We Are All TV Presenters

At a recent TV Presenting Course that we ran in Dublin, Ireland, it became very clear to me why most ‘presentation skills’ type courses fall short of achieving the results they should be getting – those results being a more confident, persuasive and eloquent speaker. In fact most of them miss the point completely! They fail to acknowledge the most important area of presenting – the voice.

A Speaker needs a voice! The spoken words must be the result of the 3 ‘P’s – Planning, Preparation & Performing (or Putting into Practise, if the word ‘performing’ frightens you!) Each have equal importance, and with a bit of persistence you will be amazed at how little time is required when you give each section it’s own value.

You see, an audience is not concerned with the Planning and Preparation, they only see and hear the Performance. The small window of opportunity that exists for you to speak, is what will motivate, inspire or persuade the listener to trust and believe in you. In a television programme the Presenter is the link between the ‘energy’ of the programme and the audience. Our screens are littered with examples of nonsense television with good Presenters and great subject matter with poor Presenters. Rarely do we see the best of content combined with the best Presenter performance, and when we do we over-ride all logic, cynicism and doubt and allow ourselves to be wholeheartedly taken into the speaker’s (or programme’s) world.

I have seen large, medium and small corporations spend fortunes on brochures, board rooms, PR – in fact all the things that make up the ‘corporate image’, and then fall flat on their faces when the ‘corporate voice’ – the voice that the customer hears – does not deliver the professionalism of the product, ethos or track record of the organisation. It amazes me how little vocal training many sales teams are given to help them maximise the small window of opportunity they have when in front of customers. The way I see it is: no sales = no business. Why take the risk of not ensuring your sales teams’ voices are the very best they can be?

So when I read or hear about courses that do not include at least a third of voice work delivered by voice specialists in their ‘presentation skills’ training, I realise that these people have no idea about courses they run, and have no idea how much value customers, clients and colleagues give to the vocal sound when making decisions. Call these courses ‘effective use of PowerPoint’, ‘content structures that help people understand’, ‘relax and de-stress’ or ‘how to sharpen your pencil’ – whatever – but do not call them ‘Presentation Skills’ if no serious time is given to the mechanics, physiology, psychology and delivery practises of the voice and vocal impact. This is like calling a course ‘Formula 1 Motor Racing Skills’, showing people maps of some race tracks, explaining the importance of driver focus, demonstrating how to change the engine oil and then, bizarrely, not giving them a F1 car with a skilled Instructor to guide them through their newly acquired skills!

(By the way Videoing participants and gratuitously pointing out the blatantly obvious doesn’t count! We are more interested in the cause, not the symptoms and we purposely ban video cameras from the first few days of our trainings. This ensures we guarantee long lasting change where the person no longer displays vocal and physical ‘oddities’. When our participants understand and are comfortable with their natural delivery styles and they can successfully combine this with their expert information, only then do we bring out the cameras as a means to achieve maximum effectiveness of the desired message.)

We all know the philosophical question – “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around tohear it, does it make a sound?” It demonstrates the dictum of ‘Esse est percipi – ‘ Tobe is to be perceived. This can be very easily  transferred to a sales, motivation, education or coaching environment. How often has a presentation ‘fallen in the forest’, and no one has heard it, acts on it, or even cares about it?!

In our ‘Secrets of Confident & Effective Speakers’ courses we continuously make the point that a listener doesn’t really care about the Presenters ‘stuff’ (their slides, sore throats, traffic jams, faulty projector, deadlines). An audience cares about what the Presenter says, how they say it, and most importantly how this makes the audience feel. This is what convinces them to believe, to follow, to buy!

So the next time you watch a TV programme, and you see a TV Presenter, realise that this 30 / 60 minute slot is the section on which you will judge the show, and not on the unseen weeks planning and preparation that has preceded the performance. To be at your best you must give equal time to rehearsing (or putting into practise) the skills of delivery. Only this gives you the best possible chance to do maximum justice to your integrity, ethos or product. This brings you and your message into the listeners present, and activates their response receptors. Planning, Preparation AND Performing. Does Your Performing do justice to your Planning and Preparation? Whether we like it or not, we are all TV Presenters!

Costly Presentation Errors – Easy To Avoid

Big client presentation coming up? Set your compass on winning. To win, watch out for these costly presentation errors. These 5 common pitfalls are easy to avoid-if you start now.

Many presenters rely on old slides. They dust them out, combine them with each other, and head off to win the day. Does this sound familiar? If you’re short on time and running fast, this kind of practice is easy to fall into. But it is dangerous and costly.

Recently, I participated in a conference panel. We reviewed 17 presentations from 17 candidates in a supervisory program. Each candidate’s presentation was reviewed from several perspectives. Leadership. Learning concepts. Story flow. Presentation impact.

The panel included experts on leadership, the program content, business context and presentation expertise. I reviewed each presentation’s effectiveness-from design to delivery.

Curious what caused the biggest problems?

Here are the 5 biggest and most costly errors in presentation style.

1. Abrupt and Formal Tone

The presenter was schooled in a military style. He presented his information with crisp perfection. What went wrong?

The reviewers did not feel included. They wanted to hear about human experience, insights and personal reflections. He was shocked and dismayed at their response. In individual interviews he continued to remain formal without sharing his personal experiences.

This presenter risked a failing score because he was too abrupt and overly formal.

2. Rambling Stories

The presenter loved telling stories. Everything was a fable, traditional tale and intricate plot. It was fascinating and colorful. What went wrong?

The panel did not see the point of all the stories. They wanted to hear a concise overview and clear conclusion. This presenter got an A+ in storytelling but a D in presenting learning conclusions.

The presenter failed to understand his audience. He did not adjust his personal strengths and style to match their goals.

3. Cluttered Slides

The presenter had a passion for marketing and branding stories. Every slide was chock full of visuals, examples and product pictures. What went wrong?

The display was confusing and overwhelming. The learning points were not clear. The passion was obvious…but the result was not visually memorable.

4. Boring Bullet Points

This presenter took a careful, analytical approach. Every point was spelled out in bullets. What went wrong?

It was supremely boring. While clearly articulated, we demanded pictures, illustrations and stories.

5. Poor Time Management

The presenter was so enthusiastic that she bubbled on endlessly. Guess what? She ran out of time.

The panel did not take lightly to this pitfall. The criticism was strong and focused on effective time management.

What does this say to you? You may have a more patient, more sensitive and more forgiving audience. Or you might not.

Keep a careful watch on these top pitfalls. They are easy to avoid when you use a presentation storyboard to plan a compelling presentation.

With a storyboard, you can quickly spot redundancies, potential ramblings and boring bits. You’ll instantly see areas where you could bore your audience…or get so excited that you use track of time.

One tip that will help you right away. Time your rehearsals. Practice giving your presentation with the clock as your guide. Many people find that rehearsing with a clock is a surefire way to reduce danger zones and deliver with impact.

To get to the top of your career, you’ll give hundreds if not thousands of presentations. One lousy presentation can cause serious damage. On the other hand, one exceptional presentation can boost your career to the top. To get ahead in your career, get smart about presenting. Take time to learn the steps to success and avoid costly mistakes.

It’s time to discover how to present with maximum impact.

Fishing For Smallmouth Bass – Presentation is the Key to Success

When it comes to fishing for smallmouth bass the presentation of your bait or lure is the key to success. In this article I’m going to discuss some of the simple reasons why this is the case. For those of you who don’t know, catching smallmouth bass is a ton of fun and these bronze beauties are widely known as the hardest fighting fish (pound for pound) that swim in freshwater.

These fish can be found in lakes, rivers, and even streams. Catching smallmouth bass out of the flowing waters of a small river or stream can make them even more fun to catch. They have an uncanny ability to use the current to their advantage when hooked, which makes fighting them that much more challenging and fun.

No matter what type of water you go fishing for smallmouth in, one of the keys to success is your presentation. The bottom line is that you want your offering (whether live or artificial) to appear as natural as possible. These fish are very smart, and unless they are extremely active, they tend not to bite unnatural offerings.

Let’s begin by discussing live bait. One of the most effective ways to catch smallmouth bass is by using live bait. The best way to have your live bait appear as natural as possible is to use gang hooks. Gang hooks are a pair of small hooks tied in tandem, which allow live bait (especially live worms) to be presented in a completely natural manner.

What are some of the best live baits for these fish? Crayfish are probably the best, although they can be difficult to find and fish with effectively. Gang hooks are great for live crayfish. The second hook helps to hook ‘short striking’ smallies. Worms and minnows are also good live baits for smallmouth bass. Live bait is a great choice when fishing for smallmouth bass. The more your bait looks like it does in nature, the better.

Now, let’s move on to artificial baits. The same principles hold true. If you’re using a crawfish lure for example, it needs to look like a crawfish looks underwater. Try to stay away from unnatural and strange colors that don’t look at all like the way the bait appears in nature. This is true for any artificial lure that’s employed. If you’re using a bait fish imitation, it needs to look like the bait fish does in nature.

When it comes to artificial baits for smallmouth bass, some of the more effective are Berkley’s Gulp and Power products. These baits perform, look, and feel like soft plastics, except for the fact that they’ve been impregnated with fish catching scents. These baits can be as effective as live bait in many fishing situations.