Stand Up and Stand Out, Part III

When you’re presenting, do audience members fall asleep, walk out, multi-task, or show impatience?

In order to stand up and stand out during your presentation…

Know Your Audience. Be sure to understand your audience needs and capabilities. If you are presenting to a mixed audience, design and deliver your message for the top-level position in the room; if participants need details, they will ask for them.

Is It Your First Time? Ask former attendees, ask current members of the group, ask previous presenters, or ask who is organizing the meeting so you fully understand how presentations are typically made and what appeals to audience members.

Multiple Presenters? Are you sharing the stage with others?  Be sure you have choreographed your presentation so everyone knows who’s on when, and who will address questions.

Are Your Prepared? Apply risk management – be flexible.  Build the frame of your presentation, practice the frame but be prepared for the unexpected.

Nervous? Don’t hold your notes in your hand.  Place your hands by your side (behind your back).  Hold the lectern for reinforcement.

Listen: Be aware of how much information you are delivering.  Is it too much information?  Prepare for external distractions, faulty assumptions, preoccupation.  Don’t take rude audience member behaviors personally – their behaviors usually have nothing to do with you or your presentation.

Did You Grab Them? Grab their attention:  Be enthusiastic.  Be knowledgeable.

Is English their 2nd language? Speak slowly.  Simplify your words.  Pause.  Never talk down or yell.  Be cautious of slangs or jargon.

How much time do I have today? Always ask before you start.  Agendas change all the time.  Be prepared for the unexpected.

Repeat After Me. Remain calm.  Remain calm.  Remain calm.

Lisa DiTullio, Principal, Lisa DiTullio & Associates,


1 thought on “Stand Up and Stand Out, Part III”

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    You make speaking on your feet sound simple and it can be if you prepare and pay attention to the great points you made. I joined Toastmasters International four years ago to improve my communication skills including presentations. What a great organization to provide a safe positive learning environment to practice your skills and just plain have fun doing it.

    One thing I learned at TMI is to avoid the audible pause like saying ah, um, or “you know” between sentences and thoughts. It’s amazing how many speakers have not mastered this skill. Our club charges 5 cents per audible pause up to a maximum of 25 cents. You learn fast when it cost you money and also the attention of your fellow Toastmasters.

    Thanks for sharing your insights and advice.

    Frank Mangini
    UC Santa Cruz – Extension

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