Posts Tagged ‘Presentations Skills’

Strategic Presentation Skills: How to Appear Wise

Monday, March 26th, 2012

In the Descendents, George Clooney’s character, when dialoguing about how much money he wanted his kids to have, he said ” I want them to have enough to do something but not enough to do nothing.”  

That is one of those lines that stops you because it is insightful, profound and easy to wrap your brain around.  When you are able to speak in a way that you get people to stop and THINK that is when you become seen by others as being wise.

It is little twists that can make a big difference in how someone sees and responds to what you are saying.  I find I am constantly jotting down quotes from movies because they spark thought.  I think use these quotes, giving the correct attribution, when I speak.

Here are some other favorites of mine:

“You must think like a man of action and act like a man of thought.” from the movie, the International.

“We had one of those good solid man moments where everything gets said but nobody’s talking.”  from the TV Series, Cougartown

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”  Stephen Covey

You may have noticed something in the above quotes- they play off of the same word or phrase but flip it around to give it a different meaning.  There is a power in the duality that comes out as words flip spots to change meanings or as in the International movie quote, they are broken in to smaller parts to align in a new way.  In the case of the Cougartown quote it speaks volumes about the difference between men and women by defining a man moment as one where the talking happens without speaking.

John Maxwell is really good at creating pithy phrases that play around in your head.  I recommend you get his books and study how he can change the way you see something by simply changing the order of the words.

Now I am not saying this comes easy.  It takes practice and it starts with raising your awareness of words and phrases around you.  Listen with, not only your ears, but with your heart.  What hits you and sticks?  Why does it stick?

As Einstein said,  “Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”  So keep open to seeing things in a new way and playing with words and phrases to see how they feel to you.

So here is the kicker- because you are working your brain and getting it so see things in a new way, you actually do become wiser.  You become more aware of your surroundings, more insightful as a listener, and more careful with your speech.

Lastly, remember that it takes time.  Einstein wrote a lengthy letter to his cousin and at the end he wrote “I am sorry this is so long. If I had more time I could have made it brief.”

Register to watch the Strategic Presentation Video Series, it’s free…

Leadership Development: The Zen of Trust

Monday, March 5th, 2012

According to the 2009 Edelman Trust Barometer, only 39% of respondents say they trust business to do the right thing.  That was done from 58% from the year before.  With all of the Ponzi schemes popping up it is no wonder that fear is rampant and trust at an all time low.

I was recently coaching an executive that is having a tough time with her team.  She wants to them to go through her for everything and she has become a bottleneck.  Worse than that though is the fact that her team has moved to fear-fear of doing something she won’t like, fear of making the wrong decision, fear of saying the wrong thing to the wrong person- that they have become paralyzed.

Holding tightly to your team is like trying to hold a tight fist around sand- the tighter you hold the more sand there is that slips through your fingers.  Power comes with trust.  The more your team trusts you, the more power they will give you.  Ironically the more you trust your team, the more power you give them.  So it is a circle.

The Zen of Trust is that with it teams make big stretches, helps teams take calculated risks, and helps build collaboration.

Here are some things, you as a leader can do to build trust:

1. Be Courageous with the Truth.  Great leaders don’t shrink or hide from the truth but instead face it head on.  They believe in the ability to be resilient rather than the ability to be right.  In our Courageous Communication we focus on helping leaders to be able to tell the truth with four easy steps so it is heard even if the news is not welcome news.

2. Be Knowledge Transparent.  Great leaders are good at BOTH teaching and learning.  They believe they are NEVER at the top but are always learning how to be better.  They then transfer that knowledge of learning on to others rather than being hailed for being so smart.  They see knowledge as growing in power as it is spread rather than contained.

3. Self Aware.  Great leaders are very self aware.  They know their strengths and weaknesses and are open about them.  They don’t hold a weakness as a badge of honor.  We train leaders on understanding how and what the brain tries to protect.  It is interesting to note that almost all the highly respected leaders step back and say, “so that is why “so and so” struggles with how I give direction.  I am going to have to change how I..”  While leaders who are often struggling say, “that is just the way I am wired.  They have to learn to deal with it.”  Are you “self aware” or ” beware of self” in your thinking?

Take Action:

In this next week, really watch yourself as a leader.  Make sure you are building trust with your team.  If there is a lack of trust in some part of your team, ask, “what may I be doing that is allowing this to happen?”  You will be surprised by how much impact you can have on trust.

Learn more about the Outcome Focus® Leadership Development Training by contacting Paul Cummings at 952-921-9421

How much should I move, and how does body language affect my message?

Monday, November 21st, 2011

There is not one pat answer to this since the amount of movement depends largely on what comes naturally for you.

If you are a person who tends to be more dry and straightforward, you are usually better off with minimal body language and movement. If you are a person who tends to be more dramatic and high energy, then moving strategically, stopping to pause in that spot, and using hand gestures while talking is very effective.

In general, casual movement of your hands and a slow leisurely walk while presenting is usually seen as very confident.

Learn more by reading Outcome Thinking: Getting Results Without The Boxing Gloves…

How to determine when it might be time to interject a group activity or discussion, if for instance, the group seems like they’re losing interest

Friday, November 18th, 2011

If your presentation is straightforward, has clarity, and is of value to the audience, you will find they rarely lose interest.

But if they do lose interest, here are a few techniques you can use to rally the troops:

1.  Ask a question that you wish them to explore with a few other people near them. This can be a question such as, Looking at what we have covered so far, what are the top two ideas you’re excited to implement?”

2.  If you are covering complex data, find ways to anchor the data in everyday examples or metaphors, simplify the data, or pull them back in by saying, “So what this means to you is…”

If you find you often lose the audience’s interest, it means you are not relating the information enough to them, speaking in a monotone, or not simplifying your data to relate directly to your goal.

Join us for an upcoming presentation skills seminar and manage your message for results.

Reading the audience’s body language and interpreting their tone of voice

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

If your audience is pulled away from you with crossed arms, pursed lips, and glaring eyes, they’re telling you that they don’t like what they’re hearing or that they don’t want to be there.

If your audience is leaning forward but firmly planted in the chair, they are letting you know they’re eager to hear what you have to say. If they are leaning forward but slightly moving, they are telling you they are eager to leave.

If the audience is hostile to what you are saying, you will hear it in their clipped tone of voice and raised volume. If they’re confused about what you are saying they will have an upward lilt to their voice, with hesitancy and pauses in their questions.

If you want to get really good at reading body language, we have a DVD video available that goes through the positive and negative body signs and how to beat them. Just go to , Online, Store to order the Communicating More Effectively Body Language DVD.