Speech coach and author Gary Genard is a great blogger. In a recent post, Gary discusses Sir Richard Branson’s advice on public speaking. Branson, the entrepreneur, adventurer, humanitarian, and founder of the Virgin Group, explained his approach to presentations in an article called, “My Top Tips for Public Speaking,” on the Virgin website. Branson declared, […]

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As a Presentation Skills Expert, I’m often asked, “Patricia, how do I report to my senior management without being nervous?” The secret is to be prepared, clear, concise, and to act confident. Now, how do you appear confident when you’re nervous? First, prepare. Script out exactly what you are going to say, at least the […]

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Why is your presentation opening important? Does your audience put down their phones? Pause their texting? Forget about their to-do lists? Quit doodling? Or, stop thinking about dinner reservations? When you walk on stage to speak, you must grab your audience’s attention immediately. You can accomplish this with an opening that simply won’t let them […]

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Without exception, every executive speech coaching client I work with needs my help with the opening of their presentation. Even if no other part of your presentation is scripted, you must always script the first three or four lines. Not that you’re going to read them! Instead, you will rehearse them so that they are […]

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True rock stars always end a concert on a high. Next, their fans spill from the crowded arena, still rocking out to an awesome replay in their heads. We can learn a lot about inspiring action and commitment from the world of rock music. When it comes to your presentation, always close on a high. […]

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5. Audio visual: If you are using a PowerPoint presentation make sure the equipment is working well. Are your PowerPoint slides in the right sequence? Do you have a remote control to change them? This way you can move around and are not chained to your computer. Remember to turn the slide to black when you are not addressing what is on the screen. Is each slide visible from the back of the room or auditorium? Are the talking points presented as a “build” or “reveal?” Remember, your visuals aids are a tool, not a crutch. They are there to support you.

6. Connect with the organizer or emcee: Be clear about who will introduce you, and where you will be during their comments. Will you walk on from the wings or up from the floor? Will you shake hands with him or her, or will they exit once you hit the stage and before the applause dies down. I recommend you nod and mouth “Thank you.” If you are speaking at a banquet, check that you will have a clear path to the microphone without tripping over wires, chairs, or diners.

7. Pre-written introduction: In advance, send your pre-written introduction to the person delivering it. Carry another two with you. Have it written in an 18-point, bulleted list. This is easier to read than paragraphs. Be sure your introducer knows how to pronounce your name correctly. It is a good idea to confirm they have the introduction and are comfortable with what is written. Make sure your introducer knows the introduction is prepared in a certain way to set the tone for your presentation.

8. Be your own warm up act: Connect with as many audience members as possible before you speak. When they see you are extending yourself they will return the favor of giving their attention. That only lasts a few minutes so make sure you grab their attention with a great opening.

9. Learn from the experience: Always follow any presentation with an After Action Analysis. Start with asking yourself what you did well. Next, what could be improved? Always record your presentation and listen to what you said. There are three speeches for every one you deliver. The one you planned to give, the speech you actually delivered, and the improved next presentation based on what you did right, would like to do better, and what can be added from what you learned from the experience.

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Some presenters like to move, while others stand still. At the beginning of any presentation you should stand still. Your audience members are getting used to you, how you sound, how you speak – how fast, your cadence, or your accent. As you continue your presentation, make sure your movement supports your message. Avoid unconscious […]

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Are you practicing your public speaking to improve…or to reinforce bad habits? We hear people say, “Practice makes perfect.” In reality, practice makes permanent. It is helpful to get an outside perspective on your presentation to reveal any areas in which you might improve your content or delivery. Practice in front of an audience. Ask […]

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Whenever you open your mouth – whether your audience is one person or a thousand – you usually want to get a message across. Maybe you want your opinions heard at meetings, or you’re giving a formal presentation. Possibly, you’re even in a position to advise your sales team or CEO on an important presentation. […]

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