Category: Presentation Training

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How To Deliver A Great Presentation Using Notes

Most of today’s presentations are delivered from notes, not formal scripts. Such an approach allows speakers to benefit from having the best of two worlds: a well-organized structure and a conversational tone.

Notes typically take the form of bulleted lists or outlines, but can also include a few verbatim passages for quotes or transitions that require precision. As you practice, eliminate as many words from your notes as possible and keep only what’s necessary to trigger your memory.

Think of those memory triggers like golf: the fewer the words, the better your score. In this post, you’ll find several tips for scoring with notes.

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How To Deliver Your Next Presentation: A Six-Part Series

The question of how you should deliver your presentation is among the biggest decisions you’ll face prior to a talk.

Should you go with the security of a script, which offers the promise of exactness? The looseness of speaking from notes, which makes you appear more “in the moment?” The proficiency of speaking from memory, which demonstrates your mastery of the subject matter?

Each of those possibilities, along with two others—speaking from a teleprompter and a hybrid script-notes option—has its place. In this post, you’ll find an easy question to help you make your decision.

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The One Time I Love Cluttered PowerPoint Slides

Clutter: To fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness.

Disordered. Impede. Reduce. With a definition like that—provided in this case by Merriam-Webster—it’s no wonder our culture views clutter with contempt.

So it’s no surprise that when it comes to PowerPoint design, virtually every expert advocates simplicity and the generous use of white space. That’s good advice—most of the time. But there’s one time I love clutter on a slide.

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The Perfect Point At Which Speaker And PowerPoint Meet

Think back to the last time you saw a television meteorologist reporting on a severe storm.

You may not have realized it at the time, but if the meteorologist followed the most common format, he or she offered you a great clue about the best way to present PowerPoint slides.

In this post, you’ll learn how to move from slide to slide in as graceful a manner as that weather person moved from chart to chart.

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The New “Like So” App Counts Your Filler Words. Does It Work?

CNN.com recently ran a story about a new app called “LikeSo” that tracks verbal filler—crutch words such as “like,” “actually,” and “whatever.”

Because I’ve written a lot about verbal filler, I downloaded the app to try it out (it costs just 99 cents). The app is a good idea that adds something unique to the public speaking world, so I’m generally positive about it.

But while there are some things I like about the app, there are others I don’t.

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A Brand New Way To Practice Your Presentations (Really!)

I’m generally skeptical of new technologies that purport to make you a better public speaker.

But a useful new product, called VirtualSpeech, allows you to download an app and practice your presentations in front of a “real” audience. Using the app, you can practice in front of animated people in a large auditorium, conference room, or small interview space.

I’m not very tech savvy but found the product easy to use. Here’s how it works — and when it can be helpful.

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In The Washington Post: My Teleprompter Tips To Donald Trump

(July 12, 2016) Earlier today, Washington Post writer Philip Bump asked me to assess Donald Trump’s use of the teleprompter.

In this post, you’ll find excerpts of my interview, which contain the most important ideas I offer all speakers who use a teleprompter.

I also discuss a theory of mine that didn’t make the final cut—that Trump may win points just for using a teleprompter, regardless of whether of not he uses it well.

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Two Common Storytelling Mistakes (And How To Fix Them)

During our presentation training workshops, we always emphasize the importance of narrative.

Stories, anecdotes, case studies, and analogies are stickier than abstract concepts—particularly for audiences that lack a depth of knowledge in your topic—and serve as easy memory hooks that draw audiences to your message.

Most of our trainees buy into the concept of using narrative during their talks—but they often make two mistakes that undercut its power. In this post, I’ll help you correct both mistakes.

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