Test Your Presentation Skills!

th0RV633LPHere’s a quick quiz to test your presentation skills savvy:

1. It’s impactful to walk around as you present. True or False?

2. It’s important to try to make eye contact with each set of eyes in the audience. True or False?

3. It’s a good idea to put an entire idea on a single slide. True or False?

4. Don’t waste time adding in transitions from point to point. Just get on with it! True or False?

5. Articulating the relevance of your topic to the audience is crucial. True or False?

Click here to see the answers (Hint: scroll to the bottom of the page).

Guilty of Using Filler Words?

Filler words can kill your credibility and rob you of your authority. Qualifiers, disclaimers, and hedging phrases (“sort of”, “maybe”, “y’know”, “like”) make you sound unsure of your ideas. And turning statements into questions sounds like you’re apologizing for having an opinion at all, don’t you think? To learn the two words that are never appropriate for every audience, click on this 1-min animation (and turn on your speakers).

What’s YOUR first impression?


perfect10In her new book, “Presence”, Harvard Business School professor (and creator of “power posing”) Amy Cuddy shares that in first impression situations, people instantly answer two questions about each other:

  1. Can I trust this person?
  2. Can I respect this person?

Cuddy says that trust equates to warmth and respect to competence. Ideally, we want to be perceived as having both, but we can lose out if we think competence is the most important factor on which to be evaluated. The goal-to be seen first as warm and approachable. Others will respond more favorably when they sense first that you’re trustworthy. It’s only when trust has been established that competence will be evaluated.

The takeaway? Trying too hard at the beginning to convey you’re smart, accomplished, and competent can send a vibe that you’re unapproachable and maybe even manipulative. Brush up on your social skills, ask questions, be a little transparent, and show interest in others. Cuddy says, “A warm, trustworthy person who is also strong elicits admiration, but only after you’ve established trust does your strength become a gift rather than a threat.”

© Jill Bremer 2016

Don’t confuse your global audiences with jargon!

6508193-business-people-sitting-on-presentation-at-office-businesswoman-presenting-on-whiteboardA good rule of thumb is to not use jargon unless you know for sure that everyone in your audience will understand exactly what it means. Words and phrases we take for granted have become part of our everyday vocabulary and too often slip into our conversations, pitches, and presentations. And we often end up confusing or frustrating our listeners. It’s doubly hard for our non-native U.S. clients and colleagues. They’re not only translating everything they hear and say, they’re also trying to make sense of our strange sports metaphors and colloquialisms. They often don’t understand the nuances of American English and want to take what we say quite literally. Before your next presentation or con call, review your content and throw out the jargon!

Here’s a list of phrases to eliminate. If you have others you’d like to add to this list, please add a comment to this post.

“off the top of your head”
“hit the fan”
“on leave”
“let’s touch base”
“ballpark figure”

Making Eye Contact

6508193-business-people-sitting-on-presentation-at-office-businesswoman-presenting-on-whiteboardMaking eye contact with your audience is crucial – it keeps your listeners engaged and gives you insights into their interest level and comprehension.

As you look through the crowd, aim to have mini-conversations with people, making sure to “click” with each set of eyes – don’t look past them or over their heads.

But remember – too much eye contact with any one person can alienate him/her and make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t be that speaker that glazes over when they speak and continually stares at a single person!

Remember – no more than 3 seconds of eye contact with any one person. Then move on!

© Jill Bremer 2015