The importance of eye contact

Some time ago I wrote a post “where to look while presenting”, about the importance of eye-contact during a presentation. Eye contact is related to honesty, trust and sincerity.

After working with several speakers, I´d like to add that the majority of the people tend to have some kind of preference looking more to the left or to the right side of the audience. That way they “forget” the other half of their public. It is a good idea to record yourself on camera or to have someone to give you feedback in order to raise your awareness and to avoid this.

An example of good and very direct contact with the audience (he even steps of the stage to go into the audience) is this talk of Benjamin Zander in which he talks about music and passion.

Start your presentation off strong

business man startHow many times have you heard at the beginning of a presentation “hello my name is… and today I’m going to talk about…” ?

Why is this not a good opening sentence?

  • Everyone does it, so it´s boring.
  • 99% of the people in the room know who you are and what you are going to talk about. It was stated in the program, in the invitation or maybe someone even introduced you on stage.
  • with all the stimulus we receive, every time it’s harder to catch the attention of people. You have only seconds to convince the audience that it’s interesting for them to listen to you. If not, they’ll turn to their smart phones or they´ll start thinking about tomorrow’s meeting. Be sure to start your presentation off strong.

So, what is a good opening then? Three ideas:

Now you might think these are great ideas, but not suitable for the presentation of your science project or the client´s proposal. Why not? Start with the particular problem of the client, with a surprising statistic found in your investigation or with a question to the audience. You have to get the public on board for the rest of your presentation.

How do you start your presentation?

Image: Ambro – Free Digital Photos

Three tips for speakers at TEDxValencia

… and for spreakers or presenters in general.

In 10 days, on Saturday the 5th of May, TEDxValencia will be celebrated. It will be a day full of experiences: TED talks, performances and games and dínamics to get to know each other. There will be 16 presentations, 4 TED videos and 12 live speakers.

What tips can we give the speakers?

- Keep it short. It´s important and essencial for a TED-event, because you have a limit of 18 minutes to tell your story. The conclusion is one of the most important parts of you talk, so be sure you have rehearsed so that you won´t run out of time.

- Tell the audience why you are there. One of the key questions you have to answer is: Why should they listen to you? One way or another you should catch their attention and make them interested in what you have to say. This may seem obvious, but too many speakers are mainly focussed on themselves and not on the audience.

- Keep it simple. Don´t use jargon, because it´s a very diverse audience. Explain what you have to say in a clear and easy understandable way. Everyone should be able to understand you easily.

As part of the TEdxAdventures programm of TEDxValencia, this Friday, the 27th of April, I will give a workshop about ´Speaking English in Public´.

Workshop Speaking in Public – TEDxValencia

about Purple PresentationsThe 27th of April I will give a workshop ‘Speaking in Public’ as part of the TEDxAdventures programme of TEDxValencia. The workshop will be held from 17 to 21 at Coworking Valencia.

In the workshop we will practise how to present yourself and how to present an idea as an elevator pitch: a short presentation of 2 / 3 minutes. The group will be between 4 and 8 participants.

You will learn the common sentences and phrases used in presentations for English, we will practise those 2 presentations and you will receive handouts for further practise.

Who can attend the workshop?
The volunteers of TEDxValencia and the attendees of the TEDxValencia conference, see the website for more information.

What about TED?

“The World is divided into two groups of people: fans of TED and people who haven’t heard of it yet.” That is said in one of the promo videos of TEDx and I believe it’s quite true.

TED is an amazing platform where ideas are shared. TED stands for Tecnology, Education and Design. They organize big conferences with a lot of talks on different topics with a maximum of 18 minutes each. All the videos of the talks are uploaded on their website. Why is that great?

• All talks are amazing, inspiring and interesting in one way or another.
• Spreading good ideas is natural: if you experience something great, you want to share it with a friend. Now the best ideas of the world can be shared with everyone around the world.
• If you want to become a better presenter it’s good to see other people present: on the TED website you find lots of examples of great presentations.

And what about TEDxValencia?
The 5th of May there will be a TEDx-event in Valencia: TEDxValencia. The ‘x’ means it’s a locally organized event. I’m part of the group of volunteers trying to make TEDxValencia a big success. Live talks are combined with videos of TEDtalks and artistic performances into a unique event.