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     Effective Business Communication

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October 2008

Vol 3  Issue 5    


Welcome to the October issue of Markets View. Not much news this month but I hope you enjoy the articles in the A to Z feature.

The A to Z of Effective Presentations article in this issue is dedicated to the letter "R". "R is for Room, Room Layouts and Rhetorical Questions".

Yours sincerely,

Graham Young
+44 1276 502257

Upcoming Courses

There have been a couple of changes to the course calendar toward the end of the year. Please see below for the revised dates and locations for my courses during the Autumn: 

  •     Effective Business Presentations    Fri 7th November in Basingstoke (FULL)

  •     Effective Business Presentations    Wed 19th November in Reading

  •     Advanced Presentation Workshop   Wed 3rd December in Guildford

  •     Effective Business Presentations    Fri 5th December in Guildford

  •     Effective Business Presentations    Wed 17th December in Heathrow

By attending one of these courses you can discover how to structure and deliver an effective business presentation. This is not just training on how to speak in public. It is concise, fact laden training on how to give a presentation that will make your voice heard and your objectives fulfilled.

If you have already attended one of my courses and you found it educational, enjoyable and effective why not forward this email to a colleague and encourage them to book on one of these courses.

For 4 or more people from the same company it may be more economical to run an in-house course, at your own office, on a day of your choice.

For more information or to book click here.


The A to Z of Effective Presentations

In previous newsletters, which you can access here, I have covered A to Q , so now it is the letter "R".  In this issue "R" stands for Room, Room Layouts and Rhetorical Questions.

R is for Room

Presentations take place in all types and sizes of rooms.  They may not even happen in a room at all.  The space and the facilities the room provides can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of any presentation.

I have 3 simple rules about the room you are using for your presentation.

1. Arrive early

You should always arrive early so that you can become accustomed to the room itself and check it over before your audience arrive.

Arriving just before you are about to present, means there is no time to fix any problems that you may find and no time to grow accustomed to your surroundings.

When you are one of a series of presenters, it is often best to practise your entrance.  How will you get up to your speaking position?  What does it feel like standing there? Where will I put my notes.

A word of warning if you are using cue cards or notes, do not leave them on a lectern, keep them with you.  It is all too easy for the previous speaker or the MC to pick up your notes along with theirs, leaving you helpless.

Make a note of where people come in.  Will late comers be able to join without interrupting your flow?

2. Make it tidy

You should minimise the number and level of distractions, so that the audience pays attention to you.

All too often presentations are made in an internal office room where various debris has been left behind by the previous occupant, including: writing on the white board or flipchart, books and papers left on desks or window sills, pieces of computer equipment that are not currently in use.  All these things work as distractions from your presentation and should be tidied up before your audience arrive.

Close the blinds on any windows in the room so that you audience are not distracted by what is going on outside.

Make sure everyone can see you and the screen or flipchart (assuming you are using one).  Try sitting in the back row to check that you can read the content of your slides. While you are there look around the room and make a note of anything that you can see that you do not need for the presentation and then remove those items.

3. Make sure that you know how to operate all the equipment

Do not forget to turn off your mobile phone and the screensaver on your laptop.  I remember one seminar I attended which comprised of a presentation and a demonstration of a computer system.  The presentation went well until it came to the demo.  The PC being used for the demo had a screensaver that could only be unlocked with a password.  Unfortunately, the PC had been borrowed from another member of staff and nobody in the room knew the password.

Make sure the pens all work, if you are going to use a flipchart or whiteboard.

To make sure people can hear you, ask a friend or colleague to sit in the back row during the presentation, they can then signal to you if your voice is too quiet.

When you are using a microphone, make sure you know how to turn it on, and do not forget to turn it off when you leave the stage.  You do not want your private conversations being broadcast to the whole room.

With modern projection equipment, you should not need to turn the lights down for people to see the screen; however, it is always wise to check that there are no awkward reflections, which might interfere with people's vision.

When using PowerPoint, a little known trick is to set the presentation up and then press 'B'.  This turns the screen black so that your first slide is not displayed until you are ready to begin.  Pressing 'B' again turns on the presentation.  Similarly, 'W' will turn the screen white.

R is for Room Layout

The layout of the room can have a dramatic effect on the level and style of communication in a meeting. Click here to read a paper on how to layout the room according to the style of meeting you are running.

R is for Rhetorical Questions

Following on from the article in the last newsletter about Handling Questions, here is another form of questioning that puts you firmly in control.

A rhetorical question can be a good way of opening a presentation or a sub-section of a presentation.  They have far more impact than a bland statement and will hopefully get your audience thinking.

'Why should you use xxxx?' 

 has far more impact than:

'Using xxxxx can help'

By posing a rhetorical question your audience have to start thinking about the answer. Leave a pause after you have asked the question to let it sink in, before starting to give the answer.

Giving a talk on Tax Planning, may not sound like the most exciting of topics, but starting with a question like:

'How much money did you give to the taxman last year?   Would you like to give him less this year?'

is likely to grab people's attention and make them listen to what you have to say.

Improve Your Presentations

I hope you have found this newsletter useful and interesting. You can learn a lot more about how to structure and give an Effective Business Presentation, by:

  • Attending a Young Markets Effective Presentations Skills training course
  • Reading my ebook "The A to Z of Effective Business Presentations" which you can download from my website today.
  • Taking my on-line course which is just one of the many sales related training modules at  

Please feel free to forward this on to your friends and colleagues.  If you have received this second hand and would like your own personal copy of future issues, please click here.

I hope you have found this issue of Markets View interesting and informative.

Effective Business Communication 

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