The biggest mistake PowerPoint presenters make with their audiences

September 20, 2016 | Presentations, Verbal communication

The biggest mistake PowerPoint presenters make with their audiences from Mike Consol on Vimeo.

Mike Consol teaches public speaking, PowerPoint presentation skills and business writing workshops to companies and business professionals. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 925-449-1040.

Help your readers by using transitions

September 12, 2016 | Writing

As basic as it might sound, one of the common mistakes that writers make is not including clear transitions or segues in the writing, particularly when moving from one thought to another or from one section to another of their composition. If we do not include clear transitions it makes it more difficult for the reader to track our thinking and our writing. For example, if I moving from a conceptual statement like I’ve just been making to concrete examples then they should alert you as a move into examples by saying for example. So ... (click on the headline to watch video)

Two keys to hitting your peak as a public speaker

September 07, 2016 | Presentations, Verbal communication

Becoming a great public speaker requires we master at least two characteristics of stage performance. They are ... (click on the headline to view video)

A public speaking lesson from Clinton and Trump — stop SHOUTING!

August 31, 2016 | Presentations, Verbal communication

When speaking to an audience with a microphone and a sound system don’t shout. Don’t do what Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been doing throughout this presidential campaign season. There is no need to shout when you have a microphone and sound system. If you feel as though your voice isn’t projecting, simply ask your sound person to jack-up your microphone so you can speak in a normal tone of voice and still project and fill the room with your statements. First and foremost ... (click on the headline for video)

8 steps for mastering your elevator pitch

Have you ever asked a businessperson what he or she does for a living and then regretted asking? Of course you have. That’s because one of a few things happens.

•  Number One: He goes into a long-winded explanation that does nothing to enlighten because it’s too unfocused.
•  Number Two: She gives a scattered response that makes it obvious she hasn’t really spent time thinking about how to say what she does.
•  Number Three: The answer is so brief and non-descript (such as I’m a consultant) that it’s impossible to assess the relevance.

There are many factors to take into consideration when writing and rehearsing an elevator pitch. So let’s turn to an expert on the subject for some guidance. Milo Frank is the author of a book titled “How To Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less.” That book makes some of the following recommendations ... (click on the headline to watch the video)

1.  Keep it to 30 seconds. The 30-second timeframe is key because, in addition to being the length of an average elevator ride, it’s also based on the human attention span. That is why radio and TV commercials typically run just 30 seconds.

2.  Understand your objective. It might be to get funding, a job, a new client, or a budget item approved. Make sure the words you choose are consistent with your objective.

3.  Know the subject. Can you describe your business or objective in one sentence? If so, you’re well on your way.

4.  Speak with clarity. Don’t use jargon or other esoteric terms. People won’t connect with that. Use simple language because it promotes clarity and it humanizes you.

5.  Know the audience. Target the right people. If you’re looking for $500,000 in funding don’t waste your time approaching a venture capitalist whose minimum investment is $5 million.

6.  Find a hook. What is it about your 30-second pitch that is going to really grab someone’s attention? Nothing accomplishes this like telling a person how they stand to benefit.

7.  Use analogies. A company that was using search technology to help people find music on the Internet described itself as “a company that does for music fans what Google does for information junkies.” That analogy not only explained what the company does for its customers, it also indicated a potentially giant financial opportunity by bringing Google into the conversation.

8.  Pay attention to presentation. Speak at a normal, clear tempo. If you speak at the rapid-fire pace of a telemarketer trying to get the message across before the other party hangs up the phone, you’ll sound like an amateur. If you have a relevant pitch, people will take 30 seconds to listen.

And don’t feel that you must fill 30 seconds. You might not need that much time. A shorter elevator pitch might be more effective. Barnett Helzberg’s pitch to Warren Buffett didn’t come close to 30 seconds and look what happened — it resulted in the deal of a lifetime.

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