How to Open Your Presentation – Don’t Waste Words

When you open your presentation, you have just thirty seconds to command your audience’s attention. Don’t waste your opening words. Prepare a winning opening and give it extra attention as you rehearse your presentation.

A relevant and compelling quote is one way to open a presentation and engage your audience. General Eisenhower said, “Leadership is the ability to decide what has to be done and then to get people to want to do it.” When I talk on leadership, I might start with that quote. I’m also a believer in quoting others besides Dead White Men – not that many haven’t said wonderful and true things. (more…)

Are You Confusing The Written and Spoken Word? Expert Advice

Effective speakers understand the differences between spoken word and written word.

Understanding differences between the written word and spoken is key to being an effective communicator.

Bill Gove told me, “The written word is for the eye. The spoken word is for the rhythm.” Bill was the first president of the National Speakers Association. Understanding the difference between writing and speaking was just one sign of Bill’s brilliance as a speaker.

Mary, the principal of a very exclusive girls’ school, came to me and said, “Patricia, help! Every year I send a video welcome to the parents and introduction to the year ahead. I just watched my performance from last year, and I was very disappointed. Can you help?”

I asked, “Have you prepared a script?” (more…)

Verbs Matter – The Right Verbs Make Your Presentation Powerful

Action verbs make presentations powerful.

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Criticism: How to Turn Gripes into Growth

Criticism, also known as feedback, can actually help us improve our presentation skills.

Criticism, also known as feedback, can actually help us improve our presentation skills.

No one enjoys being criticized! Yet, if you want to succeed, you’ve got to overcome all your natural instincts and actively seek out feedback, good and bad.

As a professional speaker, I know how it is. I face my critics every week. They’re called audiences. Not only do they rate me with their applause and laughter (or lack thereof), but frequently they’re asked to complete written evaluations, providing feedback for the meeting planners. I want those meeting planners to look like heroes, so I do everything possible to keep in top form. That means that I embrace and value criticism. I study those “evals” and listen to all comments, no matter how off the mark they may seem. And, even though I’ve been an executive speech coach and a professional speaker for decades, I still ask professional peers to be my toughest critics and give their feedback.

If you want to improve, you need to develop a positive, flexible, and creative attitude toward feedback. Here are eight practical ways to make criticism a positive and harness the power of feedback for your own success. (more…)