The New Speaker’s Dilemma – Interpreting the Audience’s Signals About Your Presentation

A speaker must constantly make eye contact with his or her audience. How else would the speaker know if he is getting his or her message across? The audience always want the speaker to succeed. But there is only a finite amount of time before the audience switches off if the message is not creating interest in the minds of the audience.

The speaker must observe the signals coming from the body language of the audience that will tell him or her that the audience is no longer interested in what is being said.

There are a number of movements within the audience that are signals. They include the following:

1. Eating or chewing;

2. Tapping a pen; playing with a paper clip…

3. Adjusting hair, clothes…

4. Texting or taking calls;

5. Looking out the window;

6. Blowing his or her nose;

7. Looking at the wall clock or watch;

8. Yawning;

9. Reading.

These are all physical indications that are easily read or seen.

There are some more subtle ways the audience tells the speaker that he/she have lost their audience. They include:

1. Asking questions at a seemingly wrong time. This could mean that the questioner has not understood your point or is maybe trying to get you back on track. It might also mean that what the speaker is saying is common knowledge to the audience or is not what they paid for or expected to hear.

2. Asking questions that seem irrelevant to the speaker’s speech. This could mean the speaker has lost the audience completely or the message has failed to be taken in by the audience.

3. A silent question time. No speaker is so perfect in getting the message across that there will be no questions. Silence most likely means that the audience simply has had enough and wants to leave.

Once the speaker notices more than a couple of these signs, the time is ripe to change how the speaker is delivering his/her message. He/she may need to involve the audience in some way. It might mean asking a question of the audience or having an activity for them to do to open up the topic. It might be time to offer something controversial. Maybe, the speaker might need to summarise what is left to say and just finish the presentation.

Professional speakers will always provide their audience with a feedback sheet. It is important to offer the audience a chance to critique the presentation. There will be committed people in the audience who will give honest feedback and suggestions for improvement. The evaluation sheet should allow them to do it. Importantly, the speaker, in reading the reviews, must not take anything negative personally but use it to improve the next presentation. It is also important to understand where the negativity is coming from and address the reasons for it.

After the event, it is important for the speaker to review the way they performed, what succeeded, what failed, what needs to be deleted and what needs to be added to the presentation. This evaluation should be done as soon as possible after the presentation.

Finally, taking into consideration their own evaluation and the helpful comments from the audience evaluations, the speaker should prepare an upgraded version of his/her speech for the next time it is presented. This must be done while “the iron is hot”.

Presentation Skills

You’ve only got about fifteen to thirty seconds before people start to settle into their impressions. Hence, when effectively presenting, we want openers that will not only grab our audiences’ attention, but will also quickly establish our credibility, cultivate goodwill with our listeners and introduce our topics.

Think of your opening as not being more than 10 percent of your entire presentation. Budgeting your speech in this manner forces you to organize your time so that you know exactly what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. Scrap the old fillers like, “Today’s topic is…,” or “I’m going to speak on…,” or worse, “I was assigned to talk about….” When preparing your opener, think of efficiency and accuracy. First of all, consider ways that will grab your audience’s attention and perk them up. Several of the most effective approaches involve the use of humor, the telling of a personal story, the posing of a question, the sharing of a quote or the presenting of a startling fact or statistic. Anything that you feel will get your audience to tune in is critical to your opening.

When preparing your opening, how do you establish credibility? One thing is for sure: Don’t just start spouting off your accomplishments and credentials. Nothing will turn an audience off faster. Sure, education and experience matter, but there are subtler ways of mentioning them. Sometimes it will be natural to mention the school from which you graduated, to refer to a publication you authored, etc. Many times, you can do so without seeming pompous. A better strategy than tooting your own horn is to have someone else introduce you before you come on. Another handy way to highlight your qualifications without including a “Why I’m So Great” section in your speech is to include a written bio sketch in any materials you may hand out. Your biography could even be included if a basic itinerary is handed out. Such background information is commonly seen for keynote speakers in programs, for example. A written bio can be very effective, but it is very important to keep in mind that when furnishing this “blurb” about yourself that it be written in the third person-that is, as if someone else is describing you (“s/he” instead of “I”).

When I say you want to establish goodwill with your audience members, what I mean is that you want them to feel that you genuinely care about their needs. You want to exhibit your desire to share something that is both meaningful and useful to them. Very early on in your presentation (in your opening), you must clearly communicate the answer to the audience’s two most pressing questions: “WIIFM?” and “WSIC?” “WIIFM?” stands for “What’s in it for me?” “WSIC?” means “Why should I care?” Your audience has to have a reason to want to listen to you and providing them with the answers to these questions gives them one. If you can answer their unspoken, but sincere interest in WIIFM? and WSIC?, they will definitely feel goodwill towards you. You can then achieve a win-win situation where the feeling of goodwill extends in both directions.

Finally, how do you go about introducing your topic? You introduction can be worked into the opening story, question, statistic, quote or joke you use to grab your audience’s attention. Alternatively, you can set up your presentation so that the way in which you grab their attention smoothly transitions into your topic. Last but not least, I will state the obvious and remind you that a charismatic demeanor from the get-go will carry you miles beyond a dry, monotone one.

Understanding different types of audiences will also help you determine how you design and deliver your message. Following are some different categories of audiences and some strategies on how to deal with each of them.

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Conclusion

Persuasion is the missing puzzle piece that will crack the code to dramatically increase your income, improve your relationships, and help you get what you want, when you want, and win friends for life. Ask yourself how much money and income you have lost because of your inability to persuade and influence. Think about it. Sure you’ve seen some success, but think of the times you couldn’t get it done. Has there ever been a time when you did not get your point across? Were you unable to convince someone to do something? Have you reached your full potential? Are you able to motivate yourself and others to achieve more and accomplish their goals? What about your relationships? Imagine being able to overcome objections before they happen, know what your prospect is thinking and feeling, feel more confident in your ability to persuade. Professional success, personal happiness, leadership potential, and income depend on the ability to persuade, influence, and motivate others.

Preparing a Perfect Rental Investment Presentation

If you are raising capital from a number of potential investors a perfect presentation could be a key component of achieving your goal. Over 150 investor presentations given in the past decade concluded in raising millions of dollars of equity capital and millions of dollars of debt equity provides a good basis for understanding how to deliver a superb presentation.

What does experience say about a good investor presentation?

  1. Clearly describe the investment.
  2. Clearly define what you will ask of the investor and how much they can invest.
  3. Describe the time frame for the investment.
  4. Explain how the invested capital will be held prior to closing the investment.
  5. Define what the investment life will be and what return to expect.
  6. Describe how the project(s) will be managed.

Describe the background and experience of the principals. Where they worked, accomplishments, investing experience, significant volunteer work and so on can be included. Some interests and personal information is good to add as it makes the principals into people and causes them to have color and depth in your presentation.

Return tables, sources and uses, and pro forma tables are critical components of the presentation. All of the information above should be included. However, the meat of your presentation should be the things like:

  • How much money the project will make, why that is reasonable, and what could effect it.
  • How much money the project will cost, why that makes sense, and what may impact the costs.
  • How risk is being managed and why this is a really smart way to do so.
  • How opportunity is being captured and why this is the smart way to grab the brass ring.
  • How you will manage the project.
  • How you will market the project.
  • How you finally get the investors capital out of the project.
  • What you will do to keep the investor completely in the loop on the project.

These items in a top line sense are the “features” of your investment. From the features, you should be talking advantages of the investment. Finally you hit the emotional button. Your presentation should be heavy on emotions for why investment and those emotions should be backed up with great graphics that say the same thing in a very visceral way to your audience.

With all this in place, you have created a compelling investor presentation that explains what the investor is getting into, all the great reasons they are doing it, and why is such perfectly exciting and wonderful thing for them to do with their money.