4 Reasons to Break Annoying Presentation Habits BEFORE You Present

August 19, 2015 in Barbara Egel, Delivering Your Presentation, Delivery, FAQs, Preparation, Presentation, The Orderly Conversation

Often, our learners walk into Turpin workshops expecting to focus on the little habits that are hard to break: saying “um,” “uh,” “like,” or “you know” too much; using uptalk (that habit that makes every statement sound like a question); fidgeting/not standing still; keeping hands in pockets; making a particular face or gesture. Our response is to say that when you are truly engaged and practicing both good, meaningful eye contact and thoughtful pausing, those habits tend to fall away. And most importantly, when you are presenting in a real work situation, we want you focused on engagement and explaining and discussing your content, not being distracted by concerns about goofy little habits.

However, if you’re someone in whom the habits are clearly really ingrained or you want to work on your particular habit just to make sure it goes away, I advise that you work on it in your real-life, low-stakes conversations. This has several benefits:

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  1. If you truly do work on your habits in normal conversations at work and at home, by the time your next VersB Chalkboardpresentation rolls around, the problem will be gone or at least seriously diminished.
  2. It will keep you from fixating on negative observations about yourself during your presentation, which is a guaranteed way to disengage from your audience and end up spinning inside your own head. That spinning kills your effectiveness much more certainly than any amount of uptalk or “like” ever could.
  3. Working on these things when talking with your friends or discussing work with colleagues informally is a safe way to improve your presentations when the stakes are low.
  4. You will be perceived by everyone you encounter as more adult, more authoritative, and more credible once your speech and stance have been permanently rid of these habits. A side benefit is that it works wonders with the cable guy, your significant other’s parents, and snooty restaurant hosts.

[Tweet “You will be perceived as more adult, more authoritative, and more credible.”]

In short, if there’s a presentation habit that’s driving you nuts, bring it out of the presentation space to work on in your day-to-day life so that by the time you’re in front of an audience, you, like, um, totally trust yourself to be on top of those habits, right?

By Barbara Egel, Presentation Coach at Turpin Communication and editor of “The Orderly Conversation”

I Want To Use A Podium. Is That OK?

April 2, 2012 in Author, Delivering Your Presentation, Delivery, FAQs, Sarah Stocker

The short answer is yes. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a podium or lectern. In some situations they’re necessary. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Move away from the podium when you need to. Purposeful movement (like going to the screen to point something out or moving closer to your audience to emphasize a key point) helps direct your audience’s focus. It can also bring some energy to your presentation (and help you burn up any nervous energy).

When you’re standing behind the podium, keep your stance balanced. Having a solid stance will help you appear confident and professional.

Don’t grip the sides of the podium because you’ll inhibit your gestures. When you restrict your gestures, you will feel and appear uncomfortable. Your goal should be to gesture as naturally as you do in everyday conversation.

If you have notes on your podium, don’t spend too much time looking down at them; it will disconnect you from your audience. Trust yourself to know your material and focus on making quality eye contact with your audience. If you lose your train of thought, refer to your notes and then reestablish eye contact and continue on.

If the only reason you want to use a podium is because it gives you something to hide behind, don’t use it. Instead focus on engagement. Not only will you feel more comfortable, you’ll also: Find your focus. Be yourself. Only better.

by Sarah Stocker, Trainer and Workshop Coordinator at Turpin Communication