Unless you’re speaking to a closed audience made up entirely of industry members who understand the buzz words, stay away from acronyms and slang. Computer people are especially prone to this. (I can say that because I’m one of them!) We like to use cool acronyms and techno speak because we know how to do that. Secretly, at least for us guys, it’s because we think that if we use all the coolest words and jargon, all the pretty women will want to have sex with us. So far, that theory hasn’t proven to be as solid as I originally thought! Nevertheless, the urge to impress your audience with huge words and acronyms that only the cool people know can be pretty powerful. For the benefit of your audience, who only wants to be impressed by your message, open up your language to the masses and use wording that everyone in the room can understand. I once watched a spiritual speaker who gave a thirty-minute talk, and apparently, it was about the use of our spiritual nature to manifest our desires. For thirty minutes, I listened to huge words and spiritual jargon that made zero sense to me. To this day, I still have no clue what he was talking about. I just didn’t get it at all.
So, what’s the lesson? Keep the language relevant to the audience. When in doubt, simpler is better.
Look for opportunities in your presentation to wow your audience with something that will give them a moment of pause.
In his book, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, Carmine Gallo explains that every presentation given by Steve Jobs, business magnate and co-founder of Apple, has what he calls, a “holy sh*t” moment. This is a moment in the presentation where Jobs presents something so awe-inspiring that the audience is stunned. An example of a Steve Jobs “holy sh*t” moment is when he pulled a laptop computer out of a plain manila envelope. The crowd was stunned.
In a presentation I gave to my business education and networking group called “Your Stage,” I created a “holy sh*t” moment by showing a bar graph of the average membership fees of local business groups. To demonstrate how our own membership fees compare, beside that bar on the graph, I Preparing To Master The Stage 39 revealed an animated bar that grew far higher than the competitor’s fees and then suddenly dropped to about half. That moment garnered some gasps and a ton of new memberships. One of our guest speakers at the event began his presentation with, “Several years ago, I spent $135,000 on a dog!” Now that was a “holy sh*t” moment! He then went on to explain he’d always wanted a dog, and his wife agreed that if he bought a specific house that she wanted, he could buy the… Continue reading
Embarrassment is self-conscious emotions dictated by a disconnect between how we feel we should respond or act and how we actually respond or act. Everyone knows the feeling of embarrassment and how it is not the best feeling. There are few ways to control it as it usually happens with little notice; however, there are ways we can respond to it!
Many years ago, I was teaching at ‘Willis College of Business and Technology’ in Ottawa. I was sitting on the front corner of the teacher’s desk, explaining a point to the class, and I could feel something amiss about the energy level in the room. The class, comprised mostly of women, seemed to be in a strange, and almost silly, mood.
I concluded that it was due to my magnetic personality, causing the class full of women to be so capricious in my presence. Then, one of the ladies at the back of the room held up her hand. I acknowledged her, and she said, “We have a problem.”
“What’s the problem?” I asked.
“Your fly is down!” She replied, as she giggled. I looked down, and saw that she was telling the truth. Not only was my zipper down but, because of the manner in which I was sitting on the edge of the desk, there was also a gaping… Continue reading
It’s not always possible to step away from a podium. If you are delivering a formal speech or hosting an awards ceremony, it may be your only option. However, when you have the option, get out from behind it.
Some may feel safe and secured behind a podium. The only thing this is doing is putting a barrier between you and the audience. It strips the power of emotion you can convey and the importance of the message you want to deliver. If it is your intention to move and inspire your audience, you don’t want to stand in one spot making your presentation feel like a lecture. The less they see of you, the less they can judge your body language and hence measure you believability.
You may not feel comfortable at first being open on stage as it can be a very vulnerable position. You are essentially inviting them into your world. However, because you are inviting them in, a natural state of trust will develop giving you a new character and a new sense of control over the room.
Once, a speaker began her talk from behind the podium, and then, after only a few minutes, stepped out from behind the podium and walked to the front of the stage. In this case, I found her approach very effective. She began in a safe position… Continue reading
There’s an old axiom, often attributed to Dr. Joyce Brothers that states, “You can’t consistently act in a manner which is inconsistent with the way you see yourself.”
In other words, how you think and speak about yourself directly reflects how you present your message and will in turn effect how others will perceive you as a speaker. When you speak well of yourself, or even when you repeat positive and accepting words in your mind, your physical nature actually changes. Positive body language and self-talk becomes an essential tool in helping you build credibility, expressing your emotions and connecting with your audience. It promotes healthy self-awareness and overall confidence which are both necessary in becoming successful on the stage.
Your self-talk isn’t just a motivational tool. The way you think and the words you choose will lead to changes in the way you behave and in the way you speak. How information is exchanged between others clearly affects how you walk away from the experience and it is no different when walking off that stage. Therefore, as a speaker, you’ll want to replace any self-talk that doesn’t serve your message and self-image with self-talk that does.
Marc Bowden, author of “Winning Body Language,” calls this your “Yes State.” When you focus on all the most positive words you can think of, several… Continue reading