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Presentation skills

Preparing and structuring your presentation
There are three main stages to a well prepared and well structured presentation.

Making a positive first impression
The elements of a positive First Impression are : Appearance - including Posture - Communication Skills -  Non-Verbal Communication

Practical Presentation pointers
Usually when we meet a smartly and professionally dressed person we get a positive impression of that person. If they look tidy and organised, we tend to make the assumption that they work in the same manner as well. However, when we meet someone who is carelessly dressed and looks scruffy and untidy, we usually think they are unprofessional and we assume that their work quality will be as unprofessional as they look.

Practical Presentation design tips
The great majority of delivery problems that presenters experience are the consequence of poor design and lack of preparation. This article outlines a process that will help you to systematically go through  the most important aspects of designing a presentation so that you stand the best possible chance of succeeding in achieving your communication purpose.

Stress and Presentation
Its perfectly normal for presenting to cause some stress, cause if you don't get stressed over this then you're one in a million.

Dealing positively with nervousness
Some degree of nervous tension is a healthy and positive emotion to experience before giving a presentation because it means you care about how you present both your subject and yourself.

Know your audience
The more you know about your audience, the more power you will have in making your presentation more relevant to them, their field or their interests. Properly researching your audience or at least making an effort in that direction can really pay off.

Using slides and visuals
Slides can be a very effective tool that can help you get your message through to your audience with an impact specially when you want to focus their attention on something specific or to  stimulate interest or reinforce key ideas or data.

Using your eyes while presenting
When you are delivering a talk to a group of people, they look at you. They expect you to look at them - at least in some general way.

Improving your tone of voice
Flat, monotone sound can be improved by adding three E’s – energy, enthusiasm and expression. Business people sometimes develop a flat, monotone voice from the misconceived notion that the more controlled they sound and behave, the more professional they will appear.


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6 Step process for delivering your presentation
A presentation is not simply a speech to a large gathering, or even to a small one. Nor is it just selling an idea to a colleague. It is a mixture of all three.

Sounding more positive and powerful
Tips on how to have a more positive and powerful tone of voice while presenting.

Sounding more positive and Authoritative
Tips on how to have a more positive and authoritative tone of voice while presenting.

Handling questions & Answers
Questions and answers transform your presentation from a one way communication to a two way communication by giving your audience the chance to interact with you and ask questions about the content you delivered.

Handling challenging presentation situations
Sometimes we can be faced with the task of informing people about a decision which has been made and which we know will be unpopular.The aim should be to inform people about the decision but not get involved in discussing or questioning the decision.

Projecting a professional image
It is a strange fact of life that when we meet people for the first time we quickly make assumptions about them through the use of our senses.

Opening and Ending with a BANG
One of the common techniques that most great presenters use to make the most impact and make their message memorable and really stick is to start and end with what they call a BANG like starting or ending with a short, amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person or an anecdote that matches or illustrates what you are talking about, this is an immediate ice breaker that creates rapport with your audience.

It is a strange fact of life that when we meet people for the first time we quickly make assumptions about them through the use of our senses.

 “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression”.

What do we usually sense?


Generally, in the business context, when we meet a smartly dressed person, rightly or wrongly, we usually form a positive impression of that individual. If they look tidy and well organised we tend to make the assumption that they will operate at work in the same manner. However, when we meet somebody, for the first time, who is scruffy and untidy, we usually think very differently. 

See if you can think of it this way; you are your presentation. What impression will your audience form of you as you begin your presentation? Be aware that you can influence that impression and build this into your planning and preparation.


Positive use of energy and enthusiasm is infectious. People are generally attracted to positive and enthusiastic people, whatever the subject they are presenting. Cultivate an interesting presentation style, making the most of your natural personality, and you will command attention for even the most routine subject.

Clarity and Direction

People are more willing to listen when you know which direction you are going in and what you are trying to achieve and can communicate it to your audience. It is important to let your audience know what your objectives are, and how you intend to achieve them.

 Career Tips for Success

 • Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.

• Start your success programme by choosing ONE specific area to improve first, (e.g. posture, gestures, voice, etc.)

• Add impact to your voice by speaking in your lowest comfortable pitch.

• To be more persuasive, talk slightly faster than normal.

• Smile WHEN you are pleased, not in order to please.

• Come to meetings prepared to make at least one comment, and state it early in the meeting. (To help you prepare, ask for the Agenda in advance.)

• Personal Publicity – write a weekly or monthly progress report to your boss to make your work stand out.

• Don’t be against an idea unless you can be FOR something else.

• Increase rapport by subtly mirroring people’s body postures and using their language patterns, especially their frequently used metaphors.

• Focus on your allies – the ones who give you knowledge, support, money or promotions.

• If you make a mistake, admit it, then outline how you intend to either (1) fix it or (2) ensure it won’t happen again.

• Rid your speech of hedge phrases (sort of), empty adjectives (lovely) and tag questions (isn’t it?).

• Take responsibility for your responses to situations by using ‘I’ statements, e.g. “I’m upset” rather than “you upset me” which projects accountability.

• Set specific goals, commit to them, believe in them – and then experience them coming to fulfilment.


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Reputation & Visibility

Recent research across a large number of organisations shows that there are three factors determining whether someone is promoted or not. The most influential factor is visibility or exposure. The contributing factors are made up in this way:

• Doing the job - 10%.  Your performance rating and how good you really are at your job and its tasks and responsibilities
• Image and personal style - 30%.  How you come across, your way of getting things done, your attitude. If these don't fit - you don't get the job!
• Exposure and visibility - 60%.  People who know you, what kind of reputation you have, your contact and achievements.

Eight Ways to Raise Your Profile

1. Be well presented.  Project an appropriate and positive professional image. Be consistently well dressed and well groomed. This has the doubly positive effect - making you feel good as well as promoting a positive response from others.

2. Be well informed about the organisation, about your role and function and about your specialism. Make sure you are up to date.

3. Volunteer.  Volunteer to do the kind of task that gets you noticed. Giving presentations is a good example, as is reporting back from group discussions. You could also chair a meeting or make a speech at a retirement or leaving party.

4. Get into print.  Get used to the idea of publishing what you do. Try writing a short weekly or monthly report to your manager. Contribute to specialist journals. Contribute to the in-house newsletter. Write a report on a course attended - share your learning with others.

5. Network.  Learn the skills of getting to know people, keeping in touch and making conversation at functions. Join appropriate associations and go to the meetings!

6. Use your business card.  Make sure you always have a supply of business cards with you.  Stickers with your name and address on won't do!

7. Invest in some photographs.  Have a set of professional photographs taken. Use them for conference programmes when you are invited to speak and to accompany articles in professional journals.
8. Learn to give good presentations.  Even if you are experienced, commit time to re-train and update. Everyone can get into bad habits.

“A speaker’s uncontrolled nervousness is infectious.”

Some degree of nervous tension is a healthy and positive emotion to experience before giving a presentation because it means you care about how you present both your subject and yourself. On the other hand, nervousness is counter-productive if it is based on negative feelings about yourself, your message and/or your audience. Physical and mental preparation is vital to being a successful presenter.

Don’t be self-conscious about having a warm up routine.

Athletes and dancers warm up. Opera singers vocalise. Presenters, on the other hand seem to do a lot of standing around before a presentation.  A presentation is enormously demanding on the mind and body: vocal chords, the nervous system, body and mind.  If those things aren’t warmed up and ready to support you, you can be tense, awkward, uncomfortable and thick in the brain.  The following exercises aren’t going to make people think you’ve lost your marbles – chances are, they won’t even notice.  And if they do, so what?  Most people exercise these days and it’s a matter of self-pride and professionalism.

First, don’t fight it

You don’t get anywhere by waging war against nervousness. Accept it as a positive influence. People generally only get nervous about things that matter to them. At the very least it prevents you from being flat. If you keep a positive and encouraging frame of mind, you will ease your way through it a lot more effectively than by hammering and pounding.

Second, find a quiet place to sit and let your arms dangle at your sides

Make believe that your fingers and arms are supported by the carpet. If you can’t feel the carpet, just let your hands dangle there, detached. Feel the tension draining out of them and onto the carpet.  Remember, you’re not fighting anything, you’re just letting it drift away.

Third, while your arms are dangling there, twirl your wrists, so that your fingers shake loosely 

Athletes do this all the time, usually while waiting on the sidelines, just before entering a game. You’re shaking the stress out of them – not violently, gently. Coaxing them to ease off, not badgering them.  You’ll find that all of these little exercises increase the circulation – the blood supply – and anything that improves circulation reduces stress.

Fourth, imagine that you’re wearing a heavy overcoat and you can feel it resting on your shoulders

When you’re cold or nervous you ‘hunch up’. And when your shoulders are tight, the rest of your body feels tense. The gentle pressure of a pretend overcoat will encourage your shoulders to relax the rest of you will do the same.

Fifth, chew an imaginary, huge ball of gum 

If you hear your jaws grinding, you’re probably tense – and the exercise will help you open your mouth. A presenter who suffers the ‘tight jaw syndrome’ is like a footballer who can’t kick the ball.

Sixth, do some slow, deep breathing

Place one hand, open-fingered, on your diaphragm and the other on your stomach. Your aim is to deepen your breathing, and to push air into your lower lungs. As you breathe in, make sure your upper hand remains unmoved, while the lower should be forced out. Only let the upper hand be pushed out once you have expanded the lower area. Breathe slowly and deeply, concentrating only on the sound of your breathing. Close your eyes.

If you have time, drop your head from the sitting position, right down between your knees. Let it hang heavy and imagine the weight of your head stretching your neck towards the ground. Continue breathing deeply and gradually straighten up.
All you have to remember is this. As your breath goes in, your stomach goes out. Inhale, stomach out.  Exhale, stomach in.  Do it slowly and deeply for two minutes. It oxygenates the body and gently calms you down.  Do this in a well-ventilate room. You’ll find more about breathing in the section that deals with voice.

Seventh, say, “Let go” 

‘Let go’ needs to be said as a suggestion to yourself, not an order. Tell your brain, your muscles, your nerves, your arterial system to ease off and ‘let go’. These two little words will do more to diffuse negative nervousness than any other combination of words in the English language and nobody can make them work for you as well as you can.

Eighth, take a brisk walk.

While everybody else is loading up on coffee and biscuits, take a five minute walk.  If you haven’t got five minutes, walk around the corridors near your meeting room or walk up a couple of flights of stairs. Walking before presenting gets your whole body loosened up (it is guaranteed to prevent your knees from shaking).  Walking channels your excess nervousness. It gets you moving forward physically and mentally.  It projects you into your presentation in a non-stressed way. You walk in with a glow.

Helpful Tips

Develop the Habit of Positive Self-talk

• Picture success, talk to yourself (on the inside) in an encouraging way, create a positive self-image and perform to that image.

Believe in the audience’s goodwill

• They want you to succeed, want to be interested and entertained. They are probably quite glad it is you that’s up there and not them!

Be the Performer – Act “as if” you are in charge

• Behave in a way that you want to be seen – Smile and look and feel relaxed.

• Take a tip from the American motivational speakers and “Fake it ‘till you make it”. 
This means that having prepared carefully and rehearsed thoroughly, you pretend you are a confident and practiced presenter, until you find that you really are!

Believe in what you’re saying

• Be thoroughly convinced about the worth of your message.

Prepare Thoroughly

• Know your presentation “inside out”.


• In a mirror, to yourself, out loud – smooth out the “blind spots”, be confident about the timing, practise with the visual aids.


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Conflict Resolution (Click to read more)

Conflict is inevitable, we've all had them and probably will have them in the future. This two day conflict resolution training program will teach you or help you teach others how to more confidently deal.

price: $ 199.95  $ 179.95


Develop a Confidence Habit

Unshakeable confidence is the sense of certainty that we all want. The only way that you can consistently experience confidence, even in environments and situations you’ve never previously encountered, is through the power of faith in yourself. Imagine and feel certain about your ability to be able to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve. Imagine you are about to make a presentation to a group of people who want to hear you. Have faith that you will present in a clear, confident and interesting way, rather than wait for the faith in yourself to appear someday in the distant future.

When you’re confident you’re willing to experiment, to put yourself on the line. One way to develop faith in yourself and confidence is to simply practise using it. If I were to ask you if you were confident that you could tie your own shoelaces, I’m sure you could say with perfect confidence that you can.  Why? Only because you have done it thousands of times! So practise confidence by using it consistently, and you’ll be amazed at the dividends it reaps in every area of your life.

In order to get yourself to do anything, it’s imperative to exercise confidence rather than fear. Many people avoid doing things because they’re afraid.  They even feel bad about things in advance. But remember:  the source of success for outstanding achievers often finds its origin in a set of nurtured beliefs for which that individual had no evidence in advance! The ability to act on faith in self is what moves the human race forward.

Make sure that all your physical energy and vitality is available, taking care of your body and feeling fit and well adds to a sense of confidence in yourself.  If you need to give yourself a boost of confidence then go back to basics. Ask yourself how your health is. Are you getting enough quality sleep? Are you getting enough exercise? Contrary to popular belief, sitting still does not preserve energy. The truth is that’s usually when you feel most tired. The human nervous system needs to move to have energy.  Are you taking time out from work to have fun and be with interesting and stimulating people?  How are you breathing?  This may sound an odd question but when people are stressed they breathe in a shallow way. This saps energy and vitality.

So don’t be afraid.  Have faith and confidence in yourself and know that you are in control.

On Stage

Don’t sit there waiting with your legs crossed. One of them is liable to go to sleep. Presenters often get up to speak to find that they lunge forward, one leg functioning and the other leg floundering.  If you’re the next presenter, put both feet on the floor and lean forward. Wiggle your toes. No-one will know what you’re doing and you will have proof that both feet are ready to go.

In the Beginning

The first two minutes are the worst. Know exactly what you are going to say in that time, even if you can remember nothing else.

Slow down: 

Not half way through your presentation, at the beginning. Gabble at your peril. Did you ever take seriously anyone who spoke too fast?

Speak up: 

Learn the feeling of speaking at “presentation volume”. Can everyone hear you?  If you are not sure, ask them.

Stop bellowing: 

Too loud is as bad as too quiet.  If you normally speak loudly you will probably shout at your audience. 

Anyone Can Look but Seeing Requires Skill

When you are delivering a talk to a group of people, they look at you and they also expect you to look back at them - at least in some general way. Speakers look at their audiences in diverse ways; from an occasional glance, to attempts at some form of eye contact. Most speakers look. Few speakers see. Seeing your audience requires skill.

The most common way of just looking at a group of people is to scan. Your eyes may dart from face to face or slowly sweep the room without stopping anywhere. People who scan are usually unaware of what they do with their eyes. Scanning is an unconscious habit. What we need to replace it with is a conscious skill.

Scanning can cause you Problems

Here are 5 things that happen when you scan.

 • You become over-stimulated by a flood of images.
 •  Your state of nervousness increases.
 • You find it harder to think clearly.
 • You speak faster without intending to do so.
 • You may use non-words such as ‘um’, ‘uh’, and fillers like ‘O.K’.

The faster the eyes scan, the more extraneous information the brain receives.The information coming in gets in the way of the information you are sending out. For a moment, you give your brain too much to do.

Controlling Your Visual Attention

Where you place your attention has a profound effect on what your experience of any event will be.  For the purposes of this section we will be dealing with the valuable contribution that controlling your eye movement can make to the quality of your experience of presenting.  If you are scanning the room and trying to look at every face in a large audience whilst looking to the ceiling, floor or walls for your thoughts, you are probably feeling overwhelmed. This is why it is vital to take control over the amount of information that your eyes are sending to your brain.


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By the way you move your eyes, you can usefully limit or control both the amount and type of information your eyes gather.

No matter how large or how small your audience is, talk to one person at a time. Keep one person in focus until you finish a thought. This usually takes about five seconds, then move your focus to another person.

One thought to one person allows you to think with less distraction. It’s as if there was only one person in the room with you. Use one of the following two techniques :

1- Lighthouse Technique

Sweep the audience with your eyes, staying only 2-3 seconds on each person – unless in dialogue.

This will give each participant the impression that you are speaking to him/her personally and ensure attention, in the same way as the lighthouse keeps you awake by its regular sweeping flash of light.
Above all, avoid looking at one (friendly looking) member of the audience or at a fixed (non-threatening) point on the wall or floor.


2- Eye-Brain Control technique


• Before speaking, establish eye contact with one person.
• Complete one thought with that person.
• Pause briefly and take a breath while making eye contact with another person.
• Complete one thought with that person. Repeat this process throughout your presentation.


• You control your nervousness.
• You make particular contact with individuals in the audience.
• You think more clearly.
• Your rate of speech stays under control.
• You use fewer non-words and perhaps, none at all.

and you will avoid

• Scanning the room.
• Looking to the ceiling, floor or walls for you thoughts.
• Trying to look at every face in a large audience.

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