated dictator.

"This is the first time most of them will see and hear me," he said. "I'll give a presentation on the state of the business."

"Hold on," I said. "Don't give a presentation. Give a Leadership Talk instead."

There is a difference, I explained, between a presentation/speech and a Leadership Talk. A presentation/speech communicates information, but a Leadership Talk not only communicates information but makes a deep, emotional, human connection with the audience.

Most leaders give presentations and speeches most of the time when they should be giving Leadership Talks.

"You're facing an important leadership situation," I said. "The old saying, 'You never get a second chance to make a first impression' applies here in spades. You've got a great Leadership Talk opportunity. But to have people believe in you and follow you, they must be emotionally committed to you and what you say. So understand what their emotional needs are."

I went out into the field and talked to a number of his managers and found out that they were feeling intimidated by the demands of increasingly sophisticated customers. I found out that they feared not being supported in the decisions they made in the field. I learned that they were angry at having to meet what they considered unnecessary reporting requirements. I learned that they didn't trust the top executives.

Intimidation, fear, anger, distrust . . . those emotions described the state of his audience and, in truth, the state of the business.

The CEO gave a Leadership Talk that spoke to and answered the needs of those emotions, a talk based on the single idea that he was a person that they could trust.

That Leadership Talk marked the beginning of a turnaround for that company.

The lesson: Analyze and speak to the emotion of a situation, and you can become a dramatically more effective leader.

Make that analysis happen this way:

* Know the difference between a presentation/speech and Leadership Talk then view every speaking situation you encounter as either a presentation/speech situation or a Leadership Talk situation.

* Know that you rarely give presentation/speeches and that The Leadership Talk should be your primary leadership communication tool.

* Analyze the emotions of your audience by asking what they feel at the time you speak, what they fear, what angers them, what inspires them.

* Structure your talk around emotional-talking points. For instance, list three things that angers your audience. Make those things the main headings of your talk.

* Speak to them about their emotions. Tell them, for instance, that you realize they are angry and what they are angry about. Tell them what you realize they are feeling.

Speak thus, and you are revealed in powerful motivational ways. Furthermore, they are revealed to themselves.

These revelations can create strong bonds between speakers and audiences.

Understand the speaking situation in terms of its emotional content, and you understand that situation in new ways. Understand it in new ways and you speak in new ways. And when you speak in new ways, your audience acts in new ways.

2004 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to:

The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He is founder and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. – and has worked with thousands of leaders worldwide during the past 20 years helping them achieve sizable increases in hard, measured results. Sign up for his free leadership ezine and get a free guide, "49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results," at

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Sales Presentation Is Like Fishing

Writen by Marlene Chism

You are invited to speak on the new product your company just launched. You deliver a killer presentation. You receive questions from your audience. You get a standing ovation. Then nothing happens. You didn't get a lead. You didn't get a referral.

When you speak at a professional or trade conference you have the opportunity to build brand awareness, expand the database, get a referral, attract another client, or close a sale. However these opportunities often vanish like vapor from a fog, and when the fog clears you walk away thinking you aren't a very good presenter after all. This is a false assumption and an unfair judgment about your own abilities.

If you aren't getting the results you hoped for it's not because you aren't a good presenter. You aren't getting the desired results because you haven't learned how to distinguish a hope from an intention.

You hope you will get interest. You hope to brand your company. You hope to build your database, attract a new client and close a sale. These are your hopes. Unconsciously you have another agenda, your secret intentions. You intend to impress the audience with your knowledge. You intend to get a standing ovation so you can feel warm and fuzzy and tell your friends how you "nailed the presentation." You intend to re-live your war stories about the difficult product launch, how you worked with no sleep and how you emerged the hero.

How do I know? I know because I've experienced it myself, and I've watched people just like you, therefore I know how to identify the red flags. Let me explain.

When you invited your audience to ask questions, (whether that audience is one or one thousand) you missed the buying signal and instead blathered on about "back stage" stuff. What is back-stage stuff you ask? Back stage talk is when you start speaking about what is behind the curtain instead of focusing on the performance.You have forgotten you have an audience and the conversation has reverted to your favorite topic—you.You talk about your dream, your company's history, your great website, your struggles to get the product launched, your process for delivering the product and everything else except solving the customer's problem.

Come to think of it, giving a good sales presentation is a lot like fishing.The problem happens when you become the fish instead of the fisherman. With a single question your prospect baits the hook, casts the line and you swallow the bait, hook, line and sinker. Without noticing you just got reeled in with your potential customer's question. You forgot that you are the fisherman, not the fish.

Don't feel bad. There is a way to become a better fisherman. Here are some steps so that you don't take the bait.

1. Get clear on the outcome you desire.
2. Transition, answer briefly then redirect the question.
3. Listen to uncover problems.
4. Step up to the next level.

Here's an example of how it works.

Step one: you become clear that you want to attract new customers. Now that you know your intention, you have to match your actions. This means you stay focused on solving a problem rather than sharing back-stage information and overwhelming to your customer. All your customer cares about is how he benefits from your product.

Step two: when you open for questions, you must recognize the bait. A customer's question is your opportunity to transition, briefly answer, then redirect the question back to her.For example, your customer asks, "So tell me how you came up with the idea for this product?" You recognize your initial tendency to want to give a dissertation and instead you use the redirect. You transition, "I'm so glad you asked, then you answer briefly, "We noticed customers having problems with…." then you redirect by asking, "what kinds of problems do you currently face?"

When you redirect, it means you have cast the line and it's your turn to listen and take notes. After your prospect has finished talking, your presentation at this point needs to be directed toward the next step in the sales process.That may mean an appointment, another presentation, a trial offer, a demonstration or signing the dotted line. Happy fishing.

Marlene Chism, M.A. is a professional speaker who works with individuals that want to go to the next level personally and professionally. She can be reached by e-mail at or through the web at

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dr Seusss Quotthe Cat In The Hatquot Will Help You Get Your Point Across

Writen by Ed Sykes

I was recently coaching an engineer who wanted to improve his speaking skills. After videotaping him, we discussed his strong points and then his areas of improvement. Then we got to the area of vocal variety. Vocal variety is the quality of your speech that hold your audience. It is the combination of pitch changes, pauses, inflection, rhythm, and loudness in your voice that adds "color" to any conversation or speech. I suggested he try Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat." At that point he looked at me like I had a third eye. I then explained how "The Cat in the Hat" could help anyone improve his or her speaking skills, especially vocal variety, and have fun doing it.

Can you remember being read "The Cat in the Hat" by your parents? What held your attention? What made you want to hear "The Cat in the Hat" again and again? "The Cat in the Hat" is set up so that you must use vocal variety to read the story. It's the vocal variety that held your attention.

Here's how Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat" can help you hold your audience's attention:

1. Buy the Book My favorite Dr. Seuss books for this type

of exercise are "The Cat in the Hat" and "Green Eggs and

Ham." You can go to any used bookstore and get a gently

used copy of the book at a substantial discount. You can

also go to and get the book at more than

50% off the price.

2. Read with Passion Read to your children, nephews,

cousins, etc. While reading aloud, exaggerate your pitch,

tone, and pauses. The children will enjoy it as you will

become used to the sound of your voice. Children are the

best barometers to let you know if you are doing it

correctly. The children will have a look on their faces that

show they are hanging on every word you are saying.

Continue to experiment with different ways to read "The

Cat in the Hat" while recording yourself on audiotape. The

more fun you have, the more everyone involved will benefit

from this exercise.

3. Apply It Right Away (That's the Way!) Immediately

apply your newly acquired vocal variety skills in any

speaking situation whether it's in a meeting, with co-

workers, speaking in front of a group, or one-on-one with

another person. It may feel a little strange in the beginning.

However, remember the more you use your new skills, the

more comfortable you will be.

So go out, get a Dr. Seuss book, and improve your vocal variety. You will have more people hanging on every word, you will be more persuasive, and your speaking abilities will be more colorful and entertaining. So do it today (It will pay!).

Ed Sykes is a professional speaker, author, and leading expert in the areas of leadership, motivation, stress management, customer service, and team building. You can e-mail him at, or call him at (757) 427-7032. Go to his web site,, and signup for the newsletter, OnPoint, and receive the free ebook, "Empowerment and Stress Secrets for the Busy Professional."

How To Give A Presentation Or Talk

Writen by Mike Perri

Maybe you are one of the lucky ones, but making a speech or giving a presentation still gives me the jitters, even though I have done many over the years. My heart will start to thump away like mad and my voice often goes a little shaky when I start out. Nevertheless, like most things in life, this nervousness can be overcome and most of us can put on a decent performance, providing we prepare properly and follow a few basic steps.

For example, I always learn my opening paragraph by heart but still write this out in full. I then start off by reading this from my cards or papers. This allows my voice time to settle down and the familiarity of the words helps to ease my nerves. Once the opening paragraph is out of the way I move on to just using notes for the rest of my talk. By then I'm usually fairly in control. A speech doesn't sound right if you simply read continuously, word for word, from what you have written down.

I'm probably getting a bit ahead of myself, so I'll start at the beginning of preparing for a presentation of some kind. Traditionally they are expected to have an introduction, a middle and an ending. This may sound obvious but watch a lot of inexperienced speakers and you will see how they do not always follow this format. Everything can then turn into a jumble, with no real flow or continuity and often you can't be quite sure when they have actually finished, other than everything goes quiet!

Let's look at these three parts:-

#1 Introduction ~ This is where you tell 'em what you are going to say.

#2 Middle or Main Body ~ Now you tell 'em

#3 Ending or Summary ~ And finally you tell 'em what you said.

To balance a talk properly 10% of your allotted time should be for the introduction, 80% for the main body and the final 10% for your summary. A thirty minute talk, for example, would have 3 minutes allocated to both the intro and summary and 24 minutes for the main body. It is always preferable to finish a minute or two earlier than to overrun your time.

Many speakers find it difficult to guage their time. As a rough guide the speed ought not to drop below 120 words or exceed 150 words per minute, other than in exceptional circumstances.

#1 Introduction

Firstly a look at the introduction for the presentation (i.e. tell 'em what you are going to say). Some suggestions:-

I ~ Start with something which is particularly Interesting or unusual, something your audience may not be expecting. Try and think of a way to grab their attention

N ~ Demonstrate the Need for the audience. Try to make it personal for them all. Convince them that they 'need' to give you their attention. Show the importance of the topic for each member of your audience.

T ~ Give the Title of your presentation.

R ~ Indicate the Range of your talk. Say what you will be including and what you must leave out. Tell them how long your presentation will last and whether you will be answering any questions

O ~ Establish the Objectives for your talk. Explain to the audience what they will know, or will have learnt, by the time you have finished, and how you expect them to react to what you have said.

Use this introduction to set the route which you intend to navigate, so they will be aware as to what you are going to tell them.

#2 Middle or Main Body

Now we move on to the Main Body of the talk (i.e. tell 'em). Here are a few things to consider:-

(a) The stages of the development of your theme should be very clear in your own mind.

(b) Only make those points which are fundamental to your objectives.

(c) To help you emphasise your points use (i) examples, (ii) analogies and (iii) any visual aids or objects that can be shown.

(d) Be sure that your linking summaries are both accurate and adequate for the purpose.

(e) Don't labour any arguments with repetitions. Instead illustrate and reinforce your points wherever possible (perhaps with i, ii or iii as above)

(f) Present your arguments so that only the main or important points will be remembered. Your system of priorities is important.

#3 Ending or Summary

Finally we have the Summary (i.e. tell 'em what you said)

Don't end suddenly or stop too abruptly. Your finish must be part of the overall plan. The closing sentences of a well delivered talk will tend to linger in the minds of your listeners. Capitalise on this, and make this to your benefit.

Use your summary to briefly repeat and restate your main points, but try to vary your language. If there are any conclusions to be drawn - draw them. Do not introduce any new material, evidence or arguments in the closing stages. You are simply reiterating what you have already said.

# How Do I Say It?

What I have written above are just the bare bones of the subject, hints and tips that may be of help. Let's, however, presume that you have completed the draft of your presentation. The question then arises of, 'How do I say it?'

The most successful method of preparation involves a combination of memory and reading skills.

Use your memory, as I said earlier to learn the opening paragraph. Also learn off by heart your final paragraph (remember this will tend to linger in the minds of your listeners). It therefore makes sense to know exactly what you are going to say to make that final lingering impact.

Your notes are a reading aid and should be constructed as such. Whether you use cards or plain paper plan the layout. Print the words so that they are easily read and use letter sizes that will enable you to see them easily at a distance. Coloured inks and sketches also help.

Regarding your notes: it is a good idea to also have one Master Sheet which sets out clearly the stages of your presentation. This enables you to be aware of the overall plan and sequence of what you saying. If you should then indulge in anything off the cuff or get side tracked, it will help you to see where your are up to and put you back on course.

Once you have prepared your talk rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! Make your friends listen, say it in front of a mirror, perhaps your dog or cat would like to hear, record it on tape and so on.

By repeating it over you may well find that you have to amend your notes. Sometimes the written word doesn't have the same effect when said aloud. It is important to stress that proper preparation will create confidence. It is only a lack of confidence that prevents any of us from becoming effective speakers.

# The Delivery Of Your Presentation

I'll finish up with a few points on the delivery of your presentation. Read over your notes, not into them. Never apologise either for yourself or for the subject matter. Speak in your natural accent and don't project your voice only to the back of the room. Talk to those in the front as well and look at your audience, talk to them and hold their eyes individually. If you are addressing a smallish group you must make eye contact with them all at sometime during your presentation. Make it a two way exchange, even if the words are only coming from you. And try to avoid 'umms' and 'errrs' and repeating loose phrases such as 'you know', 'you see', 'basically', 'personally speaking' etc. etc.

It's not too difficult to make a presentation or give a talk if you do your homework first. We can achieve most things in life if we really want to. It's simply a matter of effort and preparation mixed with a desire to succeed.

Good luck.

Mike is a former business opportunity magazine publisher. He retired early and, for fun, is now trying to see if it's possible to earn money with free blogs and without using any capital. His blog is called Mike's Money Making Mission. The blog is regularly updated with what he is doing to try and make money. "Can he do it?" is the question.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Chairing A Meeting The Most Effective Way

Writen by Gina Gardiner

How many times have you attended a meeting where the only thing that gets decided is the date of the next meeting? Or where one person dominates the meeting? Or the meeting is swamped with trivia or unrelated information?

It is a commonly held assumption that chairing a meeting is simply a matter of reading out the agenda – that is assuming there is an agenda and that the addenda actually covers the topics which are most pertinent to the matter in hand.

Chairing an effective meeting is a skill. One that is learnable. Outlined below are some simple principles; which if followed can result in focussed efficient meetings where everyone feels their opinion is valued and the job gets done.

Rule number 1 – there is no place for ego. As the Chair Person you are the facilitator, the most effective are those who listen, who use open ended questions to tease out reasoning and to involve others.

Rule 2 –. Be very clear about what is the purpose of the meeting? Do you want lots of ideas – to brainstorm possibilities, identify the implications of things already identified, broad-brush strokes or determining detail.

Rule 3 – Be prepared, create the agenda, have any supporting papers prepared and circulated in plenty of time so that others have time to read in advance

Rule 4 – – At the beginning of the meeting ensure that all parties are introduced, keep it snappy. Set out clearly what sort of introduction is required: name and role, or background information. Give the time scale e.g. "Please introduce yourself give a brief outline of your experience, no more than a minute."

Rule 5 – Set explicit parameters for the meeting from the outset: "By the end of the meeting we need to have achieved ……. We are going to concentrate on principles today so save the specific detail for the moment"

Rule 6 – Have high expectations. If the meeting is due to start at 10.00am start on the dot who ever is there, they will get the message. Start late to accommodate late- comers and they will assume it is ok to come late. Be clear about end times too. If you have asked colleagues to read materials before the meeting don't read them out. The next time you ask them to read beforehand they will assume it is not worth the effort. Have high expectations and stick to them.

Rule 7 -What ever decisions are agreed at the meeting MUST STAND. If you are unsure about their validity set up as a pilot with an end time agreed. Don't put the decision up for grabs if you are not happy to run with the outcome. You can give a structure for decisions which make it absolutely clear what is open to negotiation and what is up not.

Rule 8 – Involve all parties. Ask questions to specific people if they are not taking an active part in the proceedings, "What do you think about…… Fred" If others are dominating value their contribution but involve others " Thank you Bertha that's very helpful, what do the rest of you think about what Bertha has offered?"

Rule 9 – Keep the meeting on track, identify how things will be recorded, summarise the discussion, identify points for action, who will do what, the time scale for action, how things will be monitored and by whom and when

Rule 10 – model good meeting behaviour and accept nothing less from colleagues. Taking a positive part in the activity, being generous with ideas, listening to others, no aggression, bullying. A healthy professional discussion where diversity of ideas and approaches are constructively used to create the best solution and not as personal attacks is the ideal.

If colleagues are going to give of their best they need to know that all contributions are valued, that they will get credit for their ideas and that the whole organisations is strengthened by the collective success rather than scoring points off one another. As Chair Person it is you who will set the tone and manage the process.

Educational Consultant, writer and life-coach Gina Gardiner loves working with others supporting them to make the best of their potential.

Gina was the Head Teacher (that is Principle) of a large, very successful Beacon school on the outskirts of London for over 20 years. The development of people has been central to the school's success and her passion.

Gina has a huge interest in education, she has led a wide range of training and facilitation activities with individuals, schools and other organisations, In her work as coach/mentor she supports people at individual or organisational level to develop confidence, leadership and people skills and effective delegation; empowering them to see themselves as part of the solution. If you would like to know more email:

Gina Gardiner is also the author of "Live Well Eat Well With Celiac Disease" in this book she writes from first hand experience of being a celiac. For more information or to sign up to our free monthly ezine go to

Rise Above Cattiness

Writen by Alicia Smith

Cattiness is something no one ever wants to be accused of doing. But the reality is, at one time or another you've probably engaged in it, and most likely, you'll do it again. This trait can include any number of unfortunate behaviors from not saying what we really intend to say, to saying things in a harsh tone of voice. It also includes gossiping, cynical remarks, and on a grander scale, outright rudeness. Cattiness can stand in the way of marketing your business since what you say and how you say it is critical in building rapport with potential clients and customers. Think about how you come across to the people you interact with on a daily basis. Check in with your attitude and behavior to make sure you are coming from your best place at all times.

1. Always tell the truth. Your word is one of the strongest tools for building outstanding relationships with your clients and customers. It starts from the first moment that you decide to open your business and it carries forward throughout the years. Telling the truth not only about who you are, but also about your products and services, is essential to building a strong foundation for a successful business. It is through honesty that you build confidence and trust in the hearts and minds of those who do business with you. These are the qualities that help to maintain your current clients and which lead them to make referrals to you. It takes only a moment of dishonesty to destroy your reputation and credibility. Rise above the crowd – tell the truth, always, and you'll have your customers telling everyone about you!

2. Come from a place of integrity. One of the best ways to rise above catty behavior is to make integrity your central "come from" place when you deal with others. Integrity is about core honesty. When you come from a place of being fully integrated in your thoughts and actions, you are operating from a place of integrity. This gives others a sense of confidence in you – that you are predictable and consistent. After all, people like to do business with those who they know, like, and trust. By coming from a place of integrity you'll be just that person.

3. Have empathy for others. Individuals who have empathy don't have a place in their hearts to be mean-spirited towards others. They understand that life holds challenges enough for all and that they have no right to add to another person's burden. To have empathy for others, we must have it for ourselves. For those who have not learned that important life lesson, they can only give away what they have inside of themselves. For those who have empathy, there is no place for catty behavior to enter the picture. They interact with others only from a place of love and understanding.

4. Let go of the need for power. Catty behavior typically manifests when someone needs to come from a place of power. In order to feel complete, a catty person must make others feel incomplete. Rather than coming from a place of competition with others, try coming from a place of cooperation. Appreciate the gifts and talents that others have to offer. Recognize that there is plenty for all and that there is no winner or loser. Instead, everyone can be a winner. One is powerful because it is a chosen state of mind, not something gained at the expense of others.

5. Let go of the need for control. Some people engage in catty behavior when they possess a strong need for control, a behavior deeply rooted in fear. Closely aligned with the need for power, these folks want to manipulate the thoughts and actions of others for their personal gain. And, this is done by saying and doing things to intimidate or coerce. Letting go of the need for control will actually allow you to enjoy life by decreasing stress levels. The reality is that nothing can be controlled in life except for one's response to it.

6. Stop gossiping. "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." (Unknown) Gossiping is one of the most catty of behaviors. Not only is it destructive to others but it is also a complete waste of one's own lifetime. You might think you're not gossiping because you only say great things about others. The truth is that anytime you are discussing someone other than yourself, whether good news or bad, you are engaging in gossip. Why not engage in discussions about great ideas, instead? Life is made of only one thing – time. Be careful how you spend it.

7. Elevate others. One of the ways to rise above catty behavior is to hold others in the highest regard. By adopting a mindset of respecting everyone, you are showing respect for yourself as well. Want more for others than you want for yourself. Come from a place of providing service to others. Strange as it may seem, this attitude will bring more benefits to you than you could possibly imagine.

8. Re-language your life. Those who refuse to engage in catty behavior watch the thoughts they think and the words they utter. Studies have shown that negative words actually emanate a lower energy than positive words. Nasty, negative, or mean-spirited words or thoughts have no place in the heads and hearts of the highly evolved. Engage in cooperative, kind, friendly interactions that build up others and benefit all. Watch the thoughts you think and the words you utter. These things speak volumes about who you are and how others perceive you.

9. Stop competing. Catty behavior often comes shining through when one adopts a mindset of competition. Competitive people think there must always be a winner and a loser. Even a simple conversation can be converted into a competition about who knows more or who is better. Competition, nowadays, is often seen as childish and immature. Highly evolved people choose to come from a place of cooperation. They are confident in their beliefs, yet can understand and empathize with others who might disagree.

10. Own your own stuff. Catty people do not take responsibility for their life outcomes. Much of their unfortunate behavior towards others is the manifestation of anger, internal resentment and low self-esteem. The ill will they feel inside is often unleashed upon unknowing others in the form of negative comments, cynicism, and rudeness. People who rise above catty behavior own their own stuff. They take personal responsibility for their actions and understand that everyone (including themselves) is impacted by what they think, say, and do.

© Copyright 2004 by Alicia Smith

Alicia Smith is a Coach and Trainer whose specialty is helping coaches to Make Money Now. This article is derived from just one of the 90 lessons contained in her e-course, 90-Day Marketing Marathon. To learn more about that course and her other products and services, please visit the following sites. (You also can email her at

Sunday, June 22, 2008

How To Run Your Greatest Conference Ever

Writen by Graham Jones

Like most good achievements, a magnificent meeting depends on planning and preparation. These are essential to a good conference and this article explains the basics of what you need to do.

The first stage in organising any conference is planning. Your plan should start with these questions:

  • What do we want our audience to go home and say about the meeting, apart from the fact that they had a great time?
  • What is the key message we want our audience to remember?
  • What action do we want our audience to take after attending this conference?
In other words, start your planning with your meeting's overall objectives. Write these objectives down and ensure that everyone involved knows them - from people who hand out the coffee to the speakers themselves. The answers to these questions will be your mission statement for the meeting. You must have a clear set of simple objectives for your meeting otherwise it will fail.

Having set your objectives you will need to work out how you will achieve them. Challenge all your assumptions about your proposed conference. For instance:

  • Do you actually need a conference to achieve your objectives? Will some other kind of meeting or even no meeting do?
  • Do you need one big meeting or a number of small, more intimate ones?
  • Does the meeting need to be a grand formal affair, or an informal get-together?
In other words, just because you have been set the task of organising a conference, does not mean you have to! If there is an alternative, superior method of achieving your objectives, choose that route instead. Do not opt for a conference just because it seems a good idea.

Choose your key messages
Assuming you have set your sights on a conference, you'll now need to work out what messages you want to convey. These will arise from your mission statement. It is worthwhile noting, though, that there is plenty of research to back up the fact that your audience – no matter how expert – will only remember a handful of messages from your meeting. Typically, the average conference day can only deliver four or five main messages. Once you have set out your key messages, work out the order in which these will make most sense. Try to produce a logical sequence so that one key message clearly comes out of the previous one. This will make it much easier for your audience to remember the meeting. Do not put your messages together in some kind of internal sequence, such as by company department. Instead, put your messages together that would be seen as logical by the audience. If you do not know what would be logical to them, you need to do some audience research to find out. Indeed, finding out as much as you can about your audience is essential to any meeting.

Describe your audience
You now have a good idea as to what you want to say at your conference. But who will be listening? You need a definition of your audience that will help everyone involved. Your audience definition should describe a typical member of the audience – age, gender, job title, work interests, personal likes and dislikes, professional qualifications etc. Together with your conference mission statement and your key messages, your audience description will provide you with a very clear outline of your meeting. Together these three items will tell you:

  • What you will say
  • Why you will say it
  • Who will be listening
  • What they will do
Your audience description will also provide your speakers with a good guide as to what they need to say in order to get their message across. Knowing who they are speaking to is a tremendous boost for speakers as they can much more accurately target their talks.

You have now completed all the main parts of your initial planning and your need to move on to detailed preparation.

Preparing your conference
The first stage of preparation is script writing. You need at the very least an outline script of your event. Often, people produce a conference programme that shows the timings and the list of speakers. But this is not enough. Your outline script needs to be much more than a simple programme. That's because everyone involved in the conference needs to know exactly what will happen, when it will occur and how it will take place. Otherwise, it might not be possible to ensure you meet your conference mission.

Your script should start with the logical order of your key messages you produced in the planning stage. Then allocate some timing to each message. Generally, no key message should take longer than 20-30 minutes to deliver; the human attention span is comparatively short and you'll need plenty of breaks to keep your audience 'alive' and 'fresh'. Also, at this stage, decide where to hold your long breaks, like coffee, lunch and so on. These long breaks should always come in your programme at dramatic points. You will want to leave your audience with something powerful to talk about so make sure the key message delivered before a break is controversial, emotional or surprising in some way. This will keep your audience on their toes and wanting to come back into the room for more. This means you may well need to arrange breaks at unusual timings – don't opt for coffee at 11am, for instance, because that is 'normal'. Instead, put coffee immediately after a controversial message, even if it means breaking for coffee at 10.30 or 11.30. In other words, shape your meeting around the messages, not tradition. By arranging your timing in this way, you will be helping to ensure the maximum impact of your key messages and therefore supporting your conference mission. Your conference script can now have some detail added to it. For instance, you can now put some specific times onto your programme. These would include the length of each presentation, the length of each link between talks and the timing of any music, video or other multimedia you are planning to include. In other words, your conference script that determines how long a video or a presentation will be – not the items that determine the programme timing. Essentially, you are working much like a TV producer; these people have fixed times available to them – 30 minutes, 50 minutes, an hour. What they have to do is fit all the music, the dialogue and any breaks into that time – no less and no more. That's what a professional conference script will be like – detailed timings of every item to be included. Far too many conferences decide what to include and then try to work the timings out afterwards.

Choosing your speakers
Your preparation can now move on to deciding whom you should use as speakers. You will realise that you have done a great deal of work already, and that the speakers will have to fit in with your plans if the conference is to be a success. You do not need prima donnas who say they need an hour to give their talk when your script only allows 20 minutes. Nobody, absolutely nobody, is more important than your audience. Hence, the script that has been prepared from their point of view is virtually sacrosanct. Speakers will need to be the kind of people who will fit in with your requirements; you cannot allow yourself to fit your programme around the speakers. Otherwise, you will fail to meet your conference mission. To ensure that you get the right speakers, prepare yourself a 'Speaker's Contract'. This is a list of requirements that you have of your speakers. When you invite someone to speak, you let them sign up to the contract; if they don't like it, there are plenty of other speakers around. Professional speakers never have a problem with such contracts. In fact, they like them. Suitable speakers are those that can deliver your key messages – not necessarily the most senior people in the business or an expert. Base your decision on who should speak based on their ability to communicate with your audience – not on any other measure. This means, for instance, that the best person to get a particular message across might be a senior manager, rather than the chief executive. This does not matter – what does matter is that the audience gets the message, not who they get it from. Indeed, some large multinationals use actors to get important messages across, rather then senior executives.

Speaker preparation
Having selected your speakers and got them to sign up to your contract, the next stage of preparation is working with them to write their talks. Under no circumstances should you allow a speaker to do this alone. If you do, you will lose control over your messages and your overall conference mission. In other words, speakers are going to need to work closely with you and accept their talks being edited – even written for them. In fact, many top company conferences use scriptwriters who produce all of the talks for all of the speakers. That way the delivery of key messages and the conference mission is tightly controlled. Of course, this does not mean your speakers can have no input. Their contributions are highly valuable. It just means you need to get them to work with a professional writer who can take their material and shape into something that fits with the overall conference objectives. Speakers will usually only be interested in their talk; hence they can disturb the balance of the meeting as they are not properly focused on the conference as a whole. Using a scriptwriter means that you can ensure that the meeting does not become unbalanced in any way.

Preparing audio visuals
The scripts for each talk can be the basis for the preparation of visuals for the conference. Often, speakers fall into the trap of preparing their slides and then trying to write their talk around them. This means presentations can often drift and lose the attention of the audience as they are not tightly controlled. By writing the words first, it is possible to choose visuals that are much more accurately linked to the material being said. Also, being able to read the text of a talk allows graphic artists to be more creative as they know exactly what the speaker is trying to convey. Never start a talk with visuals – always write the text first and add the visuals later.

Preparing the venue
You have now reached the stage where you have a detailed timetable of the programme, the words that will be said and the visuals that will accompany them. You now need to make sure that the environment in which all this activity will take place is set up to help you achieve your mission. You will need to visit the venue a number of times to prepare efficiently and effectively. You will need to look out for the ways in which your audience will pass through the building – gain a good idea of 'foot flow'. Make sure the building is going to help you achieve what you want. If modifications are needed, such as barriers or signage, get them organised now. You will also need to work out items like seating arrangements for the audience and the speakers, as well as lighting, acoustics and a host of other 'production' factors. If you are not experienced in this aspect of conference organisation, you will need the advice of a professional conference director or a conference production company. Don't make the mistake of getting these people in after you have made your decisions about the venue and your meeting. Get these people in early; seek their advice and their input to your preparation. These people organise many conferences and know all the problems – and more importantly can come up with solutions to any difficulties you may face. If you have already organised your mission statement for the meeting and drawn up your list of key messages, a conference producer will be so much more able to help.

Under no circumstances should you allow a conference to go ahead without rehearsal. Otherwise, the event itself will be the first rehearsal. Can you imagine seeing a play's first rehearsal? Even professional actors can improve upon their first attempts. Yet, you are likely to be using people without such skills as your presenters. Hence, their first rehearsal is almost certainly going to be quite bad, compared with the final performance. If you do not have any rehearsals, your conference will be nothing more than a bunch of amateurs trying to do their best, and probably failing. You simply must rehearse; otherwise you will be unable to meet your objectives.

Ideally, you should rehearse each speaker alone, several weeks in advance. Get a presentations coach to guide them through some key improvements and to help them learn some stage skills. If you have people who are new to speaking at conferences, get them some basic training. Then, get your speakers together so they can perform a 'run through'. In this way, everyone will know what will take place and the order of the event. They will also get a 'feel' for the detailed timetable. These kinds of rehearsals can be in any large room – a hotel, a village hall, it doesn't really matter. However, you will also want your speakers to feel comfortable with the venue, so you will need them to run through their talks on the actual stage they will be using. Do this a week or two in advance, so they can go away and think about any changes in delivery they need to make and get a chance to practice them. Finally, the day before the conference you should have a full 'dress rehearsal' – lights, cameras, visuals etc. Only then will your conference mission be achievable. To do any less is to accept second best.

Guiding your helpers
Throughout the conference planning and organising process you will doubtless have a team of assistants, from admin to graphic artists to people who hand out the badges to the audience. All of these people should know what is happening at every stage of the process. For this reason you should produce a complete guide to the conference – a manual for the team involved. This should show all the detailed times, include important information about the venue, the hotels being used and so on. Make sure all the important contact information is included and instructions are added as to what to do in all sorts of eventualities. This manual will be the 'bible' which every 'back stage' participant will need to use to ensure the event runs smoothly. In the professional theatre, such manuals are an established means of ensuring the production runs smoothly. Initially developed by the producer, these manuals eventually become the stage manager's rulebook for running the show. Your manual should do just the same.

On the day
Firstly, don't worry. Secondly, don't panic. If you have done all the planning and preparation thoroughly, any difficulties at this stage will be minor. Whatever happens 'the show must go on'. So, sit back and enjoy watching the audience have a good time. If you have planned it effectively, they will. Well done.

Graham Jones runs The Presentation Business at to help you make great presentations and run magnificent meetings.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Twelve Tips To Make Your Corporate Conference More Successful

Writen by Ron Kaufman

Planning and conducting a successful corporate conference is an enormous and important task. Huge sums of money are usually invested. Huge amounts of time, too!

Here are twelve quick tips to help make your big event an even bigger success.

1. Use BIG, CLEAR names on nametags.

Use a bold, sans-serif typeface with the largest possible letter size. Nametags should be easy to read from at least 12 feet (3 meters) away. The whole purpose of a nametag is to make it easy for people to meet, mingle and say 'Hello!' No sense giving out nametags that require your conference participants to squint and stare.

2. Keep participants hot by keeping the room cool.

Keep your conference room temperature set toward cool. Studies show people are most alert at 62–64° Fahrenheit (16–17° Celsius).

Have participants move and stay active during the conference. If necessary, advise them in advance to wear a suit, light jacket or sweater.

This approach to room temperature is much better than looking out over an audience that is too warm, too cozy and too, too close to sleep!

3. Distribute a participants' networking sheet.

Gather names and complete contact information of all conference delegates. Assemble them in a user-friendly networking sheet for during and after your conference.

Use a digital camera to include head-and-shoulders portraits of each conference delegate. This makes it easy for participants to find each other during the event, and easier still to remember each other after the conference is over.

4. Use a variety of activities.

Keep your conference engaging and unique. Employ a wide range of conference activities: speeches; conference games; interactive workshops; exhibitions; panel discussions; question-and-answer sessions with presenters, customers and suppliers; themed meals; social events, etc.

5. Pick your theme and promote it.

Give your conference a distinctive theme and title. If your event is already known as 'The 3rd Annual Manufacturer's Convention' (or similar), then add a sub-title to the event to distinguish this year's event from the ones before and after.

Here are some examples of conference events I have helped design and conduct: 'Thriving in the Future', 'Riding the Waves of Change', 'New Opportunities, New Challenges', 'Putting Our Strategy to Work', 'Putting Our Customers on Top'.

When appropriate, couple your theme with an attractive logo to illustrates the key idea or message. Repeat the theme throughout your conference. Ask presenters to link their content and conclusions to your chosen theme, providing continuity and ongoing reinforcement.

Repeat the theme and/or logo on all your conference decorations and take-home material: folders, notebooks, nametags, banners, shirts, etc.

6. Set the look of conference presentations.

Once you decide on a theme and logo or illustration for your event, encourage presenters and exhibitors to use them in all their displays, take-home materials and presentation graphics.

Provide presenters and exhibitors with camera-ready images in hard copy, on CD, or by direct download from your website. Send these out early so there is plenty of time for everyone to customize their material, making your conference look good.

7. Begin before the conference.

Get your audience participating in the conference even before they arrive on-site. Send out advance mailings with selected readings, 'think-about' assignments, information-gathering responsibilities, a detailed program agenda, etc.

8. Continue the conference after it's over.

Extend and prolong conference value by sending out selected materials after the conference is over. Send a follow-up article, newsletter, results of a survey, printed version of action plans or decisions made during the conference, etc. Put your own cover letter on top of the package with thanks and congratulations to the delegates, and an invitation to your next conference event.

Put a page on your website with photographs from the conference, key ideas and articles presented at the event, survey results, etc. Promote the post-conference website during the conference itself.

9. Triple check all audio-visual equipment.

If the first thing your audience hears is 'Can you hear me in the back?', you have failed on this key point.

If the speaker says, 'Can we have the lights down please?' and the lights don't come down right away, you have failed on this key point.

To make your conference a success, triple check all microphones, projectors, screens, computers, music sources, lights, air-conditioning controls, etc.

And just in case, have back-ups ready to go if needed.

10. If you start with tea and coffee, schedule a 'bio-break' early.

Offering coffee and tea during conference registration is a very nice touch, especially if you include pastries and fresh fruit. But if your conference begins at 8:30 am, don't wait until 10:30 am to schedule the first break!

11. Begin with a bang.

Start your conference with a powerful video, captivating slides, stirring presentation, strong first speech, dramatic performance, multi-media extravaganza – or just about anything else that gets the audience interested and involved. When you start strong, your conference is off to a good start. When you start with a boring lecture from the CEO about last quarter's financial results, you will be trying to recover all day.

12. End with a memorable finale.

Make your final impression a lasting one. Close your conference with an amazing speaker, tear-jerking song, major award presentation, multi-media event or anything else that gets the audience motivated and reminds them why they came in the first place.

Ron Kaufman is an internationally acclaimed educator and motivator for partnerships and quality customer service. He is author of the bestselling "UP Your Service!" and founder of "UP Your Service College". Visit for more such Customer Service articles, subscribe to his Newsletter, or to buy his bestselling Books, Videos, Audio CDs on Customer Service from his secure Online Store. You can also watch Ron live or listen to him at

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dont Puke On Your Audience

Writen by Peter Winters

Graphic design is a key element in communicating effectively with your audience; whether it is for a trade show or any other form of marketing communication. The tendency in trade show marketing is to say as much as possible in the time and space allowed during a trade show. Generally, you have 3-10 seconds to capture the attention of a trade show attendee. Companies often try to cram as much information into a 10x10 or 20x20 space as possible. From graphic images to text relating to the companies products and services companies put way too much information into their trade show displays.

So how do you speak to your audience so that they retain some of what you've said and even more importantly take action and buy? Below are a few ways to improve the visual performance of your trade show display.

1. Understand your goals with your display. Are you exhibiting to sell, for market awareness, client education, or other purposes? Communicate this purpose through the graphics and copy on your booth.
2. Have a central theme that can resonate with people in a short time.
3. Is there an emotional connection to what your company is about? If so, connecting with people on an emotional level has the greatest impact.
4. Keep your display and booth area clean. Less is definitely more here. Visual space on your display is a good thing. It allows your audience to absorb your message. Remember you have 3-10 seconds to attract them.
5. Any images or photography should be of the highest quality. Images used for brochures often cannot be used for trade show display graphics. 125 dpi at finished size is what we recommend to clients for crisp clean images.
6. Stick to one message. You can elaborate through conversation, follow up communication, literature, and your web site.
7. Pre-marketing your brand prior to the show helps as well. If you send attendees postcards, letters, or other communication before the show they naturally will be attracted to something they have seen before.

These are a few ways to target your message, get heard and seen by your audience, and generate the sort of response that puts you at trade shows in the first place. After your clean visual trade show display attracts people the rest is up to you and your staff to connect and sell.

If you would like more information on this topic or if you would like to suggest a topic for a future article, please contact Peter Winters at:
For over 10 years Mr. Winters has been consulting businesses on strategic planning, marketing, and public relations.

He is the owner of Exhibit Warehouse a Richmond Virginia-based trade show display and trade show exhibit fabrication company.

Tips To Energize Your Presentations

Writen by Sandra Schrift

"There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul."
– Arnold Bennett (1867-1931)

Ask yourself, "What is the audience feeling?" and "How would I like him/her to feel?" You need to be aware of:

    How frequently you use positive emotional words.

    How you moderate the use of negative emotional words.

Here are some ways that you can help your audience interact with each other.

  • Room set-up. Be sure people face each other so they can talk to each other. Use round tables, rather than theatre or classroom style.

  • Don't permit cliques. Get your participants to sit with new people. Be innovative in your approach to seat people differently. Some examples: Use a colorful post it, group by hair color, or place cards.

  • Use icebreakers. You can ask your audience to say a word that describes their week. Give them something else to talk about other than business when the meeting breaks.

  • Setup small groups or dyads to discuss issues. This technique will get your participants to brainstorm with their partner or group.

Coaching point: Forced interaction engages people. What can be more fun?

Register for a free teleclass on "How To Be a Better Public Speaker Immediately"; Thursday, August 26, 2004 from 7-8 p.m. EST. Register by sending an email to:

Publishing Guidelines: You are welcome to publish this article in its entirety, electronically, or in print fre*e of charge, as long as you include my full signature file for ezines, and my Web site address( in hyperlink for other sites. Please send a courtesy link or email where you publish to Thank you.

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About The Author

Sandra Schrift 13 year speaker bureau owner and now career coach to emerging and veteran public speakers who want to "grow" a profitable speaking business. I also work with business professionals and organizations who want to master their presentations.

Get more speaking skills at our "Summer Sizzle" webpage:

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Find The Perfect Facility For Your Business Meetings And Conferences

Writen by Aldene Fredenburg

Whether you need to hold a meeting with half a dozen business associates or a conference for over a hundred attendees, there are definite advantages to hiring a facility specializing in corporate functions.

Business runs more and more on its ability to use the latest communications technology, from broadband Internet connections to the latest in computer generated AV presentations. A competent business facility should be able to not only interface with the communications hardware and software you use to present material to your attendees, but to help you work out the technical details so that your presentations happen smoothly and without problems. Before you decide on a meeting or convention facility, make sure you can talk to the technical support team to find out what communications equipment they have available, what you need in order to be able to interface your equipment with theirs, and what kind of technical support you will have both before and during your meeting or conference should problems arise. Many of your participants may also need to communicate, either by Internet or over any number of phone or instant messaging systems, with the outside world during the time they spend at your conference. A facility that makes this easy will reflect well on you and your company.

Choose an easy-access facility.

The location of the facility is also important. Meeting and conference centers located near major highway arteries, with easy access to airports and other public transportation, make a lot of sense for busy businesspeople who log substantial travel time; the less time and effort they have to spend getting to you, the better.

If a number of your attendees will be coming from out of town, and especially if your meetings or conference will be taking place over more than one day, consider renting a facility attached to a hotel with enough guestrooms to accommodate all of your out-of-town participants.

If necessary, work with a conference planner.

You may have staff at your company who specialize in putting together conferences; if you don't, you may be able to find a conference center that will take over the planning for you, communicating with your own staff and then doing the scheduling as well as developing conference topics, taking on the responsibility of communicating with prospective participants, signing them up, and even lining up hotel accommodations for them. An experienced conference planner can save you enormous amounts of time as well as helping you avoid wasted effort.

Don't forget the human touch!

If you're holding a conference, your primary focus is on imparting significant information and perhaps on generating new business for your company; but the success of the conference will depend not only on its stated goals, but on the comfort level and enjoyment factor of its participants. Attractive and functional meeting rooms, adequately heated or cooled and with comfortable seating, will make a big positive impression on the participants; on the other hand, rooms which are too hot or too cold, with bad acoustics and uncomfortable chairs, will reflect badly not only on the conference center but on your company as well.

Access to good food and beverages, during meal times and for morning and afternoon snacks, is a necessity; if you cannot provide this yourself, you need to make sure participants have easy access offsite to food and drink. Of course, if the option to provide refreshments is available to you, it makes sense to do so, as providing on-site meals and snacks gives you more control over scheduling throughout the day.; you have a "captive audience," and won't spend valuable time waiting for stragglers to show up from area coffee shops and restaurants after a meal or break.

Start by interviewing the conference center's event planner.

A good first step is to contact a meeting and conference center, armed with a ballpark budget figure, and ask to speak to the center's conference or event planner. The resulting dialogue will give you and idea of what sorts of physical facilities and services they offer, but will probably give you plenty of ideas which will help you develop your conference or meetings.

Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire, who has written numerous articles for local and regional publications. She may be reached at

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

When To Purchase An Audience Response System

Writen by John Timmerman

Whether renting or buying, investing in audience response technology can get a little pricey, especially if you're planning on outfitting a large group of people. For a one-off event, renting will most likely be the most cost-effective solution, but there are many situations where you might consider purchasing a system. Here are some circumstances to consider:

Frequency of Events - How often will you use the system? Once a year? Once a month? The more interactive meetings you expect, the more attractive purchasing your own audience response system becomes.

Size of Audience - Are you using 20 wireless keypads for executive decision making or a small classroom? Or are you hosting a delegate voting session with 1,000 stake holders? Larger audiences not only require more hardware, but often also require more expensive hardware that can handle the data transfer.

Staffing and Maintenance - Most audience response vendors offer a maintenance plan to cover equipment performance and software upgrades. But if you own the hardware, someone in your organization has to keep track of it, store it and make sure it's running properly when the time comes to use it again.

Type of Hardware - Are your wireless keypads and base station radio frequency (RF) or infrared (IR)? IR keypads are great for small groups. At under $2,000 for a 20-keypad system, infrared audience response systems are an extremely affordable choice. Larger audiences, however, will require more expensive radio frequency keypads to deliver reliable data.

To summarize, here are some general guidelines to consider when deciding to rent or buy your system:

When to Rent

  • Low frequency of events
  • Large audience
  • No resources available for storing and maintaining the hardware
  • Expensive hardware
When to Buy

  • High frequency of events
  • Small number of participants
  • Staff available to handle the hardware
  • Lower-priced hardware will meet your organizational needs
Hybrid Solution for Audience Response System Ownership

A simple answer of "rent" or "buy" may not always be the right solution. Sometimes it will make sense to do both. If your organization can use the audience response technology in multiple circumstances, than a hybrid plan may work best.

Fortunately, many ARS vendors' software will allow different hardware platforms to work together. So let's say you purchase 50 IR wireless keypads to use for small-group training and executive decision making. Once a year, you hold a company-wide event with 200 participants. You could use your 50 existing IR keypads and just rent 150 more (IR or RF) for the annual event.

Whatever your circumstances, make sure you evaluate your organizational goals and capacities before deciding to rent or buy. Adding interactive audience response participation to your events is a sound decision, but make sure the financial decisions are just as sound. provides free information about using audience response systems to increase attentiveness and improve knowledge retention in group settings.

Business Presentations For Neighborhood Watch Patrols

Writen by Lance Winslow

Are you tired of the crime in America and in your own neighborhood and community? If so perhaps you should start a neighborhood watch patrol. First you will have to get with other concerned citizens nearby who also feel the same way you do about crime and care enough about it to do something. Next you will have to make a plan of who you will contact including the community policing officer or ombudsman.

There are many neighborhood watch patrol plans on the Internet and you need to find one that best suits you and your community and develop a plan or modify one, which you believe will work best. Next you need to get a city councilperson or a couple on your page who agree with you and are willing to help you pitch it to the local police department.

Perhaps the city councilperson can help you form a small committee and meet with the community policing officer so that you can implement your neighborhood watch patrol. Chances are you'll have to give a business presentation to the city Council or a mayor's crime task force group.

Business presentations for neighborhood watch patrols are important because you need to make sure that everyone understands what you're trying to do and that you are not trying to step on the sheriffs toes. You really only have one good shot at your presentation and you have to practice it and make sure you can handle any questions that are asked.

The most important thing you need to remember is that you do not want to appear like a bunch of vigilantes otherwise your project probably will not get off the ground. It is better to let everyone else take credit for the idea and help you structure it in a way that is workable from the police administrative standpoint and covering all the liability issues. Please consider this in 2006.

Lance Winslow

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Communication Barriers And Simplifying The Communication Process

Writen by Andrew E. Schwartz

The communication process can be much more difficult than a person thinks. Unfortunately, many times a presenter does not realize that their message is being lost until it is too late and they have gone through an entire meeting/lecture talking away about something that their colleagues/audience thinks is absolutely meaningless. Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself before attempting to relay a message to a large audience.

Communication barriers may be categorized as follows: Assumptions about yourself — Do I really have something to offer? Is it safe for me to offer suggestions? Do I really want to share the information? Will others really understand? How will the communication affect my self-esteem? Attitudes about the message itself — Is the information valuable? Do I see the information correctly or understand it well enough to describe it to others? Is it organized? Am I comfortable with what I am saying? Can I maintain eye contact? Sensing the receiver's reaction — Do I become aware of whether or not the receiver is actually understanding? Or, in other words, can I "sense" from certain cues or reactions by the receiver, whether or not we are communicating? Am I aware of the receiver's needs? interests?

Communication can easily be simplified. All you have to do is know the major causes of communication failures and detect them as they occur. Typically, people involved in communication breakdowns are either (a) utterly unaware that the communication has failed and that misunderstanding has resulted; or (b) painfully aware of a communication blockage — or complete breakdown — and frustrated by not knowing the reasons why. In either case, people are powerless to handle or remedy the problem. Remember, the expert communicator not only learns to detect communication barriers but also to anticipate them and use an appropriate remedy to overcome them.

Copyright AE Schwartz & Associates All rights reserved. For additional presentation materials and resources: ReadySetPresent and for a Free listing as a Trainer, Consultant, Speaker, Vendor/Organization: TrainingConsortium

CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA., a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.