Lights, Camera, Action! Are you digital ready? Like it or not, more business presentations are going to be delivered digitally. Digital presentations save time, money, and have a wider reach. And video is king.
Giving a knockout presentation is a team sport. It takes a good moderator to help the speaker shine on stage.
Public speaking is about the audience.
Can you hear me now? How often have you said that to somebody while talking on your phone? Suddenly there is silence and the call drops. You wonder what happened.
Three people called me this week because their public speaking fear is holding them back. It's affecting their brand, their reputation, and their career advancement. It's causing them to remain quiet in meetings and to decline speaking opportunities. It’s time to knock out the fear of public speaking! Public speaking is no different from any other fear and you can kick the habit long before you kick the bucket.
Diane DiResta, CSP, author of Knockout Presentations, and Founder and CEO of DiResta Communications, a New York City consultancy, discussed techniques for public speaking with Kevin Crane, host of the Everyday MBA podcast.
In Episode 82, DiResta discussed her book Knockout Presentations and techniques to turn public speaking into a strength, overcome anxiety, and design a presentation for maximum impact.
Knockout Presentations Blog, written by Diane DiResta, CSP, author of Knockout Presentations, and Founder and CEO of DiResta Communications, a New York City consultancy, was named one of the top 50 public speaking blogs by Feedspot.
Diane DiResta, CSP, appeared on Best Seller TV/C-Suite TV, interviewed by Taryn Winter Brill. Ms. DiResta lives by the “gifted speakers are born, but effective speakers are made” adage, and shares her expertise on becoming an effective speaker during the interview.
Diane DiResta, CSP, was interviewed by Yitzchok Saftlas, host of Mind Your Business on 77WABC radio, during the C-Suite conference at the NY Times building, in New York City. DiResta stated that, “Speaking is a leadership skill and is the new competitive advantage. You can no longer be without this skill.”
Speaking is the new competitive advantage. At least that's what I told my audiences until last week. I was excited to attend a wellness conference during the weekend in New York City. The keynote speaker was a celebrity I admired. But what was more exciting were the topics. Most of the speakers were doctors, dentists, and health professionals. The presenters spoke for 20 minutes as in a TED talk format and the presentations continued non-stop throughout the day.
Some of the research was cutting edge and I was eager to learn from the presenters. My enthusiasm quickly turned to boredom after sitting through the first few presentations. Clearly, the presenters were subject matter experts with impressive credentials. But they quickly sacrificed their credibility when they stepped up to the platform. What a lost opportunity! Here are three mistakes that were consistent among the speakers.
1. Using the Microphone Ineffectively
Almost every speaker held the microphone at chest level or too far away from their mouth. When the audience can't hear, they tune out. It also makes the subject matter expert look like an amateur. A microphone should be held no further than four inches below the mouth. My recommendation to the event planner was to provide an attached microphone or require a rehearsal with the hand held mic.
2. Being Speaker-Centered
This is all too common in business. I've experienced it in every kind of speaking situation including sales presentations. There was one woman in particular who spent most of the time telling her story. Not only was it too long; it was all about me, myself, and I. Here's the 411 on the audience. They don't care about you! They're interested in what you and your information can do for them. Yes, tell your story. We want to know you on a personal level. But keep it brief and move on to provide value.
It's not difficult to be listener-centered. I've demonstrated in one minute or less how to take any subject and create a listener-centered opening that speaks to the listener's self interest. It's not about you. It's about them! Chapter 7 in Knockout Presentations reveals the process of Listener-Centered Communication. It's powerful.
3. Bad Timing
Both the presenter and the coordinator are culpable when time commitments are not kept. The reason speakers run out of time is a) they have too much material b) they didn't rehearse out loud. One speaker was telling an interesting story and realized she had two minutes left. She stopped in the middle of the story and quickly flipped through to the end of the PowerPoint slides. The presentation lost impact. And this was a subject I really wanted to hear. At this point, my friend leaned over and whispered, "Diane, this is a real opportunity for you." (Not a good sign).
Were there other mistakes? Yes. But these were the most common errors. Were there any good presenters? Yes. I can think of two, maybe three. The celebrity keynote was excellent. It was obvious that she had a lot of public speaking experience. What is the lesson here? Poor presentation skills do not motivate an audience to action. I didn't approach any of the speakers after hearing them present on stage.
There was a silver lining, though. I won the grand prize - a Vitamix blender! So all was not lost - except the opportunity for the presenters to build their brand and increase their business.
Do you want to be an exceptional speaker? My friends Alan Stevens and Paul Du Toit, from the U.K. have just published a book that shows you how. I saw them at the National Speakers Association convention in July in Philadelphia, and Alan recently interviewed me for his podcast program. You might be wondering why I'm promoting their book if we're competitors. Well, it seems we all have the same mission. We want to stamp out fear of public speaking and help people to reach the heights of presentation success. There are so many people who need help with their presentations, thus the need for more books about public speaking. Here are some tips from The Exceptional Speaker:
- If you’d like to conquer the fear of speaking to an audience you need to understand the source of this fear, specifically where it relates to you.
- Nervousness is natural, but it can also be dealt with.
- A good technique is to find a friendly face in your audience and imagine you’re speaking just to that person.
- It is just as easy to speak to a large audience as it is to a small one. There is no difference. An audience is an audience.
- People who occupy high positions are just as human as the rest of us and therefore do not need to be feared more than anyone else.
- Channel your excess energy towards the centre of your body – specifically your diaphragm. This will help you with voice control, keep you calmer and remove the fidgeting from your fingers and toes.
- Speaking from notes will help you to keep track of your order. Use cue cards rather than an A4 notepad.
These tips, and hundreds of others are from a new book called "The Exceptional Speaker" by Alan Stevens and Paul du Toit. It is the definitive book on speaking, and is now available from Amazon in Kindle and hardback format, as well as from exceptionalspeaker.com as a PDF.
I co-hosted my first event with 85 Broads, and it was a smashing success. The topic, Get Your Executive Presence On, received rave reviews. The event was sponsored by CHANEL and Saks Fifth Avenue, and held at CHANEL's education center on East 57th St in New York City.
The evening began with networking and fall makeovers. Each woman received a makeup application and instruction. When everybody looked beautiful, we gathered to hear my presentation about 8 keys to Executive Presence for women. The audience learned ways that women can be heard, look like leaders, and own the room.
CHANEL provided a special ambiance, with lighting, wine and delicious hors d'oeuvres. They provided a skincare station and a fragrance and chocolate pairing station. The networking continued as CHANEL was cleaning up - people didn't want to leave.
Here's what some attendees had to say:
I didn't think I would learn anything new, but I did. Diane is incredible. The things she shared with people are life-changing." -Judy
This, for me, is one of the best events I've attended." -Sophie
Diane gave examples and insights that had the whole audience captivated." -Alison
I've been to so many seminars and trainings on leadership and thought I'd heard everything about how to be an effective public speaker. But Diane's presentation gave me tips I never heard before." - Carrie
For immediate release
DiResta will Speak about Executive Presence and Presentation
Fall networking event - for subscribing Power Circle and Investor level members of:
New York, NY (September 23, 2013) – At this 85 Broads fall networking event (link for members), Power Circle member Diane DiResta, Founder of DiResta Communications and author of Knockout Presentations, will present her work on executive presence, and top make-up artists at the Chanel Salon will show you the new color trends for Fall.
DiResta works with emerging leaders and executives to develop executive presence and gravitas. DiResta says, “At a certain level, it’s not what you know, it’s your leadership and ability to influence. Executive presence is difficult to define; it involves good presentation skills, speaking with conviction, decisiveness, self-confidence and a polished image.”
June is "DIY" (Do It Yourself) Marketing Month. I've said it before and I'll say it again - today more than ever, your success depends on your ability to communicate your value to the market. There are many ways you can do this, and one of them is through online video marketing. A smart, crisp brand will help your products and services stand out from the crowd. Promoting your brand doesn't have to be expensive. Here is a free tool you can use to create a 30 second ad: animoto.com. Don't forget to create your own YouTube channel. YouTube is a high visibility, cost-effective marketing approach.
Here's the video I created for my book, Knockout Presentations:
How many times do I have to say it? No caffeine before a presentation! Illinois Congressman, Joe Walsh, proved my point when he had a meltdown during a recent meeting with his constituents. He yelled at the crowd and told one woman he didn't care if her government job was cut. He later acknowledged that he was a "bit too passionate" with his constituents.
I say on page 78 of my book Knockout Presentations that coffee will make you more jittery. Don't drink coffee before a presentation. Politicians spend so much money on media training and yet in this case, Joe would have been better served by a nutritionist.
It's surprising how few speakers know how foods and chemicals can affect their performance. We've all seen the impact of drinking alcohol before a presentation. Stay away from sugary, heavy foods and if you must have coffee, switch to decaf. In Joe's case, make that herbal tea. Maybe I should send a free copy of Knockout Presentations to the 2012 candidates.
On Christmas day, my husband prepared a delicious fish dinner. He started with bass made with ginger and scallions,and prepared scallops which were sliced in half and sauteed in a glaze of orange marmalade with lemon and orange zest and ginger. The side dishes were a ratatouille of zucchini and squash, steamed spinach and a medley of mushrooms and onions. After complimenting his cooking he said, "The hardest part is the preparation." How true! It seems like most of us enjoy the fun part of cooking-eating. It's the same with speaking. Most presenters enjoy being in front of an audience but they don't give as much thought or time to planning and preparation. Every chef knows the importance of shopping for the freshest produce. Then they set up the kitchen with the right tools. Once a system is in place, the process of chopping, dicing, and mixing takes place. The chef needs to get the heat just right and test the food to know when it's done. It takes hours and hours of prep time for a 15-30 minute meal.
When it comes to speaking it's 90% preparation and only 10% delivery. Unfortunately, too many presenters wing it. They throw together a few message points on a slide and then stand up and deliver them. They continue from beginning to end without checking in with the audience. That's like putting a high flame under the pan regardless of what is cooking.
When a chef "throws a meal together", it's based on years of practice and principles of cooking. And when a speaker makes speaking look easy, you can bet it's because of preparation and experience. The writer Mark Twain once said, "It takes about two weeks to give a good impromptu speech." If you had company you wouldn't leave your meal to chance. And good presenters don't don't throw their presentations to the wind.
The secret sauce to good cooking and good speaking is this: It's all in the preparation! To learn more about preparing a presentation read chapter six in Knockout Presentations.