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					Presentations, Public Speaking, and Talking Frogs
Whenever I am speaking to a group about making presentations, I like to
tell a favorite joke. The one that I use most often goes like this.
Two women were walking down a country road one day when they happened to
come across a frog. The frog looked up at them and spoke. "Kiss me and I
will turn into a rich and handsome prince." The first woman bent over,
picked up the frog, and put it carefully into her purse, and continued
down the road to home, where she put it into a box.
Each day for the next week, the woman would take the frog out of box,
place it on the table and wait until it spoke. "Kiss me and I will turn
into a rich and handsome prince." She would then place it back into the
box until the next day.
At the end of the week, her friend could not wait any longer. She asked,
"Why don't you kiss the frog, and you will be rich and happy."
The first woman replied, "You must be kidding. A talking frog is worth
more than a rich and handsome prince any day!"
Being able to speak well, to perform in front of people, and influence
others, are keys to success in life. You are going to enjoy reading this
article about being a better presenter. You are really going to want to
use the things you learn. And I am going to help you each step of the
way. I want you to repeat the following phrase three times, aloud. Don't
be shy. Find a private place if you have to. Now, repeat three times,
"I am a talented presenter. I am influential and compelling."
Say it with feeling and really mean it. This is the beginning of your
The first and last thirty seconds of your presentation have the most
impact, so give them extra thought, time, and effort. This is the time
you must find a way to generate excitement, create anticipation, and
discover your audiences' motivation. If you haven't hooked your
audience's interest, their minds are going to wander off. Whatever you
do, don't waste any of your precious seconds with "Ladies and Gentlemen,
it is a pleasure to be here tonight." Instead, open with an intriguing or
startling statement: "Half the people in this room are going to have an
accident in the next year."; "As a young man, my father gave me this
valuable advice..."; "Of all the questions I am most frequently asked,
this is the one I hear most often..."
Going to, happening, happened.
As with writing, speaking requires that you fulfill three parts to be
complete. You must tell people what is going to happen, tell them again
what is happening as it happens, and remind them of what happened at the
end. Begin by telling them what is going to happen. Everyone is anxious
to know what the next few hours or minutes will be like, so tell them.
For example, if you are giving a workshop on presentation skills try
 "You're going to love this article about being a good presenter. You
are definitely going to want to use the ideas you hear. I am going to
explain it all, one step at a time."
Body language is important in making presentations. Stand , walk or move
about with appropriate hand gestures or facial expressions. When you are
presenting in front of an audience, you are performing as much as actor
is on stage. Present the desired image to your audience. Look pleasant,
enthusiastic, confident, proud, but not arrogant. Act as if you are
relaxed, even if you feel nervous. Plant yourself before you make a major
point. When you are flitting around and moving side to side people are
easily distracted. Before you make a an important statement that yo u want
them to hear, stop, plant yourself, look at them, then speak. When you
plant yourself, set your feet in place, take a strong and confident
posture, wait a few seconds before continuing, then speak.
Sound off, or not at all.
Speak with conviction as if you really believe in what you are saying.
Your audience knows very little about your topic so persuade your
audience effectively. Most of us speak too fast, flick through our slides
too quickly and don't pause long enough for our audience to absorb what
we're saying. Speak slowly, loudly and clearly, confidently. Do not
mumble. If you make an error, simply correct it and continue. No lengthy
excuses or apologies.
Speak to one person. When we speak to one person we use natural
communication techniques - eye connection, pausing to allow
comprehension, feeding off the listeners reactions. These natural "ways
of being" are often lost when we speak to a group. But if you focus on
one person at a time and speak to them as if they are the only person in
the room, you'll come across as natural and confident. Don't be afraid of
no sound. Silence, the lack of sound, is extremely important, and is
usually not used well. Use it intentionally. Plan for moments when you
leave your audience waiting. To you it may seem forever, but 5-10 seconds
of silence can be like a punctuation mark. It emphasizes a point, and it
get's your listener's attention.
Take time to review what you have said. Most people need to hear things
more than once and returning to recent points you made helps to make new
material relevant and more easily remembered. Get feedback when you
review, even if you have to ask people directly. You need to assess how
your audience is receiving your presentation. If people seem reluctant to
speak up let them know it is ok.
Use Repetition. Use the rule of threes to emphasize a point and influence
your audience's imagination.
"People who improve their presentation skills have bigger and bigger and
bigger opportunities than those who don't."
"Continuing to improve your presentation skills now is going to bring you
more and more and more success."
Don't be shy about telling stories or relating your own learning
experience. Storytelling is one of the most significant ways people learn
new ideas and concepts. Hearing stories or your experiences might start
your audience thinking. Add humor whenever appropriate and possible.
Whatever you use, be sure you practice it until it is smooth.
Once again I want you to repeat the following phrase three times, aloud.
"I am a talented presenter. I am influential and compelling."
Say it with feeling and really mean it.
Going to, happening, happened
You are really seeing that making good presentations is not as difficult
as it seemed. This is a great article and you want to share this
experience with others. Of course I am telling you what is happening and
so should you when you present or speak. If your goal is for people to
want to buy your idea, product, or service then tell them it is
happening. Don't be shy.
Call to Action
I said the first 30 seconds have the most impact. They do have the most
impact - in the first 30 seconds. When you are finishing, the last 30
seconds have the most impact. It is your time to create a lasting image,
re-motivate the audience, and reveal the next step you want them to take.
Summarize, set the final image, and provide closure. Avoid going out with
a whimper, using stale, cliched phrases. Consider these approaches.
"As you reflect on the ideas I have offered, you notice that making
presentations is exciting, you see that it is possible for you, the
benefits are many, and now you want to take advantage of what you have
learned and find an opportunity to make a presentation."
"The more you try to justify not speaking to groups, the more you realize
you're selling yourself short."
"I guess we've covered just about everything. The only question that
remains is how soon you want to step on stage and share your ideas with
Going to, happening, happened
You really enjoyed reading this article. You can feel the excitement
about entering a new phase of our life. I will be here to help you each
step of the way.
There is one final but important point. Know when to STOP talking. End
your presentation with an interesting remark or an appropriate punch
line. Leave your listeners with a positive impression and a sense of
completion. Closing remarks should be brief and concise. Thank your
audience and sit down.
One final time - I am a talented presenter. I am influential and
Todd Wilmore has gained a reputation for helping people discover keys to
being more effective and efficient. Over the years he has developed a
reputation for incisiveness in identifying needs and solutions. He brings
a wealth of effective ideas and techniques to situations, and helps
people learn to apply them. He has a unique talent for leading people to
develop their promise and potential. In addition to consulting with
public agencies, private industry, and non-profits, he is a dynamic
speaker. He has a unique ability to connect with and challenge his
audience. His retreats and presentations always generate positive