Don’t Boast

Whenever you give yourself a compliment in front of an audience, you run the risk of being seen in a negative light.

For instance, telling stories about how you won a big piece of business by being a super salesman may be instructive for the audience, but it raises the likelihood that you may give off the odor of arrogance.

Ever heard of the H-Bomb, as in letting it slip during polite cocktail chitchat that you went to Harvard? It’s a sure ...

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How Not to Bore an Audience (3 of 3)

We’re winding up our series on how to keep your listeners attentive, keep yourself energetic, and make the most of your time in the spotlight.

We’ve covered 6 tips in our first two parts. Here’s the last 4:

7. Get Ready for Prime Time

Rehearse. An audience doesn’t want to see you struggling to say what’s on your mind. They’ve come for a show, an organized presentation of thought. Know your lines: your opening line, headlines, bottom line, and story lines. ...

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Capture Attention–4 Ways to Get Through to Your Listeners

Every speaker struggles with a balance:  A talk needs to be brief enough and interesting enough to ensure an audience will hear it, but it also needs to contain all of the information that the audience needs to know.

Use our pointers to gain “neck down” attention as you keep your presentation lively and informative.

Keep it interactive.

Social scientists have demonstrated that an interactive audience is more easily persuaded than a passive one. In many circumstances, the give and take ...

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More Ways to Capture Attention

In this series of posts, we’re looking at ways to capture attention and keep it.

I make a distinction between “neck up” attention and “neck down” attention.  The former is when the listener has to make an effort to pay attention. The latter is the kind we’re going for here:  when the listener is riveted to the speaker.

Keep it moving.

Not just in terms of pace, but in terms of development. Make sure that every new bit of information you provide ...

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Ways Great Speakers Capture Attention

In my mind, there are two kinds of attention: neck down, and neck up.

Neck-up attention is when the listener has to make an effort to pay attention. Neck-down attention is when the listener is riveted to the speaker: she can’t help but pay attention.

Please note that, in our language of English, attention is paid because attention is a valuable currency. When listeners pay attention, they are rewarding you with arguably the most valuable currency in the world.

Here are ...

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9 Tips on How to Introduce a Speaker

For great advice on how to introduce a speaker, look no further than Richard C. Borden’s 1935 classic Public Speaking as Listeners Like It.

Answer the following four simple questions briefly and skillfully, and you will effortlessly create a pleasant harmony between subject, audience, occasion, and speaker.

  1. Why this subject?
  2. Why this subject before this audience?
  3. Why this subject before this audience at this time?
  4. Why this subject before this audience at this time by this speaker?

Here is an example using the model. ...

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