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Speak and Present

What Speakers and Event Organisers should Do

One of my Professional Speaking colleagues just had a disaster at a conference he was speaking at . The reason was the Event organisers has employed a sound / data company to run the technical stuff . My Colleague did what all professional speakers do and checked with the engineers that all was working , sound checks etc – BUT when he went up to speak the engineers had forgotten the settings, plugged in the incorrect laptop etc etc. The result a disastrous start to a presentation and total aggravation for the paying audience.

Conference and Events Planners/Organisers miss the basic step of briefing the Speakers/ Presentersand Technical staff

They ASSUME (we all know what happens when one assumes anything) that the speakers will know what’s  happening and will hit the mark.

They also fail to ensure that the technical support team – Sound and Data projection – are actually competent and “experts” .

Often they are not but are used to save money on the cheapest quote basis. The result is that Murphy sets up his tent and reigns supreme

I provide a service of assisting both Speakers and Event Organisers with Mentoring and checking and honing of presentations and check lists and even hands on assistance  to ensure that Stage Setup, Audience Seating, equipment etc is correctly set up to ensure a professionally run conference with spot on presentations.

 

Regrettably most people are not willing to admit they need help and are not willing to pay for these services.

A few are – and just last week I assisted a presenter (business owner) with her presentation at an industry conference and the result was remarkable.

Her speaking slot 15 minutes at 4 pm – her original number of slides 24 all text based–  The final revised presentation was 5 slides (only one with text) and she got great feedback from audience afterwards– so a few more lives were saved from death by PowerPoint.

I have several check lists and briefing sheets  – similar to the Speakers and Presenters Technical Briefing Sheet in the resource section of my web site – Available here.

So yes there is a need for non-professional speakers and event organisers to not forget these basics.

I am very happy for Speakers/Presenters of the Conference Organisers call me so that I can assist them in ensuring they have a wow and not as deadly conference

Tips for Speakers

Tips for Speakers

Some things you will need

1.   A Digital recorder

a.     to record every speech you ever give

b.    to listen to speeches as you are preparing them

c.    to evaluate the speeches after you have given them

d.    to hear what your audience is herring

e.    to measure impact

f.     to post on your web site / YouTube channel.

g.    to make notes as ideas come to mind

h.    to get voice references and evaluations

2.   A Video Camera

a.     to video every speech you ever give

b.    to  see to speeches as you are preparing them

c.    to evaluate the speeches after you have given them

d.    to see what your audience is herring

e.    to measure impact

f.     to post on your web site / YouTube channel.

g.    to video references

3.    Note Pad and Pen – always on you, next to all telephones in the house, on your bedside table.

a.    To record ideas

b.    To record speech tiles

c.    To record stories

d.    To record smart ideas

e.    To remember things

f.     To make notes

4.   Generic Evaluation Sheets / templates

a.    For Speeches

b.    For Presentations

c.    For audience members

d.    For mentors

5.   CD Shuttle in your car / MP3 Player for public transport

a.    To Listen to other speeches

b.    To listen to your own speeches

c.    To listen to educational CD’s on art of speechmaking

d.    To listen to subject experts on subjects you speak or want to speak on

Voice Tips

1.   Protecting your voice

a.    Never Shout

b.    Never scream

c.    Try not to clear your throat by rasping it – use hot water (see below)

d.    Always use a microphone if it is available – always (learn to use it properly)

e.    Never take Coffee, Tea, Milk Drinks just before (1 hour) you speak

f.     Same goes for alcohol

g.    Always sip a cup of boiling water (no lemon) just before you get up to speak

h.    Do Voice exercises for 10 minutes Max 1 hour before you speak

i.      If “you have lost your voice” shut up – don’t try and speak – Shut up – write but don’t speak – get sleep – lots of it it’s the only way to give the vocal chords time to recover

Speech Writing Tips

1.   Topic Analysis

a.    Ask yourself – Why this topic and why You as the presenter

b.    What level of expertise do you have in this subject

c.    What level of expertise does the audience have

d.    Don’t just be the Speaker – Be the Expert Who Speaks on this topic.

2.   Audience Analysis

a.    They are the reason you are speaking – It’s all about them NOT YOU

b.    Who are they

c.    Why are they there

d.    What are their needs

e.    What do they know

f.     What do they need to know

g.    Can you fill the gap

h.    Age, Sex , Race, Ethnic Groupings,

i.      Hierarchy split, academics, CEO level, Management, Staff, blue collar, ??

j.     Language demographics

k.    Taboos in this audience

3.   Writing the speech

a.    Start with the end – the purpose – the message – the call to action

b.    Then develop the Start – the attention grabber – the thing that breaks their concentration and gets them focussed on you

c.    The build the 5 points of the body

4.   Stories ( the goldmine of great speakers)

a.    Collect stories an anything that may be of interest

b.    Write them down

c.    Categorise them

d.    Practice them

e.    DONT steal other people stories – use your own there are at least 1,000 things that have happened in your life that make a good story – open your imagination

f.     Learn how to tell  stories

Stage / Venue Managing

a)    Get there early

b)   Pace the stage cracks and squeaky spots

c)    Check out the lighting and dark spots on stage

d)    Know where you want to be at what part of your speech

e)    Check the stairs up the stage – handrails are often loose

f)     Get all lecterns , tables and props in places you need them or remove them

g)    Check all cables and plugs for laptops and data projectors

h)    Test all equipment

i)     Test Microphones

j)     Practice with Microphone

k)    Get to know sound engineer /they also often look after blights

 

Preparation Tips

a)    Be Yourself

b)   Don’t try and copy others styles – be yourself create your own comfortable self.,

c)    Write out speech

d)    Read it to yourself 3 times in your hear

e)    Then 3 times out loud

f)     Then “standing”  3 times out loud

g)    Now record it and listen top it

h)    Revise and rewrite

i)     Repeat the above

j)     Now video yourself

k)    Watch the video

l)     Laugh at yourself

m)  Rework sections and practice

n)    Redo whole speech again to video

o)   Watch it again

p)   OK now you are ready to present it to people

Finding and Practising Impromptu speeches

a)    In your Car / Bus / Taxi on way to and from work

b)   Check out all billboards and adverts

c)    Choose a billboard or Product or just one word from them

d)    Do a 2 minute impromptu speech

e)    Preferably out loud

f)     Record on your digital recorder

g)    Listen to it

h)    Do it again – only this time better

i)     Do at least 3 to 5 every day

j)     Enjoy and have fun

PowerPoint Made Easy

PowerPoint Made Easy 

I guess more has been written and commented on the use of Power Point Presentations in the last 5 years than almost any other Presentation Tool introduced over the same period. 

The Reason – Simple – Microsoft Built a Tool to make Presentations simpler for us all and also added almost every Gizmo and feature they and their clients could think of. – The Problem – People try to use all/most of the Gizmos without paying attention to the value of the tool as an aid to enhancing the message and not the message itself. So what am I recommending?

The primary questions you have to ask yourself are:-

1. What is the purpose of my Talk/Presentation?

2. Who Is The Audience?

3. What is the Call to Action/Message?

4. What is the session all about – Speech (motivation – inspiration – entertainment), Training Session, Sales Proposal, Information Dissemination Presentation, Brainstorm and Workshop?

5. Will a Data Presentation be appropriate to get the message across and get the right call to action in the end?

6. Where will this happen – Venue and facilities for a Data Presentation?

OK – so you have decided that the best way to enhance the message is with a PowerPoint presentation. –

So what format should it take so that you don’t bore the audience to death?

Here are some Keep It Simple Guidelines based on the Types of Presentations.

• Key Rules

• Appropriate Pictures say more that words ever will!

• Contrast  is critical – i.e.

 i. Light Backgrounds with Dark Text

ii. Dark Backgrounds with Light Text

iii. Light backgrounds better in large and light rooms

iv. Dark backgrounds require stronger projectors and darker rooms.

v. Get to know the Colour Wheel and What colours work for what effect in a presentation.

• Speech – ( Motivation – Inspiration – Entertainment )

• Slides to Contain PICTURES (Not Clip Art) and

• Maximum – 5 Words per slide- Less if at all possible

• The Idea is that the picture will enhance the message YOU are Delivering as the Speaker.

• Finding the right picture takes time and thought as it must add value otherwise it’s just a prop / “plok-in” as an afterthought.

• NB- beware copyright issues on pictures you “borrow” from the web – search for Free pictures or pay for them from a stock list.

• Training Session and Information Dissemination Presentations.

• Here the Slides are made up of a 50% mixture of Key Bullet Points and

• Appropriate Pictures that enhance the main point of the slide and

• Interspersed with appropriate Video Clips that also enhance the value of the point – either seriously or humorously.

• Sales Proposals

• These Slides are usually based on presenting the Problem and then the Solution in Side by side boxes.

• Max 5 Bullet Points per Box – Differentiate the Boxes (Problem and Solution) with different background shading.

• Precede the slide with one of a Photo Depicting the problem

• Follow the Solution bullets with a Slide depicting the Solution if at all possible

• Workshops

• A workshop is where there is one or more presenters talking to a group

• The mix is- presenters give Max 50% input via presentations – illustrations etc.

• The Delegates are involved at least 50% of the time with break away or individual work time.

• This is more  facilitation techniques that a presentation but if presentations are used-  then apply the rules for training sessions discussed above.

• Brainstorm Sessions

• If data projector is to be used then best to use it with expert typist and software for Mind Mapping

• Generally use facilitation tools and techniques and not PowerPoint for these sessions.

 

This is a vast subject to cove – I trust these few pointers will assist you in your next presentation.

Remember always – YOU are the centre of attention and the reason the audience is there – Not the PowerPoint presentation.  

If that was the case then rather just mail the presentation  to the audience and stop wasting everybody’s time if all you are going to do is read what is on the slides to them (also known as “Death By PowerPoint”)

Have fun !!!! and Blow their Socks off with your next presentation !!

1 or 1,000 Which is better?

1 or 1,000

One of the most common debates that take place in any speakers training /developments is around the subject.  “How often should I speak?”

There are pretty well two schools of thought:

  • The First is the –  Go Slow / Take your Time and Work at your own Pace
  • The Second is the – Go for it- at least one or two a month minimum

I am a champion of the second group for the following reasons:-

  • Most people that go to places to learn to speak and gain confidence are Presentation Avoiders and whilst they want to learn will find every excuse in the books (plus some new ones) to avoid having to prepare and present.
  • The longer the breaks between presentations the more one regresses and has to re-learn all the skills and courage you mastered the last time you spoke.
  • Skills are only learnt and mastered through practice
  • Practice and familiarity build confidence
  • Confidence helps master fear
  • Fear mastery helps channelling energy in the right direction
  • Channelled energy aids super speeches & presentations.
  • Learning by doing is essential to good public speaking – just listening is not enough
  • Regular (spaced) repetition is the most powerful way to learn and make a skill a habit
  • Once a habit you can start learning how to streamline speech techniques and make it perfect

I maintain that too be a good and confident speaker/presenter/trainer you need to do at least one speaking assignment a month .

You need to become a Presentation Seeker and not an Avoider and this means engineering events in such a way that you present at least One Formal (Prepared) and at least One Informal (Impromptu) speech a month. Be it in your work and/or social environment.

Remember the true benefit of speech and presentation skills learning and development does not lie in the qualification at the end of the course – This is merely the Learners License that gives you the confidence to get into the speaking and presentation skills that you will need to succeed in business..

Remember – If you do 1,000 speeches – the last 100 are bound to be pretty darn good.

So make sure you always have a speech ready in your pocket that you can present as soon as an opportunity presents itself.

Happy talking and may the Passion to Present and excel engulf and motivate you!

Are you a Professional ?

Are you a Professional? Speaker, Trainer, Facilitator, Coach, Mentor, Entertainer

I receive at least 3 enquiries a week from people wanting to know what it takes to be a Professional Speaker.

They are either aspiring speakers wanting to get into the business or they are people already speaking with some skill (e.g. well seasoned Toastmasters -DTM AC-g or company trainers) and wanting to make the transition and or they are people who are being paid (i.e. professionals) and want to up their game.

To make it easier for you to establish where you are or what you need to play in this space I have developed the questionnaire below.  Please read the questions below and then mark your answers to each. These questions take into account the qualifying Criteria of most Professional Speakers Associations around the world and should help you focus on where you stand right now and what it would take you to get to your goal.
The Questions:

No Question/Criteria Answer
Yes /No/A..
1 Do you get paid (currency) for speaking to audiences you address?
2 Are you (A) Paid Directly as a Speakers Fee or (B) Paid as part of your Job as Trainer etc in a company?
This is the first and most basic test – if you are not being paid for speaking then you are not a Professional Speaker/Trainer.
3 How many PAID Speaking Engagements do you do a year? A = 0 to 10; B = 11 to 20; C = 21 to 30; D = 31 to 50; E = 50+
4 What is the Average Size of the Audiences you speak to? A = 0 to 10; B = 11 to 20; C = 21 to 30; D =31 to 50; E = 50 to 500; F = 500+
5 What proportion of your INCOME is derived from your speaking business? A=10%; B = 25%; C = 50%; D = 75%; E = 100%
6 What proportion of your TIME is taken up in your speaking business?  A = 10%; B = 25%; C = 50%; D = 75%; E = 100%
7 Do you operate as a: A =S ole Proprietor; B = CC or Pty LTD; C = Partnership; D = Employed by a Co.
8 Do you classify yourself as a: A = Keynoter; B = Trainer; C = Coach/Mentor; D =Facilitator E = Consultant
9 What describes you better as a Speaker: (click here for definitions) A = Celebrity Speaker; B = Circumstantial Speaker; C =Expert Speaker; D = Industry Speaker; E = Entertainer; F = Motivator/Inspirer
Questions 3 to 9 indicate the type of speaking business you have – be it part time , full time , small-medium-large etc.
10 Do you have a Standard Speaking Contract
11 Do you have a Client Assignment Briefing Check List/questionnaire?
12 Do you have Standard documents for room layout and venue requirements?
13 Do you have your own written Speaker Introductions for clients/MC’s
14 Do you have your own Web Site that promotes your Speaking Business?
 15 Do you have a Business Card for your Speaking Business?
16 Do you have Promotional Material (One Sheets) for your Speaking Business?
17 Do you issue professional Quotes/Invoices to your clients for engagements?
18 Do you have a Financial Advisor/Bookkeeper that does your books?
19 Do you maintain a separate Banking account for your speaking business?
20 Do you have the Technical Infrastructure for your speaking business?
21 Do you have the Administrative Infrastructure to support your business?
22 Do you have the Marketing Infrastructure to support your business?
23 Do you have a Blog relating to your speaking business?
24 Do you have a You Tube Channel promoting your speaking business
25 Do you have a Slide Share Channel promoting your speaking business
26 Do you have a Book / CD / DVD published?
27 Do you have a 12 month Personal and Professional Development plan?
28 Do you have Articles Published?
29 Do you have/use Speaker Assessment Forms when you present your gigs?
30 Do you have at least 5 Client Written References?
Questions 10 to 30  indicate how well organised you are as a professional speaker
31 Do you attend at least 0ne Speakers Related Conference annually?
32 Do you have a Personal Mentor / mentors for your speaking business?
33 Do you mentor any developing professional speakers?
34 Do you belong to any Professional Bodies/Organisations?
35 Do you have a high regard and actively practice ethics in your speaking business – this would include respecting copyright, others intellectual property, honesty in your client dealings, fairness to all, etc.
Questions 31 to 35  indicate how serious you are about upgrading you skills and craft as a professional peaker

Please answer each question Yes/No/ or choose a letter that best describes your speaking business.

 

By answering these questions you will be able to
determine for yourself whether:-

  1. You are a Professional or not   and
  2. Where you are on the professional speaking ladder.

PS:– these are merely items that indicate that you have the necessary items in place to be a professional speaker – the real test is your speech content and your speaking and platform skill that makes people book
you repeatedly and refer you to others – without this all the above is a bit meaningless.

If you would like to discuss any of these items or the Speaking Profession in general please contact me directly and let’s
see how I can help you achieve your dreams.

What Type of Speaker are you looking for?

Types of Professional Speakers are:

1. Celebrity Speakers

  • Speakers by virtue of their being either a Sports celebrity, a Politician, an Actor etc.
  • Usually get invited to speak at functions as a Crowd draw card and speak about their experiences in their own field.
  • They also often act as MC’s at events.
  • They usually speak on a full time or part time basis and command good speaking fees for their keynote talks and breakaway sessions

2. Circumstantial Speakers

  • Speakers by virtue of a Circumstance such as An Accident, Traumatic Experience , Life Surviving Event etc
  • They usually concentrate on telling their story as their core speech.
  • They usually speak on a full time or part time basis and command good speaking fees for their keynote talks and breakaway sessions

3. Experts Who Speak

  • These speakers are usually Subject Level Experts by virtue of Academic Studies, Self Study, Work Experience and or a mixture of all of these.
  • They speak at conferences and events based on their Specialist knowledge and experience.
  • They usually speak on a full time or part time basis and command good speaking fees for their keynote talks and breakaway sessions.

4. Industry Speakers

  • These are mostly executives and experts inside of business and industries who speak on their specific specialist fields.
  • They usually do not charge a fee for their services as they speak on behalf of their organisations and gain exposure as payment.
  • However of late they too are demanding a speaker’s fee or at least direct cost compensations.

5. Motivational and Inspirational Speakers

  • These are speakers who concentrate on the emotional upliftment and rejuvenation of the spirit of their audiences through Motivational and Inspirational Stories, Anecdotes and Value Principles etc.
  • They are most often called on as Opening or Closing Keynote presenters at conferences, Strategic Planning sessions, management or sales meetings and the like.
  • They usually speak on a full time or part time basis and command good speaking fees for their keynote talks and breakaway sessions.

6. Entertainers

  • These include comedians, magicians, ventriloquists and others who use "speaking plus" to get their point across
  • They usually speak/perform on a full time or part time basis and command good speaking fees for their keynote talks and breakaway sessions.

7. Trainers

  • These are Speakers who provide Training Courses, Seminars and Workshops in many different fields of expertise.
  • They also often speak on their subjects of expertise at Conferences and Seminars and from time to time present keynotes on their fields at such events as well.

Is it a Conference, WorkShop, Seminar?

Workshop

A brief intensive course or series of meetings for a small group of people, emphasising interaction, exchange of information and problem solving among the participants. (Interaction and group participation is the key differentiator)

Seminar

A meeting for the exchange of ideas where the seminar leader presents information to a small, medium or large group of people with a minimal amount of interaction between them. (One-to-many information transfer)

Conference

A meeting for the interchange of opinions where there is usually more than one speaker presenting a paper or address to a larger audience on similar subject matter or a common theme. (Many-to-many information transfer) (Interaction between the audience members and the speakers is minimal)

Indaba

A Conference to discuss matters of strategic importance

Imbizo

A Meeting of leaders when an important issue needs to be resolved

Bosberaad

A Conflict resolution meeting where everybody has the same authority
Also sometimes used to describe a group Brainstorm Session

Lekgotla

Solving problems with the community.

Ubuntu

“We are who we are through other people”
It means respecting the dignity of all people, no matter how humble and our actions must reflect this concern for the wider community

PowerPoint Made Easy

PowerPoint Made Easy

I guess more has been written and commented on the use of Power Point Presentations in the last 5 years than almost any other Presentation Tool introduced over the same period.  The Reason – Simple – Microsoft Built a Tool to make Presentations simpler for us all and also added almost every Gizmo and feature they and their clients could think of. – The Problem – People try to use all/most of the Gizmos without paying attention to the value of the tool as an aid to enhancing the message and not the message itself.

So what am I recommending?

The primary questions you have to ask yourself are:-

  • What is the purpose of my Talk/Presentation?
  • Who Is The Audience?
  • What is the Call to Action/Message?
  • What is the session all about – Speech (motivation – inspiration – entertainment), Training Session, Sales Proposal, Information Dissemination Presentation, Brainstorm and Workshop?
  • Will a Data Presentation be appropriate to get the message across and get the right call to action in the end?
  • Where will this happen – Venue and facilities for a Data Presentation?

OK – so you have decided that the best way to enhance the message is with a PowerPoint presentation. – So what format should it take so that you don’t bore the audience to death?

Here are some Keep It Simple Guidelines based on the Types of Presentations.

  1. Key Rules
  2. Appropriate Pictures say more that words ever will!
  3. Contrast  is critical –
  •  Light Backgrounds with Dark Text
  • Dark Backgrounds with Light Text
  • Light backgrounds better in large and light rooms
  • Dark backgrounds require stronger projectors and darker rooms.
  • Get to know the Colour Wheel and What colours work for what effect in a presentation.
  1. Speech – ( Motivation – Inspiration – Entertainment )
    • Slides to Contain PICTURES (Not Clip Art) and
    • Maximum – 5 Words per slide- Less if at all possible
    • The Idea is that the picture will enhance the message YOU are Delivering as the Speaker.
    • Finding the right picture takes time and thought as it must add value otherwise it’s just a prop / “plonk-in” as an afterthought.
    • NB- beware copyright issues on pictures you “borrow” from the web – search for Free pictures or pay for them from a stock list.
  2. Training Session and Information Dissemination Presentations.
    • Here the Slides are made up of a 50% mixture of Key Bullet Points and
    • Appropriate Pictures that enhance the main point of the slide and
    • Interspersed with appropriate Video Clips that also enhance the value of the point – either seriously or humorously.
  3. Sales Proposals
    • These Slides are usually based on presenting the Problem and then the Solution in Side by side boxes.
    • Max 5 Bullet Points per Box – Differentiate the Boxes (Problem and Solution) with different background shading.
    • Precede the slide with one of a Photo Depicting the problem
    • Follow the Solution bullets with a Slide depicting the Solution if at all possible
  4. Workshops
    • A workshop is where there is one or more presenters talking to a group
    • The mix is- presenters give Max 50% input via presentations – illustrations etc.
    • The Delegates are involved at least 50% of the time with break away or individual work time.
    • This is more  facilitation techniques that a presentation but if presentations are used-  then apply the rules for training sessions discussed above.
  5. Brainstorm Sessions
    • If data projector is to be used then best to use it with expert typist and software for Mind Mapping
    • Generally use facilitation tools and techniques and not PowerPoint for these sessions.

This is a vast subject to cove – I trust these few pointers will assist you in your next presentation.

Remember always – YOU are the centre of attention and the reason the audience is there – Not the PowerPoint presentation.

 If that was the case then rather just mail the presentation  to the audience and stop wasting everybody’s time if all you are going to do is read what is on the slides to them (also known as “Death By PowerPoint”)

Have fun !!!! and Blow their Socks off with your next presentation !!

Personal Excellence is the Key

Most people I deal with all seem to either Wish or Hope that something will happen that will make them successful in life.

What a waste of time !!- there can be no greater waste of time and energy than wishing and hoping!

The Key to success and achievement has to be the Development of Personal Excellence so that you are the most efficient and productive person you can be in your chosen field of work and endeavour.

And to be Personally Excellent one has to take action to get there – you cannot buy it, inherit it and it wont come through some wild intervention by others – it takes Personal Commitment and Action.

That is what I am all about and I have dedicated myself to assisting those who truly want to excel to get there and to be the leaders and not the followers in their lives.

I look forward to working with you all to achieve the same