Three Ways to Customize Your Presentations

Image credit: Robert Frye

A while back, I wrote about adding value to your presentations.  Presentations should be treated like products and your audiences are the consumers.  One way to increase the value of a product is to customize it for the consumer.  If you have the opportunity to learn about your audience before you present, here are three ways to consider customizing your presentations: Continue reading

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Case Study: Managing Flow

Now that we have introduced the concept of flow, and two major tools to achieve it, let’s bring it all together with a practical example.  The following slides are taken from the Talking About Your Company segment of one of my business English seminars.  It’s designed for lower-intermediate-level English learners. Continue reading

Managing Flow Part I: Eliciting

Last week, I introduced the concept of keeping your audience in a state of flow by actively managing the difficulty of your seminars and classes.

Designing your presentation with your audience’s skill level in mind is a given.  Problems arise, however, when you can’t get accurate information regarding your audience or you simply misjudge the difficulty of your own material.

We all know the situation:  you start presenting and quickly realize that your material is too easy, and your audience’s attention is evaporating.  Or, on the other hand, it’s too difficult and the audience is filled with blank stares.  The worst thing to do is to plow on through your material, ignoring these cues.  Eliciting is the first step in resolving (or, better yet, preventing) this problem. Continue reading

Who Is Your Customer?

Before answering this question, let’s take a look at a typical (yet highly simplified) supply chain:

From the perspective of the manufacturer, who are the customers in this diagram?  Many people go for the obvious answer:  the end users.  Indeed, down the line, they are customers that need to be served and satisfied.  Don’t forget, however, the manufacturer also has more immediate customers: the retailers.  They, after all, are buying products directly from the manufacturer to be resold to customers. Continue reading

Embrace Feedback

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It doesn’t take a psychologist to realize that most people resist and fear criticism.  This makes sense.  It’s not easy to hear that the great class, lecture, or presentation that you worked so hard on wasn’t perfect (or perhaps majorly flawed).  However, if you are truly committed to becoming a better public speaker, you not only have to learn how to accept feedback, but you must also learn to embrace it.  In fact, you may even have to actively seek it out criticism. Continue reading

Avoid Assumptions About Your Audience

One of my first clients as a business English instructor used to be a constant source of anxiety. Although they seemed to enjoy their class and were fun to teach, they didn’t seem to take it very seriously. Their attendance was sporadic and their homework performance was no different. Upon hearing that I would have to have a meeting with the company president (and that he would sample my class), I feared my teaching days were going to come to an abrupt end. With the students behaving as they were, naturally, their English was not improving very quickly. I was positive the president wouldn’t be satisfied with their progress (and therefore my performance). Continue reading