Category Archives: Presentation Skills

Breathe Life into Your Presentations; Seven Tips to Liven Up Your Message

What makes some presenters boring?  Most of you know! It’s probably because the speaker has hidden the best components of giving a speech in the hallwayFor your next presentation give your listeners these tools:
1. Design powerful openings and closing
2. Tell stories
3. Prepare
5. Add humor
6. Use body Language
7. Practice, practice, practice

I’ve watched the best – in my opinion – speakers from the National Speakers Assn.; listened to their webinars, watched their videos and taken notes. None of them is anything like the other; their unique styles color the platform – or board room, conference room, etc. The above seven tips are a combination of listening, presenting, coaching and watching.

  1. A powerful – or memorable – opening and closing is paramount to engage your listeners. You can open/close with several tools: a story, a quotation, a question, a current event –  germane to your topic, or an insider’s tidbit. You have approximately 10 seconds to capture their attention!
  2.  Every day we accumulate stories about life, some funny, some freighting, some ordinary, and some entertaining. Buy a notebook and write down some of the “ordinary” happenings at home, work, the store, the gas station, the restaurant, a committee meeting, in traffic, waiting in line…! Eavesdrop on others – not too prominently! Use one or more of these stories to relate to your audience and tie your message to an experience most of them have had too. You remember stories 10x more than statistics. Put more flavor than facts into your speech.
  3. Plan. What’s your timeline? Who’s your audience? What’s the most important point you want your listeners to take way?
  4. Organize. What are your major points? Sub-points? How are you implementing your PowerPoint slides? How long’s the presentation? How do you include Q/A in the timeline? Do you have exercises?
  5. Humor. Even those of you who think you’re not funny, have had funny activities happen to you. Hire a coach to help make some salient points funny – they’re more memorable. Breathe humor into the message.
  6.  Your body is your listener’s movie! Use it to explain or exaggerate points, to engage the audience, as a prop, to include your listeners – pointing, eye contact, etc.
  7. Practice. Practice. Practice. Video tape yourself, watch for distracting manner- isms. Does your message come across as you hope? Read it first, then memorize your opening and your closing; the middle will come together. Nobody knows your script!
Breathe life into your presentation through these seven tips: your audience and you will be glad you did.
Watch for a few more tips:
Knock ’em alive.

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Some Favorite Frustrations in punctuation

The more e-mails that I see,the more pages from websites that I visit, and the more I read documents that come across my computer or desk, the more I notice that the comma and period use with quotation marks have been misused.

When you revisit your e-mails, webpages, and other documents, do you have this punctuation correct?   Anything with quotation marks around it: a name, a thought, an article, or a direct quotation needs to have the comma and/or period inside.   

Let’s get the “prize”. This is wrong.  The period stays inside the quotation marks; therefore, “prize.” It’s also the same for the comma:  it stays inside the quotation marks.

Browse your local newspaper and notice where the commas and periods are placed when the sentence contains quotation marks: they are always inside the punctuation…always.

Examples: He needs to get “a grip.” 

“I don’t know,” remarked Sarah. 

Remember to read, “To Blog or Not to Blog.”

Place your commas and periods where with the quotation marks?  That’s right, inside. (The one exception is when you use parentheses;  I’ll address this later.)


Dee, Business Writing Coach

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Filed under Business Strategies Coaching, Business Writing, Presentation Skills, Punctuation, Uncategorized