PUBLIC SPEAKING

Connecting the Data Dots at Synapse 2019

Connecting the Data Dots at Synapse 2019

If the future is a future without cars, parking garages will make pretty cool event venues (or office spaces, like cred client @PeriscopeData’s HQ). 


This past week, Segment held their annual user conference Synapse—a two-day conference with more than 30 sessions focused on how to harness your customer data effectively and use that data to grow—at SVN West (a converted parking garage).

How to Be So Engaging, Even a Goldfish Will Remember You

 
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Let's be honest: introducing yourself to a total stranger and having a memorable, fulfilling conversation right away seems far-fetched—but what if it doesn’t have to be? Imagine being able to not only overcome the awkward small talk of a first-time interaction, but also turn it into a moment that is valuable and worthwhile for both parties.

We’ve put together some key tips on how to better prepare yourself for the next time somebody strikes you with the question, “So, what do you do?” 

  1. Switch it up: In most settings where you’re meeting new people, it’s common practice to talk about work right away. Knowing this, come prepared with something, anything, better than, “So, what do you do?” Ask them why they do what they do or what their favorite project is currently. Create the opportunity to see a side of somebody that goes beyond a general field of work.

  2. Be human: Maybe you’re at an event and found the perfect person to network with. Do a little background research by quickly checking their LinkedIn profile or listen carefully to them speak. You’re bound to find something you have in common. All of a sudden you’re the closest thing they have to a new friend at this event.

  3. Make big talk, not small talk: Introduce your line of work in a way that leads to a question prompting an even bigger idea. For example, I could say something like, “I connect clients with speaking opportunities to grow their thought leadership. If you had to give a Ted Talk, what would your topic be?” People love to talk about themselves, just give them the chance.

  4. Add more depth to your role: Your title alone is the least interesting thing about your job. Next time you’re prompted to talk about work, mention what you love about your job or a project you’re working on. Energy is contagious. If you’re excited, they’ll get excited not only because what you’re working on is awesome, but because you’re not talking about the weather.

  5. Keep in touch: Did you pay attention to what your new friend said? Great! Now follow up. People love to be remembered. Similar to when you write a thank you note after an interview, leave the conversation remembering something that stood out to you and include it in your follow-up note. People are used to forgetting the details of their interactions the moment they’re over. You’ll stand out by showing you were paying attention.

 

Storytelling Elements for Public Speaking

 
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Whether you are speaking to a small room of five people or an auditorium of 5,000, storytelling will make your presentation memorable. Studies show people are more likely to retain information when it is told through story. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

1. Keep it simple.

Make sure the details you’re sharing are necessary to the story. Too much information can be overwhelming for the audience and make your story hard to remember. It’s easy to add fluff, but it’s hard to refine your thoughts to align with what matters.

  • Tip: Edit, edit, edit. Read through your story multiple times and take out unnecessary fluff.

2. Use emotion.

Make people care about what you’re saying. Yes, statistics and data can be helpful, but using a genuine, real world example that utilizes emotion has been proven to be more effective. It makes the information stick with your audience and has a lasting impact.

  • Tip: Use names! Giving a face to a story makes it more personable and memorable.

3. End strong.

Every good story has clear conflict resolution. This is where your message should be clearly defined without open ends. It should be obvious and leave the audience feeling inspired! Use wording that will resonate with your audience and remember to keep it short and sweet.

  • Tip: Try limiting your message to one sentence or just a few words. Setting a word limit can help center and focus your thoughts.

 

5 Tips To Present with Confidence

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At cred, we wear many hats, and as part of our onboarding process for new employees, we invite them to educate us on a topic of their choosing on our blog. Here's what Gina King, cred's Associate, is teaching us about presenting with confidence this week!

Did you know that 74% of people have Glossophobia? You might not know what it is by its name, but you’ve probably suffered from its symptoms: nervous sweating, fidgeting, or speaking in a timid voice. Glossophobia is better known as the fear of public speaking, and at one time or another, we’ve all suffered from it.

The best way to combat these nervous behaviors is to present with confidence. While it may seem hard to evoke confidence when you feel nervous, relax, and try one or a combination of these five tips before your next presentation:

1. Research your topic inside and out: When giving a presentation, you are the expert. Make sure to research your subject matter thoroughly ahead of time, and be prepared to answer any questions that come your way.

2. Practice makes perfection: Don’t just practice your presentation the night before, plan to practice at least a week in advance to develop a strong comfort level.

3. Don’t memorize: Instead put your material in structured bullet points to remind you what topics or points you want to make. You also won't sound scripted.

4. Find a friend: Giving a presentation can be daunting. Ask a friend, colleague, or loved one to join your presentation. A friendly face helps you relax.

5. Don’t stress!: Stressing about your presentation creates additional, unnecessary nerves. Instead, try a technique that professional athletes use before big games — take a deep breath, and visualize your presentation going well. This combo technique will help reduce stress and build confidence.

Want more tips on how to evoke confidence during your next presentation? Check out this guide.

A Bit Shy? 6 Public Speaking Hacks for Introverts

 
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Introverts can make for great public speakers, too! Self-proclaimed shy-guy Simon Sinek, one of the most watched TedTalks presenters ever, shares his tips on how to handle nerves when speaking to large audiences:

 

  1. Don’t start talking as soon as you get on the stage - draw the audience in by taking a deep breath, making eye contact, and then standing or sitting in a comfortable position. Speaking immediately conveys fear and nerves to the audience.

  2. Be a giver, not a taker - the idea is to teach and inspire the audience, who’s very intuitive at distinguishing if the speaker is trying to sell a product or idea to them vs. offering helpful insights.

  3. Personalize your eye contact - instead of scanning the room throughout your presentation, focus on making eye contact with audience members one by one.

  4. Speak slowly - as we get nervous, both our heartbeat and speech accelerates. The audience would rather wait on you than miss out on important information.

  5. Focus on your supporters - of course, there are bound to be naysayers in the audience, pay them no attention. Focus on the smiling faces and nods of approval, they’ll make you feel confident while you are speaking.

  6. Show appreciation - always say “thank you” at the end of your presentation, especially when met with applause.


Interested in learning more tips? Check out the full article here.

 

How to Handle a Heckler

 

Dealing with hecklers is never fun. Fortunately for us, they rarely show themselves during presentations (most people are afraid of looking bad in front of large groups).

That said, it’s good to be prepared. As a presenter, hecklers can really throw you off and distract your audience. So what’s the best way to handle one?

We’ve rounded up five tips to help you get started:

  1. Never reward interrupting. When someone starts talking over you or chatting with their neighbor, keep going. Make them look rude.

  2. Respond if you need to. Sometimes you just have to respond to the comments. When this happens, make sure you’re addressing the whole audience and not just the heckler. If you only address the heckler, it may invite them to continue.

    • That said, at a certain point, it is okay to make a firm, direct request to the heckler to stop. Revert to Tip #3 and #4 for this.

  3. Don’t try to be funny. Unless you have experience doing stand-up, avoid trying to come up with a witty response - it may fall flat. You can still be pleasant, but deal with the heckler head-on.

  4. Stay calm and gracious. Shake off whatever the heckler has to say, and don’t let them ruin the rest of your presentation. Remember that you want to be the most mature and positive person in the room. Lose your cool and you might lose your momentum - as well as the rest of your audience.

  5. Don’t let it get personal. Focus on the subject matter, instead of attacking the individual. Avoid trying to get even.

Finally, remember that you’re serving the group’s needs - not the individual’s. Don’t let one naysayer drive a wedge between you and your audience!

Need more advice?

Check out these posts on dealing with hecklers and restoring order.

 

5 Presentation Tips to Become Pitch Perfect

 
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Whether it's for an intimate meeting or a huge conference, public speaking requires practice, and there is always room for improvement. Fortunately, there are a few tried-and-true ways to get ahead of the game.

This week, we’re taking pointers from Bill McGowan, Founder and CEO of Clarity Media Group, public speaking expert, and author of Pitch Perfect. We recently had the privilege of attending his talk at General Assembly, and also purchased his book!

Our favorite take-aways:

  1. Don’t buy time with the phrase: “That’s a great question.” Too often, it’s used to stall or flatter, and people can see right through it. According to McGowan, this phrase is as outdated as telling speakers to envision the audience in their underwear.

  2. Vary your delivery. Switch up the 3 P’s - that is, your pitch, pace, and projection. When delivering a key point, help it stick by slowing down, pausing, or changing your volume.

  3. Never start your presentation with an apology. Whether it’s 9 am and you’re the first session of the day, or 1 pm and the crowd is in a post-lunch slump, don’t feel like you need to preface your talk with a “I promise to keep this exciting…” or “I just want to take a little bit of your time.”

  4. Don't sweat the details. If something happened two years ago instead of three, don't worry about backtracking and correcting yourself. Press on, or you'll lose momentum - and audience interest.

  5. Stop wasting time with sign posts. That is, there's no need to begin your talk with a preview and/or give a recap afterwards. As McGowan says, don't tell your audience what you're going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. Instead, dive right in!

For more tips, check out Top Tips for Effective Presentations

 

10 Timeless Tips for Giving Effective Presentations

 
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Regardless of whatever industry you're in, it’s likely that you will have to give a presentation at some point in your life. And if you’re like any of our clients, maybe you’re actively speaking at conferences and events.

So what do you need to know about giving a presentation?

Here are 10 tips for delivering a clear, understandable, and thought-provoking message.

  1. Keep it simple. Unnecessary complexity should always be avoided. Don’t whip out a thesaurus before your presentation in an effort to sound more intelligent. Be real, be yourself, and use your own words.

  2. Stick to three key points. Narrow your focus - state your three points at the beginning of your presentation, and then reiterate them at the end. These are those key takeaways that your audience won’t want to forget.

  3. Engage your audience. Be interactive during your talk by finding ways to keep your audience involved. How? That’s up to you to decide! (Here are 8 ways to make your presentation more interactive.)

  4. Use visuals. One way to engage your audience (see point #3) is by using memorable visuals to emphasize your point. Stay away from too many bullet points and information overload.

  5. Be honest. Don’t try to fake passion for a topic that you don’t actually care about (or know nothing about). Your audience will see right through you.

  6. Move around. It’s the same as going to a concert. Audiences want to watch something dynamic. So walk around, use your hands (not too much though - it can be distracting), and make your point more visually appealing.

  7. Share stories. Help your audience relate to your message by incorporating a personal anecdote or two. Just make sure you don’t pepper the presentation with too much of your personal life…

  8. Be conversational. Remember that it’s not a lecture. We cannot stress this enough.

  9. Consult an expert. Always strive to improve your public speaking style and the quality of your presentations. Watch how-to videos, pay attention to other speakers onstage, read articles, take a course in public speaking, hire a vocal coach - always try to do and be better.

  10. Practice makes perfect. You can never practice too much. Rehearse in front of others or in front of a mirror, and don’t forget it’s okay to start small and then work your way up!

Interested in more? Here are 5 Speaker Fails to Avoid.

You can also view the original Entrepreneur article by Jacqueline Whitmore here.