We all have. And none of us want to be that person up on stage while everyone else in the audience is thinking that. In this post, I share the secret I use with all of my students and clients to get them laser focused when they speak. Plus, I show you how you can use it in your next talk.
Lately, I’ve had a lot of questions about how to stay focused during a talk or presentation. I’m hearing some people that are going way over their allotted time – like 30-50% over – and that’s just too much. They’re losing their audience’s attention – and worse – losing the sale. And it all starts because they’re not focused.
“But I just have so much I want to say! I have so much I need to say!”
Yeah, I get it. Me too. I love to talk. My favorite thing to do is talk. If you were one of my close friends and you said, “Hey, let’s hang out tonight, what do you want to do?” I’d say, “Let’s get a bottle of wine, hang out and talk.” It’s kind of my thing.
But you’re likely not getting a bottle of wine and chatting with your buddies. You’re taking up precious time from people who you really, really need on your side – like current prospects, live audience members who chose YOUR talk over anything else, and potential leads. In fact, you’re likely allotted only a very specific amount of time by whoever it is that invited you to speak. Or, if you’re running the show, you’ve probably already promised your audience a very specific amount of time. Going over that time is speaker suicide.
Yet, sometimes, once you get going, you just lose track of time. Or, you just want to make sure you make that point, so you just keep saying it… in a different way… hoping they get it.
And it never goes well.
Think about the last time you were in the audience when someone went way over their expected time. Or, when they were just talking and talking and you just weren’t sure where they were going or when it would end. What did you do? Did you stay laser focused, hanging on their every word? Or, did you zone out, close out the screen, or otherwise check out?
Most people at least zone out. If you’re in a live setting, most people won’t actually get up and leave (but they might), but they won’t give you their full attention either. And they definitely won’t remember you fondly.
So why does this happen? It’s simple. Most people aren’t prepared to deliver their talk.
“But I’m the expert on this subject, I know all about this topic, why would I need to prepare?”
I’m sure you are, and I’m sure you do. But, knowing your field inside and out and communicating about your field to an audience that is not an expert is very different. Not convinced?
Think back to college. Did you have a favorite professor? One that kept you interested and engaged? Compare that to your least favorite. The one where you sat in class and wondered, “how did they get this job? They’re so BAD at this!” You may have even thought, “this guy is an idiot.”
Your professor was likely incredibly smart. Both of them. But one was able to communicate what he or she knew in a way that drew you in, kept you interested and engaged. The other, even though he had devoted his entire life to understanding that topic, to studying it, living and breathing it – just couldn’t communicate it to those less in the know.
Who do you want to be?
Of course, you want to be the guy (or girl) who can relate to people. You want to be the one who people get, right?
Here’s a little trick I use. And I use it with all of my students and all of the entrepreneurs I work with – it doesn’t matter. It works for everyone.
For each section in your talk, write out one, full, declarative sentence that summarizes that particular section.
For example, if you are writing a “how to” talk and you have 3 steps that you want the audience to take, write out each step in a full sentence. No titles. No phrases. No fragments. Write it out. This will define the scope for that section. It will give you a starting and a stopping point. Now you know that anything you include in this section – whether a slide, a story, an example, a statistic, a testimony – whatever, will have to fit within that scope. If you didn’t talk about it in that one sentence, it doesn’t go there.
If the talk is longer than 5 minutes, go a step further and write out another 3-5 sentences for each section within your original section. For example, using the step by step talk we’re creating, maybe each step has 3 sub-steps. Write each of those out in complete sentences as well. This will leave you enough room to ad-lib, but not enough room to get side tracked.
This will keep you from going down a rabbit hole while you’re on stage. It will keep you within limits. You know way more than you need to share within one talk. You’re the expert. The audience isn’t. They need the short version.
Use this method to create your next talk. Then, let me know how it worked. I would love to hear. Did you stay focused? Or did you still get side tracked? Leave me a note in the comments below. I’d love to hear!
A few years ago, I had a student in my class that would regularly comment on my ability to switch between being somewhat scary, and being warm and welcoming. When I pressed him for a reason, he really didn’t know. He thought I looked more confident at times than others.
About a year later, this came up again in a class discussion as my students pointed it out. This time, one of the ladies up front knew exactly why. She said that when it was time for the class to speak up, I folded my hands, smiled and tilted my head. She thought it was inviting.
Although some of my students simply thought I had a split personality, the behavior was actually something I had worked on over time as I had been in front of the classroom. In my first year of teaching, students were intimidated and rarely wanted to speak with me after class or ask for help. I had to take a look at my behavior to determine why that was. I had open office hours, I invited them to stay after, I arrived early so they could talk then if needed… but nothing seemed to work.Until I changed my body language.
As a woman, I find it incredibly difficult to balance my assertiveness in the workplace with the need to come across as warm and friendly. And when I say need, that is exactly what I mean. It isn’t always about wanting to be liked, but, as we discuss today, women suffer as leaders when they are not perceived that way.
Dr. Carol Kinsey Goman comes to us today to discuss body language for leaders. And it isn’t just for woman. We talk about some of the challenges men face as well and how to overcome those.
Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., is an international keynote speaker, who coaches executives, female leaders, salespeople, and change-agents to build strong and productive business relationships by projecting confidence, credibility, caring, and charisma. A frequent presenter for The Conference Board, The Executive Forum, and the International Association of Business Communicators, Carol presents keynote addresses and seminars to corporations, government agencies and major trade associations. Her current presentations include: “The Silent Language of Leaders,” “Body Language for Women Who Lead,” “The Power of Collaborative Leadership,” “Body Language for Sales Professionals,” “Communicating Change,” and (new topic) “The Truth About Lies in the Workplace.”
Carol’s clients include over 200 organizations in 24 countries — corporate giants such as Consolidated Edison, 3M, and PepsiCo; major non-profit organizations such as the American Institute of Banking, the Healthcare Forum, and the American Society of Training and Development; high-tech firms such as Hewlett-Packard and Texas Instruments; agencies such as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, and the Library of Congress; and international firms such as Petroleos de Venezuela, Dairy Farm in Hong Kong, SCA Hygiene in Germany, and Wartsilla Diesel in Finland.
Carol has been cited as an authority in media such as Industry Week, Investors Business Daily, CNN’s Business Unusual, PBS Marketplace, the Washington Post’s On Leadership column, MarketWatch radio, and the NBC Nightly News. She is a leadership blogger for Forbes and has published over 300 articles in the fields of organizational change, leadership, innovation, communication, the multi-generational work force, collaboration, employee engagement, and body language in the workplace. She’s the author of twelve business books, including The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead. Her latest book is The Truth About Lies in the Workplace: How to Spot Liars and What to Do about Them.
Carol has been a therapist in private practice, a nightclub entertainer, and a majorette for the 49er football team — but not in that order. She has served as adjunct faculty at John F. Kennedy University in the International MBA program, at the University of California in the Executive Education Department, and for the Chamber of Commerce of the United States at their Institutes for Organization Management. She’s a current faculty member for the Institute of Management Studies.
Today, we talk about making first impressions, the often overlooked silent language – body language – that is essential to being a great leader, the problem women face in leadership positions and how and when to switch between masculine and feminine body language.
Where are you right now? Your car? The gym? On the train? The bus? Wherever you’re listening to this podcast, you’re probably doing it alone. Maybe with headphones on. It might feel lonely, but do you know that there are people all over the world listening to this very same podcast? Maybe at the exact same time that you are.
Unfortunately, a huge challenge in the online space right now is creating community. Although technology exists that attempts to bring us together, it often leads to lots and lots of people doing things in isolation. For me, I find a lot of similarities between working with students online and working with clients online.
Our guest today has done some interesting research in the online teaching space and talks to us today about some challenges and successes that come along with it. Alex Rister teaches communication and presentation classes at a university, pursues her second M.A. in Interpersonal Communication, and serves as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Junior League of Greater Orlando. In her spare time, she curates Creating Communication, a blog on best practices for communication and presentation. In addition to talking about online interaction, we also dove into leadership and presentation revolution. It all ties together, and is perfect for you – the modern entrepreneur who is sharing your passion online.
Something that you probably don’t know about me – I really struggled with the branding and messaging behind this website because I wanted to completely avoid the word, “presentation.” Yuck. It has such a negative connotation. The last thing I wanted was for my audience to think I was all about wearing a suit, standing in front of a conference table and reading from a Power Point slide. That is just about the opposite of what I’m about and what I teach.
That is why I was so excited for today’s show – we talk about creating the story behind the message and then making that story appealing with use of visually appealing graphics. Is it a presentation? Yes. But it is more than that – it is a way for you to connect your ideas and the people who need them. We talk about getting you the opportunity to position yourself in the marketplace, to gain exposure in front of your audience and just opening yourself up to endless opportunities by improving the way that you present your ideas.
Carmine Gallo is THE MAN when it comes to business communication. A former CNN and CBS correspondent, Gallo parlayed his successful career as a broadcast journalist into a communications practice where he coaches leaders whose products touch your life every day. His clients include Intel, Coca-Cola, Chevron, SanDisk, Medtronic, Hyundai, LinkedIn, Pfizer, and many other global brands. Gallo’s communication techniques have been implemented by top executives in fortune 100 companies, entrepreneurs in start-ups and small business owners.
He is the author of 7 business books. His latest book, Talk Like Ted: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds, Gallo taps into what makes a TED presentation great. Carmine interviewed dozens of popular TED speakers as well as top neuroscientists. In Talk Like TED, Carmine lays out techniques and the science behind each technique that teach anyone how to deliver the most impassioned and persuasive presentation of their lives.
Carmine shares some of this with us today. He touched on two points in particular that I think you’d like. First, he talks about the structure behind some pretty impressive and successful talks, specifically, he talks about the hero/villain structure. Definitely something you’ll want to implement if you’re selling anything – in a public forum or private – doesn’t matter. He also talks about picture superiority – and how to use images to elevate our presentations.
Is your stress getting in the way of finding your clarity? Reduce your stress to find your clarity and focus on episode 16 of The Clearly Influential Podcast. Stay tuned.
Before I became a mom, if you asked me what my life would look like in 5 or 10 years, I had a pretty good idea. I had a plan, or at least, I had a vision. Since having my son, I’ve really shaken things up. First, just becoming a mom was an adventour all on its own, but then I decided to open my ecommerce store – Get Unrobed and left my job a year later. After that, I decided to pick up and move to a new state, about 10 hours from where I had lived for the past 10 years. Now, if you ask me what my life holds in 5 or 10 years, I see blackness. Not darkness as in despair, but simply a lack of a vision.
I know that when I’m creating a message, it is very important to have clarity. I need to define what I want before I can expect others to understand it. But – I’ve lost the ability to do that in my own journey.
After talking with today’s guest, I have a completely new perspective on the reason that has happened. Terry Wildemann taught me that we can’t find our focus if we are stressed.
From the “C” suite to front line personnel, Terry’s passion is speaking, training and coaching socially conscious entrepreneurs, executives, leaders, managers and corporate change agents to awaken untapped possibilities.
Terry is a 4 time Amazon International Best Selling Author. Success in (High) Heels, Hot Mamma in (High) Heels, Bold is Beautiful and The Missing Piece in Business. (Unlock the power of you and 1800 Courtesy connecting with a winning telephone image). Look for her next book, The Enchanted Boardroom, in the fall of 2014.
We talk today about the DISC language – a behavior assessment meant to teach you how you behave in certain situations. You can be dominant, Influential, Steady or Conscientious. After better understanding your behavior, you can begin to destress so that the end result is completely understanding yourself and being able to truly focus in and find that clarity – making it much easier to craft goals, plans and messages.
Clearlyinfluential.com/episode16 is where you can go to find resources from today’s show, including a free activity to hlp you find your focus and clarity. And hey, while you’re there, grab my presentation templates. I’m giving away 7 of them to help you get your message across in any situation. I’ll see you after the interview.
What do you think you are? Dominant, Influential, Steady of Conscientious? If you’re listening to this show, you’re probably hoping to become influential. Go take the assessment – the link to Terry’s website is in the show notes at clearlyinfluential.com/episode16
Next time on The Clearly Influential Podcast, we’ll hear from Chris Hadnagy – the Chief Human Hacker at Social Engineer Inc. – he talks to us about the dark side of communication – those who use the principles of persuasion to infiltrate our systems, pull our private information and use it to harm us. If you don’t want your identity stolen, you’ll want to hear his tips so come back next week for another episode of The Clearly Influential Podcast.
We’ve talked a lot on this show about non-verbal communication – what you’re saying beyond your words. When on stage in front of a large or small audience, a large component of your message is visual – what you show them Yet, creating visually appealing slide decks is a challenge for many speakers. For many of us, we have a double standard. When we’re in the audience we can easily recognize a poorly constructed slide show – especially one that lacks creativity and puts the audience to sleep. Yet, when faced with the challenge of creating visual aids, many of us fail to produce something memorable.
Yet – having captivating slides goes beyond giving your audience something pretty to look at. It can be a very important aspect of your presentation – and could make the difference between getting a sale, investors, or even simply engaging the audience so they remember you and your message.
Today’s guest is an expert at delivering an incredible presentation – images and all. What The Speak was started by Bryan Kelly, an award-winning blogger, successful entrepreneur, and marketing executive whose work has been featured in several publications like the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Dwell, and Metropolis.
Early in his career, Bryan was an aspiring recording artist who had invested almost $100,000 in musical and performance training, but struggled to make a living. One day, after totally nailing an interview for a job he seemingly wasn’t qualified for, it occurred to him—performance skills provided an edge in business.
Realizing most of us don’t come from this kind of background, Bryan decided to share expert discussions and insider tips to help you gain a similar edge.
On today’s show – we explore the psychological effects images have on your audience, the most common reason why so many speakers fail to produce captivating imagery and what you can do to improve your slides starting today.
1. Avoid compulsion to plop outline in your presentation software.
2. Dedicate 1 hour to dedicate to your slides
3. Think about the stories that you will share, rather than a data dump
What kinds of signs do you look for that lets you know whether your listener is engaged, or ready to bolt? Do you ever wonder “what is he thinking??” when you’re talking to others about your business or ideas?
Before today’s interview, I had no idea what NPM means. It means nods per minute, in case you’re wondering and according to our guest today, you can count the number of NPM’s you’re getting while talking to someone to guage their interest. Pretty cool. There are some other things to look for too. He even tells us what to do if our listener isn’t engaged to earn some points and salvage the conversation.
Mark Jeffries has an interesting story. He has become a much sought-after Keynote Speaker and leading event Moderator/MC across USA, Canada and Europe. Having spoken in front of more than 100,000 event delegates, published two books and appeared on Network TV numerous times, Mark has established an impressive brand and enviable following. His recently released e-learning course has taken his message to a whole new audience around the world.
Join me in today’s episode where we learn about the Square of Influence, and how it relates to Business Influence, how to avoid Name Amnesia, what the jealousy affect is and how to use it to sell without selling and more. Plus, Mark has a very useful challenge for us this week. It will make a difference in the way you’re perceived.
Special Offer Page Promo Code – mjkn18151 – $10 intro price
Big day today – I have an announcement. I’m leaving Las Vegas. In just a few short weeks, I’ll be coming to you from Northern California.
Although I’m very excited about the move, I’m also a little sad to say goodbye to the city I’ve called home for the past 9 years. There are a lot of things that bug me about this place, but there are also a lot of things that I’ll really miss.
So, I started to compile a list of all of the things that I wanted to take with me. Everything that I’ve learned from Las Vegas, or all the ways that I’ve changed for the better.
Although there were quite a few things that came to mind, what I kept coming back to, was my new focus on appearance. To some of you, that might not sound like a positive, but hear me out.
I grew up in Pennsylvania and, although I can’t speak for the entire state, where I lived wasn’t exactly the fashion capital of the world.
When I went away to school, I landed in State College Pennsylvania at Penn State University – which happens to top the list year after year for worst dressed colleges in the country.
Now, when I attended Penn State, I didn’t think we dressed particularly bad. I actually really liked walking into a bar in a hoodie, jeans and sneakers. I would never try that in Vegas. In fact, they have rules against it at most places.
Now, you can say that Las Vegas is materialistic and maybe I’ve become that way too… but it is more than that. I’ve learned that I feel better when I’m dressed.
Today’s guest would agree. She teaches others how to dress to appear more authentic, credible and to get others to do business with you. But – she does it in a unique way. She says that we all have a core vibration – and once we learn what that is, we’re able to dress accordingly.
Taylore B. Sinclaire is the originator of personal energetics and creator of the IlluminEssensce® technology. The IlluminEssensce system is groundbreaking and based on the laws of quantum physics and identifies a person’s core vibration.
Taylore has been a successful image consultant and a leading non-verbal communication expert for more than twenty-five years. She has personally worked with more than 7,500 clients.
So – get out of your pj’s – get on a nice outfit that matches your core vibration and listen to Taylor B. Sinclaire explain the power of dressing right.
Christina’s podcast and blog: Design Draw Speak
Connect with Christina on Twitter: @CJCanters
If you’re listening to this, there is a good chance that you are somewhat of a creative person. Perhaps you own a design firm, you’re a web designer, you might write a blog or you’re into photography.
You might not realize this, but the way you talk about the things you create might be all the difference between selling your products and services and not.
There are actually some specific challenges that come along with talking about creative types of works. In fact, when I work with students, presenting concepts – which is what any of your designs would be at the stage of presenting to a client – is one of the toughest types of presentations they can give.
Mostly because concepts – by definition – are abstract. They often exist only in your mind. So, how do you clearly communicate an idea when the person on the other end really has no idea what you’re talking about and has very little to compare it to?
Pretend for a minute that you own an advertising firm and you’re pitching a plan for a video that you think will go viral. Maybe you’re not even speaking to the client yet, but just to your team. Therefore, you haven’t had the chance to put together a mock up yet and you are still just brainstorming with your co-workers. How do you get them to visualize – to REALLY see what you’re talking about?
If you have ever been in this situation, whether at an ad agency, or sitting around with your friends discussing an equally abstract concept, you have possibly experienced frustration when what you know to be a good idea, doesn’t win the vote.
Is it because your idea was inferior? Likely not. It actually all comes down to presentation. And, if you’re lacking the ability to clearly communicate your creative concepts – you’re likely missing opportunities to grow your business, progress your ideas, and make the sales.
That’s where today’s guest comes in – Christina Canters.
Christina Canters is passionate about helping design students become confident, creative communicators, which she does through her podcast ‘Presentation Skills For Design Students’. She is also a fully qualified architect and enjoys blogging, dancing and eating peanut butter out of the jar. You can find her podcast and blog at DesignDrawSpeak.com.
Today, she speaks to the creative as well as speaking to those that could stand to be a little more creative in their presentations. She also shares a very interesting story about how creative communication helped her land an interview with a leading expert, despite having a relatively new podcast.
Listen and be present while in a conversation.
If you like what you see, join the Clearly Influential Community. You’ll receive a free bonus gift: How to Organize Any Presentation with 7 Bonus Templates. Click below to get your copy.
How much time do you spend getting ready to leave the house? If you’re like me, it takes at least an hour for me to get ready.
We all want to put our best face forward. We know that it is important. We know that people will judge us based on what we’re wearing, how we do our hair, and how we carry ourselves.
We want to make a good first impression!
But are you putting the same care into your online appearance?
Today’s guest is an expert in helping entrepreneurs improve their online credibility. In her experience, she’s found that making a great online impression just doesn’t come natural for most people. But, today she reveals some simple things that we can do to enhance our online appearance.
Shauna MacKenzie is a communication specialist and entrepreneur. She specializes in four areas: image consulting, personal branding, nonverbal communication, and helping experts turn their expertise into entrepreneurial ventures. She has an MA in communication and leadership studies from Gonzaga University and a BA in communication studies from the University of Iowa. She recently completed research in the area of establishing credibility online through impression management strategies.
-The real reason transparency is so important online Tweet it!
-One thing to change if you’re not getting interaction on your website Tweet it!
-Shauna found one commonality among successful online entrepreneurs offering a service – do you share this commonality?
-The three things you need to be successful online
Most entrepreneurs are having a hard time understanding how [their impression] translates online Tweet it!
Reveal your personal life on social media for a boost in engagement – fast! Tweet it! – Listen for details!
Best Kept Self to learn more about Shauna
Or connect with Shauna on Twitter @MsShaunaMack
Do you want to become influential? Find more tips here – plus some free templates to make crafting messages a breeze. Get them here!
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