Given that no audience enters a presentation with their minds clear from outside concerns, is your responsibility as the presenter to capture their attention. The most effective way to do this is with a “hook”, a handy technique I learnt from my time in Deloitte Consulting.Read More
Used well, a visual aid such as PowerPoint or a flipchart can be a valuable addition to a spoken presentation. For visual learners, myself included, the use of a clean, well-structured visual aid makes difficult concepts easier to understand than with speech alone. I’m a huge fan of speech-only presentations, but while powerful they tend to risk losing the understanding, and therefore attention, of audience members who are more visually oriented. But when it comes to PowerPoint, the crucial phrase is ‘used well’.Read More
Just like a business presentation or pitch, crafting good stand-up comedy requires precision. This blog post will show you how playing with the word order in your presentation can give you a powerful tool to maximise both humour and emphasis.Read More
Have you ever walked into a room full of strangers, be it a networking event or a cocktail party, and felt absolutely out of place? That everyone else was aware of your grindingly inappropriate presence, and was judging you for it? We all have, and this blog post will explain why you were probably wrong.Read More
Have you ever watched someone give a presentation and been fascinated by it for the first six minutes, but then lost interest over time? We often think the more content we give our audience, the more satisfied they will be, but the opposite is generally true. Ending early, and on a high, will leave your audience wanting more.Read More
Most of us are very capable of empathy towards others, but we often forget to take the time to consider whether the other person might need it right now. Whether at a networking event or with our friends and family, it can be immensely useful to bear in mind that it isn’t immediately obvious what has just happened in the comic strip of their life.Read More
Have you ever found it difficult to get someone to open up in conversation? Ever wondered what the other person is really interested in, but not quite managed to get there? Want to know how you can make every conversation memorable by taking control of the questions you use?Read More
How often, in a conversation of more than two people, have you felt you had to jump in as quickly as possible to make yourself heard? In this post I'm going to show you why a squeaky novelty parrot is what you need to get more out of every single group discussion from now on.
If you read last week’s post on smiling, you’ll know that after a recent move to Madrid I have found my Spanish is, while sufficient for general conversation, hindering my ability to connect with people on the same level as I can in English. This has recently proved to be particularly true in group conversations, and in a way that has made me realise how often I have unintentionally made it hard for other people to contribute.Read More
Have you ever found yourself saying that you didn’t get on with a person, but struggled to work out exactly why? Unless that person had repugnant views about a recent world atrocity, I suggest it was probably because they didn’t smile very much.
I've recently realised just how far a simple smile can go. I moved to Madrid three weeks ago after two and a half years as a management consultant in London. My Spanish is good but, contrary to conventional wisdom, my ability to speak it is significantly better than my ability to understand others (friends unkindly suggest that I also have this problem in English). Moving to another country without any personal connections and with only the names and phone numbers of a few friends-of-friends, my greatest chance of avoiding social exile has been to connect with new people quickly: otherwise known as building rapport.
Usually, the best way to build rapport in a conversation is to show you are enjoying the other person’s company. This in turn allows them to relax and enjoy yours, liking you more in the process.Read More