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Published by Marjorie Brody
Presentation skills pointers from Hall of Fame speaker Marjorie Brody, CSP, PCC, CPAE. Use these 7 tips to effectively create and deliver powerful presentations.
Presentation skills pointers from Hall of Fame speaker Marjorie Brody, CSP, PCC, CPAE. Use these 7 tips to effectively create and deliver powerful presentations.

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Published by: Marjorie Brody on Apr 15, 2008
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Seven Steps Used by Highly Effective Speakers
 By Marjorie Brody, CSP, PCC, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame
When it comes to speaking in public, more people fear giving a presentation than dying.Unbelievable? Maybe, but according to some polls, it’s true.Making a presentation -- whether standing in front of a large group or just sitting withcolleagues across the conference room table -- can be a source of stress for even the mostexperienced speaker. Being perceived as credible, and conveying your thoughts in a clear,concise and powerful way can enhance not only your personal image, but that of your company or organization. Conversely, being perceived as awkward, ill-prepared, or evenuncomfortable can do your image -- or your career -- great harm.I have developed a method for successful speaking that really works -- based on thehundreds of hours spent preparing and delivering presentations, and the thousands of training and coaching sessions I have conducted.If you follow the seven steps below when preparing for your own presentations, youwould be able to feel confident and secure when facing your audience -- whether you're afirst-time speaker or a still-not-quite-secure repeat performer.
Purpose, Audience and Logistics. If your purpose is to informthe audience, then you need to provide new and useful information. If, however, you wantto persuade people, then you need to make them believe in your message or call them toaction. Be very clear about your intended results. In other words, begin with the end inmind. You also want to ask yourself: Who is in the audience? Are they colleagues, or  prospective clients? Why are they there? What are their demographics (Where are theyfrom? How old are they?). What is their attitude toward your objective? What knowledgedo they have and do they need? The “right” information to the wrong audience limits your chance of achieving your objectives.Find out as much as you can about your audience before preparing your speech. Evenseasoned professional speakers sometimes neglect to do all their homework and wind upfeeling foolish. There have been numerous examples of speeches given with informationthat was either too far above or too far below the knowledge level of the audience.Knowing the logistics is important, too. Are you part of a team or panel of speakers?What will the other speakers be discussing? How large is the audience? What visualequipment is available? How much time do you have to present? What time of day willyou be speaking? The answers to these questions are crucial factors in helping you tailor your presentation.Once you have determined your PAL, write your overall objective in one sentence or less.This helps you maintain focus during the preparation process.
Once you clarify your objectives, it’s time to prepare the presentation. The first step is to collect the material. Unless you plan on a “data dump,”
look for analogies and metaphors, stories, examples, audience, involvement techniques,case studies to support the facts and figures. After collecting the material, begin toorganize it so there is a logical progression of ideas. Limit the points, keeping the messagesimple. Writing out transitions helps to reinforce the ideas and to repeat without beingredundant.Write the introduction and conclusion after the body of the presentation is completed, besure to start with impact including the benefit of the presentation to the audience andending with strength and, if called for, a call to action. 
Imagine what would happen if youcreated a masterpiece ... only to have the briefcase it's in stolen. Always leave a copy of the final draft at home or in the office for someone to fax to you in an emergency. Thisuser-friendly final draft should be in outline form on note paper, minimal 18-point boldface. Highlight the must know, should know and could know materials in differentcolors. Avoid using note cards; they can cause you to do too much shuffling. Only writeon the top two thirds of the page, otherwise your eyes and voice will drop, and you willlose your audience's attention.
At least three to six times, out loud --saying it differently each time to keep the spontaneity. Practicing in your head where youare eloquent won't work as well than actually saying it. If you will be delivering your speech standing up, then practice the same way using a similar room setup. If you can’t practice in the actual room where you will be speaking, improvise. Set up the chairs in theway they will actually be used. If you can practice in front of people, their comments willhelp you to refine your presentation. Tape record yourself. Remember, if you don't findyour presentation interesting no one else will either.
Make sure the room is set up correctly, the microphone is workingand check any visual aids you may be using. Bring extra bulbs, cords, etc., to prepareyourself for technical difficulties. If possible, be available to introduce yourself and shakehands with your audience as they arrive. This will help them to be more receptive to youas a speaker. Limber up by doing breathing and stretching exercises, it will control theadrenaline and relax you.
As an effective speaker, you want your audience to bereceptive to the communication signals you will be sending them: the three V’s – 
. While all three are important, for some audience members,
yousay may not be as important as
you say it. For other audience members, the way youlook and the facial expressions you use will influence their impressions. Your ultimatecredibility as a speaker will be determined by your mastery of the three V’s.
Visual – 
The old adage that “Clothes make the man” or woman, is still valid. The firstthing your audience members see is your appearance. Before you get a chance to say aword, some of them will already have judged you based solely on how you look. If youare presenting at a business meeting, proper business dress is called for. If you have beeninvited to speak at an “off-campus” event, check with the event organizer. You can never  be faulted for looking “too professional,” even if the audience is dressed down. Be certain
that your outfit and accessories don’t detract from your presentation. Avoid anything thatmakes noise or looks flashy, like jangling bracelets or earrings. Both men and womenshould check that their clothing fits well, and that they can move comfortably in it.Your body language will also send the audience a message. Don’t cross your arms or fidget. Use gestures to emphasize points, but be careful not to flail your arms around. Themost effective stance is a forward lean, not swaying back and forth or bouncing on your feet. Effective speakers make regular eye contact with audience members, holding theconnection to complete an idea. This helps draw listeners into your speech. Nodding toemphasize a point also helps make a connection with the audience. If you nodoccasionally, audience members will too – creating a bond.
Vocal – 
If you have ever listened to people speaking in a monotone, you know howdifficult it is to pay attention. There are six vocal cues to remember: pitch, volume, rate, punch, pause, and diction. It is also important to speak clearly and enunciate. If you rushyour delivery or speak softly, the audience will have to work too hard to pay attention.Vary your tone and speed and tailor your delivery rate to accommodate any regionaldifferences. Keep your chin up while speaking, don’t bury it in notes. When you look down, your voice drops. Emphasize or “punch” certain words for effect, but don’t forgetto incorporate pauses to give the audience time to let important points be understood.Proper diction is also essential – if you’re not sure how to pronounce a word, look it up or don’t use it.
Verbal – 
There are four verbal communication rules to remember: Use descriptive, simplelanguage; use short sentences; avoid buzzwords and jargon, and choose your words well.
Having prepared your speech thoroughly, you will be ready for most questions. Answer them as briefly andconcisely as you can. It’s best to paraphrase the question before answering it. This willhelp to clarify it in your mind and to make sure you understand the question. At some timeyou may encounter someone whose only objective is to stump the speaker or put you onthe defensive. If you don't know the answer, say so. Don't try to make one up. Tell thequestioner that you will find out the answer and get back to him or her.Knowing how to create and deliver effective presentations will enhance your ability to project a positive image. These secrets are a head start toward helping you gain thecompetitive edge when presenting.
Copyright 2008 Marjorie Brody. Marjorie Brody, CSP, CMC, PCC, CPAESpeaker Hall of Fame,
is an author, sought-after public speaker, and coach toFortune 1,000 executives. She is a global authority in helping successful businessleaders identify their strategies and enhance their skills for career success.Marjorie’s commentary on workplace/career issues is regularly featured on TV and radio shows, and in newspapers and magazines. Marjorie has had the privilege of serving diverse clients such as Microsoft, Pfizer, New York Life Insurance Company, Johnson & Johnson, The Institute of Internal Auditors, Society for Human ResourceManagement, Executive Women International, and GlaxoSmithKline. To contact Marjorie or book her as a speaker, trainer or coach, call 800-726-7936, or visit www.MarjorieBrody.comfor more information.

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