An offer you can’t refuse

Now that I have the undivided attention of some of you, I’ll get to the point of this article – presentations or public speaking. This is one activity that strikes fear into the heart of most people. To reduce your anxiety and to ensure a successful presentation, focus on one thought – preparation, preparation, and more preparation.The first few moments of a presentation can make it or break it. It will help you set up your presentation or speech if you can kick it off with a powerful introduction. How you perform in the first few minutes is very important because it is then when your audience is forming their impressions of you and what you are about to present. Get them ‘on side’ at the beginning and you are half way home. Knowing that you have a powerful introduction will also help reduce anxiety and boost your confidence. Get this right and you’ll be looking forward to your presentation instead of dreading it.Use this acronym INTRO to help put your introduction together.I – INTEREST How do you intend to capture the audience’s attention with something that is relevant to the subject? The solution may be a joke, anecdote, question, compliment, shock, startling fact, a provocative or controversial comment or a curiosity.N – NEEDYour introduction should explain why the audience needs to listen. In what way will the audience gain or benefit from the information you’re about to give them? What will be different for them as a result of listening to your presentation? If you are struggling to explain why people need to listen to your presentation – forget it.T – TITLE What are you going to call your presentation? For example, would you title your presentation ‘Public Speaking’ or ‘How to overcome nerves and enjoy public speaking’? The latter is likely to gain more attention. R – RANGE This has two elements – the range of topics you intend to cover in the time allotted and how long you intend to take to cover the range from beginning to end. Remember that as you announce a time frame, the audience sets its mental alarm, which may bring on a mental walkout if the timeframe is exceeded. O – OBJECTIVE What is it that you want the audience to do as a result of listening to your presentation? What is the specific action you would like them to take after your presentation? What results do you wish to accomplish? Good luck. Now all you need is an equally powerful body of content and an equally powerful ending. I’ll cover these and other ideas about public speaking in the next couple of columns. “To communicate, put your thoughts in order; give them a purpose; use them to persuade, to instruct, to discover, to seduce.”William Saffire. Columnist, The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Dec 1987 From the international best-selling books, ‘You Lead, They’ll Follow. How to inspire, lead and manage people. Really.’ Volumes 1, 2 and 3 by Daniel Kehoe published by McGraw Hill. for on-line orders. Daniel Kehoe provides a range of innovative tools for leadership, people management and business improvement to small, medium and large organizations including the You Lead, They’ll Follow Experience® and Systematic-Innovation® - one of the best ideas management systems on the planet. See T 08 9477 1135 E

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