Business Speaker Shares How to Motivate and Inspire Audiences at a Conference (Article Two) by John Bell

Business Speaker Shares How to Motivate and Inspire Audiences at a Conference (Article Two) by John Bell


Preparing the talk

Having established exactly what is required, you can then begin the task of preparing your presentation. The best method is to find a large table or desk and clear it of any clutter. Clutter causes calamities!

Take a pad of Post-it notes (small sheets of note paper with a not-too-sticky glue patch on the rear side) and begin brainstorming - one idea per sheet.

As an example: perhaps you have been asked to give a talk with the title, How New Improved Widgets Can Power-up Your Profits! You already have the title - next you need to think about the aim or objective of the presentation. The client has perhaps stated he wants delegates to leave the conference having acquired two or three key ideas that they can put into practice back in their place of work.

Write the title on a Post-it' and stick it in the middle of the table or desk. Note key ideas on another three notes. You can now start your brainstorming session. Anything connected to your title should be written in brief note form on a Post-it and positioned around the title. As you continue the title gets surrounded by other words or phrases describing the object of your talk and its attributes. In this case, it might be New - Improved - Quality - Price Advantage.

During this brainstorming dont disturb the free flow of your ideas by focusing too much on a particular thought or idea. Just write brief notes, and stick them on your work surface. Getting into an analysis at this stage of whether or not a particular sub-topic should be included stifles the flow of good ideas. By all means try to place your notes next to related ideas so they form groups that represent a particular theme. By the end of your brainstorming session you should have a table covered in Post-its.

Time to cull

Assuming you have made some order of your Post-it ideas, you must then begin culling them. I use the word culling because it can be hard to do away with ideas that you have nurtured. To watch some people perform this phase of the development of a talk you would think they were being asked to sacrifice living creatures! Of course, all you are doing is some objective editing. Get rid of anything that is not central to the objectives of your talk. It has to be done otherwise, all that you achieve will be a talk that clouds important points with an overload of information.

Worse still, you are likely to overrun your allocated time - much to the annoyance of your client, the chairperson for the day, and especially the next speaker, who will have to cut short their presentation because of your inconsideration.

At the same conferences the chairperson will discretely indicate to the speaker how much time is left with a show of fingers. If you overrun your allocated time four fingers drawn across the throat means you are unlikely to be invited to speak at the next conference!

Take an objective look at your notes. Consider the information carefully. If the content is not totally relevant, then remove the note. Discard material that you are not totally comfortable with. Check the agreed title. Does the information remaining on the table lie comfortably in the topic? Are you meeting the aims and objectives of your talk?

If you are unsure whether your client would or would not prefer a particular topic be addressed in your presentation - check. Just one phone call could be the difference between you getting additional work with that particular client in the future, or no!

Creating order

It is now time to create some a degree of order from your ideas. Every conference speech should have the same structure. The rule is exactly the same whether you are writing a book, a song or a talk. All talks or presentations must have a beginning, a middle and an end.

Your presentation should flow naturally, like a river on its journey towards the sea. Giving the talk structure aids your delivery, and also improves audience comprehension and enjoyment.

The beginning

The beginning of a talk needs to achieve two things. Firstly, you have to establish audience attention. This can be as simple as introducing yourself, saying how honoured you are cheap wow gold to address the meeting. Such pleasantries are familiar and allow the audience to settle down and get used to the sound of your voice. Do not be tempted to try anything dramatic, such as making sudden movements or a loud sound. This is a crude way of grabbing attention and will not win you any friends in the audience. Secondly, you need to spend a few minutes, no more, on something that does not require too much mental agility from your audience. Including a few words on the history of your topic creates interest, covers familiar ground, and allows your listeners to appreciate by contrast how significant current advances are.

By way of example - I once gave a talk on a medical theme, and began by reflecting how only 100 years had passed since depression was being treated buy diablo 3 gold by cutting holes into the head of the poor patient to reduce pressure, it was though at the time to allow the escape of undesirable elements and facilitate recovery.

If you had found that fact interesting so probably would your delegates. By developing interest early you start to whet the appetite of your audience and it allows the talk to smoothly flow into the present day.

One last thing about opening your talk - never apologise! It does not matter if you think you have something to apologise about, never do it. If you have arrived a little late, the lighting or microphone has failed, your visual aids are a little poor, or the break-time coffee was cold, leave it to the chairperson to make the apology. You need to start on a positive note and nothing should detract from that.

The middle

The main part of your talk - this is where you ensure that you present the core points. However, this section requires its own special kind of introduction. It even has its own name - the gestalt. This is a German word for which a rough translation in this context would be overview. The most common textbook definition of a gestalt is a whole which is larger than the sum of its parts.

You need to tell the diablo 3 gold audience, in advance, and in brief summary, what you are about to tell them! It seems a slightly odd thing to do, but people listen better, and retain more, when they have a broad view of the direction you intend to take them.

In practical terms, you are creating an awareness of what is intended, and this awareness allows active co-operation. You will find that any audience reacts badly to a speaker who sets off without giving an overview.

As the bulk of this series of articles is concerned with how to deliver your talk, I am not going to say much more here other than this: be natural - talk to your audience as if they were your best friends. Of course, you will be using all sorts of presentation skills and techniques, but the point I am making is that the audience should feel that you are addressing each one of them as an individual. Be sure to make eye contact, and see to it that those at the back and the sides get their fair share of your attention.

The very best public speakers look as though they are behaving completely naturally - that is their consummate skill. They have learned how to make technique invisible, leaving only the personality and the message to shine through.

The end

Perhaps the most important lesson here is to make certain that you finish within your allocated time. You will have practised your speech, but bear in mind that it always takes longer to deliver for real than it does in front of the bedroom mirror. It is plain bad manners, and very unprofessional, to run over your time.

If there is no clock at the back of the hall, then take your watch off and place it where you can easily see it - on the lectern or table. Make sure that you are not seen to be checking it. Surreptitiously looking at your wristwatch is not the thing to do. You need to appear to be timing your speech as though you are using an internal body clock.

The imminent closing of your speech needs to be signalled to the audience. This gives them a chance to ease down their attention a little, and perhaps, if you intend to allow time for questions, gives them an opportunity to think of something appropriate.

The ending can take several forms. A popular one is to summarise the main points you have made. Another is to tell a swtor credits little story. This needs to be appropriate and relevant, and if humour is appropriate, this is a good time to use it.

One technique that I use is to end a presentation with some thoughts for the future. This is when you can re-emphasise the points that your client has asked you to be sure to make. By doing a thorough job of getting the agreed aims and objectives across to the audience, you can dramatically increase the likelihood of future repeat work from that particular client.

Beware of falling into the trap of making the ending too long. I have lost count of the number of speakers I have heard who say something like, . . and in conclusion . ., only to drivel on for another five or ten minutes.

When you get to the end - stop!

Do not be tempted to use the ending to get over a point you missed, or to say something unrehearsed. Simply thank the audience and the person chairing the event step back, and wait for the applause.

In Article Three I will be describing effective use of visual aids.