Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out



									Alison Kemp

Techie Talks
How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters

Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks: How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters
1st edition
© 2013 Alison Kemp &
ISBN 978-87-403-0451-0

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                                                                         Contents


           Introduction                                                                                                               8

1          Seven Common myths torn to shreds                                                                                          9

2          When Presentations are a Plus                                                                                             11
2.1        Suggested scenarios for presentations                                                                                     11
2.2        What’s in it for you?                                                                                                     11

3          Preparation and Planning                                                                                                  12
3.1        Defining the Subject                                                                                                      12
3.2        Audience and Situation Profile                                                                                            12
3.3        Set the Key Message/Audience Motivator                                                                                    22
3.4        Easy structuring of the content                                                                                           23

4          The Spice Rack™: The 14 Ways To Grab And Keep Your Audience                                                               28
4.1        Structuring, in a nutshell                                                                                                29

       The next step for

        Masters in Management           Designed for high-achieving graduates across all disciplines, London Business School’s Masters
                                        in Management provides specific and tangible foundations for a successful career in business.

                                        This 12-month, full-time programme is a business qualification with impact. In 2010, our MiM
                                        employment rate was 95% within 3 months of graduation*; the majority of graduates choosing to
                                        work in consulting or financial services.

                                        As well as a renowned qualification from a world-class business school, you also gain access
                                        to the School’s network of more than 34,000 global alumni – a community that offers support and
                                        opportunities throughout your career.

                                        For more information visit, email or
                                        give us a call on +44 (0)20 7000 7573.
                                        * Figures taken from London Business School’s Masters in Management 2010 employment report

    Download free eBooks at

                                                              4                                     Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                                                                                          Contents

5           Why this system works                                                                                                     30

6           Techniques to keep the flow to your content                                                                               31

7           Killer language, verbal craft and magic moves                                                                             32
7.1         Killer Language                                                                                                           32
7.2.        The Verbal Magic                                                                                                          33
7.3         Magic Moves: How to physically influence your audience’s opinion                                                          34

8           Practising Your Presentation                                                                                              35
8.1         Loud and proud                                                                                                            35
8.2         Using Notes                                                                                                               35

9           How to control nerves and get into the zone                                                                               36
9.1         Posture Check                                                                                                             36
9.2         Face                                                                                                                      36
9.3         Breathing Exercises                                                                                                       37
9.4         Calming the Mind                                                                                                          37

        Join EADS. A global leader in aerospace, defence and related services.

        Let your imagination take shape.
        EADS unites a leading aircraft manufacturer, the world’s largest       learning and development opportunities, and all the support you need,
        helicopter supplier, a global leader in space programmes and a         you will tackle interesting challenges on state-of-the-art products.
        worldwide leader in global security solutions and systems to form
        Europe’s largest defence and aerospace group. More than                We take more than 5,000 interns every year across disciplines
        140,000 people work at Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter,      ranging from engineering, IT, procurement and finance, to
        in 90 locations globally, to deliver some of the industry’s most       strategy, customer support, marketing and sales. Positions are
        exciting projects.                                                     available in France, Germany, Spain and the UK.
        An EADS internship offers the chance to use your theoretical
        knowledge and apply it first-hand to real situations and assignments    To find out more and apply, visit You can also
        during your studies. Given a high level of responsibility, plenty of   find out more on our EADS Careers Facebook page.

    Download free eBooks at

                                                                        5                               Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                                           Contents

10         Get control, clarity and colour into your voice                             39
10.1       Being heard                                                                 39
10.2       Keeping your audience with you                                              39
10.3       Pace                                                                        39
10.4       Using Vocal Emphasis to speak with greater Conviction                       40

11         Using Confident Body Language                                               41
11.1       Creating a strong presence                                                  41
11.2       Moving naturally                                                            41
11.3       Move to Relax and Signpost                                                  42
11.4       Personal Eye Contact                                                        42

12         How to deal with ‘blanking’                                                 43

13         The 5-minute deal maker                                                     44

14         Presenting Using PowerPoint                                                 45
14.1       Do                                                                          45
14.2       Don’t                                                                       45
14.3       Visual tips                                                                 46

       Excellent Economics and Business programmes at:

                                                         “The perfect start
                                                         of a successful,
                                                         international career.”

                                                                     CLICK HERE
                                                                       to discover why both socially
                                                                     and academically the University
                                                                      of Groningen is one of the best
                                                                        places for a student to be

 Download free eBooks at

                                                   6               Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                                                              Contents

14.3.1         Diagrams: The wreckless and the refined                                                    46
14.4           Fonts – Titles                                                                             48
14.5           Fonts – body                                                                               48
14.6           Progress Bar                                                                               49
14.7           Colours                                                                                    49
14.8           Flip Charts                                                                                49

15             Managing the Question and Answer Session                                                   50
15.1           Keeping control                                                                            50
15.2           Saving time and breath!                                                                    51
15.3           When there are no questions                                                                51
15.4           The 7 golden rules for dealing with difficult questioners                                  51
15.5           Strategies for dealing with difficult questions                                            52

16             Following up after your presentation                                                       55
16.1           Continuing your development                                                                56

17             About the Author                                                                           58

     Teach with the Best.
     Learn with the Best.
     Agilent offers a wide variety of
     affordable, industry-leading
     electronic test equipment as well
     as knowledge-rich, on-line resources
     —for professors and students.
     We have 100’s of comprehensive
     web-based teaching tools,
     lab experiments, application
     notes, brochures, DVDs/
                                                                    See what Agilent can do for you.
     CDs, posters, and more.
       © Agilent Technologies, Inc. 2012                                         u.s. 1-800-829-4444 canada: 1-877-894-4414

 Download free eBooks at

                                                          7                   Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                                                Introduction

Most presenters forget the key reason to speak to others is to persuade, changing minds – and hearts:
a change that results in action.

Experiences of listening and watching others drone on like monotonous graph-huggers, have instilled
in others a deep fear of sleep inducing monologues and a revelation of personal flaws.

This has been exacerbated in some areas by the ‘Steve Jobs’ effect where so many of the people I meet –
in IT especially – seem to hold him up as the only role model for presenting, a god of the spoken word,
a guru of the business stage. He did do a great job but his contexts were very specific and suited his
personality. Steve Ballmer, of Microsoft, bounces around like he’s taken an amphetamine and caffeine
mix. You’d never have seen Jobs do that, but it works – for Ballmer – and his audience’s love it. Watch
Jennifer Healey on here and you’ll another version of what an excellent communicator does
with speaking in public. The core here is that they are true to themselves but deliver according to their
audience’s needs and what the situation demands of them.

Those with the know-how in Technology, Finance and Engineering have realised that their knowledge
can only be communicated if they engage with their audiences, and not with a data onslaught. This short
book is especially aimed at taking the pain out of presenting based on my workshops and coaching
sessions with technical experts over the years.

This guide will cover:

      •	 Physical and mental preparation that doesn’t mean an hour of mediation and a gym
      •	 How to make your message match your audience;
      •	 Speedy and efficient preparation – on the hoof (no need to lock yourself in a room for 2
      •	 The principles of delivering with impact;
      •	 How to make the most of the opportunities that a presentation brings.

If you want more on virtual conferencing, visuals, storytelling and presenting logical arguments in
business presentations in a way that ignites the room, click here.

Presentations take practice. However, if you don’t want to consolidate bad habits but develop good
ones so you they become second nature then you’d definitely benefit from a mentor or coach. To
benefit from honest feedback and discover the most effective methods for your own needs, get in
touch with me here.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                         Seven Common myths torn to shreds

1 Seven Common myths torn to

So, let’s start with three of the most common misconceptions amongst technical experts regarding

      1. There’s no point in me presenting, when there’s someone more senior/more experienced
          who can do it.
          Technology is the backbone of business and sharing your knowledge serves this relationship.
          From a personal point of view, your experience is different but no less valid than those who
          are more senior in age or familiar with a role. The reason you have been chosen is because of
          a combination of your technological knowhow and your ability to communicate this to others.

      2. They’ll be waiting for me to mess up
          Nobody is wishing you’d deliver a bad presentation. Have you ever gone to a presentation
          wanting the speaker to be uninteresting? Probably not. Your audience want you to succeed.
          Of course, sometimes you will get difficult members of the audience, or challenging groups
          but we’ll cover that later.

      3. I’ll have to become some sort of ‘performer’ to present
          Actually, you can be more ‘you’ than you usually allow yourself to be. After a day speaking in
          hushed tones in an open plan office, ensuring your voice does not impede the soundspace of
          others, projecting your character with less restraint may, ironically, feel more unnatural. People
          start to feel comfortable with ‘normal’: a normal they’ve learned from adapting behaviour in
          certain environments that may be to the detriment of communicating clearly and with conviction.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                        Seven Common myths torn to shreds

          To be an effective presenter does not mean being someone else. It means being the version of
          you that can easily connect with others, in a way that does not feel forced or contrived.

      4. Do I need to begin with a joke?
          Unless you are a professional stand-up comedian and can link humour with your content,
          use the Spice Rack™ on PAGE 28 to begin your presentation. Jokes depend on culture and
          personality, so they may fall flat with some if not all of your audience. Cracking quips also
          depends on timing, a concept that is hard to judge when you are coping with the AV system,
          your nerves and the content.

          Humour, however, is different: it is often the by-product of a familiar situation. For example,
          showing a child weeping at a blackboard full of algebra could raise a smile with audiences as
          most people can relate to that pain. When you add, “This is how your clients often feel when
          you’re explaining why something isn’t working,” thereby using humour to drive the point home
          through encouraging a situation familiar to many, without running the risk of trying to be
          funny for its own sake.

      5. Nerves are bad. I need to get rid of them
          Really? Performers are often worried if they aren’t nervous. The point is for you to control the
          nerves, rather than having the nerves control you. Adrenalin can help you to think quicker
          and add dynamism to your delivery, certainly something to be happy about.

      6. Steve Jobs used to practice his presentations for hours. Do I have to?
          Steve Jobs learnt to present: inspiring communication was what he nurtured. Nolan Bushnell,
          who ran Atari in the 1970s, actually found that he irritated the other developers to such an
          extent, he had Jobs working nights. Driving his message home with passion and engagement,
          is a skill Jobs honed. Practise until you get it right and can improvise confidently when it
          doesn’t – without sacrificing message and impact. For some this comes more naturally but the
          more you do this, the better you will become. However, do get coaching and honest feedback
          along the way, to ensure that you are consolidating good habits rather than setting bad ones
          into the stone.

      7. Start with the slides and then decide what you’re going to say about them.
          Most people start with the 376 PowerPoint slides and build their message around that. When
          planning your content, go analogue: decide your subject, key message, content. Then, and only
          after you’ve decided what you’re going to say, decide if you need slides at all. A quote, a story
          or a prop may be more effective.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                 When Presentations are a Plus

2 When Presentations are a Plus
Sometimes a one to one is far more effective than dragging a whole group of people into a room. If that’s
the way to be more persuasive then ditch the auditorium and the audio visual tricks.

Often, people are asked to present what amounts to data: this is usually information to keep people updated
that calls for no call to action other than ‘carry on’. Save time, either send a memo or distribute a report.

2.1       Suggested scenarios for presentations
Examples of the kind of scenarios that technical experts may find themselves being called on to present
could include:

      •	 Persuading shareholders to continue investing despite not meeting projected profits
      •	 To encourage resellers and distributors to push certain products
      •	 To ‘sell’ new software to the press for magazine coverage
      •	 Convincing business leaders to increase investment in IT processes to meet customer
          experience goals
      •	 To strike home the importance of health and safety onsite to a culturally diverse labour force
      •	 Push certain projects to cost centres within a company rather than have the financial outlay

2.2       What’s in it for you?
      •	 Easier team working as other people actually understand your role and how you can help
          each other;
      •	 You can spread ideas and good practice
      •	 By raising your profile, you get become regarded as the go-to person in your area.
      •	 It’s a great way to rally support for your projects and teams
      •	 Presentations are an effective way to pre-empt one to one’s with people you wouldn’t
          otherwise have the opportunity to impart your ideas to.
      •	 When it goes well, it’s fantastic for morale – yours and everyone else’s.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                   Preparation and Planning

3 Preparation and Planning
3.1       Defining the Subject
This might have been given to you, but sometimes this can be very unspecific.

For example: You’ve been told to present on The TK-V11 Anti Virus Software to distributors

This is too broad. It’s like saying ‘Write an essay on engines’. Where do you start? So narrow the subject

In this example, the TK-V11 is a recently modified piece of software. You also know your competitors
are trying to nudge into your market. A more tangible subject heading may be:

‘The TK-V11 – What’s hot and how it burns the competition’

Then, you’d be looking at the new features and their benefits to emerging as well as existing technology
to show that you’re ahead of the game.

When you look further into your audience profile, you may need to go back and tweak this but for now,
we’ll move on and hone in on the relevant factors in your audience profile.

3.2       Audience and Situation Profile
As the presentation will be outlining the benefits – from the point of view of your audience – you need
to define your audience so your message hits the spot. The more accurate your audience profile, the
more relevant to their needs you can make your content.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                             Preparation and Planning

Here are some of the factors that you need to consider:

                               Audience                                    Situation

        Level of knowledge                            Seating arrangements

        Roles                                         Projectors (front lit/back lit?)

        Level within organisation                     Laptop (cables and connectors)

        Find the Pain Points                          Laser Pointers

        Voluntary/Mandatory attendance                Software (PowerPoint?)

        Culture (corporate/national)                  Microphones (on lectern/earpiece/hand-held?)

        Audience’s expectations                       Other speakers

        Number of people                              Time (duration)

        Key decision makers                           Time of Day

        Do they know you or each other?               Food and drinks before or during speech?

        Organisational activities and aims            Room conditions (air conditioning/lighting?)

        Need help with your
        Get in-depth feedback & advice from experts in your
        topic area. Find out what you can do to improve
        the quality of your dissertation!

               Get Help Now

        Go to for more info

 Download free eBooks at

                                                 13                              Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                                     Preparation and Planning

Not every single one of the above factors might be a consideration for all presentations but many of
them could have any impact on what you talk about and your delivery.

Who do you think you’re talking to?

You don’t need to know every audience member’s exact requirements and with a larger number of people,
it is unlikely that you will. However, there are general pieces of information that will help you sway the
people that you need on your side.

It doesn’t take as long as you think to go through this list. In fact, you could make a cup of tea, look on
the website, make a few calls and possibly have a peek at LinkedIn, and the cup will still be warm and
the tea unfinished by the time you’ve completed your audience profile.

3.2.1     Level of knowledge

You can get a good feel about the audience’s level of knowledge from their job titles. If you have a list of
the participants, looking them up on LinkedIn or Google+ will give you insights into their experience
and interests.

3.2.2     Roles

In a presentation workshop I led for British Aerospace the delegates were speaking to an audience split
between Business Development and Legal roles. There are two contrasting mind-sets embodied in this
audience. Business Development has more of a ‘towards’ mind-set, looking for opportunities and openings
whereas the Legal team were listening out for risks and ways to prevent difficulties, reflective of more
of an ‘away from’ mentality. Both of these concerns needed to be addressed to keep the audience on the
side of the speaker.

3.2.3     Levels within organisation

Senior management tend to be more interested in the bigger picture: competitors, profit and market
share whereas middle managers will be more interested in processes and ‘how tos’. A flatter organisation
may have a more autonomous outlook, motivated by opportunities for entrepreneurialism or teamwork.

Nowadays, it is not unusual for people to be presenting to those 6 levels up the ladder. Rae Gorin Cook
asked top executives at six large companies how people could present more effectively to them. The
overwhelming response was simple: keep it candid and short.

Often you’ll be presenting to a mix of levels, so always have a shorter version ready, one where you
can ditch the stories and drop the pictures. The senior management audience can be ruthless about the
content so be prepared to adapt and you’ll come out shining.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                    Preparation and Planning

3.2.4     Find the Pain Points

The organiser will usually tell you what the concerns and interests are of the group. One presenter I know
was asked to address the process behind a strategic roll-out. The audience would have received him so
coldly that he decided to ask them what they felt about the impending change only to discover that on
the same morning, half of the audience had just been given the choice between relocating to another
country or taking voluntary redundancy.

There was really no point in presenting on a process that nobody wanted to hear that day. In the end,
the presenter used the forum as a way to collate concerns and feed it back to senior management. He
later returned to give a refined version of the original message, with an audience ready to receive it.

If the audience is not ready to receive your message, it’s like talking to the wall. On the other hand,
showing that you care for their pain can be your gain.

3.2.5     Number of People

The smaller the number, the more interactive the presentation can be as it’s easier to maintain more focus.

3.2.6     Voluntary/Mandatory Attendance

If people have chosen to pay $3,000 to come and see you, their expectations will generally be higher than
if it was $20. If they have been forced to attend, your audience may seem resistant, if it doesn’t show in
the fact that they’re typing on their laptops as you speak, it may well do so in the closed body language.
If you’ve made your way there, demand attention: set the boundaries and sell the benefits. Otherwise,
just go home and send them an email.

3.2.7     Culture

Whether you can expect a more casual or starchy environment will help you adapt your delivery and
expectations. National culture also plays an important role. For example, if you present to a senior
management team in Japan, and they start asking you questions, it can mean, ‘go and rethink’. In Britain,
it may denote interest. Go to India and the audiences may be extremely vocal whereas in certain parts
of North and Eastern Europe, you’ll know they’re interested because they’re still in the room.

Of course, there are variables that depend on how international the company is, the generation to which
you are presenting and the context of the talk but knowing the national culture will help you if deal with
the unfamiliar so that it is not unexpected. So if you have references to national politicians and rugby,
you’d better make sure that your audience knows what you mean, otherwise find a way of illustrating
your point in a way with which people can identify.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                   Preparation and Planning Culture and Clothing

Clothing comes into its own here. As a woman presenting in the Middle East in summer, covered arms
down to the elbows and long skirts were the safest bet. One company I worked with in the UK, who were
very casual, complained that a consultant that they’d brought in to present to them looked as casual as
them. They’d expected him to wear a suit. “We’re paying him because he’s not like us. He knows more
and he to look the business,” remarked one of his disgruntled delegates. It’s worth asking the organisers
“What do the audience know about me and what are their expectations?” This will help you look the part.

3.2.8     Key Decision Makers

If they’re not in the room, then think about what your action point should be. It could be that your
impact in the room will remotely influence the decision makers so make it very clear what you expect
from your audience with a sound audience benefit that compels them to deliver to your call.

3.2.9     Do they know you or each other?

If they know each other, the audience will possibly be more comfortable speaking out so the Q & A
may well be livelier than if they were strangers to each other, in which case you could ask for questions
before the session or plant them in the audience, either by using a colleague to ‘break the ice’ or asking
a few yourself that audiences tend to put forward.

                   Free online Magazines

                          Click here to download
 Download free eBooks at

                                                     16                    Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                                      Preparation and Planning

3.2.10      Organisational Activities and Aims

The objectives of those to whom you are speaking are not necessarily in line with those of your
department or company. For example, the quality control system in place is very easy for those in your
teams to apply. However you wish to make procedures more rigorous, and this will entail an increase
in workload. Within this gap, you’ll find the benefit that will strike the audience. This may be that they
will be preventing accidents, thereby increasing safety. It could be that the quality control procedures
will actually decrease the number of complaints and time spent dealing with product recalls. Find the
positive and emphasise it.

3.2.11      Seating arrangements

         a) Cabaret style

The problem with this arrangement is that people will find it easier to talk to each other. However, the
presenter that comes down off the stage, if there is one and wanders around the tables, or at least towards
the nearest ones, will be more likely to grab and keep the attention of others.

         b) Theatre style
______________ ______________

______________ ______________

______________ ______________

Theatre style seating will ensure that all eyes are on you. There will be less interaction with other members
of the audience than with cabaret style above. The risk is that those at the back could feel excluded. Also,
you may find that questions from difficult people – as opposed to difficult questions – can also come
from the rear of the room. By moving up the aisle, even if it’s only a few rows up, you’ll mitigate this
issue. To find more about why this is, flick to the section on ‘Managing the Question and Answer Session’.
You can move back down to the front again but if this feels to exposing, eye contact and any references
you can make to friendly faces at the back (see Spices PAGE 28), will help you build a connection with
those who are at a physical distance from you.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                     Preparation and Planning

      c) The Horseshoe

The Horseshoe is beneficial for keeping focus on you, whilst also aiding interaction between audience
members. This is particularly useful for exploring issues, problem solving and idea creation.

      d) The Three-Wall Plenary

The Three-Wall Plenary is a convenient arrangement when your audience is expected to take notes.
It will automatically induce a formal tone and because there is a table between you and the audience
and between members of the audience, there is a risk of this set-up encouraging more confrontational
behaviour. To avoid this issue, you can:

      a) invite others to present
      b) find opportunities to bring people to the front, for example, by collating ideas on a flip
      c) have people working in pairs or small groups.

If you encourage them to work with those positioned on other tables, you will mix the dynamics up,
preventing any form of power play that may arise, especially likely if on the presenter’s left or in front.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                        Preparation and Planning

3.2.12      Projectors (front lit/back lit?)

One Senior Marine Project Engineer, presenting on Partnership Coordination had his slides beaming
brightly on his forehead. He looked like a modern art installation, which was fascinating, for all the wrong
reasons. Know where your light is and where it’s coming from so you don’t burn a hole in your head.

3.2.13      Laptop (cables and connectors)

Letitia (not her real name), a CEO from a highly successful IT start up, appeared to deliver the keynote
speech at a massive conference, only to find the cables provided did not connect between her jazzy
multi-media presentation sat quietly on her laptop and the venue’s projector. Luckily, she had a Plan
B. She cleared away the Geek Squad around her, who were trying in vain to connect mismatched
sockets, and delivered a stunning presentation without a single slide, with the aid of the Spice Rack™
on PAGE 28. Your arsenal of spares may vary, but could include the following:

         a) a presentation on a .zip drive
         b) spare hard drive
         c) CD-roms with audio-visual slides and music files
         d) remote microphone
         e) speakers for music to set the tone as they audience come in.

                                                                                                                 © UBS 2010. All rights reserved.
                                                    You’re full of energy
                                               and ideas. And that’s
                                                 just what we are looking for.
                               Looking for a career where your ideas could really make a difference? UBS’s
                               Graduate Programme and internships are a chance for you to experience
                               for yourself what it’s like to be part of a global team that rewards your input
                               and believes in succeeding together.

                               Wherever you are in your academic career, make your future a part of ours
                               by visiting

 Download free eBooks at

                                                       19                       Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                                    Preparation and Planning

Remember to keep any music, video and graphics files you might be using, with your main presentation,
to avoid the panic of forgotten files.

3.2.14    Laser Pointers

When showing intricate pieces of design, such as showing connectors in piping or cables, laser pointers
are commonly used. They are usually waved around so the eye plays a sort of ‘follow the dot’ game,
which often feels like an eye test by a mad optician. If the speaker is nervous and uses the laser pointer
at the beginning, we’ll see this with laser.

The laser can be best used to circle around a specific area then hone in to an even smaller section. This
would be beneficial when your audience is close to the screen. Otherwise, your most effective approach
would be to boldly zoom in on the specific area, or show a separate close-up slide of the section

3.2.15    Software (PowerPoint?)

If you have been asked to send slides in advance, ensure your version is compatible with the software
being used at the venue.

3.2.16    Microphones (on lectern/earpiece/hand-held?)

Most of the presentations will be using earpieces or some sort of remote microphone. The first point to
remember is that often inexperienced speakers are shocked to hear their voices coming back to them in
amplified form. The best way to ensure you’re relaxed with this is to buy a cheap, hand-held microphone
and connect it up to an amplifier (I bought a second-hand one for £25.00) or you can plug it into most
stereo systems. Buying a hand-held will give you the practice you need if you ever find yourself standing
there with one. Have some fun with it but make sure the neighbours are out!

Once you’re passed hearing your voice larger than life, the only challenges that remain are microphones
that are attached to lecterns or hand-held ones:

3.2.17    Lectern Microphone:

Moving helps to diminish nerves and signpost changes in your topic. This is restricted, as is your impact,
if you are shielded behind a lectern. I always ask for a remote microphone and for someone to push
the lectern aside. No-one has refused this request yet and it heightens engagement with the audience.

3.2.18    Hand-held Microphones

Many of us have experienced the nervous wedding speech, given by a speaker waving the microphone
in front of their chin, like a fan. If you are going to be saddled with a hand-held, a rare situation these
days, then make sure you’ve practised.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                      Preparation and Planning

3.2.19    Other speakers

If there are other speakers presenting contrasting arguments you may wish to know where they’ll be in
the running order. If you are after them, find out their positioning so that you can address issues that
may be contentious. Referring lightly to content with other presenters that either precede or follow you
is unusual looked upon favourably by conference organisers as it provides a cohesion to the whole event.
It is also beneficial if you are thinking of networking with the other speakers, as you may want to speak
with them beforehand so that you can reinforce each other’s messages.

3.2.20    Time (duration)

If you have a 60 minute presentation slot, prepare enough material for 40 minutes to allow for 20 minutes.
If you finish earlier, which presenters rarely do, audiences regard this very favourably. When presenting
to senior executives, always prepare a 5–10 minute version of your presentation. Look at P.39 – The
PROEP model – to see how you can compact your ideas into such a narrow timeslot.

3.2.21    Time of Day

Presenting at a breakfast meeting? Keep it upbeat and informal. Content rich presentations are best in the
10-11.30 slot. Keep it short and sweet before lunch before people start listening to their stomachs more
than to you. My personal favourite is the graveyard slot, that is, the slot after lunch. At conferences, they
still put the ‘heaviest’ speakers on at this time, when the audience is fighting to keep eyes open. Frankly,
it’s the green light for anything goes: use break outs, questions to the audience, stories or any ‘spices’.
Look at the Spice Rack™ on PAGE 28 to learn how to engage with your audience by doing less work!

Late afternoon is another time for the short and sweet talk as people are thinking about traffic and an
evening slot could be more casual than a mid-morning one, especially if drinks are thrown in.

3.2.22    Food and drinks before or during speech?

If you are presenting at midday and your audience has a buffet sitting behind them, this may be hard
for them to concentrate. You may want to do an informal session, so you are not competing with your
audience’s appetites for attention. If there’s alcohol being served at lunch, be prepared to have to work
your audience a little more afterwards!

3.2.23    Room conditions (air conditioning/lighting?)

One presentation I did was at a venue in Istanbul on Motivational Learning. It was 40 degrees Celsius and
the air-conditioning had broken down. Opening the windows helped a little but frequent water breaks,
and a shorter presentation made the experience more comfortable. No matter how wonderful you are, if
you don’t attend to basic needs of ventilation in stuffy rooms, comfort breaks and adequate lighting, you
won’t get a connection with your audience so address these first, if you want the audience on your side.

 Download free eBooks at

                                                 Techie Talks                                                                                                           Preparation and Planning

                                                 3.2.24            Where do I get all this information?

                                                            1. Google Alerts can help you to locate press activity, particularly useful for tracking
                                                                   competition, and pain points
                                                            2. LinkedIn enables you to follow companies and individuals and tracks activity
                                                            3. Look on websites, corporate brochures
                                                            4. Call the organisers: simple, quick and often forgotten way of accruing most of your
                                                            5. Other presenters, some of whom may be more familiar with the organisation

                                                 3.3               Set the Key Message/Audience Motivator
                                                 By the time you’ve looked at your audience, and picked out what they’ll need to know about the subject,
                                                 you’ll know how they’ll be benefitting from your information. This is the Key Message (or ‘Motivator’).

                                                 It pinpoints what the audience will be getting out of your talk, and appeals to their emotions. All your

                                                 content will tie in with the Key Message – anything that doesn’t is irrelevant.

                                                 The following list of motivators/key messages for presentations is derived from Dorothy Leeds’ book
                                                 ‘Power Speak’, who based her list on Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs. This list could go
                                                 on and on but I’ve shortened it to the motivators that are most pertinent in a business context.

                                                                   thinking                                                 .        360°
                                                                                                                                     thinking           .
                                                                                                                                Discover the truth at                                             Dis

                                                       © Deloitte & Touche LLP and affiliated entities.

                                                       Discover the truth at                                                                   © Deloitte & Touche LLP and affiliated entities.

                                                  Download free eBooks at
Deloitte & Touche LLP and affiliated entities.

                                                                                                                                Discover the truth at the ad to read more
                                                                                                                                               22                    Click on

                                                                         © Deloitte & Touche LLP and affiliated entities.
Techie Talks                                                                    Preparation and Planning

Twenty Motivators for your Audience

        1. To make money
        2. To save money
        3. To save time
        4. To avoid effort
        5. To gain comfort
        6. To improve health
        7. To escape pain
        8. To be popular
        9. To gain praise
        10. To conserve our possessions
        11. To increase our enjoyment
        12. To satisfy curiosity
        13. To protect our family
        14. To avoid criticism
        15. To avoid trouble
        16. To take advantage of opportunities
        17. To be individual or unique
        18. To protect our reputation
        19. To gain control over aspects of our lives
        20. To be safe

Any presentation may have one or two key benefits to the audience. If you’ve an audience of innovators,
being unique may be important. Speaking to Marketing? Then emphasising reputation may be what you
choose to emphasise.

3.4         Easy structuring of the content
3.4.1       Ideas for achieving the goal: explore possibilities, research.

Speak to others and realise that ideas might pop into your head when you aren’t actively thinking about

Ideas are like leaves in the wind: if you don’t catch them before they fly by, they’re gone and they’ll fly
by when you least expect it: when you’re dusting, sitting in a meeting, walking the dog….

I’d recommend carrying a small index card around, that you can stuff in your pocket or bag. When a
thought hits you draw a mini mind-map, adding a branch here, a leg there. Before you know it, you’ve
planned without having to set any time aside to do it. You can download your sample mindmap and a
blank one for your own use here.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                       Preparation and Planning

3.4.2      Hit them where it hurts

You need a balance of the analytical – facts, data, evidence – and the emotion. The emotion is in conviction
of your delivery, the stories you tell, props you use and images you bring. The full list is in Chapter Four.

The reason for this is that although the numbers will convince, we’re ultimately stirred into action by
emotion, a concept that Chip and Dan Heath wrote about in their book, ‘Switch: How to Change Things
When Change Is Hard’. They picked on a Deloittes survey that analysed the decision making process
of 400 people in 130 companies across four continents and proved that when you hit people in the gut,
those feelings will be more likely to generate action. That means, instead of showing a bar graph of the
costs of having 15 different suppliers for safety helmets, throw the identical safety helmets on the board
table with all the tags showing different prices. That’s more likely to raise eyebrows: it’s visual and real,
allowing people to see and feel, in both senses of the word: the helmets and the emotions when they realise
one helmet costs $10 and the exact same next to it, $50, thereby leaking money through a very big hole.

3.4.3      Set the Structure – Start with the Middle

        •	 Do like the Ancient Greeks and Romans: start with the middle of the presentation. This will
           lead you on to the end and then you’ll know how to begin because you’ll know what you’re
           talking about!
        •	 By using a Mind Map, you’ll break down what might seem like an enormous chunk of work
           into bite size pieces. By going through sections of your presentation at different times, you
           can fit in your practice time easily. If you find it easier to work with the detail, rather than
           drilling down from a big picture, use post-its that revolve around your subject and key
           message, then slap them on the wall. Soon you’ll find around 3 main topics that fit your key
           message and you can throw away any points that don’t fit.
        •	 Marking your points on the mind map avoids writing out vast chunks that you try to
           memorise. You now have a picture of your entire presentation, and you’ve mapped out the
           landmarks in the road. It’s also easier to swop, add or delete sections.
        •	 Determine three main points and supporting points. We tend to remember information in
           threes, and the number of supporting points you cover can vary according to how much
           time you have.
        •	 Using the Spice Rack™ on PAGE 28 will make your information more engaging – for you
           and the audience.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                            Preparation and Planning

3.4.4      End with a punchy Conclusion

        •	 You’ll need to round up your three key points, and your slant on those points. For example,
           imagine you’re selling your luxurious hotel to tour operators. You choose to talk about the
           location, accommodation and facilities. You might summarise your points thus:

           ‘Now you know about the exotic location and the gorgeous villa with its plethora of opportunities
           to indulge and explore.’

        •	 Remind the audience what the key message is. This is a rephrased version of what you’ll
           write in the opening. To continue the example from above, the key message here might be
           phrased as follows:

           ‘This hotel could not be better suited to attract your clients: clients with discretion and spending
           power.’ (You’re implying profit margins here – a strong key message).

                              Find your next education here!

                                                        Click here


 Download free eBooks at

                                                      25                             Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                                       Preparation and Planning

        •	 Give a call to action. You can lose vital opportunities if you don’t tell your audience what
           they’re meant to be doing or thinking at the end of your presentation. So, have a clear call to
           action. For example:

           ‘Sign up now for our free weekend we’re offering you to taste the delights of the Hotel Capri.’ and
           end with a 3-point phrase to conclude the delivery:

           “…then you can grab the opportunity to indulge, discover and relax.”

3.4.5      Establish the content of The Opening

        •	 Start with a spice – Contrary to custom, you don’t have to say your name and role as soon
           as you walk on! For most people, this just adds to nerves. If you start with a spice – for
           example, a quote, visual aid or anecdote – you’ll relax sooner and engage your audience
           from the beginning.
        •	 The Caveat – do you need to address issues according to different groups within your
           audience? For example, you have Human Resources and the IT teams in the same meeting.
           Their concerns might be different from each other. To keep them with you throughout, you
           might want to add a statement such as:

           ‘I know the team from HR will want to know how the changes will affect staff roles and contracts.
           People in IT will be looking into how the current programmes will need to be modified to cover
           the merger. Bear with me, because I’ll be talking about the impact for both departments and how
           we can turn the changes into opportunities.’

        •	 Rules of the Road – manage your audience’s expectation by stating whether there’ll be
           questions at any point during or after the presentation. If they think there’s no allowance for
           questions, they might just interrupt you.
        •	 Route Map – tell your audience what you’re going to cover and manage their expectations.
        •	 Rephrasing the key message at each stage, makes it more likely you’ll be remembered as an
           influential speaker

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                  Preparation and Planning

3.4.6       Beginning and Endings

This, like the opening, is best delivered without looking at prompt cards as you need to have an opening
and conclusion that have maximum impact.

Both these sections last no longer than one minute, no matter how long the presentation so keep them

In short, this is how you use repetition to ensure that the audience remember what your content and
why they’re there:

 Download free eBooks at

                                                  27                      Click on the ad to read more
                                                                    The Spice Rack™: The 14 Ways To Grab
Techie Talks                                                                     And Keep Your Audience

4 The Spice Rack™: The 14 Ways To
  Grab And Keep Your Audience
Spices add ‘flavour’ to your presentation, adding a more conversational, interactive and illustrative aspect
to your delivery. Like a good meal, use the spices with discretion so you can enhance your key points.
Here are the ways you can apply spices…

      1. a quote – look on sites like ‘’ for quotes. They’re good attention
      2. a confession – “I’m going to tell you the stupidest thing I’ve ever done…”
      3. direct questions:
          a) compare: Millions of immigrants entered the United States through Ellis Island during its
                          long history. They came from every corner of the world, and found their way to
                          every state in the union…
          b) with…        Sam, do you have parents, or grandparents, or great-grandparents, who entered
                          the United States through Ellis Island?
      4. a startling statement:
          a) compare: Volcanic activity is as old as the earth and continues to this day. In our own
                          time, Mt. St. Helens covered a vast region of the state of Washington with lava
                          and ash. And scientists expect Mt. Vesuvius, the volcano that buried the ancient
                          Roman city of Pompeii, to erupt again.
          b) with:        Did you know Mt. Vesuvius is expected to erupt again? The ancient volcano
                          that destroyed the Roman City of Pompeii is expected to erupt again and do the
                          same to the city of Naples.
      5. a rhetorical question e.g. a politician to new homeowners: ‘Who wants high interest rates?’
          It’s unlikely anyone will say ‘I would’ !
      6. a provoking thought – statistics can be rather provocative….
      7. an anecdote – this can last for the entire presentation or just a sentence of it.
      8. show a picture – or use visual language to describe something
      9. use a prop – this can be a product or any other piece of realia.
      10. shared experience/empathy e.g. ‘For the last year, the merger has put all of us through a
          process of change, and it’s been a challenging time for the whole department.
      11. give the latest news – ask yourself: ‘Is it tantalising? What response would this provoke?’
      12. ask the audience to do something – ‘imagine’, ‘think about’, ‘look around’….
      13. an analogy – e.g. a manager talking about a difficult project in terms of ‘a minefield’.
      14. The Salt and Pepper of the Spice Rack™ is example, sprinkled liberally throughout.

 Download free eBooks at

                                                                       The Spice Rack™: The 14 Ways To Grab
Techie Talks                                                                        And Keep Your Audience

If one person in a group of twenty reacts, so will the other nineteen. If you speak to all twenty people,
no-one responds directly.

4.1       Structuring, in a nutshell
                                          1) Define Subject

                                          2) Do Audience Profile

                                          3) Set Key Message

                                          *4) Notes on the mind map:
                                                        i.   middle
                                                        ii. end
                                                        iii. opening

                                          5) drop in Spices

* Regarding note 4) After doing the mind map, it helps some people to transfer the notes into a more
 chronological form: eg.

      •	 Opening     ……………………………
      •	 Middle      ……………………………
      •	 End         ……………………………

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                       Why this system works

5 Why this system works
      1. it’s quick, and you can do it on the hoof.
      2. the spices will relax you, open the presentation with a ‘zing’ and keep your audience with
          you throughout.
      3. we tend to remember in clusters of three, so repeating key messages at least three times
          and ending with three-point phrase will drill your message into your audience’s heads and
      4. you’re following the trusted old adage:
                a) tell them what you’re going to tell them
                b) tell them
                e) tell them what you’ve told them
      6. most people ramble into the beginning and finish at the end of the middle section, punching
          it with ‘Any questions? This keeps the organisation tight, punchy and to the point.
      7. it reduces dependence on slides as you’re putting the content first, then standing back to see
          whether you need visuals at all.
      8. when a file of 349 corporate slides is sent to you, having been drawn up by another
          department, you can filter – or dump – them without watering down the message.
      9. it frees you from ‘a script’ and the worry of trying to remember lines this is because you
          have specific points that you know you’ll need to reach, acting as landmarks in the road,
          without you having to worry about dropping breadcrumbs to trace every step you take.
      10. due to the fact that you’re not tied to ‘remembering lines’, you can concentrate on how you
          get your message across, engaging and interacting with the audience.
      11. the mind map echoes the natural patterning of the brain which makes connections using
          synapses and neurons activating pathways of thought and recall in the brain, allowing for
          lateral and natural connections that will help content to flow and facilitate creativity and
          resourcefulness in content.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                Techniques to keep the flow to your content

6 Techniques to keep the flow to
  your content
Each part of your presentation is divided into segments and even in an impromptu speech, you need to
signpost to help your audience remember what you have covered and keep them with you when you
change topic. Use any of the following techniques to signpost:

      •	 A movement: simply move to a different area of the stage when talking of a different topic
      •	 Change your voice: the vocal pitch on which you begin the new section will contrast with
          that with which you have ended the last topic.
      •	 Use a verbal transition: “So, I’ve described how we’re going to increase our market. Now, I’m
          going to tell you what your role will be in this important move.”

Remember, even the brightest person might not remember half of what you’ve said – even in a 5 minute
talk – but they’re more likely to retain your message with the use of signposts.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                        Killer language, verbal craft and magic moves

7 Killer language, verbal craft and
  magic moves
7.1         Killer Language
Replace clichés with the language that is more natural. For example, ‘going forward’ has become common
parlance, but to where? Going forward into a precipice? Whatever happened to ‘in the future’ or, more
specifically, in the next few months?

Likewise, many senior executives are tiring of phrases such ‘thinking out the box’: such language tends
to be used by people who can’t get out the box. Several people have expressed their dislike of the word
‘stakeholders’ because it’s too general. It could mean clients, vendors, investors, employees and the list

There are three rules here:

      your chance
      to change
      the world
      Here at Ericsson we have a deep rooted belief that
      the innovations we make on a daily basis can have a
      profound effect on making the world a better place
      for people, business and society. Join us.

      In Germany we are especially looking for graduates
      as Integration Engineers for
      •	 Radio Access and IP Networks
      •	 IMS and IPTV

      We are looking forward to getting your application!
      To apply and for all current job openings please visit
      our web page:

 Download free eBooks at

                                                               32                  Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                Killer language, verbal craft and magic moves

7.1.1      Drop the clichés:

If you can find a way to talk as if you were speaking with a friend, then do so. You probably wouldn’t
be using phrases like, “So, we’re pushing the envelope, maximising leverage with stakeholders going
forward.” If you do speak to your friends like that, leave out the party invite. I’m not free.

7.1.2      Use ‘just enough’ technical language:

As one Senior Executive in Technology and Operations states, “Use just enough technical language to
communicate the point but broad enough that mostly anyone in the audience would be able to relate to.”

7.1.3Use the active Voice, more than the passive voice

           The active voice – ‘Fran broke the machine’

           Use when:

        •	 you need to sound more conversational

           The passive voice – ‘The machine is broken’

           Use when:

        •	 you need to avoid apportioning blame or responsibility
        •	 you don’t know who did an action
        •	 it is not necessary to know who did an action

When writing reports, we’re generally encouraged to write in the passive voice for business. However,
it is the active voice that you need for the majority of your presentations. This will add a conversation
tone and make you sound more natural.

7.2.       The Verbal Magic
7.2.1      Use the anti-climax climax:

For example, tell a story where you describe or the challenges and difficulties and how you overcame
them. The result, which needs to be a real POW!, is delivered almost as a ‘throw away’. E.g. 5 minutes
after my ‘difficulty story’, I then end with, and that’s how I wiped out a one hundred thousand pound
debt. A year later, I’d made my first million.

(dramatic vocal tone change)

However, the point of the story is not to talk about me but to tell you how you can…

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                               Killer language, verbal craft and magic moves

Your audience will still be thinking of that last sentence. Because you haven’t laboured something which
might seem so amazing to the audience, they’ll still be taking it in.

7.2.2     Anticipation

‘And later I’ll tell you about how I met the business guru that turned my life around.

(15 minutes later…)

You’ll see how this connects with the chance meeting that turned my business from a struggling SME
to a multi-million pound market leader

(5 minutes later)

And now you’re going to hear about how chance encounters can transform your life.

7.2.3     Negative Rhetorical

“Why wouldn’t you want a supplier that you can trust to provide a top service?”

And…why wouldn’t they?

7.2.4     Challenge

“If you not interested in the simplest and cheapest way to slash vendor costs without sacrificing quality,
then I advise you to switch off to the next section.”

Your audience of, say, Finance Directors and Procurement Managers, will be saying to themselves, “Of
course I need to listen to this section!”

7.3       Magic Moves: How to physically influence your audience’s opinion
James gave an example of poor branding in foreign markets. Then he moved to a different spot on the
stage, and gave an example of successful branding in overseas markets.

He moves back to the original spot, and describes all the misconceptions that consumers had about his
product brand, thereby associating that area with challenges or critical feedback.

Moving back to the second spot, James described how they have rebranded and the increase this has
produced in sales.

James successfully uses space to anchor a feeling of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ and every time he moves to
one of those spots, he will have more influence as to how his audience perceives his information.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                 Practising Your Presentation

8 Practising Your Presentation
8.1       Loud and proud
There are two reasons why you need to practise aloud and not in your head:

      •	 Only when you’ve practised aloud, and preferably run the content by someone else, will you
          know if it makes sense to you and your audience. It means that the first official time you do
          your presentation isn’t the first time you’ve done it.
      •	 Running through sections aloud, will help you to remember and draft the content. You’ll
          also be able to locate any ‘black holes’ where you get lost or stray from the point. These
          black holes are usually in specific places but you won’t be able to find them between the
          brain and the pen – you need to let the words come out the mouth. This is also a question
          of muscle memory. If you practice the art of speech, you’ll remember what to say: it will be
          in the bones

8.2       Using Notes
      •	 If you do prompt cards too soon, you’ll be in danger of writing down prompts that throw
          you or filling your cards up with script. Only when you’ve practised aloud will you know
          what prompts you – and, indeed, if you need prompt cards at all.
      •	 Number the cards and secure them for ease of use.
      •	 When using cards keep to the 4×4 rule: four words to four bullets maximum for each card.
          If you do need notes, double space them and keep them to a large font size so that they’re
          easy to read. Try to mix notes with bullet points so you don’t end up reading.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                  How to control nerves and get into the zone

9 How to control nerves and get
  into the zone
9.1       Posture Check
First impressions count so make sure that before you speak, you check your posture, ensuring your
shoulders are not pushed back or slump forward but open out. Rolling your shoulders back three times,
then raising and lowering them will help to open out the chest cavity. This in turn, not only aids looking
and feeling more confident but will facilitate easier breathing.

9.2       Face
Tension often shows in the face so before you present relax the facial muscles by chewing a huge invisible
lump of gum. After this screw up the face, then open the mouth, eyes and raise eyebrows. Many presenters
look like startled rabbits caught in the car headlights. Do this exercise before speaking in public and you
will look and sound more expressive.

                                                                                               e Graduate Programme
  I joined MITAS because                                                              for Engineers and Geoscientists
  I wanted real responsibili                                                     

                                                                                Month 16
                                                                     I was a construction
                                                                             supervisor in
                                                                            the North Sea
                                                                             advising and
                                                        Real work        helping foremen
                                       International opportunities
                                             ree work placements          solve problems

 Download free eBooks at

                                                    36                      Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                 How to control nerves and get into the zone

9.3        Breathing Exercises
Breathing from the abdomen instead of the upper chest, will increase breath capacity and vocal tension.
Abdominal breathing will also help you to relax before speaking.

To check that you are abdominal breathing:

Knot a tie or band around your abdomen. As you inhale, be aware of the stomach swelling, pressing
against the tie. When you exhale, the stomach will go inwards, loosening the tie. Keep your shoulders
down throughout and do not lift your chest.

9.4        Calming the Mind
About half an hour before you present, sit somewhere quiet and comfortable, and close your eyes.
Imagine that you are in the middle of a successful presentation. You are standing on a platform in front
of 100 people.

How do I look? – What are you wearing? A suit, jeans…? How are you moving? Are you very controlled
or animated?

How does my voice sound? – Is it using great dips and rises in pitch and/or volume? Are you chatty?
Do you have gravitas in your voice?

How do I feel? – Are you excited? Or very focussed? Do you feel infused with conviction? Is there a
friendly rapport between you and your audience?

Now at the end of the presentation, you are mixing with members of the audience. They are very
complimentary about your presentation. What are they saying to you?

Visualising a positive experience before you present, will increase the likelihood of a great outcome, as
you would have fooled the brain into thinking that you are only repeating what you have just imagined.

9.5.1      …and just before presenting…

        •	 Take in a deep breath from the ribs and/or abdomen. Release the breath very slowly.
           Continue doing this until you present to calm your nerves.
        •	 Roll your shoulders
        •	 Walk around before getting to your presentation spot. If you have the chance, walk around
           the presentation area before the audience are there. This will help you to familiarise yourself
           with the space and feel more comfortable in it.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                     How to control nerves and get into the zone

      •	 Stretch and clenching your hands, then shake them out to release the tension. This also
          helps you to be aware of your hands so you’ll be more likely to use gesture during the
      •	 Take a drink of water or eat an apple to moisten your throat
      •	 Avoid nuts, seeds, chocolate before presenting. When you think, you’ve swallowed them,
          they have a sneaky way of coming up and lodging in your throat, leaving you red-faced and
          choking, only disappearing when your presentation’s over.

    We will turn your CV into
    an opportunity of a lifetime

  Do you like cars? Would you like to be a part of a successful brand?            Send us your CV on
  We will appreciate and reward both your enthusiasm and talent.        
  Send us your CV. You will be surprised where it can take you.

 Download free eBooks at

                                                       38                      Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                 Get control, clarity and colour into your voice

10 Get control, clarity and colour
   into your voice
10.1      Being heard
       •	 Stand up straight with your feet firmly planted on the ground, looking out at your audience.
          This will help to ensure your voice carries to the back row.
       •	 Open your mouth! Most people simply do not open their mouths enough. This decreases
          vocal projection.
       •	 Breathe from the abdomen and imagine a beam of light from there, channelling out of your
          torso, throat and mouth, ‘zapping your audience’!
       •	 If you look towards where you’re speaking, you’ll have a greater chance of being heard.
       •	 Simply imagining you’re speaking in a vast stadium can help you increase your volume.
       •	 Keep the vocal strength up to the end of the sentence. To avoid trailing off, think of pressing
          on the final syllable of the final word of the sentence or phrase.
       •	 Practice tongue twisters like ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers’ and ‘She sells sea
          shells on the sea shore’ to keep your speech distinct.

10.2      Keeping your audience with you
       •	 Before you begin, inhale for ‘One elephant’ and then speak on the exhalation
       •	 Especially at the opening of your presentation, use the pauses to breathe deeply. This will
          then set the pace for the rest of your delivery.
       •	 The use of pause will allow you to think ahead and give your audience time to assimilate
          what you’ve just said.
       •	 Pause is useful as it calms you, builds up anticipation in your audience and adds emphasis
          to your delivery.
       •	 Replacing filler words such as ‘um’ and ‘err’ with a pause will make you sound more

10.3      Pace
The pace of your delivery needs to vary otherwise it can sound rushed or boring. The optimum pace of
your delivery should be 125 words a minute. Practise reading into your mobile or other voice recorder
and if you’re still too fast then ensure you pause more and use the vowels. This will slow you down. By
hearing yourself back, you’ll realise what feels strange, probably sounds fine.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                  Get control, clarity and colour into your voice

10.4        Using Vocal Emphasis to speak with greater Conviction
In order to use vocal emphasis effectively…

         •	 use gesture in tandem with vocal emphasis
         •	 vary vocal pitch and pause to underline important words/phrases
         •	 maintain eye contact to the end of the sentence
         •	 use the pause for emphasis

10.4.1      Emphasis Exercise

The emphasis you put on a word will draw your listener’s attention to meaning, adding conviction to
your speech. Meaning can vary, depending on where you add the emphasis. Try saying the following
sentence, highlighting the emboldened words.

            I thought you wanted me to know

            I THOUGHT you wanted me to know

            I thought YOU wanted me to know

            I thought you WANTED me to know

            I thought you wanted ME to know

            I thought you wanted me to KNOW

You’ll see how implication can completely change, depending on how you highlight a sentence or phrase.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                              Using Confident Body Language

11 Using Confident Body Language
11.1      Creating a strong presence
       •	 Stand up straight with the chest open and shoulders low.
       •	 Make sure your feet are firmly planted on the ground.
       •	 Take a deep breath before you begin and make sure you establish eye contact with your
          audience. This will command them to pay attention to you.
       •	 Men tend to stand with their legs so far apart, it looks like they’ve lost their horses and
          women have a tendency to try to make themselves look smaller and end up appearing like
          choir girls. Check that the feet are a shoulder-width apart to avoid either of these stances,
          ensuring that the arms don’t go into a ‘fig leaf ’ pose, whereby the speaker resembles a
          footballer protecting his ‘assets’ during a penalty shoot-out. Imagine water dripping down
          the arms and you’ll look more open and ready for action.

11.2      Moving naturally
       •	 Use gesture on key words and phrases to add emphasis but sustain that gesture to the end of
          the emphasis to maintain conviction. Watch the video here to see how this works.

     Are you remarkable?
     Win one of the six full
     tuition scholarships for                                            register
     International MBA or
                                                                           now            rode
     MSc in Management

 Download free eBooks at

                                                    41                      Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                             Using Confident Body Language

       •	 Beware of fidgeting – Are you playing with a ring? Pulling at your tie? Brushing your hands
          through your hair? Remove these unnecessary movements and you will look more confident
          and in control.
       •	 Keep gesture around torso level – too high and you could look ‘over the top’, too low
          (around hip level) and this can make you look weak or uncommitted. Torso level gestures
          look assertive but not aggressive.
       •	 Avoid pointing at your audience. You can fold the finger into the hand to make you look less
          accusatory or, even better, open the hand out.

11.3      Move to Relax and Signpost
       •	 Like gesture, movement, if used effectively, can calm you and make you look more dynamic.
       •	 Shift your balance when making a new point. This can signpost a transition in content to
          your audience. Alternatively, you can move from one place to another to indicate a change
          in mood or shift in subject.

11.4      Personal Eye Contact
       •	 Divide your audience into three sections – left, centre and right. If you’ve a large audience
          seated in many rows, think of front left, back left and so on. Aim phrases to one person in
          each section. There doesn’t need to be any particular order of focus. Be aware of finding
          different people in each section with which to establish eye contact. The basic rule is: a
          phrase to a person. By being specific about where to look, you will actually engage the whole
       •	 If it helps, imagine your eyes as lasers, zooming in on specific people, zooming out again
          and focussing in on others.

       •	 You might feel more comfortable ‘faking’ eye contact, especially at the beginning. The rule
          of thumb is that the further you are from the audience the higher your focus can be. This
          means that if you’re on a platform looking down at your audience, you can be establishing
          eye contact with their foreheads and they’ll think you’re looking them in the eye!

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                      How to deal with ‘blanking’

12 How to deal with ‘blanking’
       •	 Gesture to draw out words from your head – something will occur to you until you find the
            next point.
       •	 Move from one position to another. If you move you’ll breathe, and this will clear the
            thought process, buy you time and make you look more confident.
       •	 Pause: as long as you don’t look nervous if you lose the thread, the audience will be likely to
            think you’re pausing for effect!
       •	 Combining gesture, movement and pause will help you achieve greater presence. So while
            your mind’s going like a rolodex, you audience will be impressed by your calm authority!
       •	 Do what you do when you lose your house keys: retrace your steps. Recap what you’ve just
            said and you will pinpoint what to say next.

                      Note: If you make ‘a mistake’, the only person likely to notice is you!

    Budget-Friendly. Knowledge-Rich.
    The Agilent InfiniiVision X-Series and
    1000 Series offer affordable oscilloscopes
    for your labs. Plus resources such as
    lab guides, experiments, and more,
    to help enrich your curriculum
    and make your job easier.

                                Scan for free
                                Agilent iPhone
                                Apps or visit                                 See what Agilent can do for you.

    © Agilent Technologies, Inc. 2012                                             u.s. 1-800-829-4444 canada: 1-877-894-4414

 Download free eBooks at

                                                        43                     Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                                       The 5-minute deal maker

13 The 5-minute deal maker
I’ve got to persuade my boss to follow a strategy in a meeting that’s coming up. How can I persuade him
quickly that what we need to do is a good idea?

Go for the PROEP Model of persuasion
Proposal (Outline): We need to bring in more Sales people alongside the Tech teams for Calypso.

Reasons (3 max!): We’ll have easier access to a large market.

Objections: (inc. cost, time, effort. Remember to build in a way of countering those objections): I
understand that the upfront costs may seem off-putting. Although many of our teams are great on-site,
they’re not up-selling and cross-selling at the rate we’d like. We’d get more business with less hassle with a
specialist or two.

I know that many Sales people brush the IT teams up the wrong way but with someone who’s got a proven
record at winning business in our sector and sells our skills accurately, we’d see profits without the pain. I
can get in touch with Tech Talent Recruitment that could find just the right people for us.

Evidence: [Our Competitor] has had a dedicated team just selling Murex services to the finance sector.
Although they started 8 months ago, they’ve seen 56% profit in the last 6 months.

Proposal: So, in my view, taking on more Business Development expertise could potentially double our
profits within half a year.

A note about ‘Evidence’:
This depends on how any one individual tends to be persuaded. Consider that any of the following
points could be evidence:

       a) Something similar you’ve achieved before;
       b) Something someone else has achieved before;
       c) Statistics: projected or otherwise.
       d) The sight of something – a picture/walkabout etc.

There are more but this will cover most persuasive arguments. Making a suggestion which shows
recognition of any objections and how you could counter them will fend off much of the hesitation to
proceed and allow you to put a plan into action quicker.
 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                 Presenting Using PowerPoint

14 Presenting Using PowerPoint
PowerPoint is a visual and just one item on the Spice Rack™. If you do need it, then take into account
these rules to make the best use so that it doesn’t become an onslaught of bullet points, dry data and
confusing graphs that muddy your message.

14.1      Do
       1. remember that you are your most important visual aid;
       2. move within your space – to give yourself a more confident presence;
       3. take your time to change slides – pause and allow the audience to take in what is on the
          screen before speaking;
       4. keep the text down to a minimum – it will allow you more opportunity for your own value
          added input. Research has shown that ideas are much more likely to be remembered if
          they are presented as pictures instead of words or pictures paired with words. Think about
          a presentation you’ve attended where you have remembered a slide with 6 bullet points. It
          would probably be less effort to recall a captivating image. Psychologists call this the Picture
          Superiority Effect (PSE), the point of which is thus:

          If information is presented orally, people remember about 10% of the content 72 hours later. That
          figure goes up to 65% if you add a picture;

       5. include colour and visuals to add variety to your slides;
       6. ensure you have tested the equipment before the presentation;
       7. find out if the screen is front or back lit otherwise your head could become the projection
       8. have as many visuals as you need. PowerPoint has the same effect as a film soundtrack.
          When you watch a film you rarely have any awareness of how many tracks were played in
          the film until you see the credits. This is because the music and content are so integral to
          each other, you do not see or hear them as one entity. Likewise, there’s never such thing as
          ‘too many slides’, as long as your message is loud and clear.

14.2      Don’t
       1. say too much/read everything on the screen – consider the impact on your audience;
       2. direct your presentation to the screen with your back to the audience;
       3. rush through the slides – one per minute is the fastest you should go;
       4. stay rooted to the spot – anchored to your PC/OHP – try to step away when you speak to
          define your space – you will appear more in control;

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                                         Presenting Using PowerPoint

       5. use PowerPoint as prompt cards. Use your prompt cards to prompt you and visuals to bang
           home you point to the audience. For those who want the detail, offer it as handouts or print
           out PDF versions of the slides so that your audience can take notes.

14.3       Visual tips
Pie charts are good for showing how resources are split and bar graphs clearly show comparison. Scatter
graphs show trends over a period of time. Whatever diagrams you use, make sure your audience can
read the text.

14.3.1 Diagrams: The wreckless and the refined The wreckless

                          Diagrams Gone Wrong
                               Illegible                                                        Illegible
            Why am I here?                 What does this show
                                                                        Who’s the presenter again?          What does this show

                                                 Too much information
Who’s the presenter again?

                                                                 What am I looking at?                              Too many statistics
                                                                                             Why am I here?

  What am I looking at?                             Too damn small
                                                                  What’s that other chart?                        Too damn small

        What’s that other chart?             Too confusing
                       It looks like a dart board                                                      Too
                                                                                It looks like a dart board confusing

Compare this with the uncluttered graph, as follows.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                 Presenting Using PowerPoint       The Refined

 Download free eBooks at

                                        47   Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                                Presenting Using PowerPoint The power of pictures

Suzanne, the IT Director of a national retail organisation, knew her audience of in Marketing and Business
Development where going to be challenging. She flashed up her slide of huge white rhino:

“So often,” she began, “The IT department are seen like this rhino: thick-skinned, short-sighted and
charging all the time.”

A picture saves a thousand words, or, at least, a slide of bullet points.

14.4      Fonts – Titles

Titles should be 36–44
and be as punchy as a newspaper headline: instead of the sheepish ‘Costs reduced by 43% last quarter’,

‘Costs Slashed’
14.5      Fonts – body
The body font is 28–32. In the example above, you could then have:

boldly standing out on the screen.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                             Presenting Using PowerPoint

14.6       Progress Bar

                                                 Where are we?
                                       • It may help to add a progress bar

                                       • Audience knows where they’ve been

                                       • Where they are now (bold)

                                       • And what’s left ….

                                 Introduction   Colours &   Slide     Progress   Close
                                                Fonts       density   bar

14.7       Colours
        Dark background, light Text.

        Or light background, dark Text.

14.8       Flip Charts
It’s not time to ditch the flip charts yet! When you have a smaller audience, flip charts can be most useful.
They add a ‘real-time’ element instead of some pre-prepared speech. You need to pause as you write –
just as with the old Overhead Projector. As the audience are unaware of what will unfold as your write,
you create a sense of participation.

You can:

       •	 Fully or partially prepare your flip charts to save time.
       •	 Leave a blank page between each sheet so that the wording doesn’t show through. This way
           when you have finished speaking about that visual, you can draw the audience’s attention
           back to you.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                   Managing the Question and Answer Session

15 Managing the Question and
   Answer Session
15.1      Keeping control
       1. State your ground rules in the opening of your presentation e.g. say whether you are going
          to take questions at various points or at the end.
       2. Note that if you allow people to ask questions during the presentation, you could lose your
          direction and end up dealing with issues that were not in your remit.
       3. A statement such as, “We now have 10 minutes for questions,” helps to set expectations.
          People are less likely to dominate with their queries if they know your time is limited.
       4. Allow one question per person, to allow the questions to be equally shared around the
       5. Repeat questions from the audience to the rest of the audience. It’s amazing how many
          presenters don’t do this: they answer a question no-one else has heard and because the
          audience can’t follow the thread, they are confused or switch off.
       6. Repeating the question buys you time to take it in and start thinking about how to respond.

         With us you can
         shape the future.
         Every single day.
         For more information go to:

         Your energy shapes the future.

 Download free eBooks at

                                                   50                       Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                  Managing the Question and Answer Session

       7. If you don’t want surprises, get people to email in questions before the presentation. Then
          it’s easier to respond to difficult questions on the day, “This needs more consideration. I’ll
          get back to you on this if you give me your email afterwards.”
       8. Beware the question which is actually an opinion. If you hear this, you can recognise it
          as such and reply “Thank you for your thoughts on this. You obviously had a bad/good
          experience.” Then move on. One that’s often used by a client of mine, a Financial Director
          is, “That’s interesting.” He then add, “Any questions?” diverting his attention away from the
          speaker, thereby acknowledging without entering a debate.
       9. realise it’s OK to bring on others to deal with the Q & A: someone good at thinking on their
          feet or a specialist in a certain area may be someone who’d be useful to deal with this.
       10. Consider using a facilitator to weed out the best questions and interpret them if they’re

15.2      Saving time and breath!
If a question needs greater consideration or a more detailed response, ask the questioner to email you
their query. If they genuinely want to know the answer, they will email you. If not, they won’t.

Questions can keep on coming, even though you should be going. Try this to end:

“That’s a good question. Unfortunately, we’re running out of time and it deserves a longer answer than I can
give you in 10 seconds. Can you grab me at break? It’ll be easier for me to give you a fuller response then.”

15.3      When there are no questions
Sometimes, however, you ask ‘Are they any questions?’ and you’re greeted by silence. The atmosphere
falls as flat as a pancake. Respond by asking yourself a great question:

“Before we finish, a question I’m often asked is…,” then give your brilliant response and end!

15.4      The 7 golden rules for dealing with difficult questioners
       1. Position yourself in the direction of the questioner. When you’ve dealt with their query
          move away and break eye contact. It’s a subtle but effective way of saying you’re done with
          this question.
       2. Even with idiotic, aggressive or sarcastic questioners, maintain grace and dignity. An
          audience will respect you for not being provoked and you will look more confident.
       3. Repeating or rephrasing the question, gives you time to think up a response.
       4. Your answers need to be simple and succinct. It’s not another presentation.
       5. With complex answers, bring in your key message so the audience can hear the point in the

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                   Managing the Question and Answer Session

         6. Pause, B R E A T H E and look away if you need to, before answering a hostile question.
            This will give you time to collect your thoughts. Then focus on eliciting the facts. Emotion
            might be directed at you, but it’s unlikely to be about you.
         7. Many hostile or aggressive questioners are likely to be seated in any of the following areas:
               •	 At the back – for anonymity
               •	 On the speaker’s left hand side
               •	 In the middle – especially if the questioner is surrounded by ‘supporters’
            If you have the freedom to do this, walking towards members of the audience prevents other
            aggressive questions. You add this to any of the following techniques to stem the flow:
               a) Have a microphone that’s passed around the audience. It takes time to reach people
                  so by the time it reaches the questioner, that member of the audience would have
                  decided whether their question needs to be asked, or edited.
               b) Ask everyone to stand up and announce their names before asking questions. This
                  way, their anonymity is blown.
            Offer to take potential arguments out of the public domain. The audience will side with the
            underdog. That means if you argue and deliver a biting put down that a questioner may ‘deserve’,
            your audience will still side with them not you.

15.5        Strategies for dealing with difficult questions
15.5.1      Rephrase

Rephrasing the question gives you time to work out your response and to take very negative words out
of the atmosphere.

For example, “Why are your products bad?”

To take that phrase out of the ether, you reply with:

“So, you’re disappointed with what you’ve bought.”

After this, you’d probably need to go on to redirecting.

15.5.2      Redirect

When you need to get to the bottom of an experience on which the questioner has drawn assumptions,
answering a question with a question, can be useful. It will also help you when you don’t have a clue
how to answer:

“How do you think this could work?”

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                  Managing the Question and Answer Session

“How do you think it might work?” or “How would you like it to work?”

Make sure your body language and vocal intonation looks confident – maintain eye contact and keep
gesture direct, with no fidgeting.

15.5.3    Refocus

To divert yourself from questions that might seem irrelevant, or tricky, being able to refocus your questions
is a useful skill to acquire. And simple. To do this in a fluent and credible way, build a bridge between
the actual question and the response you give. Typical bridges are:

“The real issue here is…”
“The essential question to ask is…”
“If we look at the big picture…” Refocusing questions that are really statements or accusations

“How could any effective manager renege on a promise to stall redundancy after a merger?” (Translation:
“You betrayed us.” )

 Download free eBooks at

                                                     53                       Click on the ad to read more
Techie Talks                                                  Managing the Question and Answer Session

Example bridge:

“If we look at the bigger picture, we may begin to understand why this is happening to all of us…”

Note: the phrase “all of us” implies that this is nothing personal but is a situation that is more general,
and the result of larger forces. Trick or ‘Set-Up’ Questions
“Does your plan omit consultant responsibility for patient care because you think it is only the ward staff
that is accountable or because you’re afraid of the consultants?”

Problem: as the responder, you are forced into one of two answers, both of which could misrepresent
the truth.

Example bridge:

“The important element to remember here is,”…to refocus on what you want to convey rather than on
the issues that the questioner wants to air Hypothetical Questions

“What if the targets fall below your expectations?”

Questions like this can drag you into a long, theoretical debate. Refocus to move the questioning on and
reinforce the issues relating to your presentation today.

Example bridge:

“There are a number of factors we need to address before we can answer that, the main one today is…” Multiple Part Questions
Often a question can be multi-layered, either because the questioner is trying to find the question or
because they’re trying to ask several questions and once to get their money’s worth! Refocusing is useful
here in that it saves everyone time and helps the questioner to focus. Pick on one question, from the
parts and stick to answering that only.

Example bridge:

“The essential question to ask is…”

“So there are several questions here. Let me start with the first one…”

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                            ollowing up after your presentation

16 Following up after your
The presentation may feel like a main course but often it’s the starter: the prelude to actually doing
business. In conferences, you may have so many speakers that they all blend into each other so make
yourself stand out and keep in the minds of your audience and influencers. Here are several ways that
you can do this:

Send a thank you note to the organisers. An email is good, a handwritten note even better simply because
they’re more unusual and reflect a personal touch.

Call the organisers to get feedback from them personally and ensure that you get feedback from the
attendees. Note that it’s common practice to have the names of attendees in lieu of payment. You can:

      1. use to post slides to them (the transcript of the slides appears underneath).
      2. post a survey. can do this easily and send it out to social networks.
      3. send an opt-in form to register interest in products or services. Research has shown that by
          getting people to indicate interest before you start ‘the sell’, sales can increase by as much as
          50%. (If you want to know more about this phenomenon, read Chapter 14 of ‘Yes! 50 Secrets
          from the Science of Persuasion’ by Goldstein/Martin/Cialdini).
      4. write a blog or, even better, have a member of the audience write and post one for you if you
          don’t have time. Sharing your knowledge with their audience, means that you can then catch
          it in your own blog, in the time it takes to buckle a belt.
      5. offer a follow-up webinar with a small group, individuals who want to go further into the
      6. arrange one to one’s with interested individuals or individuals you’re interested in meeting
          up with (scanning the audience list for opportunities before the presentation will allow you
          to catch your prey!).
      7. catch names of attendees and have them on your mailing list so you can keep them as warm
          leads, instead of waiting for them to go ‘cold’.
      8. set up and invite attendees to a forum – online or offline – to exchange ideas and opinions
          about your content.

One or any combination of the above can help you to benefit from the opportunity of presenting so, no
matter what happens on the day, you can still seize the moment and maintain the momentum.

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                         ollowing up after your presentation

16.1      Continuing your development
       •	 Read aloud into a voice recorder for a couple of minutes a few times a week. This will help
          you to develop vocal colour and control
       •	 Use friends and colleagues to run through ideas and content of any presentations
       •	 Be aware in meetings and during social occasions of how you use gesture and emphasis
       •	 Each time you present, focus on a specific aspect of content or delivery to improve.
       •	 Practise your breathing exercises in your daily life – in the car, at your desk, as you’re
          walking down the street…
       •	 Read aloud to children
       •	 When you’ve given a presentation, write down three positive aspects about your experience
          and one area you want to improve next time.
       •	 Get feedback from others and listen to it: if someone compliments you, believe it. That’s how
          self-confidence and positive energy develop. Honest feedback and coaching will also knock
          out bad habits and give you the techniques specific to your situation.

A few extra resources:

You’ll find resources for increasing your personal impact, management and interpersonal skills (or
to deal with the shortfall in others!) at

…and of course you can contact Switch Vision on +44 20 7183 4300 (international) or 020 7183 4300
(from the UK) to find out more.

Apart from the references in the previous chapters, you might want to have a quick look at these:          where     Seth
Godin explains his hierarchy of situations where presentations are necessary and while we’re on to
Seth, go to: where he talks
about really bad PowerPoint

If you absolutely must, have a read of this to discover the presentation secrets of Steve Jobs, but remember
these refer to particular types of situations:

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                       ollowing up after your presentation

And to conclude

More than just a good speaker…

Practise what you’re learned in this course and you’ll find that you not only get better at Presentation
Skills but also:

       •	 You’ll convey a clearer and more memorable message
       •	 You’ll have more impact as a communicator
       •	 Your overall confidence and presence will increase

 Download free eBooks at

Techie Talks                                                                            About the Author

17 About the Author
Alison Kemp runs Switch Vision, where she and her team give training and
coaching to technical teams and individuals on interpersonal communications.

Switch Vision has brought its interactive, enlightening training and coaching experiences to many
companies including The Co-operative, The Crown Estate, Shell and Kaspersky Anti-Virus. Alison also
works for Cass Business School, part of London City University, for whom she develops courses on
Inter-cultural communication, graduate training and interpersonal skills training for technical experts.

Before setting up Switch Vision, Alison trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in Performance
and Teaching. She then set up two theatre schools for children and adults and went to Turkey where
she trained clients in Presentation Skills for in companies including Siemens and BP. Alison had three
books of plays for children published, performed in cabaret and in films, and led seminars to teachers
and trainers on learning through drama, throughout Turkey.

The fact that Switch Vision’s coaching and training is not only fun but makes the intangible mysteries of
communicating into concrete skills that can be learned and nurtured, is a relief and source of freedom and
confidence to her clients, allowing them to make real impact in their professional – and personal – lives.


To top