Business Presentation Training

How do you recognize you have a presentation? When building a business presentation, the most important thing is to know your material. The most difficult thing to do is often the one thing that separates the masters from the people. The term ‘presentation’ is capable of giving butterflies-in-the-stomach even to old hand managers. Anytime visual aids become the presentation and the presenter becomes the aid, you will perhaps be boring your audience to tears.

Choose only the top three or four points about your topic and make them over and over again throughout the delivery. To know one you need to ask some difficult questions and stand the discomfort of uncertainty. This is why it is important to be prepared not only in the topic of your presentation, but also the style and method of delivery.

The battle to stay alert and appear concerned has begun and it intensifies with every cartridge that appears. Often the bottom portions of slides cannot be seen from the back rows because heads are in the way. The one who talks more tends to reward away more information and more concessions. There are many training organization and institutions, which specialize in conducting capsule courses on donation skills. Unless the audience is taking notes, as in a training situation, wordy visual aids undermine an arrangement.

Dark text on light surroundings is best, but avoid white backgrounds — tone it down by using beige or another light color that will be easy on the eyes. After you have been introduced, move to middle stage, plant your feet then smile while looking at the audience for at least five seconds while saying nothing.

The 5 Commandments of Effectively Using Humor in Any Presentation

I couldn’t believe I was going to open my presentation with that joke. Me, of all people! Yet, there I was. With my heart pounding in anticipation… I was about to bound onto the platform and speak in front of over 250 people. Not only that, I was going to open my presentation with a bit I had just come up with!

Before I continue, you need to know the back-story. I was asked to emcee AWAI’s 2009 FastTrack to Success Bootcamp Awards Ceremony.

Prior to that event, Michael Masterson was giving an important presentation to attendees on the “peer review” process. In a nutshell, it is a rating system used to improve a sales letter. The goal is to boost the headline, lead, and transitions so the copy snaps, crackles, and pops off the page.

As I wandered around the room during Michael’s presentation, I couldn’t help but notice that some attendees were struggling to grasp exactly how the peer review should be done.

When Michael’s presentation ended, we broke for lunch. Thirty minutes later, the Awards Ceremony started. I took the microphone, and with a straight face, said to the attendees:

“News Flash: Michael Masterson is proud to announce that, four minutes ago, he created a brand-new rating system for copywriters. It’s called ‘The Peer Review Within the Peer Review’!” (Audience LAUGHS.)

“After you give your rating… the group then rates your rating. That’s right, folks… the rating never ends.

“When it’s all over, you will be so confused – you’ll most likely leave the industry. (HUGE burst of laughter – a cathartic release – and applause from the audience.) I had struck comedic gold.

Humor should play an important role in every speech you give. Why? Because an audience will forgive anything – except a boring presentation. And you – yes, you – can get laughs. Simply follow the five commandments of effectively using humor.

Commandment #1: Thou Shalt Know Thy Audience.

In writing a marketing promotion, you have to know your audience’s wants, needs, desires, and their shared pain. Same thing with giving a speech.

My opening riff at the Awards Ceremony was the right joke… for the right audience… at the right time. It struck a comedic nerve with them. Nowhere else could it have had the same impact.

Commandment #2: Thou Shalt Never Tell an UNTESTED Joke (or Humorous Story) at the Beginning of a Speech.

Yes, I opened my Bootcamp presentation with a brand-new joke – and I took a chance by doing it. It’s usually better to position a new joke/humorous story later in your presentation, after your audience is warmed up. Because if the bit falls flat, you will have to worry about getting them back on your side. Not a good way to get started.

But, as I said, this was exactly the right joke at the right time for the right audience. And there’s something else I didn’t tell you: I had tested that joke on two people during the lunch break. And it got a huge laugh. So I felt pretty sure it would work.

Commandment #3: Thou Shalt Choose Thy Target Appropriately.

In today’s politically correct world, you must carefully pick your premises and punch lines. Depending on the venue, stay away from religion, politics, the disabled, and any blue material. Best to stick with subjects that everyone in your audience can relate to, without being insulted.

When in doubt, leave it out. For tried-and-true laughs, do your homework and discover who your audience’s competition or common enemy is. Then really make fun of that target… and prepare yourself for laughs and applause.

Warning: Never, EVER make fun of the person who is signing your check. (Trust me on this one!)

Commandment #4: Thou Shalt Be Self-Effacing, NOT Self-Deprecating.
Some comedians have built careers on making themselves the butt of the joke. Self-deprecating humor, as it is called, puts the audience in a position of superiority. That’s why, for example, they always laugh at fat jokes made by fat comedians.

But keep in mind that you’re not a nightclub comic. When you’re speaking in a corporate or a business environment, you want the respect that comes with being an expert. So you don’t want to make yourself look like an idiot. But you can – and should – use humor in a humble way that points out some of your minor flaws. It will endear you to your audience and help you bond with them.

Commandment #5: Thou Shalt Take Control of Thy Speaking Environment.

Humor works best when there’s intimacy in the room. Arrive at your venue early, and take control. Make sure the room is cool. The colder, the better. This will help your audience stay attentive and focused on you.

Most important, make sure the seats are as close to the stage as possible. Too much distance between you and your audience, and the power of what you’re saying will be greatly diminished.

I once gave a presentation on a stage with a huge buffet table right in front of it. (Out of my control.) I knew this was going to be a distraction to my audience, so I took advantage of it. I said, “You know, folks, I’ve never spoken in front of rising steam before!” My audience approved of this self-effacing humor – where I acknowledged the obvious – with a hearty laugh. Once you get some experience and get your speaking chops, you, too, will discover how easy it is to exploit “humor nuggets” like these.

Learning how to write and present humor is just like any other craft. All it takes is following a set of steps that anyone can master.

In other words… you don’t have to be a comedian to get big laughs as a speaker!

Success – Achieve It By “Being Present”

I was at the gym this morning, walking in a daze on the treadmill and wandering what I would have to do as soon as I got through my office door. My mind was miles away from what I was doing but surely when you’re on a treadmill that doesn’t matter, does it? Your legs pump away all by themselves, the treadmill sets the pace and you don’t even have to think about direction – it’s always straight ahead. Kind of like life really. We get so used to the treadmill phenomenon that we go to auto pilot and just plod onward. This is comfortable, yes, but it has it’s drawbacks.

Focusing works

Did you know that recent research says that concentrating (staying focussed) on the muscles you are using during a given exercise increases the effects of that exercise! Think about that. Focusing on each muscle group and what it’s doing at the time (visioning) will increase your strength, fitness and results more than working harder or longer.

I’ve actually known about this theory for a while now. I call it “being present” and try to apply it to every aspect of my life. It’s why I gave myself a gentle mental shake this morning when I found I’d zoned out. For me, being present in ever task I am engaged in is the number one strategy for improving efficiency and effectiveness. It’s the very foundation of being well organised. That doesn’t mean I can’t multitask – sometimes it’s unavoidable. I just try hard not to.

Multi tasking is old hat

Despite the rave reviews of multi-tasking, I personally believe it to be a poor strategy – often a harmful one. It scatters your energy, it tires you more quickly, it undermines quality, and it creates poor relationships (try telling a five year old that you’re really listening to their story, while chopping the veggies, feeding the cat and yelling at your teenager). Five year olds understand the importance of being present. Watch one building a house of Legos, or mixing mud pies, or cutting out shapes. They “get it”. If it was only that easy for us adults.

Well it may not be easy but it is the best strategy you could employ to improve your outcomes – in every area of your life. It applies to fitness as well as finances. It applies to winning new customers as well as finding a new love. It concentrates your energy, maximizes your efforts and creates a positive, calm environment which enhances success. Want to try it? Here’s a list of things you can do to help develop the skill (or is that art?) of being present.

1. Maintain eye contact with the person you’re speaking with and be alert to their body language.

2. Keep a close watch on your mind chatter (the conversation in your head) and consciously turn it off – it will be a real effort at first, but the chatter reduces as you get better at this technique.

3. NEVER look at your computer screen while you’re speaking to some one (either on the phone or in person). Use the off button if you have to. This applies to reading documents, or any other task which divides your attention. Except if you want to take notes of the conversation you’re engaged in.

4. NEVER do two things at once. Figure out which has priority FOR YOU at this time, and either delegate the other or put it off for a while.

5. Be totally inflexible with “me time”. Plan for it, use it, enjoy it and NEVER make excuses for having it. You need to regularly fill the tank if you’re going to power the engine!

There are of course many other things you can do, but start with these first. Notice the difference that being present makes in your day. Write down the specific differences, the benefits, the ways that your day improves and share them with some one. Perhaps they’d like to try it too and we could start a world wide epidemic of being present.