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Editor's Corner
Excerpted from the August 2003 Newsletter

Break away from the crowd

What is it about presentations that sends us scurrying back to junior high? Remember how important it was to look like everyone else? Of course, that's not how we thought of it, but when we look at our own kids we can see that's what it is.

In some ways, we've broken away from that, but when it comes to presentations, we're right there doing it the way it's always been done. It's SAFE.

And, when it's a client presentation, it only gets worse. Instead of actually evaluating the situation, thinking like the client, and focusing on meeting their needs, we're more likely to think of ways to impress the client, assess the probabilities of the competition's presentation, and automatically (consequently) increase the number of slides.

Consider what the competition will do, but not with the thought of matching them. The only impressing of the client that really works is much less overt than the standard approach. And increasing the number of slides to match expectations is pretty much guaranteed to fail.

For best results consider doing these:

1. Edit your slides ruthlessly, both the number of slides and the amount of text on the slides.

Many of your competitors still believe that a slick slide show is the core of a successful presentation. Don't go junior high here. Use as few as you can, only as many as it takes to illustrate the essence of your presentation.

An abundance of slides or of text keeps you focused on the slides and the technology rather than on connecting with your audience, which is the next point.

2. Connect with your audience. (Shut down your ego.) If you were the buyer, how would you decide which vendor to use? Would you really base your decision on how slick the presentation was? Or how many slides? Or how many years they had been in business? Not likely.

What it usually comes down to is whether you sound credible and whether or not they feel comfortable with you.

Being knowledgeable and genuine are your best tools, so figure out how you're going to connect. Part of it's your attitude and part is your content. Your content needs to show you understand problems they've had that you can spare them from, and that you know their audience or their frustrations. You'll connect by speaking directly to those things that matter most to them.

Dear teach

Jay Bell, Warren Bell Associates, Forestville, CA:

"Things I've noticed since taking your class: That I can be myself in various situations and don't have to play the role of a seminar leader, the father-of-the-groom giving a toast, or a creativity guru presenting an idea to a client.

"I'm happy to discover that the principles you teach apply generally to speaking; they smooth out transitions from one situation to the next to the next.

"I can think about my immediate audience and what they need from me at that moment. And that's regardless of what type of speaking I'll need to do. Above all, I'm really feeling good about being able to be me."

First person

Marj Blixhaven, AWAIC, Anchorage, Alaska:

"You may remember my writing you 5 years ago (shortly after taking your class) about unexpectedly having to give a speech in front of the mayor, the police chief, a state senator and TV cameras while I was wearing jeans, tennies and a moose sweatshirt. Well, I've done it again.

"I am now the executive director of the women's shelter here and get asked to speak about domestic violence and our services fairly often.

"One recent morning at 10:45 I got a call from a woman who was in desperate need of a lunch program for the Rotary Club that day. It was easy to say yes, because I knew I could pull together a strong opening, a few main points, and a strong close in the coming hour.

"Once again, I wasn't dressed the way I would have been if I had known before I left the house that I would be speaking to 60 people (will I ever learn) but I just did what you trained us to do. It went well.

"They had a podium with a mike that their other speakers were using, but I removed the mike and stepped to the side of the podium like you taught us. Lots of connection with the audience, lots of questions and interest on their part, and it was over before I knew it.

"As I drove away, I was grateful once again for your training. Not only am I able to convey information about a very serious problem to lots of people through my speaking engagements, but it really is stress-free for me."

"How or when is it good to use laser pointers?"

It's a matter of personal choice. My feeling is that every piece of equipment you use gives you more to keep track of. And if they can focus on the point without having to use a pointer, don't use one. So if you're using one, be sure it's for the right reasons.

A laser pointer (or any pointer) has to be tended. Do you remember to put it down, turn it off or not to play with it when you're not using it? Do you have a steady hand so that the light doesn't wobble all over the slide?

Your slides should be as simple as possible. If they're relatively uncluttered, you should be able to gesture toward the part of the slide you're drawing their attention to, and also to give them verbal directions: "You'll notice in the upper right hand corner"

Quotes can make it lively

"The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided." Casey Stengel

"Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy." Howard W. Newton

"Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The most thoroughly wasted of all days is that on which one has not laughed." Chamfort

"Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly." Nepalese good luck mantra excerpt

"It is never too late to become the person you always thought you would be." George Eliot

"Don't let perfect ruin good." (Harry Beckwith from the book Selling the Invisible, 1997)

"A true friend stabs you in the front." Oscar Wilde

Orders

Think gifts. Someone you know is going to be giving more presentations soon. Give them a practical gift that will make those presentations easier and more effective. Learn more or Order Online.

Book
"Getting Over Yourself: A Guide to Painless Public Speaking...and More" by Barbara Rocha 208 pages, illustrated, cartoons $19.95

Audiotape or CD ROM
The "Getting Over Yourself" book on audiotape read by the author ($17.95) or CD ROM ($19.95).

Booklets by Barbara Rocha:
$9.95 each (+$1.50 Shipping and Handling)
"Pocket Guide for Presenters"
103 pages

"60 Ways to Spark Your Speaking: Just in time answers to frequently asked questions"
154 pages

"Love to Talk/Hate to Speak: Selected articles by Barbara Rocha"
121 pages

Speeches on Tape:
"From Bored Room to Board Room" $10.95
"Stand Up and Stand Out" $10.95

Video
"Getting Over Yourself: A Guide to Painless Public Speaking" featuring Barbara Rocha in excerpts from her book, seminar classes and interactive coaching. VHS $99.95

Learn more
Order Online
Call (888) 800-2001
E-mail: BouldinHil@aol.com
Write: Bouldin Hill Press at 17-555 Bubbling Wells Rd., Desert Hot Springs, CA 92241

Seminars

**How to Overcome the Stress of Public Speaking
Pasadena: 3-day workshop October 25, 26, 27, 2010.

We have two public seminars each year: May and October/November. If you have several people who could use this training, contact us regarding an in-house seminar.

As a refresher, workshop graduates (from any of our 3-day workshops) may attend for half price at any time. People tell us they get as much or more out of the workshop the second time around.

Visit our seminars section for details or call (888) 800-2001

For more information, contact:

Barbara Rocha and Associates

PO Box 60521, Pasadena, California 91116

(626) 792-8075



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