The Crucial First Five Seconds

Written by Pam Chambers Be first to comment on this post.

The Crucial First Five Seconds

Picture this: You’re sitting on your sofa watching TV, remote control in hand, looking for someone who will captivate you. How many seconds do you give each candidate before you zap them away? If you’re like most people, two to five seconds.

It’s the same when you give a presentation whether to one person, to a small group, or before a large audience. Within seconds your audience makes decisions about your credibility, trustworthiness, attractiveness, and social standing. Instead of making a bad impression and having to claw your way into position, start off on the right foot.

Dress the way they expect you to dress.

What is the dress code of your audience? Dress that way plus a notch above, to show that this event is important to you.

Show that you want to be there.

Your presentation starts the moment anyone you’ll be speaking to sets eyes on you. From that moment on, you need to convey that you’re eager, purposeful, and confident. People will observe you long before it’s your turn to speak (and long after you’ve stopped speaking).

Match your audiences energy.

Each group has its own energy — apathetic, mildly interested, eager. Accept where they are. You’ll create a bond that will allow you to move people toward your intended result.

If you are with an apathetic group, pose a few rhetorical questions, and watch for their ears to perk up. Then move to some hands-up questions. This will give you what you want — an involved audience.


Don’t Pack Too Much

Written by Pam Chambers Be first to comment on this post.

One of the biggest mistakes presenters make is they pack too much in! They are so afraid of running out of material that they over-do it, and then they run out of time. They start rushing to fit it all in, and we feel their panic. Their message may be lost in the flurry of words.

Pack your talk as if you were packing a suitcase. Don’t you want to leave some room for some goodies you find along the way?

I had a student who planned her talks to the second! During one of her talks, we thought something was humorous and we laughed. She waved her hands wildly to silence us. Afterwards, I asked, “Why didn’t you allow us to laugh?” “I didn’t have time for you to laugh!”

If that weren’t so sad, it would almost be funny.

It’s better to end up with extra time than to sit on your suitcase to force it closed.


Nix “I didn’t have a chance.”

Written by Pam Chambers Be first to comment on this post.

Please remove this phrase from your brain and mouth: “I didn’t have a chance.”

“I didn’t have a chance to look at your website.”

“I didn’t have a chance to read your article.”

“I didn’t have a chance to visit your new store.”

Yes, you had a chance! Probably several dozen chances. The point is — you didn’t TAKE that chance!

Between session 1 and 2 of my presentation skills classes, I assign the reading of my book, Life is a Presentation. And I add, “Next week, no one gets to say, ‘I didn’t have a chance to read your book.’ If you didn’t read it, you must say, ‘I did not make it a priority to read your book.'”

I say, “Surely, you don’t want us to think you don’t have the power to manage your time, to keep your word, or to communicate appropriately if circumstances are truly beyond your control.”

I have a client who has been putting off an “uncomfortable” conversation with a co-worker whom he manages. After one month of avoiding this conversation, he is still telling me that he “hasn’t had a chance” and “the timing hasn’t been right.”

Take calcium for a stronger backbone, my friends! And take that chance when it’s right in front of you!