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How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters


How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters

How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters

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Page 1 Page 2 Alison Kemp How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Techie Talks 2 Page 3 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters: Techie Talks 1st edition © 2018 Alison Kemp & bookboon.com ISBN 978-87-403-0451-0 3 Page 4 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Contents Contents Introduction 8 1 Seven Common myths torn to shreds 9 2 When Presentations are a Plus 11 2.1 Suggested scenarios for presentations 11 2.2 What’s in it for you? 11 3 Preparation and Planning 12 3.1 Defining the Subject 12 3.2 Audience and Situation Profile 12 3.3 Set the Key Message/Audience Motivator 22 3.4 Easy structuring of the content 23 4 The Spice Rack™: The 14 Ways To Grab And Keep Your Audience 28 4.1 Structuring, in a nutshell 29 A C A R EER W I T H I N F I N A N CE & I T Denmark’s largest provider of financial software solutions needs YOU! Offering you personal and professional growth We are a leading sup- The SimCorp culture is characterized by open Who are we looking for? plier of highly specialized dialogue, empowerment and fast decision-making. Our core competencies lie within economics, software and expertise Reporting lines are clear, thus action is not bogged finance and IT, and as a result the majority of our for financial institutions down in bureaucracy. We believe in solving work- employees have a master degree within business and corporations – related challenges together, and you will find that and finance, IT, mathematics or engineering. activities, which have established our repu- both management and colleagues are very receptive tation as “the house to suggestions and new ideas. Are you completing of financial know- your master degree this year? how”. We are listed As newly hired employee in SimCorp you will go Then apply now – why wait – a fast tracked inter- on the OMX Nordic through an extensive introduction period, in addition national orientated career is just around the corner! Exchange Copenhagen to being provided with a mentor. This gives you the and have 800+ emplo- opportunity to secure the know-how necessary to yees. perform efficiently. Care to join us? – Visit us at www.simcorp.com SIMCORP A/S · Oslo Plads 12 · DK-2100 Copenhagen O · Denmark · +45 35 44 88 00 · www.simcorp.com 4 Page 5 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Contents 5 Why this system works 30 6 Techniques to keep the flow to your content 31 7 Killer language, verbal craft and magic moves 32 7.1 Killer Language 32 7.2. The Verbal Magic 33 7.3 Magic Moves: How to physically influence your audience’s opinion 34 8 Practising Your Presentation 35 8.1 Loud and proud 35 8.2 Using Notes 35 9 How to control nerves and get into the zone 36 9.1 Posture Check 36 9.2 Face 36 9.3 Breathing Exercises 37 9.4 Calming the Mind 37 Lighting, beyond illumination In 10 years 2/3 of people will be living in big cities. At Philips we focus on providing lighting beyond illumination to make these cities more livable, enjoyable and safe. #makeitmeaningful What will be your impact? www.philips.com/careers 5 Page 6 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Contents 10 Get control, clarity and colour into your voice 39 10.1 Being heard 39 10.2 Keeping your audience with you 39 10.3 Pace 39 10.4 Using Vocal Emphasis to speak with greater Conviction 40 11 Using Confident Body Language 41 11.1 Creating a strong presence 41 11.2 Moving naturally 41 11.3 Move to Relax and Signpost 42 11.4 Personal Eye Contact 42 12 How to deal with ‘blanking’ 43 13 The 5-minute deal maker 44 14 Presenting Using PowerPoint 45 14.1 Do 45 14.2 Don’t 45 14.3 Visual tips 46 Start your career as a trainee and get ahead. #PIONIERGEIST Our trainees talk about their work at innogy and what #PIONIERGEIST means to them. Click and see! 6 Page 7 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Contents 14.3.1 Diagrams: The wreckless and the refined 46 14.4 Fonts – Titles 48 14.5 Fonts – body 48 14.6 Progress Bar 49 14.7 Colours 49 14.8 Flip Charts 49 15 Managing the Question and Answer Session 50 15.1 Keeping control 50 15.2 Saving time and breath! 51 15.3 When there are no questions 51 15.4 The 7 golden rules for dealing with difficult questioners 51 15.5 Strategies for dealing with difficult questions 52 16 Following up after your presentation 55 16.1 Continuing your development 56 17 About the Author 58 �e Graduate Programme I joined MITAS because for Engineers and Geoscientists I wanted real responsibili� www.discovermitas.com Maersk.com/Mitas �e G I joined MITAS because for Engine I wanted real responsibili� Ma Month 16 I was a construction Mo supervisor ina const I was the North Sea super advising and the No Real work he helping foremen advis International al opportunities Internationa �ree wo work or placements ssolve problems Real work he helping fo International Internationaal opportunities �ree wo work or placements ssolve pr 7 Page 8 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Introduction Introduction Most presenters forget the key reason to speak to others is to persuade, changing minds – and hearts: a change that results in action. Experiences of listening and watching others drone on like monotonous graph-huggers, have instilled in others a deep fear of sleep inducing monologues and a revelation of personal flaws. This has been exacerbated in some areas by the ‘Steve Jobs’ effect where so many of the people I meet – in IT especially – seem to hold him up as the only role model for presenting, a god of the spoken word, a guru of the business stage. He did do a great job but his contexts were very specific and suited his personality. Steve Ballmer, of Microsoft, bounces around like he’s taken an amphetamine and caffeine mix. You’d never have seen Jobs do that, but it works – for Ballmer – and his audience’s love it. Watch Jennifer Healey on Ted.com here and you’ll another version of what an excellent communicator does with speaking in public. The core here is that they are true to themselves but deliver according to their audience’s needs and what the situation demands of them. Those with the know-how in Technology, Finance and Engineering have realised that their knowledge can only be communicated if they engage with their audiences, and not with a data onslaught. This short book is especially aimed at taking the pain out of presenting based on my workshops and coaching sessions with technical experts over the years. This guide will cover: • Physical and mental preparation that doesn’t mean an hour of mediation and a gym membership; • How to make your message match your audience; • Speedy and efficient preparation – on the hoof (no need to lock yourself in a room for 2 hours); • The principles of delivering with impact; • How to make the most of the opportunities that a presentation brings. Presentations take practice. However, if you don’t want to consolidate bad habits but develop good ones so you they become second nature then you’d definitely benefit from a mentor or coach. To benefit from honest feedback and discover the most effective methods for your own needs, get in touch with me here. 8 Page 9 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Seven Common myths torn to shreds 1 Seven Common myths torn to shreds So, let’s start with three of the most common misconceptions amongst technical experts regarding presenting: 1. There’s no point in me presenting, when there’s someone more senior/more experienced who can do it. Technology is the backbone of business and sharing your knowledge serves this relationship. From a personal point of view, your experience is different but no less valid than those who are more senior in age or familiar with a role. The reason you have been chosen is because of a combination of your technological knowhow and your ability to communicate this to others. 2. They’ll be waiting for me to mess up Nobody is wishing you’d deliver a bad presentation. Have you ever gone to a presentation wanting the speaker to be uninteresting? Probably not. Your audience want you to succeed. Of course, sometimes you will get difficult members of the audience, or challenging groups but we’ll cover that later. 3. I’ll have to become some sort of ‘performer’ to present Actually, you can be more ‘you’ than you usually allow yourself to be. After a day speaking in hushed tones in an open plan office, ensuring your voice does not impede the soundspace of others, projecting your character with less restraint may, ironically, feel more unnatural. People start to feel comfortable with ‘normal’: a normal they’ve learned from adapting behaviour in certain environments that may be to the detriment of communicating clearly and with conviction. 9 Page 10 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Seven Common myths torn to shreds To be an effective presenter does not mean being someone else. It means being the version of you that can easily connect with others, in a way that does not feel forced or contrived. 4. Do I need to begin with a joke? Unless you are a professional stand-up comedian and can link humour with your content, use the Spice Rack™ on PAGE 28 to begin your presentation. Jokes depend on culture and personality, so they may fall flat with some if not all of your audience. Cracking quips also depends on timing, a concept that is hard to judge when you are coping with the AV system, your nerves and the content. Humour, however, is different: it is often the by-product of a familiar situation. For example, showing a child weeping at a blackboard full of algebra could raise a smile with audiences as most people can relate to that pain. When you add, “This is how your clients often feel when you’re explaining why something isn’t working,” thereby using humour to drive the point home through encouraging a situation familiar to many, without running the risk of trying to be funny for its own sake. 5. Nerves are bad. I need to get rid of them Really? Performers are often worried if they aren’t nervous. The point is for you to control the nerves, rather than having the nerves control you. Adrenalin can help you to think quicker and add dynamism to your delivery, certainly something to be happy about. 6. Steve Jobs used to practice his presentations for hours. Do I have to? Steve Jobs learnt to present: inspiring communication was what he nurtured. Nolan Bushnell, who ran Atari in the 1970s, actually found that he irritated the other developers to such an extent, he had Jobs working nights. Driving his message home with passion and engagement, is a skill Jobs honed. Practise until you get it right and can improvise confidently when it doesn’t – without sacrificing message and impact. For some this comes more naturally but the more you do this, the better you will become. However, do get coaching and honest feedback along the way, to ensure that you are consolidating good habits rather than setting bad ones into the stone. 7. Start with the slides and then decide what you’re going to say about them. Most people start with the 376 PowerPoint slides and build their message around that. When planning your content, go analogue: decide your subject, key message, content. Then, and only after you’ve decided what you’re going to say, decide if you need slides at all. A quote, a story or a prop may be more effective. 10 Page 11 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters When Presentations are a Plus 2 When Presentations are a Plus Sometimes a one to one is far more effective than dragging a whole group of people into a room. If that’s the way to be more persuasive then ditch the auditorium and the audio visual tricks. Often, people are asked to present what amounts to data: this is usually information to keep people updated that calls for no call to action other than ‘carry on’. Save time, either send a memo or distribute a report. 2.1 Suggested scenarios for presentations Examples of the kind of scenarios that technical experts may find themselves being called on to present could include: • Persuading shareholders to continue investing despite not meeting projected profits • To encourage resellers and distributors to push certain products • To ‘sell’ new software to the press for magazine coverage • Convincing business leaders to increase investment in IT processes to meet customer experience goals • To strike home the importance of health and safety onsite to a culturally diverse labour force • Push certain projects to cost centres within a company rather than have the financial outlay centralised. 2.2 What’s in it for you? • Easier team working as other people actually understand your role and how you can help each other; • You can spread ideas and good practice • By raising your profile, you get become regarded as the go-to person in your area. • It’s a great way to rally support for your projects and teams • Presentations are an effective way to pre-empt one to one’s with people you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to impart your ideas to. • When it goes well, it’s fantastic for morale – yours and everyone else’s. 11 Page 12 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Preparation and Planning 3 Preparation and Planning 3.1 Defining the Subject This might have been given to you, but sometimes this can be very unspecific. For example: You’ve been told to present on The TK-V11 Anti Virus Software to distributors This is too broad. It’s like saying ‘Write an essay on engines’. Where do you start? So narrow the subject down. In this example, the TK-V11 is a recently modified piece of software. You also know your competitors are trying to nudge into your market. A more tangible subject heading may be: ‘The TK-V11 – What’s hot and how it burns the competition’ Then, you’d be looking at the new features and their benefits to emerging as well as existing technology to show that you’re ahead of the game. When you look further into your audience profile, you may need to go back and tweak this but for now, we’ll move on and hone in on the relevant factors in your audience profile. 3.2 Audience and Situation Profile As the presentation will be outlining the benefits – from the point of view of your audience – you need to define your audience so your message hits the spot. The more accurate your audience profile, the more relevant to their needs you can make your content. 12 Page 13 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Preparation and Planning Here are some of the factors that you need to consider: Audience Situation Level of knowledge Seating arrangements Roles Projectors (front lit/back lit?) Level within organisation Laptop (cables and connectors) Find the Pain Points Laser Pointers Voluntary/Mandatory attendance Software (PowerPoint?) Culture (corporate/national) Microphones (on lectern/earpiece/hand-held?) Audience’s expectations Other speakers Number of people Time (duration) Key decision makers Time of Day Do they know you or each other? Food and drinks before or during speech? Organisational activities and aims Room conditions (air conditioning/lighting?) WHAT WILL YOU INNOVATE? www.skoda-career.com 13 Page 14 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Preparation and Planning Not every single one of the above factors might be a consideration for all presentations but many of them could have any impact on what you talk about and your delivery. Who do you think you’re talking to? You don’t need to know every audience member’s exact requirements and with a larger number of people, it is unlikely that you will. However, there are general pieces of information that will help you sway the people that you need on your side. It doesn’t take as long as you think to go through this list. In fact, you could make a cup of tea, look on the website, make a few calls and possibly have a peek at LinkedIn, and the cup will still be warm and the tea unfinished by the time you’ve completed your audience profile. 3.2.1 Level of knowledge You can get a good feel about the audience’s level of knowledge from their job titles. If you have a list of the participants, looking them up on LinkedIn or Google+ will give you insights into their experience and interests. 3.2.2 Roles In a presentation workshop I led for British Aerospace the delegates were speaking to an audience split between Business Development and Legal roles. There are two contrasting mind-sets embodied in this audience. Business Development has more of a ‘towards’ mind-set, looking for opportunities and openings whereas the Legal team were listening out for risks and ways to prevent difficulties, reflective of more of an ‘away from’ mentality. Both of these concerns needed to be addressed to keep the audience on the side of the speaker. 3.2.3 Levels within organisation Senior management tend to be more interested in the bigger picture: competitors, profit and market share whereas middle managers will be more interested in processes and ‘how tos’. A flatter organisation may have a more autonomous outlook, motivated by opportunities for entrepreneurialism or teamwork. Nowadays, it is not unusual for people to be presenting to those 6 levels up the ladder. Rae Gorin Cook asked top executives at six large companies how people could present more effectively to them. The overwhelming response was simple: keep it candid and short. Often you’ll be presenting to a mix of levels, so always have a shorter version ready, one where you can ditch the stories and drop the pictures. The senior management audience can be ruthless about the content so be prepared to adapt and you’ll come out shining. 14 Page 15 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Preparation and Planning 3.2.4 Find the Pain Points The organiser will usually tell you what the concerns and interests are of the group. One presenter I know was asked to address the process behind a strategic roll-out. The audience would have received him so coldly that he decided to ask them what they felt about the impending change only to discover that on the same morning, half of the audience had just been given the choice between relocating to another country or taking voluntary redundancy. There was really no point in presenting on a process that nobody wanted to hear that day. In the end, the presenter used the forum as a way to collate concerns and feed it back to senior management. He later returned to give a refined version of the original message, with an audience ready to receive it. If the audience is not ready to receive your message, it’s like talking to the wall. On the other hand, showing that you care for their pain can be your gain. 3.2.5 Number of People The smaller the number, the more interactive the presentation can be as it’s easier to maintain more focus. 3.2.6 Voluntary/Mandatory Attendance If people have chosen to pay $3,000 to come and see you, their expectations will generally be higher than if it was $20. If they have been forced to attend, your audience may seem resistant, if it doesn’t show in the fact that they’re typing on their laptops as you speak, it may well do so in the closed body language. If you’ve made your way there, demand attention: set the boundaries and sell the benefits. Otherwise, just go home and send them an email. 3.2.7 Culture Whether you can expect a more casual or starchy environment will help you adapt your delivery and expectations. National culture also plays an important role. For example, if you present to a senior management team in Japan, and they start asking you questions, it can mean, ‘go and rethink’. In Britain, it may denote interest. Go to India and the audiences may be extremely vocal whereas in certain parts of North and Eastern Europe, you’ll know they’re interested because they’re still in the room. Of course, there are variables that depend on how international the company is, the generation to which you are presenting and the context of the talk but knowing the national culture will help you if deal with the unfamiliar so that it is not unexpected. So if you have references to national politicians and rugby, you’d better make sure that your audience knows what you mean, otherwise find a way of illustrating your point in a way with which people can identify. 15 Page 16 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Preparation and Planning 3.2.7.1 Culture and Clothing Clothing comes into its own here. As a woman presenting in the Middle East in summer, covered arms down to the elbows and long skirts were the safest bet. One company I worked with in the UK, who were very casual, complained that a consultant that they’d brought in to present to them looked as casual as them. They’d expected him to wear a suit. “We’re paying him because he’s not like us. He knows more and he to look the business,” remarked one of his disgruntled delegates. It’s worth asking the organisers “What do the audience know about me and what are their expectations?” This will help you look the part. 3.2.8 Key Decision Makers If they’re not in the room, then think about what your action point should be. It could be that your impact in the room will remotely influence the decision makers so make it very clear what you expect from your audience with a sound audience benefit that compels them to deliver to your call. 3.2.9 Do they know you or each other? If they know each other, the audience will possibly be more comfortable speaking out so the Q & A may well be livelier than if they were strangers to each other, in which case you could ask for questions before the session or plant them in the audience, either by using a colleague to ‘break the ice’ or asking a few yourself that audiences tend to put forward. DENMARK Are you looking to further your cleantech career in an innovative environment with excellent IS HIRING work/life balance? Think Denmark! Visit cleantech.talentattractiondenmark.com “In Denmark you can find great engineering jobs and develop yourself professionally. Especially in the wind sector you can learn from the best people in the industry and advance your career in a stable job market.” Mireia Marrè, Advanced Engineer from Spain. Working in the wind industry in Denmark since 2010. 16 Page 17 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Preparation and Planning 3.2.10 Organisational Activities and Aims The objectives of those to whom you are speaking are not necessarily in line with those of your department or company. For example, the quality control system in place is very easy for those in your teams to apply. However you wish to make procedures more rigorous, and this will entail an increase in workload. Within this gap, you’ll find the benefit that will strike the audience. This may be that they will be preventing accidents, thereby increasing safety. It could be that the quality control procedures will actually decrease the number of complaints and time spent dealing with product recalls. Find the positive and emphasise it. 3.2.11 Seating arrangements a) Cabaret style     The problem with this arrangement is that people will find it easier to talk to each other. However, the presenter that comes down off the stage, if there is one and wanders around the tables, or at least towards the nearest ones, will be more likely to grab and keep the attention of others. b) Theatre style ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ Theatre style seating will ensure that all eyes are on you. There will be less interaction with other members of the audience than with cabaret style above. The risk is that those at the back could feel excluded. Also, you may find that questions from difficult people – as opposed to difficult questions – can also come from the rear of the room. By moving up the aisle, even if it’s only a few rows up, you’ll mitigate this issue. To find more about why this is, flick to the section on ‘Managing the Question and Answer Session’. You can move back down to the front again but if this feels to exposing, eye contact and any references you can make to friendly faces at the back (see Spices PAGE 28), will help you build a connection with those who are at a physical distance from you. 17 Page 18 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Preparation and Planning c) The Horseshoe The Horseshoe is beneficial for keeping focus on you, whilst also aiding interaction between audience members. This is particularly useful for exploring issues, problem solving and idea creation. d) The Three-Wall Plenary The Three-Wall Plenary is a convenient arrangement when your audience is expected to take notes. It will automatically induce a formal tone and because there is a table between you and the audience and between members of the audience, there is a risk of this set-up encouraging more confrontational behaviour. To avoid this issue, you can: a) invite others to present b) find opportunities to bring people to the front, for example, by collating ideas on a flip chart. c) have people working in pairs or small groups. If you encourage them to work with those positioned on other tables, you will mix the dynamics up, preventing any form of power play that may arise, especially likely if on the presenter’s left or in front. 18 Page 19 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Preparation and Planning 3.2.12 Projectors (front lit/back lit?) One Senior Marine Project Engineer, presenting on Partnership Coordination had his slides beaming brightly on his forehead. He looked like a modern art installation, which was fascinating, for all the wrong reasons. Know where your light is and where it’s coming from so you don’t burn a hole in your head. 3.2.13 Laptop (cables and connectors) Letitia (not her real name), a CEO from a highly successful IT start up, appeared to deliver the keynote speech at a massive conference, only to find the cables provided did not connect between her jazzy multi-media presentation sat quietly on her laptop and the venue’s projector. Luckily, she had a Plan B. She cleared away the Geek Squad around her, who were trying in vain to connect mismatched sockets, and delivered a stunning presentation without a single slide, with the aid of the Spice Rack™ on PAGE 28. Your arsenal of spares may vary, but could include the following: a) a presentation on a .zip drive b) spare hard drive c) CD-roms with audio-visual slides and music files d) remote microphone e) speakers for music to set the tone as they audience come in. ZZZVWXG\DWWXGHOIWQO ‡5DQNHGWKLQWKHZRUOG  7+(67HFKQRORJ\UDQNLQJ Page 20 ‡$OPRVW\HDUVRISUREOHPVROYLQJ  H[SHULHQFH ‡([FHOOHQW6SRUWV &XOWXUHIDFLOLWLHV ‡&KHFNRXWZKDWDQGKRZZHWHDFKDW  ZZZRFZWXGHOIWQO 19 Page 21 How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters Preparation and Planning Remember to keep any music, video and graphics files you might be using, with your main presentation, to avoid the panic of forgotten files. 3.2.14 Laser Pointers When showing intricate pieces of design, such as showing connectors in piping or cables, laser pointers are commonly used. They are usually waved around so the eye plays a sort of ‘follow the dot’ game, which often feels like an eye test by a mad optician. If the speaker is nervous and uses the laser pointer at the beginning, we’ll see this with laser. The laser can be best used to circle around a specific area then hone in to an even smaller section. This would be beneficial when your audience is close to the screen. Otherwise, your most effective approach would be to boldly zoom in on the specific area, or show a separate close-up slide of the section 3.2.15 Software (PowerPoint?) If you have been asked to send slides in advance, ensure your version is compatible with the software being used at the venue. 3.2.16 Microphones (on lectern/earpiece/hand-held?) Most of the presentations will be using earpieces or some sort of remote microphone. The first point to remember is that often inexperienced speakers are shocked to hear their voices coming back to them in amplified form. The best way to ensure you’re relaxed with this is to buy a cheap, hand-held microphone and connect it up to an amplifier (I bought a second-hand one for £25.00) or you can plug it into most stereo systems. Buying a hand-held will give you the practice you need if you ever find yourself standing there with one. Have some fun with it but make sure the neighbours are out! Once you’re passed hearing your voice larger than life, the only challenges that remain are microphones that are attached to lecterns or hand-held ones: 3.2.17 Lectern Microphone: Moving helps to diminish nerves and signpost changes in your topic. This is restricted, as is your impact, if you are shielded behind a lectern. I always ask for a remote microphone and for someone to push the lectern aside. No-one has refused this request yet and it heightens engagement with the audience. 3.2.18 Hand-held Microphones Many of us have experienced the nervous wedding speech, given by a speaker waving the microphone in front of their chin, like a fan. If you are going to be saddled with a hand-held, a rare situation these days, then make sure you’ve practised. 20

 

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