10 Presentation Crimes That Your Audience Will Not Forgive – and What YOU can do to stay F-R-R-E-E-E by Matthew Hill

Be Arresting. Don’t Get Arrested!

Having sat through 20+ presentations and talked to fellow audience members at a Congress the other week, I thought I would turn the sometimes tortuous challenge of staying calm sitting in the audience into a What Not To Do List and provide better ways of catering for your audience’s basic Human Rights.

Presentation Skills Course Matthew Hill

Sorry, Urh, hang on a minute…

Normally – More than 65% of the presenters are good and about 10% are excellent – However (always a warning word) however, some seem to be living in the ‘90’s before TED and all those great YouTube videos that clearly spell out how to get audience engagement and knowledge transfer RIGHT.

10 Crimes – The Charge Sheet

1, The Presenter Panics and Runs – Whether thrown off balance by technical issues, a late start of not having rehearsed against the clock, many presenters, including Key Note Speakers manage to get into a sweaty nervous panic during their talks. When you speed up at the end of your slot, your audience know something is amiss. When you admit that time has got away from you and then do not adjust, the audience become anxious on your behalf and when you say, “I will stop now!” 4 times without finishing, the audience will condemn you to presenter hell in your presence. The cost to you of presenter panic is having an audience close their minds with a slamming sound as the barriers drop preventing any further transfer of value. What a pity. What a waste. What a misspending of all that preparation time.

ANSWER

If you rehearse against the clock you can measure your content against the allocated time and therefore regain control. Additionally you may have a section that you can jettison if you experience a time scare. Not right at the end but 50 or 60% of the way through. Also, keep your piece simple enough for the time allocated. A 90 minute monologue simply doesn’t work in 2018 and 20 minutes is not enough time to outline splitting the atom or finding a cure for world hunger.

When you feel scarcity – SLOW DOWN – This will give you time to think, look cool in front of your audience and present the appearance of being in control. We will repeat this later – Your Audience wants you to SUCCEED.

2, Voice Crime. There is nothing worse for the speaker or the audience than someone sat at the back shouting, “We can’t hear you”, ”Please speak up” or, “We can’t hear you at the back.” Beside thinking that they should have turned up earlier and found a better seat, this will distract you from your delivery, dilute your message and divide the audience into those who join in the bullying and those that start to pity you. Both groups are not doing you any favours. Add to the crime sheet the monotone presenter, the mutterer or the huddled script reader and you have a case ready for prosecution.

ANSWER

Singing lessons – Yes, I am serious. If you wish to project your voice, if you wish to raise your volume, if you wish never to loose your voice again during a presentation, join a choir or take individual singing lessons. It will do wonders for your voice quality, your confidence and your connection with the audience.

3, Technical Failure To Appear – In today’s halls and venues, we were treated to the latest and the best equipment but – the presenters with older computers will not always have an HDMI slot, not all corporate trainers have worked with touch screens before and  new Prezi users do not all have enough practice with the application (presumably because they had spent all of their allocated tech time figuring out how to MAKE their first Prezi presentation and had not left enough to practice their show in realistic conditions.) The results were PREDICTABLE. Embarrassing faffing, asking the tech crew for help, delaying the start of the show and demonstrating the presenter’s flaws to the audience before they had managed to accumulate enough credit to afford to appear vulnerable.

ANSWER

Keep your technical level of presentation one level below your technical level of competence. Have a Plan B and back up your data. And don’t expect your venue to have usable WiFi, don’t expect to run YouTube clips live – record them and load them as MP4’s. That way they will run on just about anything. It is the most inexperienced presenters that tend to be the most technically ambitious. Those that have given a few webinars know to expect the unexpected and are able to manage the disruption in technical service with a cool head, an even voice and a smooth transition to the next section of the show.

presentation skills coach matthew hill

Too many words… take him away.

  1. Murder by Slides. The Geneva Convention states that PowerPoint slides must not have more than 20 words on them. Despite this, we see endlessly wordy, small font decks with no visuals, no colour and no useful transfer potential to them. The audience can either ignore the slides or ignore the presenter and start reading the slides for themselves. A lose-lose.

ANSWER

Separate out the desire to present and the need to transfer data and make some tough decisions before you get to the venue – What will you project with your voice and what data will you MAKE AVAILABLE AFTERWARDS in the form of a hand-out / appendix or further reference materials? Understand that slides can be pretty placeholders, a mechanism to reinforce your message with visual people and a good place for graphics, a pie charge or a simple model. However…nobody wants to multi-task during the show so STOP torturing them and plan your information flow more considerately.

  1. Methodology Overdose – Closely related to the point above, in a non- academic context there is ZERO need to reveal the statistical significance of your raw research. The audience have one question for you; WIIFT? What is in it for THEM? How can they apply your experience for their benefit? END of.

ANSWER

As above – offer an appendix, a data hand out or a lab session demonstrating your methods, approach, analysis and technical findings. AND – in your short presentation tell them the interesting bits. How it worked, what the conclusions are and how it can be applied for gain.

  1. The Presenter Got High – Audience Altitude – Finding their Level. There are two crimes here – going too high or staying too low. Both ways will crash your presentation vehicle. If you pitch it too low for too long, you will build up an irritation in your audience that will result in people leaving your talk with a noisy banging of doors or firing sarcastic questions at you that interrupt you and undermine your credibility.

It you pitch it too high the crowd will turn into a Zombie Apocalypse before your very eyes. Take this as natural feedback telling you that you failed to do your homework, identify your audience segment and that you omitted to refine your message enough to hit the target.

ANSWER

Do your homework, speak to some people, interview the organisers and don’t take general answers for the truth. Your job is to engage, inform and entertain. Your job is to tell a story. Your job is to move people intellectually and emotionally. Your job is to prevent suicidal thoughts rippling through the front row.

  1. If It Pleases Your Honour – Time Management – We have dealt with the panic of starting late, not checking the length of your presentation and of lying about when it will end. This aspect is more about the cultural differences in the perception of the flow of time and gaining explicit permission to tell your story. At the beginning of your talk you have 30 seconds to win the hearts and minds of your audience! If you fail, then the rest of your talk can only do damage – to the hopes and dreams of your audience and to your REPUTATION. When you win their support quickly, you will be given 5 minutes grace … to win their enthusiasm for the next 15 minutes! Do you see how it works?

ANSWER

Hit them hard at the beginning – fire a big gun – a moral question, a challenging fact or a brutal prediction – engage your audience and ask, “Do you want to hear more?” They will then award you explicit permission to continue. Really. This psychological contract will become stronger the more they engage with you – the great presenter.

  1. Straying From The Straight And Narrow – There are two ways to leave the path here – audience drift and speaker drift. The former consists of being caught out or taking a side bar because of an audience intervention – through being nice and respecting the audience or the influence of a strong personality sat in the second row, you drift off and ANNOY everyone else. Pleasing a strong personality is not a winning strategy for the whole audience. OR, you get on to your pet subject, leave your own path and start busking (the phrase for making it up as you go along) much to the irritation of the linear focussed listeners in front of you. When you start entertaining yourself, you automatically disrespect the sensibilities of your audience.

ANSWER

Learn to assert yourself and police your audience – Putting a hand up and saying, “Let’s get back on track” is normally enough. If you are likely to wander away from your presentation pathway, build in milestones to remind yourself of the key points that you must make. If you find yourself drifting too wide of those marks, apologise and return to the point.

 

presentation crimes matthew hill

Out of Date Material – Arrest that presenter!

  1. Criminal Exhibit A – Old Material – The older your material, the greater the chance that the audience will have encountered it before or, and worse still, they will have encountered you before, saying the same thing. There is a famous Dutch expert who basically has one keynote speech. Whatever you engage him to speak about, out he will come with his one keynote speech – And it is difficult to get a refund sometimes.

ANSWER

Read, listen and watch. Be present to developments. Watch out for shifts in the direction of your specialist subject and keep your presentation approach fresh, present and alive. It is not a crime to renew your perspective, challenge YOUR OWN beliefs and treat your audience to something EXCITING and challenging.

  1. Old Lag – You Are Not Enjoying It. The voice in your head starts to unsettle you, “Are they really listening to me?”, “ Do they believe a word I am saying?”, “Do they think I look pretty / handsome?” We can develop all sorts of complexes or simply become bored with our own style or topic when we have been presenting too long and need an upgrade – even the best can suffer from imposter syndrome, delusions of paranoia or become completely immune to the charm of their own material and begin to doubt its power to impress.

And. If you are not enjoying the show as a presenter, you can GUARANTEE that the audience are suffering too. Is it time to hand yourself in to the authorities?

ANSWER

At the beginning of any performance it is a safe bet to assume that the audience want you to DO WELL. They are actively looking for signs that you are relaxed, comfortable and up for this. They want to you to win. At the beginning you can assume that most of them LOVE you. All you have to do is not let them down (too badly.)

It is time to work on your material, work out who your ideal and appreciative audience will be and to work on your delivery, presence and voice so that YOU enjoy the show and THEY benefit from listening to you? Is this the time to seek professional help – a presentation advocate to defend your actions and get you off the charge of being a criminal presenter so that you can walk into your next speech a Free Person?

presenting

I sentence you…

The Judge’s Summation

With a little planning, anticipation and rehearsal, you can avoid cabbages and rotten eggs flying through the air, the tarnishing of your reputation as a speaker or hearing negative mumblings as you leave the building.

Remember, presenting represents the single most powerful opportunity to engage with and impress people that you have never met before. Please respect the audience’s patience, attention span, their need for structure, their appreciation of a good story AND their desire for a confident performance from you – THE SPEAKER (defendant.)

I wish you well with you next presentation…

I sentence you to 10 hours Community Presentation Practice – You are free to go…

 

About the Author – Matthew Hill is a Presentation Skills Coach (amongst other things) He works with ambitious professionals who need to impress and desire to be better. Feel free to contact Matthew on; 07540 65 9996.

 

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Matthew’s New Year Webinar – Getting Growth in 2017

What will you achieve in 2017?

We have 3 Questions for you – What are the Biggest barriers STOPPING you growing your trainer / coaching business this year? Where does it continue to go wrong? AND How can you get it right?

Group Of Young Business PeopleWill you grow in 2017?

These barriers block critical activity, necessary organisation and positive dynamism (we fall into the trap of doing stuff that PREVENTS rather than produces growth.)

  1. ACTIVITY– What did you do in 2016? Send your profile / CV out to known training providers, put up a basic (non optimized) LinkedIn profile and attended local chamber events with other service providers where you failed to engage with business decision makers? And what results did you get? – A new sub contract relationship that provided 7 training days? A two day training or 3 new coaching customers? AND – Was that enough growth for you?

With your energy invested in more proactive and interactive methods you will generate interest, passion and action – the phone will ring, live opportunities will land in your inbox and your business will grow – You will experience meaningful cash-flow, more hour’s and day’s work, a boost in your charge out rates and the choice to take or decline work, along with the self-confidence and business freedom that comes with knowing how to market and sell yourself effectively and comfortably.

  1. ORGANISATION – How was 2016? You added 74 connections on LinkedIn, collected 47 business cards and put them in your desk draw and found the physical address of 9 companies. – Did this provide the momentum you needed for your dynamic business growth in 2017?

When you know what to do and execute clever marketing and social media moves, you will gain presence, currency and relevance with actual decision makers (and- they will LIKE and RESPECT you). They will ask your advice, do as you advise and pay what you ask because they value your input and take you seriously as a coaching / training professional. AND it will have been your marketing activity that has made the difference and lead them to a positive conclusion about you and your services.

  1. DYNAMISM – How was 2016? Sitting by the phone waiting for incoming calls, checking every e mail ping and generally living on Hopium (the expensive drug that favours hope over action.)

How will 2017 be different? Will you hone your identity statement to perfection? Will you be super CLEAR about what you offer? Will you build your BRAND promise to a level where you are taken seriously? Will you know your Marketing AVATAR? Will you learn to write SUPER-COPY? Will you SEQUENCE your marketing communication to be maximally effective? Will you be ready to launch your informational attention grabbers on Social Media? Will you build a quality DATABASE with high value business contacts? Will you be networking like a HUSTLING pro? Will you master NEW SALES? Will you create a CORE MODEL that describes your offering? Will you generate enough REFERRALS to make a significant difference to your income and business growth?

AND

Will you look back on 2017 and say, “I learnt, laughed and lead my company to profitable GROWTH. What a great year?”

Join us for this 45 minute energy boosting webinar (with 10 – 15 minutes Q&A and get your business growing in 2017)

To Register click on; https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7327277808881017091

The webinar is on Tuesday, 7th February 2017 at 7PM Paris time, 6PM London time.

Thanks and see you there

Group of diverse designers in their modern officeWe are growing!

 

Independent Trainers – Living the Dream? Blog Post 1 by Matthew Hill

The Joy of Training

Why do trainers get up at 5AM drive for hours to train 12 executives?

If your vocation is working well for you your answer should flow naturally and with passion from your mouth – you love delegate reactions, the breakthroughs and those Eureka moments. You live to share your core material and do the very best that you can to transfer your wisdom and experience with style and substance, leaving your audience of professionals moved and transformed.

You train because you cannot imagine doing any other job and still being as happy.

But…

On a rainy Friday as you get in your plane, train or automobile knowing you will only get home at 10.30PM you reflect that not all audiences “get you”, not all towns are picture postcard pretty and that cheap training days do not have the same value as premium ones. A rose is just a rose but a training day varies from sublime to the ridiculous.

What do we want? What is our DREAM?

My wish is to find my training PURPOSE and follow a fruitful path transferring the skills and perceptual changes that I passionately believe are the MOST valuable to my audience of clever volunteer, high energy future stars.

When I am doing my best, for the best, I feel at my best and can get the very best from the audience so that we all attain our best outcomes. Simple really.

Young people in the office

Flow in the training room…

How can we make our Dreams come true?

I have put together a 13-part BLUE PRINT for independent trainers who wish to do more of what they are passionate about with participants who share that desire. I wish to help independent trainers who aim to work for a premium fee and be fully rewarded whilst living the dream.

The elements are of the BLUE PRINT are…

  1. Identity – purpose, passion and finding your “thing”
  2. Brand – reputation, and building your promise, style & delivery
  3. Ideal Customer – defining the core delegate you should be training
  4.  Marketing and Channels – having people know you, like you and trust you
  5. Social Media – repurposing your unique content in a sequence that creates a flow of business opportunities coming straight to your inbox and phone
  6. Database – the many ways to grow your “tribe” of fans
  7. Networking – conquering your nerves and getting a return from the room
  8. Product Creation – using today’s technology to turn your message into branded informational products
  9. Selling – discovering ethical trust based communication that sells in today’s busy corporate world
  10. Core delivery – upgrading your work to create raving fans and repeat engagement.
  11. Referrals – asking your “fans” to advocate you and your work to amplify your power and business flow
  12. Growth – 7 ideas that will accelerate your turnover expansion and take you to a healthy and well deserved level of wealth, freedom and control
  13. Fully Expressed You – channeling your purpose lead content, excelling at your “right work” and working with people who enable and empower you

Action

For more ideas on how establish and grow your Independent Trainer Business we invite you to join us for the Independent Trainer Consultative Selling Webinar 3 – GOING FOR GROWTH, on 5th October 2016, 6PM London time, 7PM Paris time. Register now at;

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8107589113940386817 

Further Action

Please do keep popping back to read the latest posts that describe the 13-step process. Look out for more of our power webinars that allow you plenty of opportunity for live interactions and Q&A time and join us in Lisbon in November for the ITC Consultative Selling Bootcamp to ensure that you build the 13 steps into your independent training business and allow yourself to achieve your optimum dream training lifestyle.

BLICK AUF LISSABON

Lisbon Bootcamp 20th, 21st October 2016 – See top of page for details

Independent intercultural trainers and coaches – What are you planning for 2016?

The season for the social gathering of trainers and coaches is about to begin. There will be some wonderful events. And, as the red wine flows half of the trainers and coaches in any group will start to quietly complain – about the number of days they got this year, the fees they received per subcontract day and how their income is not necessarily keeping up with rent or the cost of bringing up children.

Happy family in autumn park

“We are happy and have enough money!!!”

The truth is, independent trainers and coaches risk getting caught in a 5-part trap.

  1. Discounts – Volume training providers are paying subcontractors an ever decreasing amount of training money in real terms. The promise of volume attracts high potential individuals who sacrifice a lot of time and a little pride to travel hard, work hard but not necessarily to earn hard.
  1. Scarcity of time – Following on from cheap training days, the downward spiral demands sacrificing more of your 200 days a year to delivering discounted training, leaving less time to develop your own ideas for outstanding training material, to build your own network and to win your own customers.
  1. Brand – The more time you spend as a subcontractor the less opportunity you are taking to develop, what is potentially, your most valuable attribute – you, your brand, your reputation and a healthy market perception of your value (which is PREMIUM in case you needed reminding!)
  1. Assets – When you use other people’s material you are gaining valuable experience but you are not necessarily spending time creating your own capital assets. You are not creating training products that stand as INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY – ones that attract a premium fee from quality customers.
  1. Networking – With each flight, train or car journey coming back from a distant subcontract customer you are giving away your travel time for free and missing the opportunity to build your social and professional connections in a way that will generate better income.

Don’t get me wrong. A blend of subcontract days with premium direct training days provides an amazing variety of experience, a great income and the opportunity to do more of what you love. My point is simple. Most people slide into the trap of too much subcontract and not enough premium. Or… No premium days at all!

All this can change. The post headline enquires as to your plans for 2016. As part of your relaxing downtime with family and friends over the Christmas break, will you be thinking of up scaling and upgrading your business next year? Will you be taking out your pen and Moleskine and making ambitious plans? And will these plans convert into solid actions? And will these actions result in getting paid more for delivering premium training days?

There are many suggestions and insights that can help. Here are just three?

  1. Create a Product for Prospects – Take the time to write a white paper, executive briefing document or community resource that will be appreciated by your target market. Put it on a website or in a newsletter and ask a small action in return – request an e mail or entering the prospect’s first name and e mail in a box. This simple trade moves your prospect from observer to light action taker.
  1. Market not product – By making a subtle shift away from talking about the unique qualities of YOU it is possible to engage with more senior decision makers (as opposed to battling with middle ranking L&D professionals that only have the power to say “No!” and not the insight to sponsor you within their organisation.) Invest effort in looking at the bigger picture and collect irresistible data and stories that will be of genuine interest to business heads. Engage them in adult debate about market threats and challenges. This will give you the opportunity to position your offering as a solution to their current pain.
  1. Charge more – The moment your start to value yourself more highly, the market will increase their perceived value of you as well. It is time to stop the scarcity script and acknowledge your own incredible depth of experience and charge accordingly…

When you think about it, €20,000 would make quite a difference to you next year. €10,000 would make a difference to you next year. For many independent trainers, €5,000 extra would make a difference next year. That is only TWO premium training days!

If the Intercultural Training Channel Community are interested in this topic, I will expand its prominence in the newsletter over the coming months. Ideas include concrete suggestions for improving your consultative selling skills, webinars that tackle the specific marketing, networking and selling issues you face and running more Consultative Selling Boot Camps in both Amsterdam and London in 2016.

Please feel free to indicate your level of interest, and tell me what particular topics would be of most value to you. It will be great to be guided by the reader as to the topics you wish to learn about. I look forward to hearing from you.

E-mail me at matthew.hill@hillnetworks.com