What do you really want?- define your communication objective

Presentations Skills

Before you enter into any kind of communication exchange—be it an interview, a meeting, a presentation, a negotiation, a conversation, or anything else—figure out what it is that you really want to happen.  A lot of times, people fall short in figuring out an ultimate goal, and instead they identify a short-term and self-focused goal.  These short-term goals often take the form of “Here’s what I plan to say,” or “Here’s what I will never agree to.”  These short-term goals relate to personal feelings and performance and neglect the ultimate goals of how we may want to other person or persons to be affected by our communication with them.

When we think about how we want the other person or persons to be different, we move outside of little things we might say.  We begin to consider other elements of persuasion and influence that may help us to affect our audience.  Perhaps your ultimate goal is for the other person to feel that they can call upon you for help at any time.  That goal would not be accomplished by only saying “Call me any time:” many other statements and actions would have to go into an exchange for the other person to have the feeling that he or she can call at any time.

Think about what you want the relationship to look like and about all the different things that will help to get it there.  Don’t stop at the things you plan to say.  Communication is not just words.

Audience Analysis: Who are they?

Presentations Skills

Much of my success in speaking to groups happens because of the questions I ask before I even begin to prepare my talk.  Most speakers think to ask basic questions, but not beyond.

The basic questions to have answered fall under the “Who Are They?” category:  age range, gender mix, group size, educational background, experience, knowledge of the topic, and any particulars you may know about group values or perspectives.  Of course any information about individuals in the audience is critical. more…

Hey Wake Up, Audience!- How to keep an audience engaged during your presentation

Presentations Skills

I give a lot of presentations and try my best to make sure my audiences listen, learn something, and don’t pick up their BlackBerrys while I’m speaking. Now and then I find myself presenting to people who barely even smile to be polite. more…