Posts Tagged ‘Top Tips’

The Tie as a Giant Arrow

June 29, 2010

Tie = Giant Arrow

When we run a presentation skills training event at New Tricks Training we are amazed at how much time is taken over the “Tie, or No Tie ” debate (considerably more time than the “Trousers, or No Trousers” debate, I can tell you.) The opinion as to whether you should, or shouldn’t (wear a tie – not trousers) is divided – probably 50:50. Even doesn’t join that particular debate.

A point we always make is that presenting is about “Distraction Management.” If your audience expects you to wear a tie – then do so! (This point clearly isn’t just confined to ties. You can substitute the word tie here with suit, jacket, skirt, trousers, etc.)

If your audience expect you to look smart then, if you don’t, they will be distracted – probably to the point of not listening at all. They will become fixated on the fact that you don’t look smart. I remember one presenter (a very senior manager of a bank’s Franchising outfit) not for what he spoke about but because, I noticed, he had on scruffy shoes that had huge holes in the sole. I was livid. Surely on his salary he can afford a decent pair of shoes? “Sorry, what was it you were  talking about?”

Leave it!

Of course you could argue that, “This is who I am and this is how I choose to dress,” that’s absolutely fine (I defend anybody’s right to wear what they want) but be prepared for an uphill battle to win over the audience. If you’re brilliant you can wear what you bloomin’ well like – look what Eddie Izzard gets away with.

There’s something that says that if you adopt a quirky dress-code then you’ll be remembered. That’s absolutely true – but be careful that you’re not known only for your whacky dress-sense.

Before you go on to give a presentation look yourself over in the mirror to check for malfunctions in the wardrobe department. If your flies are undone, or your skirt is tucked into your knickers, then it’s doubtful that anyone will pay much attention to what you’re saying. (If your tie is tucked in your knickers, you’ll really set tongues wagging.)

So, Gents, please make sure your tie is tied to the CORRECT LENGTH, and ladies you can get involved here by making sure the tie-wearing men in your life take heed. Whilst our friends at show you how to tie a Four-in-Hand or a proper Windsor knot they make no reference to the length of the tie.

You see, the tie is a giant arrow that points at one of the three B’s. Your Belly (yes, I know it’s a status symbol in some countries, but we don’t want to see it), your Buckle or your (and whilst it points at exactly what you’re thinking – we’re in polite company here so we’ll say…) Boots.

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For “Distraction Management” purposes it’s much better that the arrow stops at the buckle on your belt – it draws a line under it. Now you know this piece of presenting etiquette you’ll know it can take quite a few attempts to get it tied the right length – a major contributing factor as to why I personally fall into the “NO” camp –  the 50% of people who reckon it’s best NOT to wear a tie!


Delivery Skills from the Neck Up!

June 2, 2010

Well you asked to see Tim in action – here he is with his mate Pat Presenter.

In summary:

  • Ensure you give your audience eye-contact. Care when using PowerPoint! Many speaks gaze lovingly at the screen rather than at the audience.
  • Listen out for signals from the audience.
  • Remove distractions. Brush your hair and, on a similar note (below the neck) do up your flies, press your trousers/skirt and shine your shoes!)
  • For goodness sake, smile. Look pleased to be there. Unless of course you’re giving bad news in which case a maniacal grin just won’t do!
  • Use your voice. Vary the pitch, pace, tone and volume to keep the audience engaged throughout. If you can’t sound passionate (or at the very least, enthusiastic) about your subject – decline offers to speak about it!

You’ll find more Tips on our site’s FREE Downloads page

Top Tips for using a Flip Chart

May 27, 2010

Here’s a little video we made with some trade secrets for using a flip chart as a visual aid.

You’ll find more Tips on our site’s FREE Downloads page

Keynote vs. PowerPoint

February 23, 2010

Almost as dangerous as PowerPoint

At New Tricks Training we have a saying… “PowerPoint is a powerful tool, but so’s a Smith & Wesson. In the wrong hands both can kill.”

Of course, it comes down to obeying some golden rules of PowerPoint:

  • Use no more than 20 words a slide over no more than six bullet points
  • Use high-resolution pictures to tell a story
  • Never use clip art (all the images have already been seen before)
  • Don’t apply in-house brand guidelines unless designed specifically for projection
  • Don’t put copy right messages on slides you intend to show to an audience – it just distracts
  • Choose your background carefully
  • Don’t use distracting animations.

Here’s an article from the BBC. But there again the tool you use to make your point powerfully can make a huge difference. Where we can we use Apple’s presentation software, Keynote.  Whether you use PowerPoint or Keynote (or even Prezi – more of that another time) we’re only too willing to help folk design a better presentation. Here’s a short demonstration of Keynote’s versatility.