Harnessing Humor: Self-Deprecation

Pick up any book on presentations, and you’ll see that almost every one of them will tell you to use humor in your presentations.  That’s great if you are are naturally a comedian, but if you’re like me, humor (especially the spontaneous kind) doesn’t come easily.  The problem is that when someone tells you to integrate humor into your presentations, they almost never tell you how.  Well, today, I’m going to try to buck that trend and offer a specific method that might work for you. Continue reading

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

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

An Introduction to Flow

A while back, while reading an article about game design, I stumbled across the concept of “flow.” Flow is an optimal state of motivation. We’ve all experienced it before: that page-turner that you couldn’t put down or the project you worked on for hours straight, forgetting about basic needs like eating and drinking. Continue reading

Preparing for Questions

One of the most common questions I receive is, “How do I deal with Q&A?”  We’ve established that when it comes to presentations, practice makes perfect, but how does one practice for the unknown?  Although you can never fully anticipate what will happen during the Q&A session (or for that matter, the main part) of your presentation or class, there are a few things that you can do to make Q&A go more smoothly: Continue reading

Stepping Into the Unknown

So you’re comfortable with the basics of presenting or teaching, and you are ready to integrate something new into your presentation. Most people face a dilemma at this point. Your existing presentation or routine is probably cozy and safe. It gets the job done, but deep down you know that you can push your audience or class even more. Of course, changing things up poses a great risk.  Most people would rather have a safe, by-the-book presentation than risk failure for something greater. Continue reading