From the category archives:


7 Tips to Ensure You’re Understood when Speaking to a Foreign Audience

March 6, 2012
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This is a guest post by Leon Potgieter. “Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages.” – Dave Barry The phrase “tough crowd” takes on an entirely new [...]

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What to do when you’re losing your audience

June 7, 2011

Your audience’s attention will fade over time unless you take specific steps to keep them engaged. Here’s a graph showing the attention of university students during a 50 minute lecture – where the lecturer lost his audience (Reference: Hartley J and Davies I “Note taking: A critical review” Programmed Learning and Educational technology, 1978,15, 207-224). [...]

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Six Secrets from a Professional Speaker on Audience Participation

August 18, 2010

Last week I wrote about the challenge of the third era of presenting: the era of the audience. Kristin Arnold has written a provocative and intensely practical book Boring to Bravo on how to meet that challenge by encouraging audience participation . The philosophy of the book is summed up by this quote from Amanda [...]

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The best presentations at SXSW 2010

March 20, 2010
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SXSW is a mega conference/festival for geeks in Austin, Texas, United States. Mega means over 10,000 attendees. I came here to see what’s happening at the geek edge of presenting. To observe the interface between presentations and technology. But what has been most in my face is that the best presenters I saw care! They [...]

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How to handle a heckler

February 25, 2010
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There’s a step by step process you can use to effectively handle a heckler. 1. Manage your own emotional state This is the first prerequisite to be able to handle a heckler with dignity. You can manage your emotional state by managing your thoughts. If you believe that a person who interrupts you is rude, [...]

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How to keep audience attention when people are multitasking

January 14, 2010

A reader asked me this question about audience attention: Some of us who are 45+ are finding that younger people text and use computers during presentations to the point of rudeness. This happens even when others in the presentation give great evaluations.  We think we’ll be seen as “old farts” if we ask them to [...]

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Why most attempts at audience participation fail and what to do about it

March 25, 2009

Yesterday I had a skype conversation with Twitter follower Todd (@TJList) on how to include audience participation in a presentation. He’s presenting on getting through the economic downturn to an audience of small business owners. Here was his question: How can I involve my audience in the presentation? I want the audience to feel like [...]

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7 time-saving tips for planning your presentation

March 13, 2009

In my last post, I wrote about why it’s worthwhile to spend time preparing a presentation. But it’s also possible to waste time preparing a presentation, by not going about it in the right way. So here are my 7 time-saving tips to help you prepare a presentation efficiently. 1. Always be preparing Professional public [...]

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8 things I learnt about using twitter as a participation tool

March 1, 2009

Today, I presented a session remotely at the Presentation Camp at Stanford University, California. My session was on “How to engage your audience with Twitter” and I tried to do exactly that during my presentation. Here’s what I learnt from my experience: 1. Design your presentation for Twitter I used two strategies that took into [...]

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Is Twitter a good thing while you’re presenting?

February 26, 2009

I’ve recently written two guest posts on Twitter and presenting. On Laura Fitton’s Touchbase blog, I looked at the benefits for the audience and the speaker of people twittering while you speak and how to manage it. On Chris Spagnuolo’s Edgehopper blog, I went to the next step and explored how you can use Twitter [...]

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