How to Engage Your Audience During a Talk or Workshop

Here’s a scenario you’ve probably experienced many times as an audience member.  The presenter at the front of the room is carrying out the entire “show” – lecturing, spraying you with information, and delivering what he or she thinks is great value. You’re sitting passively in listening mode – and eventually succumbing to EGO. No, it’s not what you think. EGO stands for [Read more…]


The Cons (and Pros) of Using Examples in Your Talks and Workshops

I can’t imagine trying to teach any topic without using examples.

On the pro side, examples can

  • clarify ideas and create an “aha” experience
  • turn vague concepts into concrete ideas
  • act as a model for imitation purposes
  • bring real-world relevance to the information

[Read more…]


8 Reasons You Must Add Interaction to Your Talks and Workshops

If you’ve been reading this blog, it will come as no surprise to you when I say that interaction is essential to the learning process – whether you’re doing a 10-minute presentation at a networking meeting, a 1-hour breakout session at a conference, or a full-day workshop.

Here are 8 reasons for you to add interaction to your sessions.

1. First of all, interaction moves participants from [Read more…]


Do You Suffer From This Curse?

As presenters and seminar leaders we have expertise in a particular topic, and as experts we face a challenge when trying to teach or communicate with those who don’t know what we know.

We suffer from the Curse of Knowledge. We know things that others don’t and we assume that other people know the things that we do. We can’t unlearn what we’ve learned and we can’t go back to a time when we didn’t know what we know now.

We’ve forgotten what it’s like not to have this knowledge, and that makes it hard to [Read more…]


How is Your Workshop or Talk Like a Pot of Spaghetti?

Imagine this scenario for a moment. You’ve just cooked a big pot of spaghetti noodles. Then you do something really crazy with it. You pick up the pot and toss all the spaghetti against the wall — splat!

How much do you think will stick? Probably not much. After all, there are an awful lot of noodles in that pot.

On the other hand, what if [Read more…]


How Do You Handle a Restless Audience?

It’s one of those dreaded speaking situations:  the restless audience.

Why do attendees become restless?

  • it’s almost lunchtime and their stomachs are grumbling
  • you’re boring them
  • they’ve already heard 5 speakers before you
  • they have other things on their agenda they want to get to

[Read more…]


Stop Working So Hard

At the end of one of my workshops, Derek, a trainer and coach at a telecom company exclaimed, “I’ve been reborn. I’m a whole new presenter now!”

What had triggered this “aha” moment?

Derek had gained some new perspectives that had impacted the way he saw himself at the front of the room. The old Derek assumed that when he took on the responsibility of leading a training session or giving a presentation that it was his job to [Read more…]


Engage, Encourage, Empower

What does “Engage, Encourage, Empower” mean to you? Recently, I was asked to clarify this tag line that appears throughout my websites, books, and training materials.

“Engage, Encourage, Empower” has been my guiding principle throughout the many years that I have been training, speaking, and coaching. Here are my definitions. [Read more…]


A Better Elevator Pitch

Do you ever go to networking events where you are given 30 seconds to present your “elevator pitch”? I’m not fond of the word but you may already know what it means based on its widespread use. Your elevator pitch is your opportunity to describe what you do in as succinct a manner as possible — in the time it would take  you to ride the elevator with someone. As you listen to others deliver theirs, consider how many actually stand out as being interesting and memorable. How many of them actually engage you? [Read more…]


Is it a Presentation or a Training Session?

Compare the following sentences:

  • I’m making a presentation
  • I’m running a training session
  • I’m teaching a class
  • I’m facilitating a meeting

There are a number of different reasons for standing up in front of a group:  to entertain, to sell, to inform, to teach, to solicit input, and so on. Here’s my pet peeve. The word presentation is used far too often as an umbrella term to cover all of these different scenarios.

“So what?” you ask. Well, here’s the problem.  [Read more…]