Presenters Who Go Overtime

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

Recently a well-respected man in his field was allotted 20 minutes for his remarks. He started by saying, “I can’t possible condense my message into 20 minutes. It will probably be more like 40. If you can’t stay until the end, feel free to leave.”

I don’t know how everyone else felt, but my three adjectives about him in that instant were: arrogant, self-centered, and disrespectful. Let’s add a fourth: undisciplined.

Especially in Hawaii, people don’t like getting up and walking out on a speaker. They are more likely to sit in quiet anguish, wondering how and when they can escape.

Please, speakers: You must learn how to be an accordion, gracefully collapsing and expanding your material. No one will know (or care about) what you left out. Learn how to express your message in one hour, half an hour, and five minutes. That’s what headlines are all about. A well-crafted headline lets us know if we should stick around for the rest of the story. Be that kind of speaker. Stick to your agreement and stay afterwards to chat with people who want more.


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.