It may not be the right thing to do, but people do judge a book by its cover.

There are many expert consultants dedicated entirely to helping others improve their appearance. Below is a collection of the most common items that come up for discussion during my workshops.
  • Do not wear excessive jewelry, loud prints, or colorful shoes that create competition for attention 
  • Avoid strong perfumes/colognes 
  • Remove change from pockets so you do not jingle it unintentionally 
  • Make sure your belt is through all the loops in your pants 
  • Check your teeth & face after meals 
  • No gum, mints, or anything else in your month while speaking – they can fly out when speaking and cause awkward moments 
  • Check all your buttons 
  • Position all coat flaps correctly 
  • Straighten your scarf or tie
  • When in doubt, dress conservatively
  • When speaking to a larger group, be sure to wear something that has a lapel or place to clip a remote microphone 
  • Check your zipper(s) 
While you do not want to appear stuffy and unapproachable, you also want your message taken seriously. Unless you are absolutely sure that casual dress is the way to go, dress it up a notch. Your audience will sense your comfort level, so it is important to feel good in what you are wearing. Just don’t over do it to the point that your attire competes for the attention.

What can you add to the list above?
 
 
Bad grammar is like bad breath:  Even your best friends won’t tell you.  And somebody should.
 
 
Many presenters take a good two-minute idea and dilute it with a sixty-minute vocabulary.
 
 
What is the goal of this presentation? What will we think, feel, or do differently after this meeting? Answers are absolute prerequisites.
 
 
 
 
If you haven't discovered www.ted.com by now, I urge you to watch some of these presentations. At least 90% are excellent. Think about the characteristics that make these people good presenters and "borrow" the ones that work for you. I'm not suggesting that you become someone else when presenting (authenticity is paramount)...just pick up on some of their best practices.
 
 
You've probably heard me preach time and again that a great presenter focuses on the audience. Many novice or mediocre presenters tend to focus on themselves. They take a bit of a narcissistic view by thinking they are the center of the attention and work hard to fulfill their own needs. This is one of the reasons why they are so "nervous."

The outstanding presenter's goal is to meet the needs of her audience. She knows how to shift the focus of attention so that the members of her audience are thinking about how the topic impacts them...how they are going to use or apply the information.

This does not mean that you should think less of yourself, is simply means you think of yourself less.
 
 
People begin judging us the moment they see us. Then, the instant we start speaking, they form judgments about our competence, our reliability, our product, our company, even our entire industry. Perception becomes reality. Major decisions are made and careers advanced (or slowed) because of good (or bad) presentations.
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“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

 
 
Most presenters tend to start off with something like “I want to tell you…” or “I want everyone in this room to know…” These phrases imply that it is about what you want (as the presenter) rather than what your audience wants or needs.

When you present, you are trying to persuade others to think, feel, or do something differently. This involves selling a product or an idea. Therefore, if you are the seller (presenter), then it is not about what you want, it is about what your buyer (audience) wants.

Try removing “I want” statements, especially during the first few minutes of your presentation.  It’s simple to do.  Try something like this, “Today you will discover…” or “During the next couple of minutes, you will learn…”  Or use the collective “we” as in “Together we will explore…”
 

The End

01/10/2012

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_People crave closure. We like books and movies that wrap things up and say "The End." At the conclusion of your presentation, your audience wants you to wrap up the loose ends and bring everything into perspective.

Most mediocre presenters close their presentations by saying something like this, “Well, that’s it. Are there any questions?” There may be a question or two, then, realizing she is out time (or past her time), the presenter say’s, “It looks like we are out of time. Thanks for coming." There is nothing wrong with that type of closing. It is an acceptable and mediocre way to close.

The outstanding presenter chooses a different closing. Rather than closing on the thoughts of an audience member, the outstanding presenter allows time for the audience's thoughts and comments throughout and several minutes before the conclusion of her presentation. She saves the last few minutes for her strong closing, i.e, the message she wants her audience to remember long after her presentation. Then she ends with a simple and powerful, “thank you.”