Presentation Skills for Aspiring Leaders—Step 2: Delivery

Sue Keever WattsSue Keever Watts
Senior Director at ROI Communication
Blog: http://keevergroup.wordpress.com/
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/sue-keever-watts/0/aa/b60
Twitter: @SueKeever
Blogs from Sue Keever Watts.

There are three things that matter when you’re presenting. Here’s a hint—one of the three is not your PowerPoint deck. The three things include your nonverbal communication, your voice, and your message. Your body language (nonverbal communication) and voice dramatically impact whether your audience believes what you have to say. Simply put, the way you deliver your message is what people use to judge your level of expertise, intelligence, and trustworthiness. We’ve all watched presentations where we couldn’t get past the speaker’s irritating voice, her pacing, or his lack of eye contact.

Let’s start with the most important of the three, which is nonverbal communication. By this I mean your posture, your body language, and your overall presence. Although difficult, the best way to stand in front of an audience is with your arms at your side. Clasping your hands together is a natural response to fear. In essence, you’re covering or protecting yourself. And, when you clasp your hands, you look nervous (which, of course, you are). When you look nervous, you appear less confident and that impacts your credibility.

You can use your hands to make a point or to point at something, but when not in use, they should be at your side. Also, when you move, move with purpose. Don’t rock back and forth, and don’t wander aimlessly. Walk over to one side of your audience, make eye contact with someone in the audience, make your point, pause, and then walk to another side of the room and do the same thing. Making eye contact with individuals in your audience creates intimacy. Finally, don’t talk at your audience, talk to them. Think of your presentation as a conversation. How would you deliver this information to one person over a cup of coffee? A good presenter is able to close the gap between herself and her audience.

The second most important element in your presentation is your voice. By voice, I mean your cadence, how you punctuate your sentences, and whether or not you pause. Have you ever listened to a presentation and the speaker’s voice never changed? It didn’t speed up or slow down. It didn’t rise or fall. It was flat, it was frenetic, or it was extremely loud throughout the entire presentation. More than likely, you lost interest.

Effective presenters raise their voices to accentuate a point. They lower their voices to almost a whisper to draw in their audience. Pausing is one of the most effective tools in the presenter’s arsenal. Every time you pause, you give the audience time to fully absorb what you’ve said. It is truly the only way that you can effectively get your message across. Oftentimes people give too much information. They give it too quickly. They don’t pause. And, then they wonder why no one was able to remember what they said. Pause often, and pause after you’ve made an important point. Finally, use your voice to punctuate your sentences. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate a little emotion by raising your voice (or lowering your voice), using your arms, or simply pausing to let the full impact of your message reach the audience.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about takeaways. If you have any suggestions or related stories, please e-mail me at swatts@roico.com.

Read Step 1 on the NACE Blog. Also, see Step 3.

Presentation Skills for Aspiring Leaders—Step 1: Prep Work

Sue Keever WattsSue Keever Watts
Senior Director at ROI Communication
Blog: http://keevergroup.wordpress.com/
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/sue-keever-watts/0/aa/b60
Twitter: @SueKeever
Blogs from Sue Keever Watts.

All great presenters have one thing in common: they give, they don’t take. In fact, the best way to give a truly memorable presentation is to turn the tables and shift the focus away from you and onto your audience. In this three-part series, we’ll cover the essential elements of a powerful presentation—prep work, delivery, and takeaways. Anyone can be a great presenter, I promise. It just takes practice. Here are some tips for getting started:

  1. See yourself as a present-er. I know it’s cheesy, but if you think of your presentation as a gift, then you’re much more likely to capture the attention of your audience.
  2. Step away from the computer. Never build your presentation with a PowerPoint template. Your presentation isn’t your PowerPoint deck. The presentation is you—your brain, your ideas, your perspective, and your knowledge. Firm up your ideas before you put them into a template.
  3. Know your audience. Who are they and what information do they need? A presentation isn’t about holding people captive for an hour. It’s an opportunity to captivate, inspire, inform, transform, or educate.
  4. Identify one big idea. What do you want your audience to take away? Focus on no more than two-to-three key points, but find a repeating theme (one big idea) that pulls it all together.
  5. Use stories to engage your audience. Look for opportunities to incorporate brief stories into your presentation. Don’t be afraid to make it personal—use, perhaps, a story that influenced your viewpoint or position on the subject.
  6. Nail the opening. Audiences are easily distracted. You have to capture their attention quickly. Open with a surprising fact, a related story, or a question. Engage your audience from the get-go. Never open with an apology, excuse, or long-winded review of your accomplishments.
  7. PowerPoint isn’t the problem: bullet points are. Most PowerPoint presentations could give themselves. They’re packed with too many words, far too many ideas, and way too many instructions. If you use PowerPoint, think of the meaning of each slide. What idea are you trying to get across? Find an appropriate photo or graphic as the background and create one sentence that captures the essence of your message. Just one sentence per slide.
  8. Visualize. As you prepare to give your presentation, ask yourself what you would say if technology failed and it was just you and the audience. Then, visualize each slide along with the key message you’re trying to convey. Practice. Practice. Practice.
  9. Know when to stop. Your audience has an attention span of about 18 minutes. If you have an hour to speak, be sure to create opportunities for audience participation, discussion, and/or brainstorming. If you want your audience to retain the information you’ve presented, they have to participate.
  10. Prepare for objections or questions in advance. Determine whether you’re going to take questions during, between sections, or after your presentation. Always repeat the question. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll get back to you.”

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how to deliver an effective presentation. If you have any suggestions or related stories, please e-mail them to me at swatts@roico.com.

Sue Keever Watts will deliver Presentation Skills for Aspiring Leaders on Wednesday, June 3, at NACE15. She has been helping leaders develop their presentation skills for more than 25 years.

Read: Step 2 and Step 3

The Social Media-Enhanced Job Search: Creepy or Courageous?

kevin grubb NACE Ambassador Kevin Grubb
Associate Director, Digital Media & Assessment at Villanova University’s Career Center.
Twitter: @kevincgrubb
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevingrubb
Blog: “social @ edu”.
Blogs from Kevin Grubb.

At the 2014 NACE conference, I heard lots of conversations about social media, recruiting, and job searching. That’s not surprising; social media is still influencing our work and changing it with exponential speed. I found myself often reflecting on the class that I teach at Villanova on social media and creating a professional identity online and whether all that we can do with technology now is creepy or courageous.

In my class, I have every student read the privacy policy of Facebook or Twitter and write a reflection on what they found. If we were taking live polls of my ratings as a professor, I can tell you my scores would drop like a lead bucket as soon as that assignment goes out. Doesn’t everybody just click on “I agree to (insert website name) privacy policy and terms of use” right away and start the sharing? Ugh!

Facebook Terms of Use

Have you ever read this entire thing?

But, when I read the resulting papers and talk with students afterward, there’s always been only gratitude. What they learned was a mixture of “creepy” and empowering: they’re now aware of what information is out there and start confidently making decisions to be smart online.

“Creepy” is a word I hear often when I talk with groups of students and professionals about social media. I hear it especially in conversations about LinkedIn’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature, which shows you just what it says it will. Conversely, when you view the profiles of others, they would be able to know that, too. You can change your visibility in this feature via privacy settings, though I will say I think users should remain visible in almost every case. I’ve heard many good stories about connections getting made and even an interview being offered when two people realized they stumbled on each other’s profiles.

Are there elements of social media that feel creepy? I won’t argue that it can create uncomfortable moments. However, social media can also be empowering, as the students in my class find out together. To get active, to share your goals and your ideas (without “oversharing”—either emotionally or just by posting too often), and to connect with people about those ideas: that’s a powerful possibility social media creates.

It’s a big, big stage we’re on when we talk about sharing ourselves and our stuff on social media. Anyone who realizes the magnitude of reaching thousands or millions of people with a few taps on the keyboard and a mouse click is right to say, “I should really think carefully about this.” In my experience talking with people, that also scares the heck out of them. What if I share some things that really matter to me and nobody cares? What if someone bashes my ideas? Do I have anything worthy enough to share?

For students, being active on social media in a professional manner takes courage. It’s trying something new. Just like putting on a business suit for the first time felt strange, so does putting on your digital suit when you interact on social media. Did it take them a little courage to make the first introduction to someone at a networking event or career fair? So, too, does it take courage to ask for help from alumni on LinkedIn, to tweet to professionals they think are doing great work or to write a blog post?

Perhaps the social media-enhanced job search is part creepy and part courageous. For now, I’m in the courageous camp. NACE blog readers: What do you think?

First NACE Excursion Is a Hit!

NACE14 Excursion

Some NACE14 attendees hiked their way through a conference workshop on Monday, visiting three historic San Antonio locations for a presentation and a question-and-answer session with business representatives.
The 1.2-mile walk began at the Marriott Riverwalk. Attendees made their first stop at the Arneson River Theatre, an 800-seat amphitheater on the banks of the San Antonio River, with entrances into La Villita Historic Arts Village.

NACE14 Excursion 2

NACE14 Excursion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The excursion continued to The History Shop, a shop that carries original antique maps, antique books, militaria, and antique weapons. The shop specializes in Texas history: Spanish Colonial, Texas Revolution, Republic era, and the Civil War. The excursion ended with a 45-minute, 2.5-mile cruise. Rio San Antonio Cruises provided a narrated boat tour of the city.NACE14 Excursion 5

The NACE14 Excursion is a concept adapted from Jim Gilmor and Joe Pine (The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business a Stage) and their annual thinkAbout excursions.san antonio river cruise

Pictures From the NACE14 Conference in San Antonio!

The 2014 Conference & Expo opens in San Antonio!

OpenRecept02

NACE President Dan Black and NACE Executive Director Marilyn Mackes welcome attendees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connect. Compare. Collaborate. Opening keynotes.

Henry Cisneros

Henry Cisneros

Sarah Michel

Sarah Michel

Tim Sanders

Tim Sanders

 

 

 

 

 

Then, colorful dancers and a Mariachi band close the opening ceremonies and lead attendees to the opening reception.

Colorful dancers and a Mariachi band at the opening ceremonies.

Colorful dancers and a Mariachi band at the opening ceremonies.

Exhibit hall

Exhibit hall

Preconference workshops

Preconference workshops

Registration

Registration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feed Your Career at NACE14

Cindy Billington

Cindy Billington, Associate Director, MBA Career Education Graduate Business Career Services, Texas A&M University
Twitter: @cindybillington
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/cindybillington

It is that time of year!  Once again, we are less than a month away from the NACE Conference & Expo, and this year it will be held in beautiful San Antonio, TX.  I look forward to this conference every year as an opportunity to reconnect with and meet new colleagues and friends.

Each year, I find myself returning from the conference recharged and ready for an innovative and successful year of career coaching at Texas A&M.  If you have not registered to attend this “can’t miss” professional development opportunity, I urge you to visit naceweb.org immediately.  If you are like me, then your career is probably begging you for some nourishment.  Don’t ever neglect your career nourishment folks.

For those of you who have already registered, don’t wait until you arrive in San Antonio to prepare.  I recommend following these steps in order to make the most out of #NACE14:

1. Begin your networking ahead of time.

2.  Plan your schedule.

  • NACE has implemented a new tool called NACE14 Itinerary Builder.  Where have you been all of my life?  This tool has allowed me create a tailored agenda just for me.  I love things that are made just for me.  I feel special, don’t you?
  • Research the keynote presenters.  If you are like me, you buy every book available. Be familiar with who is speaking ahead of the conference and reach out to say hello. Welcome any and all guests to our “FAMILY REUNION.”

3.  Brush on your networking skills.

  • One of my favorite books on networking is Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.  Keith actually spoke at a NACE conference a few years ago.  I urge you to never break bread alone at a conference.  Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with someone else attending the conference.  Great friendships are made over coffee.  I promise.

4.  Follow up after the event.

  • As you travel away from San Antonio, don’t let your experience become a distant memory.  Return to your office and immediate send thank-you notes to speakers NACE staff and president, and the amazing #NACE14 co-chairs.  Pull out those business cards you received and connect with those folks on LinkedIn or Twitter.

5.  Implement what you learned.

  • Be very careful not to let your conference notes get dusty.  We all have a tendency to return to work after a conference and immediately jump back into old habits and the surge of e-mail.
  • Host a lunch and share what you learned with your office mates.  Ignite energy in those who work with you based on what you learned.
  • Start a conversation on the NACE LinkedIn Group page to keep those relationships and ideas growing.

I cannot wait to meet all of you at #NACE14.  Register today and get ready for a great time in San Anton.  And don’t forget to pack your proper attire for the Diamonds and Denim Celebration on Tuesday evening.

Using Facebook to Easily Connect Students and Employers

Smedstad-Headshot

Shannon Smedstad, Employer Branding & HR Social Media, Geico
Twitter: @shannonsmedstad
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/shannonsmedstad

Before we jump into the meat of this post, I’ve got a few initial questions for you …

EMPLOYERS: Does your company have a career-related Facebook page?

CAREER CENTERS: Do you have a Facebook page?

BOTH: Could you be doing more with your page?

If you answered “yes” to two out of three of these questions, please keep reading.

Most people know that Facebook is good for sharing photos and status updates. But, what if we could use Facebook as a virtual career fair platform? How exactly would that work?

facebook_logoThe Magic of Facebook for College Recruiting

You can access Facebook from anywhere: desktop, phone, dorm room, or in-between classes. You can chat with an individual or group. You can share information and link to jobs. Some recruiters already use Facebook to connect with job-seeking students.

As the manager of a corporate career page on Facebook, I have now successfully led three virtual career fairs … right on Facebook!

  • June 2013: More than 230 people engaged with recruiters over a two-day virtual career fair. Hires were made!
  • November 2013: We took a more targeted approach and attracted 75 students to our page during a one-day fair. It cost us less than $50.
  • April 2014: Co-hosted a virtual career fair with a collegiate honor society and grew our followers by 3 percent in one day and organic reach was the highest it’s been year-to-date. It’s still too early to know if we’ve made any hires—my fingers are crossed!

Advice and Lessons Learned

When it comes to social media, you have to be willing to take some calculated risks and try new things. Social platforms are designed for real time communication; we just have to be creative in our thinking to create opportunities to do just that.

To me, these Facebook career fairs fall into the low risk/low cost/potential high reward category. It’s all about the planning, promotion, human resources, and execution of the plan, not how much it costs. Here are some of my top tips for anyone interested in hosting your own virtual event:

  • Determine your audience and whether you have any existing partners that will work through this idea with you.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to create a targeted, multi-channel promotional plan.
  • Visual imagery is important in attracting talent and sharing details of the event.
  • Schedule a pre-fair call with the recruiters to talk through what to expect and how you might want to handle certain requests or situations.
  • Make sure that your page (booth) is properly manned during the allotted career fair time, and for a day or two after (questions continue to trickle in).
  • Measure results using Facebook Insights, ATS data, and feedback from the entire team to determine whether the event was successful and worth doing again.

Since our most recent event, we’ve had two student organizations reach out with interest to our team. When you can bring people, technology, and opportunities together for the greater good … it’s a beautiful thing. Thanks, Facebook.