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Archive for Presentation Skills

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Confidence

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
~ Helen Keller

Although there are those who cross the line from confident into overconfident, many of us still have some challenges with self-confidence, at least at some point in time in our careers. Even if we’re secure in our positions, things can happen that make us doubt ourselves and our abilities. Following our five ways to strengthen your confidence.

  1. Take Stock in Yourself – When self-doubt begins to creep in, honestly take stock in yourself, your experience and your abilities. You’re in the position you’re in because of your hard work and your talents. It’s not a fluke. When new challenges arise that you worry you can’t handle, think back to the other challenges in your past that you’ve overcome. Remind yourself of the times in the past that seemed insurmountable, but you persevered!

  2. Believe in Yourself, Even When You Don’t – There is an old saying – “Fake it until you make it.” When you find your confidence slipping, fake it. Act with confidence, even when you’re not feeling overly confident. Before you know it, the “confidence act” will be reality.

  3. Mitigate Your Weaknesses – No matter how amazing you are, everyone has weaknesses. Its these weaknesses that usually are the biggest source of our insecurities. Acknowledge what areas you’re not as strong in and find ways to address them. This can include delegating tasks to employees who excel in the areas you’re not as strong in, or getting training or education in areas you’d like to be stronger. Both of these can turn your weaknesses into strengths.

  4. Bounce Back When Mistakes Happen – No one is perfect. No one. At some point, we all make mistakes. Don’t let this eat away your self-confidence when mistakes happen. Instead, find out where you went wrong then take steps to not make the same mistake ever again.

  5. Remember to Be Thankful – When insecurity makes you worry if you’re good enough, take a moment to be thankful. Acknowledge and appreciate all of skills and talents you do have. Focusing on the positive and not the negative can help you feel more secure.

About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (623)340-7690.

The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.
~ Lilly Walters

You have amazing information to present and are eager to share it with others. Great information equals a great presentation, right? Sadly, no! The reality is it won’t matter how great your information is, if you don’t present it effectively. Following are seven tips to improve your presentation skills, to ensure your next presentation is a success.

  1. Say it Three Times – If you want to make sure your main points get across during your presentation, be sure to say them three times. This can be summed up as – Tell your audience what you’re going to tell them, in an introduction. Tell them the information in the body of the presentation. Lastly, sum up what you’ve told them, by telling your audience again your main points, in the conclusion.

  2. Memorize Your Main Points, Not Your Presentation – This is not a Shakespearan monologue. To improve your presentation skills, there is no reason to memorize every single word you’re going to say in your presentation. Instead, memorize the main points of the information you want to get across. You should have a mental outline in your head, then talk to your audience, not at them.

  3. Go Visual – People retain information best in a variety of ways. Some are auditory learners, where they pick up new information easily by listening. Some, however, are visual learners. If you want to improve your presentation skills, use this knowledge to your advantage! Include a PowerPoint presentation, charts or other visual aids to really drive home your key points.

  4. This is Not Karaoke – Although a PowerPoint presentation is a great visual aid, do not put every single word you’re going to say up on the screen. Your audience should be listening to you, not reading along with you. Your slides should be used to emphasize the main points of your presentation, as well as show images of examples of your topic and/or figures and charts – items that may be harder for the audience to immediately visualize.

  5. Watch Your Time – When talking about something you’re knowledgeable or passionate about, it’s easy to lose track of time. However, your audience may become bored and start to tune you out. To improve your presentation skills, keep your presentation moving and keep it to a reasonable length of time.

  6. Watch Your Pace – It’s natural to be nervous before a presentation. However, one common thing that happens to many nervous speakers is they talk too fast. Take a deep breath, before beginning. Relax and speak a little slower than you would normally. This will not only give your audience time to process what you’re saying, as you say it, but it will also help ensure you enunciate your words clearly, instead of mumbling due to speaking too quickly.

  7. Practice Makes Perfect – Although you don’t want to memorize your entire presentation, if you want to improve your presentation skills, you do want to practice it a few times. As Mark Twain once said, “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” Practice in front of someone, and ask for their feedback. What points could you clarify more? What could you have done better? What did you do well?

About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (623)340-7690.


The basic building block of good communications is the feeling that every human being is unique and of value.

~ Unknown

It’s our ability to communicate, relay and store information and collaborate with others, that has allowed our society to progress. The same is true in the microcosm of the organization. Organizations that have effective communicators parlay this into a competitive advantage. Individuals who are effective communicators, use this to propel their careers forward. In this last part of my series on becoming a better communicator, I give five final tips on effective communication.

  1. Build a bridge. Too often in our communications, we are on one side of the topic, and the other person is on the other side. The gap between the two sides, at first, may seem insurmountable. However, if you build a bridge on the commonalities between the two positions, you’ll soon find the two of you can meet in the middle. To become a better communicator, start with points the two of you agree upon, or things you have in common, and build from there.

  2. Know where you want to finish, at the start. Before going into any important communication, know what results you want to happen as an outcome. Without a clear objective in your mind, for what you’d like to achieve, you may communicate with others and get nothing substantial accomplished. This end goal should help direct the flow of the conversation and help ensure you don’t get off track. This isn’t just effective communication, it’s efficient communication!

  3. Be mindful of YOUR body language. In Part 2 of this series, we talked about the importance of watching the other person’s body language, to help gauge how they’re feeling during the conversation. If you’d like to become a better communicator, watch your own body language as well. Although the other person may not consciously be watching your body language, they may subconsciously get messages you don’t intend by your folded arms or distracted wandering gaze. This can inadvertently put them in a defensive mood.

  4. Sometimes you win by losing. Remind yourself that you do not have to “win” every point in the discussion. Sometimes the other person really does have a valid point you did not consider or did not consider fully. Effective communicators don’t get tied up in always trying to be “right.” Instead, remember that it’s OK to say, “I hadn’t thought of that. I think your correct.” and then move forward in the communication. Ceding points of an argument will help the communication move forward, and likely we make the other person more receptive to your other thoughts and ideas, since you were willing to accept one of their own.

  5. Check your emotions at the door. Leaving emotions out of your communications is probably one of the most difficult things effective communicators do. It’s natural to “feel” things when discussing important, heated or controversial topics. However, the moment you get emotional during the communication, it is more likely that the emotions on the other side of the conversation will escalate. If you feel yourself feeling frustrated, angry or vulnerable during a conversation, take a break. Suggest that you both take five minutes and come back with a fresh perspective on the communication. You’ll get far more accomplished than turning a conversation into a heated exchange that may do more harm than good!

About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (623)340-7690.


Developing excellent communication skills is absolutely essential to effective leadership. The leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. If a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.

~ Gilbert Amelio
President and CEO of National Semiconductor Corp.

If you’ve ever felt like people simply aren’t listening or understanding what you’re saying, read on! Communicating effectively is critical in both our personal and professional lives. In this second part of our series on becoming a better communicator, we’ll explore five more tips on effective communication.

  1. Be mindful of your tone. Effective communication is not only about what you say, but how you say it. This is especially true during communications that are more stressful or are centered on controversy. Be assertive, but not aggressive in your tone, if your message comes from an authoritative position. Always remain calm and collected, even when things get heated, and ensure your tone is respectful and cooperative. Remember the old saying is true – “You get more flies with honey than vinegar.”
  2. Be an active listener. If you’d like to become a better communicator, be an active listener. Effective communication isn’t just about speaking, it’s also about listening. Although you don’t want to interrupt the other person while they’re speaking, nod in agreement or make small sounds of agreement as they talk, to let them know you are on the same page and are fully engaged with what they are saying. If they feel like you’ve given them your full attention, they are more likely to repay you in kind.
  3. Listen to body language. If the other person is sitting there with their arms and legs tightly crossed, this is a defensive and closed position. Chances are, whatever you say while they’re in this mind set will not be met receptively. Instead, talk about less important topics, until they open up and are warmer to the ideas you wish to share. If they yawning or distracted, chances are they are bored and not paying attention. Get them actively involved in the conversation to reel them back in.
  4. Mirror, mirror. Mirroring involves mimicking another person’s body gestures, when you socially interact with them. When they cross their legs, you cross your legs. If they lean forward, you lean forward. If they nod their head, you nod your head. Although mirroring the other person will not directly help you be a better communicator, it can help the other person feel more comfortable with you and open up. We like people who are like us!
  5. Don’t forget the humor. Humor… appropriate humor… can really help you get your message across, while also helping lower some of the walls the listener may have up. Everyone likes to laugh. Even a small chuckle can help release tension between communicating parties. Effective communicators know that a little bit of humor can also keep things into perspective, especially during stressful communications.

About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (623)340-7690.


The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

~ George Bernard Shaw

Effective communication – we all know it’s important, but it’s also one of the things we most often take for granted. We think we’ve expressed ourselves clearly, and we think we’ve heard what the other person is saying. However, if you ask two people what was exactly said during a conversation, you’ll likely get two different accounts of the communication that occurred! Following are seven tips to becoming a better communicator.

  1. Be receptive. Effective communication is a two-way street. Try to enter any communication with an open mind about what the other person is going to say or how they’re going to react to what you say. Try not to let expectations bias what you hear or how you respond.

  2. Start positive –  Stay positive. Sometimes communications are challenging or even controversial. Try not to go into a communication with a negative attitude. Instead, tell yourself things WILL work out for the best. People WILL be receptive to what you say. The outcome WILL be positive. Focus on the positive aspects of the message you’re sharing, not the negative. This positive attitude from the beginning, and throughout the communication, even if things get heated, will help you keep your cool under fire.

  3. Listen with an ear for subtext. Oftentimes, people don’t say exactly what they mean. “Beating around the bush” or expecting others to “read between the lines” is all too common. For effective communication, try to be aware of the subtext in what others are saying. On the flip side, to become a better communicator, be direct. Don’t expect others to be able to figure out your subtext.

  4. Eye contact is important. I’m not staying you should aggressively stare down the other person, but keeping eye contact is important when communicating. It helps reassure the other person that you are listening to what they’re saying.

  5. Take turns. Don’t interrupt when the other person is talking, unless it is extremely important. Also, don’t monopolize the conversation on your end. It’s easy to get caught up in your message, but if you want to be a better communicator, listen more than you speak. If you see others eyes starting to glaze over as they zone out and tune you out, it means you’ve been talking too long!

  6. Accept criticism. Not everyone is going to agree with what you say; however, to get your point across and help sway their opinion, you must accept their criticism of your ideas. Try to appreciate why they’re against your position, put yourself in their shoes, and acknowledge that what they’re feeling and thinking has validity. Then rationally explain why you feel your point of view is more appropriate, despite their concerns.

  7. Clarify, clarify, clarify. Don’t assume that you’ve heard what the other person has said and interpreted it correctly. Instead, clarify what they’ve told you. Repeat their ideas and information back to them. Ask questions of the speaker, to ensure you’re both on the same page. To be a better communicator, head off miscommunication by clarifying and be certain you’re both on the same page!

About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (623)340-7690.

8 Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.
~ Doug Larson

The benefits of good communication in any relationship, professional or personal, are many and varied. First and foremost, communication is the cornerstone to every good relationship. Good communication, however, isn’t just about sharing your ideas with others, it’s often said to be 99% listening and 1% talking. Following are eight ways you can improve your listening skills.

  1. Two ears – One mouth. There’s a reason why you were born with two ears and one mouth. You should be listening at least twice as much as you’re talking. If you find yourself monopolizing a conversation, ask questions of the other person. Get their feedback and thoughts.

  2. Be an active listener. When the other person is talking, ask questions to clarify the information they’re sharing with you. This way you’ll make sure you understand exactly what they’re saying, and there are no misunderstandings.

  3. Step into their shoes. When listening to someone, try to see their thoughts from their point of view. Even if you don’t agree with their viewpoint, try to at least understand how they could feel the way they do, and how their feelings affect their thoughts and actions.

  4. Stay in the moment. When listening, don’t spend the time thinking about how you’re going to answer or what you’re going to say next. Focus on the speaker and the message they’re conveying at that moment.

  5. Stay focused. Today, we’re “connected” more than ever before. Don’t let e-mails, texts or phone calls distract you while another person is talking. Turn off your cell phone. Close your e-mail program. Have your calls held. Those things will still be there when you’re done communicating with the person in front of you.

  6. Take notes. In some communication situations, taking notes can both help you clarify what the other person is communicating, but also can provide you with a written record to refer back to later. Allow the speaker to see and comment on the notes you’re taking, to ensure you’re notes are accurate.

  7. Stay on track. Communication is fluid – organic. Therefore, it’s not uncommon that while someone is speaking about one topic, it leads you to think of another (sometimes unrelated) topic you’d also like to discuss. Don’t change the subject until the other person has fully expressed themselves and you both are on the same page about the information shared. If you need to, jot down a note about the ancillary topic you’d like to discuss next and then refocus on the topic at hand.

  8. Don’t jump to conclusions. You may feel like you know what the other person is going to say, but in reality, they may surprise you. Don’t let your expectations about what the message will be bias your listening. Approach every communication with an open mind!

About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

 Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (623)340-7690.

Whether you do a great deal of public speaking because you’re in sales or you’re a supervisor–or both–either way you want to get your message across effectively. You might be a CEO who simply wants to improve public speaking skills to increase your credibility.

As a speaker who has delivered more than 1, 100 programs in 48 states and five countries, I can tell you that 95% of the success of your presentation is determined before you present. Good preparation reduces performance problems. And one of the best investments of your time is to practice delivering dramatic stories. It’s a secret ingredient in improving public speaking skills.

Gaining awareness is also important because you want to know how you’re being perceived. Armed with new insights, this will help you to be better prepared for your next presentation.

Short on time? Here are 2 quick tips for improving public speaking skills:

1) Great speakers engage listeners and help audience members relate to them by telling stories and using analogies. People respond positively to vivid images and pictures. They rarely remember all your words.

Your closing is the most important thing that stands out in your audience’s mind. Why? Because it’s what they hear last. Your opening is the second most important thing that stands out in your audience’s mind. So open and close with strong visual images that relate to your presentation’s main message, and that connect to your audience’s needs. Connecting with your audience is key!

Another reason memorable stories are one of the best tools for improving public speaking skills is because you are involving the senses of your audience members. Narratives help your listeners make a movie in their heads by using appropriate humor, drama, and suspense. More than that, it keeps them awake.

2) Gain awareness. To reduce public speaking anxiety in the future, you need to find out how you’re currently perceived. Notice how people respond to you. In my public speaking seminars, I have the participants write down their  “liked best’s” and “next time’s” when they’re observing one of the attendees practicing a presentation.

Don’t be afraid to ask for honest feedback from colleagues you trust. Write down their comments so that you’ll remember what you did well and what to work on next time.

You’ve read just a couple of the tips I give when working with individuals and teams on improving public speaking skills. I also believe one of the most important ways to overcome nervousness with public speaking is through practice.

If you’re interested in a consultation (at no charge) to see if I can help you achieve your goals, please call me. My toll free office number is (800)323-0683 and (623)340-7690 locally in Phoenix, Arizona. Or, you can send me a brief email at colleen@colleenspeaks.com  Thank you.

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace employee management expert, award-winning speaker, and speech coach. She has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 articles on diverse workplace issues. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books. www.BounceBackHigher.com

 

 

 

 

You know that public speaking ranks as one of the top fears for many people–and maybe for you. As a leadership expert, and someone who has conducted more than 1,100 programs worldwide, I frequently conduct presentation skills training for nurses, salespeople, and executives. Here are two quick tips to put into practice:

Speak Your Way to a Stronger Public Speaking Presence

1. Rehearsing minimizes 75% of your nervousness. With public speaking, 95% of the success of your presentation is determined before you present. I like to say “the work is in the preparation, the fun is in the presentation.” I realize most people do not like to rehearse nor do they have the time. To make it easier, ask a friend or colleague to videotape you. The camera will be your most objective ally. When I conduct public speaking skills training, it’s amazing how quickly people learn just by watching themselves on video. A picture is worth a thousand words.

2. Practice “talking” your presentation into a digital micro recorder, initially as a rough draft. Place it on the passenger seat and listen to it while you’re driving to and from work, or doing errands. I realize you probably don’t like how you sound on audio. But you’ll find this to be a convenient way to bone up on your material quickly. More than that, you’ll discover where you sound convincing and passionate, and where you sound timid and tentative. Like video, audio can be another objective ally for you.

Public speaking is like playing golf or any other sport. Consistency is key. You have to plan, prepare, and practice, practice, practice. Good luck to you!

 

Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace employee and management expert, corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. She is a former number one sales producer for a major Fortune 500 company out of approximately 180 sales representatives. Having delivered more than 1,100 entertaining keynotes and seminars in 48 states and five foreign countries, Colleen is also available for public speaking coaching. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 articles on diverse workplace issues. She is the author of 10 audio programs and two books. To inquire about public speaking availability, please contact Colleen toll free at 1(800)323-0683, or locally in Phoenix (623)340-7690. http://BounceBackHigher.com

3 Secrets for Dealing with Difficult People!

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

“The person who constantly angers you or frustrates you…controls you.”

Colleen Kettenhofen

Do you know any difficult people? Have you ever worked or lived with a difficult person? Are you a difficult person?! It’s amazing how many participants come up to me at the end of one of my programs and confide, ‘Colleen, I think sometimes I’m a difficult person and just realized it today!’ We can all be difficult at times. But what do you do with the person who is chronically difficult?

A key to getting through the upcoming holidays is learning to live with difficult people. Because there will always be difficult people. Here are three points to remember:

1)    All behavior has a positive intention.
2)    Low self-esteem is often the culprit.
3)    You won’t always please everyone.

All behavior has a positive intention. Take for example the gossip. When someone is always gossiping about everyone else, who are they trying to make look better? Themselves. That’s their positive intention. They frequently have low self-esteem. They don’t realize that when they’re gossiping about others, that people are thinking, “I wonder what they say about me when I’m not around?!”

Lastly, you can’t please everyone. Sometimes for whatever reason, someone won’t like you. Be careful with your words. I often have my participants take the following pledge. It adds humor but gets the point across: “On my honor, I promise, when dealing with a difficult person, that I will bite my tongue and count to ten, because if I don’t, I may say something that I will live to regret!”

Colleen Kettenhofen is a dynamic speaker and author who has appeared on television talk shows as well as conducted over 1,000 programs worldwide for top corporations and associations since 1995.

Colleen Kettenhofen is available for seminars, keynotes and breakout sessions by calling (623)340-7690.

Sign up for Colleen’s free e-newsletter on leadership, life balance, dealing with difficult people, managing people, presentation skills and more: http://www.ColleenSpeaks.com/newsletter.htm

Watch speaker Colleen Kettenhofen’s video clips at http://www.ColleenSpeaks.com/kettenhofen_video.htm

For Colleen Kettenhofen’s articles on leadership, life balance, dealing with difficult people, managing people, presentation skills and more: http://www.ColleenSpeaks.com/freearticles.htm


6 Presentation Skills Tips for Visual Aids

Whether you lead a lot of meetings, or stand in front of groups making presentations, effective public speaking is a necessary skill.

Over the summer, I’ve received many requests to conduct presentation skills training. As a motivational keynote speaker and presentation skills trainer, it’s my area of expertise. And, presentation skills is a topic I love. By the end of the workshop, you can see dramatic results in everyone’s speaking ability and confidence level.

We cover many different segments such as how to handle a hostile audience, how to tell if you’re losing your audience, how to conquer your fear of public speaking and minimize nervousness, effective visual aids for maximum impact, and more. I recently shared some information regarding the importance of effective visuals.

Here are some presentation skills tips on visual aids:

  1. According to a University of Wisconsin study, learning is improved dramatically with good visuals. Studies at Columbia and Harvard found retention is enhanced up to 38% using effective visual aids. And according to a Wharton School of Business study, time taken to explain a difficult and complex subject is reduced over 25%.

  2. Use graphs for sales figures or sets of numbers showing a trend over a period of time. Graphs are pictures, and if presented well, help your audience retain the information. Avoid using more than four colors per slide. Your participants will end up focusing more on the colors than on your material.

  3. Avoid yellow, orange and pink. They don’t show up well on your slides. For contrast, use a dark background with light lettering, and a light background with dark lettering.

  4. Keep your visual aids big, bold, and simple. You want the people in the back rows to be able to read your slides, too. They should be like a billboard where even if they were driving 65 miles per hour, they could read them. Generally 22 font or larger.

  5. Try not to use more than one or two slides per minute. You want your audience to have time to digest what they’re seeing. Also, technical people tend to have a propensity to put too much material on a slide. Remember, your visual aids are simply to enhance your information, not be your presentation.

  6. To minimize nervousness and maximize confidence, rehearse with your visual aids. Print out cheat sheets with one slide per sheet. This way, even if the slides don’t show up on the laptop in front of you (and they sometimes don’t!) you know which slide is coming next. You’ll be able to have more eye contact with your audience. Think of your notes and visual aids as simply fast food for the eyes. You only want to glance at them occasionally.

Invest in presentation skills training and practice, practice, practice. Public speaking is a learned skill. And like anything else, the more you practice and rehearse (especially standing up!), the more confident and persuasive you’ll become.

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