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Newsletter

Autumn 2005

 
Vol 1  Issue 3    

Welcome

In this issue I would like to lay to rest an urban myth that only 7% of a presentation is based on the words that you use. This figure is used by presentation trainers and coaches around the world, but it just is not true.

I am also proud to announce that Young Markets can now provide a cost effective tele-conferencing service, for those times when it is impossible or too expensive to gather and talk face to face. 

We also continue with our A to Z of Effective Presentations, this issue we are on to the " C" s.

New easy to use, high quality, cost effective Tele-Conferencing service

THIS SERVICE IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE, SORRY.

There is no setup charge, no added fees for the originator and you can use it at any time, from any UK phone, including mobiles.  There is even no need to book in advance. 

Calls cost only 8.5p + VAT = 10p per minute.  That is about 2/3rds of the cost of BT’s Conferencing service.  Call charges from mobiles may vary.

To use this secure, high quality conferencing: dial 0871 230 8892 and key "2" to set up a private conference room.  You will be given a 6 digit passcode.

Tell everyone when to dial in, on 0871 230 8892 and give them this passcode. That's all there is to it. You can re-use the same conference room passcode again and again.

Add the number 0871 230 8892 to your phone books now, you never know when you might need it. 

 

Understanding an Urban Myth

The objective for most business presentations to is educate and influence people, while at the same time providing some entertainment to keep them interested.  To achieve this, the audience must understand what you are saying.  There are three aspects to understanding what someone is saying:

  • Vocal
  • Verbal
  • Visual

The standard percentages that are often quoted in relation to public speaking, are that 7% of the information is conveyed verbally, 38% vocally, and 55% visually. These percentages have become an urban myth, propagated by presentation trainers and voice coaches around the world.

These percentages are not only misleading, they are wrong.  The origins of these figures are two separate studies, one conducted by Albert Mehrabian and Susan Ferris (1967) which compared vocal tone to facial cues, and the other by Mehrabian and Wiener (1967) which compared vocal tones to single words. The single word used was " maybe" .

Mehrabian himself says "My findings are often misquoted.  Clearly, it is absurd to imply or suggest that the verbal portion of all communication constitutes only 7% of the message."

However, that said, the way you say something has a tremendous affect on the way the words are received and the visual stimuli have yet another affect.  What to aim for is having all three communication mechanisms, verbal, vocal and visual, to be in line with each other and to re-enforce each other.

Verbally

Are the words that you are using easily understood by your audience?  Try to avoid jargon and slang.  Follow the KISS principle, decide what your main message should be and stick to it.  Do not confuse the issue with a number of smaller less imported side issues, which do not support your main theme.  They may be interesting points but if they are tangential to the rest of your presentation, they are best avoided.

Vocally

Can your audience hear you?  Are you talking loudly enough?  Are you talking too loudly?

Talking too loudly can be as frustrating for the audience as someone who talks too quietly.  I remember one sales training presentation I attended where the speaker felt he had to shout to make his points.  The first couple of times he shouted everyone paid attention, the next couple of items people started to become irritated and from then on, everybody switched off and did not listen to a thing he was saying.

As well as the volume, try to enunciate clearly and do not mumble.  Put some feeling into your voice rather than just reciting information in a monotone.  By varying the pitch, tone and volume of our voice, you will capture people’s attention and they will understand you better.

If you are unsure of how to put that sort of feeling into your voice, practise by reading young children stories from their books.  Most people become more animated when doing this.

Visually

What the audience sees has to reinforce what they are being told, and how they are being told it.  If you were told by the managing director that the company was doing really well and it was destined to break all its targets, while he was slouching about with a face as long as a wet weekend.  Would you believe him?

Your visual aids, e.g. PowerPoint slides, should illustrate the points you are making verbally, they shouldn’t just be a list of bullet points but convey some added value.

Remember, all three aspects must corroborate each other.  Having either of them contradicting what you are saying will ruin the communication.

A to Z of Effective Presentations

In this issue it is the turn for the " C" s, including: Call to Action - Creative Visualisation - Confidence.

C is for Call to Action

When you are giving a business presentation, there is inevitably a reason why you are presenting which is more than just to entertain.  You may want to educate your audience but invariable you are also trying to influence them or persuade them into a particular course of action.

Think about why you are presenting, what is it you would like people to do as a result of your presentation.  It may be that you want them to buy your products or services then and there, or maybe you have slightly more modest ambitions to move them on to the next step in the sales cycle.

Maybe you want them to change the way they think about something. If you have given them an excellent, informative, entertaining and persuasive presentation, do not end it without a call to action.  If you just leave people to go away and think about it, and no matter how fired up they are by your presentation, they will go off back to their normal world.  Back to where other pressures are placed on them, where interruptions are rife, back to what they are used to.  Even with the best will in the world, they will be distracted and may not follow through. 

You need to set them a challenge, a call to action that will move them further forward in the direction of your goal.  You need to get them to buy in to your proposition.  

Ending a business presentation without a call to action is essentially a massive waste of time.  You have wasted your time and their time, because without the call to action the chance of someone taking action off their own initiative is very low.

Presentations are not one off events; they should be part of an integrated plan to achieve your goals.  The call to action coming at the end of a presentation tells the audience what they should do next.  Without it, you are giving control over the process back to your audience, which means you no longer have control.  Control that you have invested a great deal of time and effort in, by creating and giving the presentation.

C is for Creative Visualisation

Creative Visualisation is a technique that you can use to instil confidence in yourself, to calm thenerves prior to a presentation and to help ensure your presentation is a success.  It is a technique that first surfaced in sports.  Before a high dive champion jumps off the top board, he or she may use Creative Visualisation to imagine the perfect dive.

Springing off the board, curling in to the first roll, arms in tight, knees up against the chest.  Then extending out, fingers stretched, toes pointing at the ceiling and back perfectly straight.  This is followed by the entry into the water, fingers first followed by the arms, head, torso, legs then feet and toes, without a splash.  Finally, surfacing to rapturous applause and a perfect score from the judges.

By visualising this perfect performance, it helps to convince you that you can do it, it helps to make you think about all the various steps, clarifying in your mind exactly what you have to do to make it perfect.

You can do the same with your presentation; imagine standing on the stage, not fidgeting, talking loud and clear, the audience are hanging on your every word, smiling back at you and when you finish, them rising to give you a standing ovation.

Creative visualisation is just one of the ways of overcoming the fear and nervousness of public speaking.

C is for Conviction

If you want people to believe you, you have to belief yourself first.  You need to talk like you mean it. 

Leave out all those phrases like " I think…." and " Perhaps …" be more definite.

Instead of saying, " I think, if we worked together we could probably achieve our goal" say, " Together, we can achieve our goal" , " In fact, we can exceed it!"

I remember, when I was working for a large well-known software company, we had a very important product launch of a completely new suite of software.  As part of this launch we were staging a massive presentation for hundreds of existing customers and potential prospects.

It was so important that we hired a voice coach to preview all our presentations to ensure we were up to scratch.  I gave my presentation and was given a very positive assessment, except for one part where I had to talk about the multi-lingual capabilities of the software.  The coach asked me if I believed what I was saying.  I had to admit that it was the one aspect of the product suite that had not yet been implemented and that I had my doubts about how well it would perform.  She said that the doubt came across in my voice and that I either need to convince myself that it would work or leave that part out of the presentation.  So I went back and talked it through with the developers, learnt more about how they were going to achieve the support for multi-lingual operation and became convinced that it would work.  The presentation went off with out a hitch.

When it comes down to it, if you do not believe it yourself, you will never get others to believe it.

If you are enjoying the " A to Z of Presentations" but can’t wait the years that it will take before we get to " Z" in this newsletter, an alternative is now available.  My ebook " A to Z of Effective Business Presentations" is now available.  You can download it from www.businesspresentation.biz  This book provides everything you need to know about how to organise, structure and give an effective business presentation. All in one easy to read ebook.

 

Thank you for reading this far

I hope you have found this issue of Markets View interesting and informative.  Don’t forget to check out my new website at www.businesspresentation.biz there are free presentation tips and tricks to download, my ebook " A to Z of Effective Business Presentations" and an Excel workbook that will reveal your favourite influencing styles.

Don't forget about the new tele-conferencing service. Put 0871 230 8892 in your mobile phone today, you never know when you might need it.

If you know someone who could benefit from training or coaching in presentation skills, please pass on my contact details.

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


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