Make Cell Phones an Ally, Not an Enemy in Presentations

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Audience members and cell phones literally go hand in hand. As a presenter, you can tell people all you want to put their phones away. You can ask then to turn them off.  But most people are now too attached to their mobile phones to do either. Fortunately, you don’t have to see cell phones as your enemy in a presentation. You can make them your ally and in the process increase audience engagement. In this video, I’ll show you … Continue reading

What Your Organization Can Learn from the NFL’s Bad Call and Worse Approach

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Yes, they got the call wrong. Yes, the officials mistake had a direct impact on the LA Rams going to the Super Bowl instead of the New Orleans Saints. And yes, everyone outside the NFL, wants to see replay rules changed. All of that still misses the bigger issue, an issue that can affect your business as easily as the football business. The issue of transparency. The referee in the NFC Championship game, was Bill Vinovich. He’s a good ref—or … Continue reading

Don’t Start Your Presentation with an Agenda Slide

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When you watch great movies—from any genre—you’ll notice one consistent thing: They don’t start with an agenda slide. Your presentation shouldn’t either. And largely for the same reason they don’t use them in movies. They’re boring. The Down Side Audiences see agenda slide and they start doing a mental calculation of how long everything will take. And if you don’t get to everything, the audience will know that too. That’s a lot of downside. You want the open of your … Continue reading

Know When and How to Avoid Jargon in Presentations

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Jargon isn’t B.S. It’s shorthand language. Some of it is culture based. 24/7, ASAP, LOL, etc. Some of it is unique to your position, industry, industry, or organization. And every industry and organization has jargon.    Everyone has industry has terminology like that. The dead give away is it usually acronyms. Jargon isn’t a bad thing when you speak to people in your industry or organization. Like any good shortcut, it saves time. But when you speak to a broader audience, … Continue reading

How to Use Transitions to Improve Your Presentations

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Transitions help transform presentations from a collection of parts into one cohesive whole. Every presentation has multiple sections: The open, key point one, key point two, etc. And while some sections are more important than others, the presentation has to stand as one whole unit to be totally effective. The keys to making a presentation with multiple parts feel like one complete unit is to have a theme for the presentation and to use effective transitions between the various parts … Continue reading

How to Keep from Losing Your Place in a Presentation

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Every presenter shares this fear: What if I lose my place in a presentation? What do I do then? The answer is, drum roll please…don’t lose your place. I know, easier said then done. Until now. In the video above, I’ll show you a simple technique that involves using a water bottle and the outline for your presentation. It will keep you on track every time without the audience even knowing that you’re looking at your notes or outline.

What an NFL Coach Can Teach You About Presentations

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With football season starting up again I find myself spending a lot of time around coaches. My father was a long time NFL assistant coach. I’ve seen first hand that the coaches who last and who win, not only know the X’s and O’s, but they also know how to communicate. Coaches make presentations every day to their players. Not just the dramatic locker room speeches you see in highlights or in films, but teaching presentations, performance review presentations, planning … Continue reading

Business and Presentation Lessons Learned from the NFL Broadcast Booth

Running a business, evaluating talent, leading others, communicating from the front of the room or in front of the business all share several things in common with doing play-by-play in an NFL broadcast booth: They require your complete, undivided attention to do them well You have to be both in the moment and aware of what’s coming next You have no room for error and not a shot at perfection And when things are going well, there is no place … Continue reading

How & When to Use Humor in Presentations

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Humor covers a lot of territory. And most of it is tricky terrain. It can come across as playful or hurtful, insightful or biting. Planned and staged or organic and natural. You can use it to make fun of yourself, self-deprecating humor or use it to make fun of other peoples. You can use it to warm up an audience in a presentation or you can misuse it and turn off an audience. Very different styles. Very different outcomes. User … Continue reading

Leadership Lessons from Kevin Plank

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Recently I had the chance to moderate leadership session with UnderArmour CEO Kevin Plank. It was billed as a “fireside chat” at the Baltimore Ravens annual sponsor summit. For an hour I had a conversation with Kevin and folded audience questions into the dialogue. Kevin was more than generous with his time and his insights on leadership in general and his journey in particular. The leadership lessons Plank has learned from growing UnderArmour from start-up in his grandmother’s basement to … Continue reading