The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined

PXP_WatchNowIconBusiness communication exists to move business forward. In a perfect world, that work is efficient and effective. Now, think about the last presentation or meeting you attended. Was it efficient and effective? No? You’re not alone. It’s time for a new approach, one that is practical and flexible enough to work in a variety of situations.

In this webinar with author Greg Owen-Boger, you will be introduced to the concept of The Orderly Conversation, OrderlyConversationDropShadow1-e1378476873997which is a type of communication that combines a carefully organized message with flexible, spontaneous delivery. This means that while you prepare, you need to look ahead to the uncertainties of the conversation, and once the conversation starts, you need to adapt what was planned to what’s happening in the moment. And this is why the traditional approach of one-way speechmaking, which we all learned in school, falls short in the business setting.

This session is not about tips and tricks. Instead, it’s a serious, big-picture look at group communication. It’s about the skills and techniques you use to achieve your goal and manage the process effectively and efficiently.

In this webinar, we examined:

  • Engagement, thinking on your feet, and managing a genuine Orderly Conversation
  • Techniques to frame the conversation to provide context and relevance
  • How to prepare to be spontaneous
  • Skills for encouraging participation in the conversation while controlling the message
  • New language for coaching others

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About Greg:

Greg owen boger headshot with sPACEGreg Owen-Boger is the Vice President of Turpin Communication, a presentation and facilitation training company in Chicago. He started with Turpin as a cameraman in 1995, and quickly moved on to instructor/coach, project manager, account manager, and now VP. Trained in management and the performing arts, he brings a diverse set of skills and experience to the organization. Prior to joining Turpin, he was a Project Leader for a boutique consultancy that uses live theatre to initiate the leadership development process.

Greg is the 2015 President of ATD, Chicagoland Chapter (formerly ASTD). He is a frequent blogger, popular speaker, and the co-author of The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined. He is among many thought leaders who contributed to the book Master Presenter: Lessons from the World’s Top Experts on Becoming a More Influential Speaker.

 

 

Five Presentation Silver Bullets You Can’t Live Without!

PXP_WatchNowIconIn this very engaging webinar with graphics guru, Mike Parkinson, you’ll learn the 5 silver bullets that guarantee a successful presentation. Each is proven to improve understanding, adoption, persuasion and/or performance. Use one or all of the silver bullets to make your next presentation a winner.

After this educational, interactive session you will:
• Build better presentations—fastersilver bullets2
• Increase understanding and recollection of even the most complex content
• Make compelling presentations
• Craft presentations that get results

Have you seen an amazing presentation? If so, one or all of the 5 silver bullets were used. The best-of-the-best presenters and presentation designers use them to make their content stand out and be remembered. Apply what you learn to PowerPoint, Prezi, Keynote, SlideRocket, Google Presentation, Emaze, Articulate Presenter, and any other presentation software you choose. The 5 silver bullets work in any presentation situation. Watch this recording now and it will change how you make presentations.

Mike Parkinson captionAbout Our Speaker:
Mike Parkinson of Billion Dollar Graphics brings a wealth of experience and talent to today’s webinar. He really understands the power of graphics. You will see him transform simple PowerPoint graphics into powerful visuals that make a statement. Mike has authored several books on presentation graphics and created several resources that any of us can used to enhance any PowerPoint presentation.

Here are the handouts for this webinar:

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Copy of Mike’s Slides 

Slide046 “Free” Graphics Cheat Sheet

 

 

 

 

 

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The 5-Point Formula for Powerful Presentations with Author, Simon Morton

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The presentations that are the most critical to the success of your organization today are not the ones delivered on stage in front of hundreds of rapt listeners.  They are the ones you and your colleagues deliver every day, looking to connect with an audience – of a few, or many – and drive action.  This webinar will challenge everything you thought you knew about creating and delivering engaging business presentations.

Based on Simon Morton’s critically-acclaimed book, The Presentation Lab: Learn the Formula behind Powerful Presentations”, this webinar is a great resource for the everyday presenter looking to drive results.  book framedHis consultancy, Eyeful Presentations has perfected their methodology and created a formula for the success of their clients. Watch this webinar and Simon will teach you how to successfully:

        • Assess the needs of your audience
        • Structure an effective story
        • Be prepared for informal, interactive presentations
        • Use visuals with real meaning
        • Master nuances for blended presenting – live or on demand, in person or online, or a combination

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About Simon Morton, Eyeful PresentationsSimon_morton with frame

Simon Morton’s early career as an executive for an international technology company exposed him to more PowerPoint presentations than was good for him.  With his firm, Eyeful Presentations, based in the UK and with 6 international offices, Simon has been ridding the world of ‘Death by PowerPoint’ for over 10 years.  In his new book, The Presentation Lab: Learn The Formula Behind Powerful Presentations, Simon shares the methodology and approach that has driven Eyeful’s success and that of its world-class clients.

Improving Your Online Presentation Skills with Ken Molay!

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Ken Molay, president of Webinar Success, presents tips to help you become a more effective online speaker. Presenting on a webcast or webinar is fundamentally different from speaking in front of an in-room audience. Since you and your audience cannot seeach other, your vocal style and the way you interact with the web conferencing software determines how you are perceived.

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You will learn how to prepare a presentation that complements the web environment and how to deliver it with confidence and professionalism. Discover ways to consciously adjust your vocal style in order to build rapport with your audience. Identify common presentation errors that can detract from your message.

As an added benefit, attend this event and receive a free speaker evaluation form that can be used to help identify strengths and weaknesses in your own presentation style.

 

About Ken Molay:

Ken MolayKen has a background in software development and marketing, working for companies such as Advanced Micro Devices, Syntelligence, Blaze Software, Brokat, HNC Software, and Fair Isaac. He has acted as development manager, product manager, and product marketing manager.

Ken has been producing and delivering business webinars since 1999. His background in public speaking, radio, stage acting, and training has given him a unique perspective on what it takes to create a compelling and effective presentation.

Ken enjoys world travel and spent a year on his own in Europe. He also spent five years as an international tour guide, leading groups throughout North America, England, and the South Pacific. Currently Ken offers consulting services through his company Webinar Success (http:/www.wsuccess.com).

 

The Power of ‘You’ and ‘Yours’

It pays to remember that two of the most pleasing words in the English language are “you” and “yours.” Research shows that use of these two words during presentations will perk the audience’s ears and make them feel like recipients of personal appeals.

The words tend to be missing during sales demonstrations, since many presenters  try to appeal to as broad an audience as possible by using impersonal, cookie-cutter language. But when the speaker or facilitator says you, yours or even the customer’s name, they involve the audience as if its participating in the demo.

Instead of saying, “here are the benefits of the product,” try, “here is how you benefit.” Rather than saying, “here’s how it can boost a bottom line,” get in the habit of using, “here’s how it will boost your company’s bottom line.

It’s a subtle but important change that can have a significant cumulative effect.

Speak, The Movie

If you’re ever had a bad case of nerves before speaking — and count yourself in the minority if you haven’t — you’ll want to check out the movie Speak, released last fall. The documentary follows the trials and triumphs of six people who compete in the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking, chronicling how they cope with and ultimately overcome the age-old fear of public speaking.

The filmmakers spent more than two years visiting Toastmasters clubs to interview members about their public speaking anxiety, and the movie culminates with a behind-the-scenes look at a Toastmasters speaking competition in Calgary, Alberta.

The six finalists the directors chose to feature all have inspiring life stories, which makes for intriguing and at times riveting viewing. The film also followers the finalists after they return home from the competition. In an interview with The Toastmaster magazine, the filmmakers say one of the film’s core messages is that every person has a story to tell.

“The contestants focused all of their efforts to be the best, not just the best speakers, but the best human being they can be,” Brian Wiedling, one of the filmmakers, told the magazine. “They looked on life’s hard moments, learned from their mistakes and dug deep inside themselves to live their dreams.”

For more on the movie or to host a screening, visit http://speakthemovie.com/. The site also allows you to post a YouTube video of one of your  presentations to the Speak Facebook page, where you can get feedback from peers and Toastmasters around the world.

Secrets to Practicing Your Presentation When You Have No Time

By Michelle Mazur

By far, the most popular post on my site is 8 Steps for Practicing a Presentation. To me that means you are looking for help on how to practice a presentation so you can execute a successful speech. We know we have to practice, but practice seems like an abstract, daunting task. The biggest objection I hear from clients about practicing a presentation is…I don’t have time to practice. I understand the problem. I don’t have time to practice my presentations either…and frankly I am the type of presenter who does not enjoy practicing at all. My little hater comes out in full force! Let’s go through step-by-step and discuss some strategies that will save you time.Step One: Divvy Up Your Presentation into Bite-Size Chunks.

If you are doing a 30-, 60- or even 90-minute speech, you do NOT have to practice your presentation all at once. Repeat you do NOT have to rehearse your entire presentation in one sitting. Break-up your presentation in small bite-size chunks. Divide it up by introduction, each main point, and your conclusion. If it is a longer presentation, break the body of the speech down into its sub-points.Think of this as portion control for practicing your speech. It makes practice less daunting.

Step Two: Find small chunks of time.

Now that you know that you don’t have to practice the presentation all at once, start finding pockets of time for small presentation practice sessions. This means driving in your car is a great time to practice. 10 minutes between calls – practice. Taking a shower – forget singing – try practicing.

There’s all kinds of time to rehearse when you don’t have to find a huge chunk of time!

Step Three: Don’t always start from the beginning.

You need to know your introduction well!  However, don’t always start your rehearsals at the beginning. Every time you are practicing think about what you need to go over the most. In which part of the presentation is the information most difficult for you?  Which part of the speech have you not practiced yet? Start there!

Step Four: Practice does not always have to be out loud.

Practicing your speech out loud is a must. However, you don’t always have to practice out loud. Visualization is a form of practicing. Going through the speech in your head is a way to rehearse. Even if you just want to write the speech out – guess what you are practicing.

Step Five: Do one complete run through with tech.

You have to find the time to do at least ONE complete run through with your tech (microphone, PowerPoint, media, whatever). This insures that you are staying within the time limits, your transitions are good and that all your technology is in working order.

About the Author:

Dr. Michelle Mazur is a public speaking coach, communication expert and author of the Relationally Speaking blog.

4 Presentation Strategies for a C-Level Audience

By Rick Gilbert

When I joined Hewlett-Packard as a quality assurance training manager 20 years ago, I had zero business experience. I had been a college instructor, a consultant, and a psychologist, but I had never read an annual report or laid eyes on a spreadsheet. I didn’t know the difference between ROI and an IOU.

After six months on the job, I secured a brief meeting with the general manager and his team. I urgently needed their support for a quality training program I was launching. I strode confidently into the meeting clueless about who was going to be there and their job titles or hidden agendas. I may as well have been blindfolded; I was in the dark.

I helped myself to a pastry, and took a seat at the table—my first two mistakes. I had prepared 50 overhead slides (before the days of PowerPoint) for my 20-minute presentation, which amounted to 49 more slides than anyone wanted to see. I opened the presentation with a long story to warm up the audience. (Note to self: Senior executives do not need or want “warming up.”)

The general manager ended the meeting after just seven minutes, and I failed to get support for that critical training program. While riding the elevator down to my office after the meeting, I was haunted by a nagging question: “What just happened?” It was 20 years before I would answer that question.

Different presentation rules

If you are in middle management, ambiguity and chaos are daily realities. Additionally, you must gain approval from the people at the top to get things done. Resources are limited. To make matters worse, colleagues in finance, IT, and marketing are after the same resources. You know what works in team meetings at your peer level: stories, PowerPoint slides, one-way communication with minimal Q&A, and no interruptions.

You realize that the rules for presenting to top-level leaders are different, but what are they? If you solved this mystery, you’d be more likely to receive the project funding and support that you need.

To uncover these rules, I’ve interviewed 50 executives during the past 10 years. These leaders shared how to effectively present to the C-suite: know the people and big picture, make the bottom line your first line, deliver with confidence, and facilitate through improvisation. I only regret that I didn’t know these strategies years ago.

Know the people and big picture

Find answers to the following questions before the presentation: Who will be in the meeting? What are their titles? What are their agendas, and how do they feel about each other? Who will support you and who will oppose you? Typically, you will have a sponsor—for example, the director of human resources. That person can tell you what to expect, and can get the meeting back on track if it derails.

C-level leaders are a unique audience. They are bright, competitive, and analytical. They never have enough time in any given day, must meet their numbers, and have little job security.

An executive stays in his position for an average of 23 months. One study shows that if a company’s stock price increases after its CEO has filled the role for one year, 75 percent of new CEOs keep their jobs. If the stock price goes down, 83 percent do not keep their jobs. The C-suite is often a revolving door.

Additionally, it’s important to understand the expenses accrued from a top-level meeting. Assembling five C-level leaders from a $5 billion company costs shareholders $30,000 per hour. CEOs report that 67 percent of the meetings they attend with subordinates are total failures—resulting in a huge productivity loss for the company.

Make the bottom line your first line

“You have 30 seconds to get my attention and tell me what you are here for. If you don’t, I’m on my smartphone, and you’ve lost me,” says Steve Blank, founder and former CEO of Epiphany.

The first rule of content development for a C-suite presentation is to position the bottom line as your first line. Immediately tell the audience why you are there and what you want. If you want money, include ROI calculations so the executives will know what they’ll get for their investment in your training project.

Skip the storytelling that works so well at your peer-level team meetings. Executives simply don’t have time for it. Get right to the point, and do so with data.

Be careful with PowerPoint. Using PowerPoint in an executive meeting is a sure way to run your career into the ditch and lose support for your program. The C-suite wants a discussion, not a slide-driven lecture. In fact, Ned Barnholt, chairman of KLA-Tencor, says he doesn’t have confidence in a speaker who can’t talk without slides.

To increase your credibility with a C-level audience, decrease the number of presentation slides. When you are finished with the slides, ensure that the screen is blank—this will refocus the attention back on you.

Deliver with confidence

Strategy and content trump delivery style every time at senior meetings. Your delivery pales in comparison with the importance of your content.

However, executives have no time for poor presenters. They are looking for a confident, energetic, committed presenter, but not a slick, motivational, inflated presentation. Polish your basic delivery skills: practice eye contact, vocal projection, and gestures.

Stand tall and be expansive. Not only will such body posture show executives you’re a horse worth betting on, but it also affects your biology. A recent Harvard University study shows that physically filling space has positive effects on one’s hormones: The stress hormone cortisol decreases 25 percent while testosterone increases 17 percent.

Facilitate through improvisation

According to one CEO, “Eighty percent of your success at the top is your facilitation skills. Only 20 percent is your content.”

Facilitation includes listening and improvising. Listening means not only paraphrasing what people are saying to confirm your understanding, but also “reading the room.” As you present, watch the reactions of your executive audience. Be willing to address what you observe happening, and if necessary, take action to correct it. In a word, improvise.

Below are the most common facilitation challenges and the solutions.

  • Time cut. Be prepared with a shorter, five-minute version of your presentation.
  • Disengaged executives. When people start checking their email, reconfirm that the topic is still important.
  • Decision maker leaves. Before this person gets out the door, ask her what to do next, such as wait until she returns or move forward with the decision.
  • Topic change. Be prepared to improvise the agenda and change directions.
  • Side talk. Refocus the audience on the agenda. Request help from your sponsor or the most senior person.
  • Energetic discussion. When executives are fully engaged and throwing out new ideas, capture what is said and then reconfirm after the meeting.

Lessons learned

Years ago, when I sat at the table during my first executive presentation, I implied a peer relationship with the leaders. And when I ate one of the group’s snacks, I was driving nails into my own coffin. I was a “dead man walking” before showing my first slide—and I didn’t even know it.

Learn from my mistakes. Remember that you are a guest at the C-level meeting, not a member of this high-powered club. Know who is there, and their relationships with one another. Have a sponsor to help you out of any possible meeting train wrecks. Keep your questions focused and immediate and the PowerPoint slides to a bare minimum. Finally, constantly listen and improvise.

Had I known any of this at my first meeting with the general manager, I may have received support for that critical training program. With these tools, now you can improve your chances of success.

About the Author:

Rick Gilbert is the founder and chairman of PowerSpeaking Inc., a speech communications company  that has worked with Silicon Valley companies since 1985.  He also is creator of the award-winning program Speaking Up: Presenting to Executives,  and author of Speaking Up: Surviving Executive Presentations. Reprinted from ASTD.org

 

 

3 Ways to Improve Your Leadership Communication Skills

By Nick Morgan

Leadership communication always needs to be a two-way activity. Leaders, to be blunt, need followers, and a smart leader wants to know what those followers are thinking and doing. Moreover, leaders are in the business of persuasion, and you need to be listening to the people being persuaded or you won’t know how you’re doing.

There’s an even deeper reason that you need to be in the listening business as a leader. I believe that it’s the responsibility of a leader to return the courtesy of your followers by making an equivalent effort to listen as hard to them as they do to you. It’s courteous and it’s right — and it’s necessary in the long run if you’re going to fulfill the leader’s full set of obligations.

Good listening, then, is a profound activity. People need to be heard to be validated as human. We’re a social species.

Increasingly, though, listening is a forgotten skill.  No wonder — we’re constantly awash in information. Why should we voluntarily listen any more? There’s simply too much to take in. And yet, listening to the people close to you — your team, your company, your sphere of influence — is more important than ever. Here’s how to do it well.

Feedback

At its most basic, listening offers feedback. Feedback, which is often critical, is simply a response, usually involving evaluation of some kind.  Many leaders, in fact, consider (critical) feedback the beginning and end of their job communicating to their followers. I worked with one CEO who believed that it was enough to tell his executive team when they had screwed up. “They have a job to do; they’re paid a salary. Why should I praise them?”

I finally persuaded him to broaden his communications palate for the purely transactional reason that it would get him better results. He was dragged kicking and screaming into a more enlightened version of communication, but he wasn’t thrilled about it. It seemed like work to him.

Nonetheless feedback both good and critical is an essential part of listening. Here’s how to do it without destroying the ego of the receiver and ultimately the relationship.

Begin by describing the actions of the person to whom you’re giving feedback: “You completed the task on Tuesday.” If your purpose is critical, relate the action to the standard: “It was due on Monday.” Then describe the consequences of the behavior, and the reasons for them: “Being a day late leads to bottlenecks at the plant and will cost us forty-five thousand dollars each time. We can’t afford that kind of cost and stay in business.”

Then make your request: “I need you to complete the task on time in the future.” Finally, check for comprehension and agreement:  “Do you understand? Can you commit to getting the task completed by Monday from now on?”

The key is to avoid all the tempting analyses and speculations on the motivation of the receiver. “You always turn your project in late! Are you deliberately trying to sabotage us? Do you want to screw us? Are you trying to bring the organization down? Are you drinking again?”

These sorts of communications, satisfying as they may be, crowd the channel with emotional baggage that ultimately gets in the way of persuasion. It’s difficult, but don’t tell the person that he or she is bad. Instead, stick to the facts and the consequences.

So it‘s possible to give feedback well, both the good and bad variety. But if you want your audience to feel that it has been heard, feedback isn’t really enough. Too often, it feels punitive, despite your best efforts, and it certainly feels like it’s judgmental.

To up the ante on good listening, here are a couple of other ways to listen that will let your audience know that it has truly been heard.

Paraphrasing

To go a little further as a good listener, try paraphrasing what your audience is saying. This activity is surprisingly difficult for the poor listeners of the world. For the rest of us, it’s easy enough if we can swallow the temptation to give our own opinions. Paraphrasing means simply saying something like, “So let me be sure I’ve understood. What you’re saying is that the green ones are tastier than the brown ones?”

The point is to play back, like a recorder, what the person has said to you. That’s all. Resist the temptation to embroider (“But that’s ridiculous! That can’t be true!”); that will undo all the good work of the paraphrase.

Paraphrasing is a powerful technique because it gets your receiver agreeing with you. He or she nods and says, “Yes, that’s correct. That’s what I said.” From that simple agreement, you can build a persuasive relationship because you’ve begun to create trust and liking. It’s impossible to hate or distrust completely someone whom you’ve just agreed with, especially in the act of replaying your wise words back to you.

Active Listening

Finally, let’s take the listening game higher. The most powerful form of listening — the one that people most strongly react to, feeling that they are both heard and understood — is a form of empathic listening where you identify the emotion and state its underlying causes without trying to solve the problem: “So, Bill, what I hear you saying is that you’re angry with me because I haven’t fully appreciated the lengths you’ve gone to in trying to win over our Latin American customers. Those efforts have caused you a lot of sleepless nights, time away from the family, and marital problems. Is that right?”

Don’t try to solve the problem at this stage. Just acknowledge it fully, and you will be surprised at how powerful that acknowledgment is for the other person. The key elements are the correct identification of the emotion; the reasons for it, including your own personal responsibility, if any; and a full statement of the facts of the situation if those haven’t been brought up openly before.

This form of active listening — active because you’re acknowledging your own role in the situation — is the hardest to undertake. In a contentious situation, it can feel as if you’re giving in to openly express how the other is feeling. But you’re not; you’re just stating the other’s position as fully and honestly as you can. Agreement, compromise, or resolution will come later. For now, active listening is a powerful first step toward solving any serious problem in a communication.

What you will find is that if you’ve done it well, people will agree profoundly and powerfully with you. Of course, to accomplish this form of listening effectively, you must be good at reading the emotions of others, and those come chiefly from the nonverbal conversation. What you’re doing is translating the nonverbal into the verbal, and that is an important skill for any leader to employ with wishes to have a full set of tools for persuasive communications.

About the Author:

Dr. Nick Morgan is one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches. In his blog he covers modern communications from a variety of angles, including the latest developments in communication research, the basic principles and rules of good communication, and the good and bad speakers of the day. His passion is to connect the latest brain research with timeless insights into persuasive speaking in order to further our understanding of how people connect with one another. For more information on his company, visit www.publicwords.com

Are You a Communicator or a Public Speaker?

By Nancy Duarte

It’s rare for me to read a book on presentations and learn something but I did in the book, Habitudes for Communicators: The Art of Engaging Communication from Tim Elmore. Elmore uses sticky metaphors that help you remember his concepts. His chapter heads are metaphorical like “Windows and Mirrors”, “the Faded Flag” and “The Thomas Nast Principle.”

He has great insights throughout the book. For example, in “Windows and Mirrors” he proposes that there’s a gap between communicators and public speakers:

A Public Speaker:                                                                                                                

1) Puts the Message Before the People

2) Asks: What Do I Have?

3) Emphasizes Techniques

4) Focus is on Content of the Words

5) Polished (Image Conscious)

6) Goal: Complete the Message

Communicator:

1) Puts the People Before the Message

2) Asks: What Do They Need?

3) Emphasizes Atmosphere

4) Focus is Change in the Listeners

5) Personal (Impact Conscious)

6) Goal: Complete the People

At the end of each chapter is a quiz, but Elmore’s also put those questions into an online assessment to rank yourself to see how you’re doing as a communicator. He asks questions like “I tend to focus on being simple more than comprehensive.” It shoots out a score when you’re done. This book is full of fresh insights that I haven’t seen in any other presentation book, so it’s worth picking up.

About the Author:

Nancy Duarte is the CEO of presentations firm Duarte Design, whose clients include many innovative Fortune 1000 companies in diverse industries. Duarte worked with Al Gore to develop the presentation that became the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, and supports many conferences, including TED and PopTech. For more information about her company, visit www.duarte.com

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