Speaker notes: Tips from a public speaking coach

Whether I work with a CEO, CPA, Nobel Prize winner or novice presenter, my passion is to help elevate their skills and their careers. Throughout my 30-year career, I've coached leaders in technology, healthcare, sales, nonprofits and government. The articles below include observations and tips I have found helpful.

If you have a question about your next public speaking opportunity, let's talk.

Monday
Jun032013

Another Great Speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Listening to the radio recently, I was captivated as someone read one of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches that I hadn’t heard before.   The speech, ‘What is Your Life’s Blueprint?’, was delivered to a group of junior high school students.  I was struck by three aspects of the speech:

The Blueprint Theme. This was an easy to understand, and visual, metaphor.  Even younger teenagers can understand what a blueprint is and the value of having a plan for your life.  I also liked it because

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Monday
May062013

Women Leaders Speak on Success

Traveling in Asia, I read a Financial Times article that profiled 50 female business leaders across the globe.  The stories were inspiring and I liked how a few executives shared their keys to success.

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Monday
Apr082013

Boost Your Career With Success Stories

On a recent trip to Cleveland, Ohio I presented at the Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) Institute’s Career Day event for investment professionals.   Of the 80 participants, 50 were employed, 30 were in transition or soon to graduate from college, and everyone wanted to know how they could sell themselves more effectively.   The economy is tough in Cleveland, with banks and investment companies hard hit by the recession.  Competition for new business and jobs is intense!

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Monday
Mar042013

Improvise Your Way to Great Presentations

I  just read a book about Chicago’s famous Second City improvisational theater group.  It reminded me of the improv classes I took while studying for my MBA at the University of Washington in Seattle.   Three principles I learned in the classes, and applied performing for the Seattle Theatersports group, definitely translate to delivering great presentations.

Make The Other Person Look Good.  Great scenes happen when you respond positively to what your fellow improvisers do on stage, rather than trying to steal the show yourself. 

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Monday
Feb042013

The Successful Global Presenter

What would you do if you had to deliver the same presentation to audiences in Finland, Puerto Rico, Australia and Taiwan?  The answer to that question, and more, came up during the workshop on global presentations I gave at the Society for Research Administration (SRA) international conference in Seattle.

Senior managers from universities and research institutes in Europe, Asia/Pacific and North America attended the workshop.  They lead large global project teams, so, one of their biggest challenges is delivering presentations and workshops to international audiences. 

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Monday
Dec032012

The Mighty Ukulele: Anyone Can Do It

Ukulele Star Jake ShimabukuroI recently saw a documentary, Mighty Uke, about the global resurgence of the ukulele.  (Yes, it’s true!) The filmmakers traveled the globe to discover why so many ukulele clubs, groups and ensembles are sprouting up in countries like Japan, Israel, the U.K. and New Zealand.  They found that part of the Uke’s appeal is that with a little instruction and practice, anyone can learn how to play.

After the film, a local ukulele group took the stage and played three songs.  It was clear that many in the group were nervous, but they played well and with passion.   They received a standing ovation at the end, as much for their courage as for the music.

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Monday
Dec032012

The Power of Passion

As I work with different presenters I’m always looking for ways to help them express, in their own way, passion for their ideas.  When they do this in a genuine way it helps them connect with their audiences and adds power to their words.

Last week I saw a couple of compelling movies that illustrated how two very different individuals brought energy and dedication to their professions.

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Monday
Nov052012

The Presenter’s Gift: How to Add Value for Your Audience

One of the worst comments a presenter can hear from their audience is “That was a waste of time.” When this happens the audience feels that the presenter has ‘taken’ their time without giving back anything of value.

Why does this happen? 

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Monday
Oct012012

Risky Business: Presenting the Case for Change

I was talking to the CFO of a rapidly growing company recently to get his input on how people could be more effective when they present new programs and initiatives to him.  He offered some interesting insights:

Most people try to sell change by focusing primarily on the benefits of making the change.   What they forget is that those benefits are not guaranteed and I’m also thinking about how much risk I am willing to take to get those benefits.  Approving their project may make sense when viewed on its own, but I’m looking at the tradeoffs I’ll need to make to support it.  They need to show me that they understand what it’s going to take to actually implement the change within our organization.

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Tuesday
Sep042012

Talking to The Top: How to Make an Impact When Presenting to Executives

I recently had a very interesting conversation with a new client – a marketing manager at a high-tech company.  As part of our coaching we watched a video of her presentation at a large conference, where she had been rated in the top 5% of all speakers.  As we reviewed the video she said,

I just wish I could be that effective when presenting to our company executives.  My ideas never seem to connect with them.  I often don’t get past my first couple of slides and find myself fighting off tough questions and side comments.  I get frustrated and then I get even more nervous before my next presentation to them.

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Tuesday
Feb072012

Polishing Halos With The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy put on a great show recently at their luncheon celebrating 50 years of conservation in Oregon.  Russ Hoeflich, the Oregon chapter’s director, delivered a compelling talk that took us through a half-century of preserving great places.

Russ’ presentation had a variety of elements that kept our attention:

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