Speaker coaching tips

Top 10 considerations for speakers

I suggest read this and consider how it applies to your session.Photo Next steps

 1.Your content

How clearly is your content structured? Does it flow logically? Are there no more than 3 key chunks of content? Is it a journey from Point A to Point B? Do you highlight some challenges and then show possible solutions? Do you explain a recent situation, the action you took and the outcome you achieved?  Will you be busting some common myths? Are you presenting on why we need this technology, how to use it, or a bit on both? More on the why at the start usually helps. Be careful that you just don’t show us how your technology works. Explain its relevance and why now is the time to start taking a closer look at this. Summarise as you go, and at the end of your session.

 2. Demos and props

Always consider this question. Could you show them something as opposed to telling them? Demo as early in your session if you can. Not the whole thing, but at least a little teaser. The more telling you do in your session the more likely it is that the audience will disengage.  I can guarantee you that if you want to lose your audience, keep taking at them in a fairly fast, flat monotone voice. Props and demos are a great way to have the audience focused on something other than reading another PowerPoint slide.

 3. Keep building response potential

The audience need to be enthused about what you are showing them now and importantly what is coming up next.  Remind people where you are taking them. This is where we are now, and this is where we are going in this session. I’m going to show you how to get there. Think like a magician. Produce some magic in your talk that has a wow factor. Be like the pilot on the plane, explaining the details of how we will get to our destination on time, and where we are currently flying. Be clear about how you are going to move them from A to B.

4. Stay on your message

Repeat it often. They only see your session once. If you are lucky they will remember about 20% of it!  Be clear on what you are suggesting. Remind yourself what you would like the audience to be doing as a result of your session. How should they feel? How easy is it for them to get started? Give them the confidence and the tools to take a closer look.

5. Edit your deck again

80% of the speakers I work with have TMC (too much content).  Look again at each slide you have in your deck. Assess why it is there. Be brutally honest. Does it add value to the audience? If the slide is there for your benefit, not theirs, get rid of it.

6. Your slides

Use larger font and fewer words on each slide. Look at each slide again. Is there still too much writing on it? Does all the writing force the audience to read it and hence lose their focus on you? How good are your images? A picture paints a thousand words. Search for better images that will add impact to your message. Make sure these are not restricted by copyright.

7. Practice properly

In your preparation for Tech Ed allocate the same amount of time to content preparation as you do to your delivery. I suggest at least 2 run through s before Tech Ed. Time it. Record it. Then do some more editing.

8. Delivery skills

Speak slower than you usually do for most of your presentation. Some variety in pace and volume will help keep the audience engaged. Pause often. Move when you pause. Walking in silence looks cool and helps the audience understand the flow of the presentation. Use clear gestures that are closely linked to your words.

 9. Stories

Tell relevant stories that bring your content to life. Everyone loves stories. Think about your recent experiences with this technology. What have clients been saying about it? Think laterally. Consider recent events (e.g.: Olympic Games) and how these could be worked in to relevant stories

10. Next steps

You should be clear about what you are suggesting that people do next. Persuade them to have the courage to download the appropriate information and start trialling it. Encourage them to connect with you via social media. Let them know where they can come and speak with you in more detail after your session.  If you aren’t clear on the next steps, what hope will they have?


Posted in Presenting; Tagged Presenting, Coaching; Posted by Steve Herzberg

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