PowerPoint Presentation Tips: How to Keep Your Audience Tuned IN! (Part 3)

September 30th, 2017

When you use PowerPoint, are you actually diminishing your image as an expert – or even helping your audiences tune you out?  If your answer may be YES, you need PowerPoint Presentation Tips for real speaking power.

Today’s VideoBlog gives you the solutions:  PowerPoint Presentation Tips, Part 3.   In previous blogs, I presented Tips #1 through 6.

  • Tip #7:  At any point in your presentation where you plan to move close to your audience for dramatic effect, help focus audience attention by placing a black slide in your deck.
  • Tip #8:  When you want to focus attention on yourself for a longer period of time, allow the screen to go completely dark. Use the “B” key for this.
  • Tip #9:  Always make your final slide an image slide:  this image should illustrate the inspirational closing that you will speak. 

Finally, Tip #10:  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  Don’t make PowerPoint your higher power. Allow PowerPoint to support you, and not the other way around.

When you use these strategies with PowerPoint, you’ll project your own unique power.  You’ll enhance your image as an expert and your listeners will quickly realize that they cannot afford to tune you out.    You’ll have them on the edge of their seats!

Be sure to receive all my upcoming video tips!  Follow this link to my YouTube channel and hit the “subscribe” button on the right side of the screen:  https://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=SuccessfulSpeaker

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Avoid “Death by Power Point” (How to Engage with Power Point; Part 2)

September 2nd, 2017


You’ve probably heard the phrase “death by Power Point”, but do you really know how to keep your business audiences alive and riveted to your message?

Today’s Videoblog is Part 2 of my Top Ten tips for using Power Point to “take stage”:  capture the attention of your business audiences and keep them engaged.  In Part 1, I talked about my first three tips for using Power Point seamlessly.  Here are tips 4-6:

Tip #4

When you give a presentation with PowerPoint, take the position of power; that’s usually front and center.  Whenever possible, let the projection screen be on your left or right, rather than behind you.  If the configuration of the room allows it, you should be in a more prominent position than the projection screen!

Tip #5

If you are the one who will be changing the slides, situate the laptop downstage of your body (that’s toward the audience) – and a bit to your left or right.  This allows you to maintain as much eye contact as possibly while you are using the keypad.  It also allows the audience to receive the fullest view of you.

Tip #6

Never read aloud from your slides.  Instead, pass your eyes over the slide briefly, to gather the content.  Then, turn to your audience and pause; pause to make genuine eye contact with your audience before you begin speaking.  The pause is very important; it helps ensure that you will take  the time to make good eye contact before and while you speak.

Include these strategies when you present with PowerPoint, so that you’ll be able to “take stage”:  capture the attention of your business audiences and keep them riveted to your message!


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How to Engage Business Audiences with Power Point (Part 1)

July 30th, 2017

How many times have you seen Power Point presentations that could put you to sleep?  You can be a business presenter who uses Power Point to your advantage:  to present with confidence, authenticity, and gravitas.

In this video, you will hear the first three of my Top Ten Tips for using Power Point seamlessly: so that you and your business message (not Power Point!) will take stage:  capture the attention of your business audiences and keep them engaged.

I always say:  Don’t make Power Point your Higher Power!  Remember that laptops and projection screens (no matter how you place them) create a degree of separation between you and your audience and make your talk less personal.  Unless these tools are managed seamlessly, they can steal focus from you and diminish your authority.

Here are three strategies to maintain speaker power with Power Point: 

#1.  Use the “Ten-Twenty-Thirty” Rule:  For every twenty minutes that you speak, have no more than ten slides, and be sure that any words that are written on the slides are printed at no smaller than thirty pitch.

#2:  Keep it simple!  Avoid swirling explosions of information and do not use sound effects.

#3:  Be savvy about the balance between your image slides and slides with words on them.  Your image slides should be the vast majority of the slides in your deck.  Slides with words should be minimal.  One point per slide is a good idea.  Limit yourself to five 5 bullets per slide and a maximum of 5 words per bullet point.  Remember that the”bulleted” material is simple phrases.  It’s your visual and vocal demeanor that will complete those phrases and make them come alive!

Apply these strategies, and you’ll be on your way to using Power Point seamlessly, so that YOU will “take stage”:  capture the attention of your business audiences and keep them engaged.



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How to Gesture Naturally (Take Stage! Part 2)

June 27th, 2017

When you make business presentations, would you like to gesture effectively, without worrying about your gestures when you rehearse?

In today’s blog, you will learn how to take the worry out of gesturing.  This is Part 2 in my series called “Take Stage to Engage Your Business Listeners”.

Clients sometimes tell me that they don’t know what to do with their hands when they speak for business, and that this adds to their nervousness.  Here are a few guidelines about gesturing and how you can “take stage” in a way that looks and feels natural.

  • Your hands and arms should be open and available for natural gestures – not in your pockets, clasped, or behind you.
  • Your hands should speak;  movements should match both your content and the energy in your voice.  And your gestures should come from the waist up, for a feeling of expansion and authority.
  • Use both hands to gesture whenever possible and put pens and pointers down when you’re not using them.

Most importantly, do not rehearse your gestures!  Allow your gestures to be the organic result of your focus on your listeners and their needs.

Some of my clients tell me that they rehearse in front of a mirror, to monitor their gestures.

Don’t do it!

Looking into a mirror trains you to focus on what you look like, rather than focusing on your listeners and what you want them to do or feel.  It puts you in the habit of being preoccupied with yourself.  And audiences always know when you’re preoccupied by yourself.  They interpret this as either egotism or a lack of confidence.

So, instead, when you rehearse, choose a spot or two on the wall to place your focus.  As you speak your content aloud, speak AS IF you were talking to a close friend.  This will help you “take stage” organically and authentically.  You will project confidence, a spirit of ease, and a true concern for your listeners and their needs.


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Grab/Keep the Attention of Your Business Audience: Take Stage (Part 1)

May 29th, 2017

Would you like to grab your business audience’s attention and keep them riveted to your presentations?  Do what actors do:  take stage!  Inhabit the space with a “do or die” purpose and an attitude of complete belonging.

Your physical demeanor speaks volumes about you, and your business audience is sizing you up before you even say a word.  Here are three basic strategies, to make your physical demeanor enhance your presence:

  • Whether you’re seated or standing, begin speaking with both feet planted firmly on the ground.  Imagine that your legs are tree trunks and your feet are roots extending deep into the ground.  This initial grounding helps you claim the space as your own and helps give weight to your subsequent movements.  It helps you project confidence and authority.
  • If you’re standing, stand away from furniture and resist any temptation to lean for support.  If someone offers you a podium, politely decline it, if you can.  Whenever possible, you want to eliminate any physical barriers that could come between you and your audience.  If you must use a podium, stand tall and don’t lean on it!
  • Whenever possible, give any handouts you may have after your presentation has ended, not before or during the presentation.  When you give people material to read during your talk, you are inviting them to focus on a piece of paper and inviting them to ignore you.  Giving your audience material to read also suggests the idea that they could just as effectively have read your content, and that they didn’t need to come hear you live and in person!

When you apply these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to taking stage; you will make your physical demeanor enhance your presence, and you will get buy-in faster.


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Elevator Speeches, Part 3: Distinguish Yourself & Get Remembered

March 26th, 2017


Would you like to deliver an elevator speech that sets you apart and helps you get remembered?  Your elevator speech can distinguish you when you apply the following three strategies.

1:  Create an element of suspense.
When you’re satisfied that you have addressed the basics in writing your elevator speech, 
add a bit of expense:  postpone telling your listeners how you do what you do.  You want you listeners to ask questions, so that a conversation will develop.  Your objective should be to intrigue your listeners, so add a bit of mystery.  Talk about the benefits you provide and don’t tell listeners how you do what you do, until they ask.

2:   Provide a short, memorable phrase that can be quoted about you.
Include a phrase that will be easy for your listeners to remember and repeat when they speak about you with others.  They themselves will be helping help you carry your message.  One way to do this is with alliteration:  repetition of an initial sound, usually in two or more words of a phrase.  If you listen to this VideoBlog, you’ll hear me do it.  I say that I work with leaders who want to develop power speaking:  to be more persuasive, productive, and profitable.  The repetition of the /p/ sound in the final phrase makes it easy to remember and easy to repeat.  Try this technique with your own content.

3:  View your elevator speech as a work in progress!
Crafting an effective elevator speech is a process.  This means that you should always be fine-tuning and editing, depending upon the responses you are getting from people.  Does your elevator speech motivate listeners to ask questions?  Does it generate conversation?  If not, you may need to revise.   And remember that, as your business grows and changes, you’ll want to continue fine-tuning your elevator speech, to remain current and effective. 

Follow these steps, and you will be well on your way to delivering an elevator speech that sets you apart, generates conversation, and helps you get remembered.


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Elevator Speeches: Demonstrate Your Ability to Solve Your Prospects’ Problems

February 27th, 2017

Does your elevator speech project your interest in your prospects and their needs?  Or does it project your interest in yourself?

During networking situations, your conversation partners may be wondering “What’s in this for me?”  Here are three basic steps to help you focus on what your prospects care about most – which should become what you care about most!

Step 1:

Identify the benefits that your products and services have for your listeners and their organizations.  It’s all about the benefits:

  1. Increasing profits
  2. Improving productivity
  3. Reducing the cost of doing business
  4. Enhancing their competitive edge

Mention the benefits that are of greatest interest to your listeners at that moment.

Step 2:

Edit your content to be as concise as possible – 30 seconds is a good length.  One way to hook listeners is to identify a problem that you can solve: a problem that makes them think,  “I have that problem, too, and I really want a solution!”

Step 3:

Use phrases that help you sound authentic and conversational:  language that is “mouth and ear friendly”:   easy for you to speak and easy for your listeners to hear and repeat.  Your elevator speech should be memorable.

To summarize:

  1. Focus on the benefits that your listeners care about most
  2. Mention a problem that you can solve: one that they want solved!
  3. Make it conversational, brief, and easy for listeners to repeat

Create an elevator speech that demonstrates your ability to address the needs of your prospects, and they will be interested!


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Elevator Speeches: Leave ‘Em Wanting More

January 29th, 2017

During networking events, would you like to captivate your listeners when you introduce the value of your products and services?   You can create a compelling elevator speech with an old tip from the theater:   leave ‘em wanting more.

Shakespeare said, “Brevity is the soul of wit.”   Today, it’s obvious that attention spans have become shorter and shorter.  Business listeners are demanding that we be even more concise than ever before.  So, you have very little time to make your listeners interested.

For an effective elevator speech, the key is preparation.

Write your elevator speech the way you would speak it.  If you find it challenging to write a script that sounds like your natural speech, record yourself speaking about the value of your products and services.  Then, play back the recording, and write down what you hear.  This is an excellent way to begin the process and make your elevator speech sound conversational.

Once you have transcribed your content, review the sentences you’ve written.  Simplify.  Shorten them, wherever possible.  And remember that while we often write in complete sentences, spoken communication usually includes sentence fragments, simple phrases, and even one-word sentences.

Next, examine your content to be sure that it’s invitational in some way:  stimulating a need within the listeners to ask questions.  Don’t try to tell your whole story:  tell enough to create a desire for more information.  This will help generate future conversations, to build and strengthen relationships.

Be savvy.  Be brief.  And leave ‘em wanting more!

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Project Authority by Reducing Your Filler Words

January 9th, 2017

During business conversations and presentations, would you like to reduce your filler words, to sound more authoritative and get buy-in faster?  You can do it with a technique that actors use when they are preparing to speak extemporaneously.

You already know that filler words (um, uh, so, well, like, you know) rarely add meaning and are usually just a distraction for your listeners.  And that they jeapardize your ability to project confidence and commitment.  Reducing your use of fillers will help you enhance your credibility and your leadership presence.  Borrow this practice technique that actors use:

Set a timer for increasing time periods of time, two or three minutes to start, and record yourself as you speak in extended sentences on a topic of your choice.  Choose a business topic that you know well, something you enjoy speaking about (but not your elevator speech or a sales pitch).

As you speak into the recorder, imagine that each word that comes from your mouth is connected to the next one, which is connected to the next one, and so on:  the way pearls are connected on a string of pearls.  When you feel the urge to use a filler

  • Stop yourself
  • Pause
  • Say the filler silently to yourself

When the timer rings, play back the recording and notice your fillers.  Then repeat the exercise, with new topics of your choice.

As you become comfortable with this exercise, increase the setting on the timer, perhaps starting at five or seven minutes.  Then, continue the practice until you can speak extemporaneously on new topics of your choice for fifteen or twenty minutes straight, without the use of fillers.

I guarantee:  when you practice this on a regular basis, you will find that, over time, you are decreasing the number of fillers that you use.  You will sound more confident and more authoritative.  And you’ll increase your ability to influence!

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How to Use Your Voice to Build Trust: Apply This Acting Technique!

December 5th, 2016

When you speak with clients and prospects, would you like to build trust faster?  You can do this by projecting warmth and a spirit of caring with a technique that actors have been using successfully for decades.  It’s called “Endowment”.

The Endowment technique involves the process of endowing your conversation partners and business audiences with qualities that will help you treat them in a way that builds trust.  Rehearse with the Endowment technique with the notes that you have for any business talk.  This will help you feel and project warmth spontaneously, even with challenging prospects and clients.

Here are three steps for rehearsing with the Endowment Technique:

Step 1:   Think of a person from your life in whose presence you feel cared for, trusted, admired, and respected.   This person might be male, female; any age; alive or not.

Step 2:    Use the power of imagination before you begin rehearsing aloud. Choose a spot on the wall to place your focus, and in your mind’s eye, “see” that person, right there in front of you.  Most importantly, take time to become flooded with positive feelings that you have about this person.

Step 3:  As you speak your content aloud, imagine that the person is right there with you, and speak as if you were talking directly to that individual.

Rehearsing with the Endowment technique will have a very positive effect on the tone of voice that you use.  The more you practice it, the easier it will be for you to project warmth and spirit of caring.  Rehearse with the Endowment technique, and build trust faster.

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