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How To Be (And Why You Should Be) Skeptical Of Your Facts

Facts are funny things. Sometimes, we interpret them in a way that seems so obvious to us that we don’t even consider how someone could possibly view them differently.

That’s why it’s a good idea to go through the facts in our presentations, try to view them as a skeptical audience member might, and address any unhelpful interpretations before they take hold.

This post will show you where one recent speaker went wrong.

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The “Yes, And…” Approach To Managing Audience Questions

In her book Bossypants, Tina Fey writes:

“The second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND. You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own. If I start a scene with “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you just say, “Yeah…” we’re kind of at a standstill. But if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “Yes, this can’t be good for the wax figures,” now we’re getting somewhere.”

The “Yes, and…” approach applies not only to comedy, but to many of the questions you’ll field as a public speaker.

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Why Three Is The Magic Number For Interviews And Speeches

During our media training workshops, we typically recommend that people develop three main messages. During our presentation training workshops, we often suggest that speakers focus on one main theme supported by three supporting ideas.

Several trainees have asked: “Why three?”

There’s not a perfect answer to that question. But there’s a pretty good one.

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How To Select A Presentation Training Firm

Lawyers, accountants, financial planners, and many other professionals are required to pass a test and receive a license before practicing their chosen careers.

No such requirements exist for presentation trainers—and although there are many terrific ones out there, the lack of third-party licensure can make it difficult for potential clients to separate the great coaches from the not-so-great ones.

This post, which contains nine key questions to ask, will help you select a qualified presentation training firm that fits your needs.

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Show, Don’t Tell: Why It’s Best To Undersell | Public Speaking Tip

I recently worked with a speaker who began his talk by saying: “I have the coolest job in the world.”

His opening made me bristle. There was something about the line that felt both accusatory (my job is better than yours) and subjective (yes, your job sounds cool, but it’s not for me).

The speaker was making a mistake I see often in our workshops: he was telling, not showing. In this post, you’ll see two additional times speakers fall into that trap.

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How Delta Airlines Got Passengers To Watch The Safety Video

Imagine you’re an airline communications executive facing a vexing problem: How can we get our passengers to pay attention to our pre-flight safety demonstration?

It’s a critical question that can mean the difference between life and death—but you know that many of your passengers are far too busy staring at their phones or reading books to look up.

Some airlines, recognizing that problem, have gotten creative with their safety demonstrations. On one recent Delta flight, they played this creative video.

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A Stunningly Simple Way To Improve Your Presentations

At the beginning of our presentation training sessions, I often ask a participant to deliver a practice talk.

Before the trainee begins speaking, they usually take the slide remote, load their presentation, and turn back to the screen to confirm their slides are displaying properly. The remainder of their talk usually plays out along similar lines—they make a point, click to the next slide, turn to confirm the right slide is up, and then repeat the cycle.

If you’re like most speakers, this probably sounds familiar. Here’s an easy technique that leads to dramatically stronger results.

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How To Answer Tough Questions #2: Emotional Questions

Let’s say you represent a government agency and have been tasked with speaking at a local community meeting. A natural disaster occurred in that town—a major flood, perhaps—and local residents are furious at what they see as your agency’s inaction to help them rebuild.

In such a heated environment—one in which people have suffered the loss of life, work, or property—you can expect to be asked emotionally charged questions.

Your response to those questions must be aligned to the audience’s emotional concerns. Responding to emotionally heavy questions with facts alone isn’t enough. People need to know—and feel—that you get it.

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