Presentation Traits of High Stake Presenters

These days, game shows seem to have exploded in popularity. One of the latest is 1 vs. 100, in which a contestant competes against a “mob” of 100 for a cool $1 million prize.

So, what does a game show have to do with presentation skills? Almost everything. Notice I said almost, because rather than facing a mob of determined opponents as in the show 1 vs. 100, chances are most speakers will be presenting to a room full of advocates. That’s right: your listeners want you to succeed.

But 1 vs. 100 is a perfect speaking metaphor in every other way. To win over an audience, game show contestants must be confident they have the knowledge to win; be strategic in their approach, and have enough passion to inspire listeners.

Confidence is your first component for success, whether you’re competing on TV or presenting at a conference. It’s critical for speakers to be confident about their message and willing to openly share their expertise. Self-assured presenters understand how and why their message is important, and speak with a heartfelt conviction that immediately engages listeners.

Successful “players” are also strategic in their approach. For presenters, this means crafting a message that is logically structured and unfolds like a compelling story. When your material is well organized, skillfully written, and carefully sequenced, attention is maintained and audiences are able to follow along with ease.

Finally, smart presenters can take a lesson in passion from their game show colleagues. Imagine a show that featured contestants completely devoid of personality or excitement. It may seem an obvious statement, but enthusiasm is contagious. If you are sincerely excited about your message, listeners can’t help but share your enthusiasm – and be inspired to take the appropriate action.

Whether you’re vying for millions in prizes or a standing ovation, you set the tone for success the moment you start formulating your message. By considering how high-stakes contestants achieve success, you’re guaranteed to look at high-stakes presenting in a whole new light.

Being Present And Aware

Seeing the moment for what it is, is important for how we relate to it. Without construing false pretenses or imagining outcomes, we let the moment be just as it is without further interpretation. To let the moment exist how it is, to be present with it, allows us to not only fully experience it, but to be part of it. We create a separation from our reality when we pull ourselves into our heads; our thoughts destroy our interaction with it. We become someone who is relating by memory, with fear of the outcome, or are simply too lost in thought to be present. On the other side of things, we can also be too wrapped up in our emotional state to fully see what is truly happening around us.

When we are preoccupied by our emotions, relating to them rather than to the moment, we can never be fully present. In relation to the moment, we can exist purely from a state of no withdrawal, no ulterior motives, no internal mental or emotional battles, and most importantly simply allowing ourselves to be where we are. We very often choose to pull out of the moment. Why? Because we find our thoughts are more important, we give them a value over our existence. In addition, we sometimes rule our days by our emotions. Often, the two of them interacting and filling our day up, and we never fully come to peace with where we are. We miss the moment.

We have lost the value of experiencing the moment for simply what it is. We let ourselves get lost in ourselves, in what we think is important, and choose to exit reality. We may think we are doing a good job at being where we are. But take a moment, relax, and ask yourself how much of the day or even this very moment have you really felt present? Why do we hide from the moment, why do we pull ourselves away so often? It is like we are fixated on anything but being fully present. However, the truth is that when you can be present and not be pulled in many different directions by thoughts or emotions, all else falls away and the constant struggle you feel can dissipate.

The importance you placed on figuring things out, on worrying over the future, on delaying your responses out of fear–all of this is nonessential, because the moment does not require this. The moment exists as part of us; therefore, there is no future, no past, no struggle, no aftereffect, or even anywhere to get lost in, because we have not complicated the moment with our ideas, perceptions, memories, fears, or anything else. When we are present and fully engaged in the now of the moment, we can see clearly and feel what is important. We can understand what really matters for us at that time. We can relax and become ourselves without stress, without managing or pulling ourselves in different directions. By letting ourselves stay grounded with where we are, we are present. We are connected and therefore need nothing else. All the big problems tend to fall away because we no longer give them so much importance in our lives. We can then see them for what they are with nothing else added to them. Let go of yourself long enough to be present. Engage in the moment. Feel, see, and think about where you are and nothing else. Life’s purpose is not about struggle or always doing something; rather, it is about being where you are.

Handling Hecklers – 5 Ways That Presenters Can Restore Order

How does that children’s rhyme go?

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.

Bull! If there is one thing that presenters dread more than forgetting their lines, it’s having someone add to their speech without an invitation. Unlike President Obama we don’t have a flock of Secret Service agents at our beck and call who can fan out into an audience and cart off an unruly heckler.

What should you do when someone in the audience starts to deliberately take away from your carefully rehearsed speech? Start crying and go home is always a possibility; however, I’ve got some better ways to deal with this situation for you…

What Is Heckling?
Maybe a good place for us to start this discussion is to make sure that we both fully understand just what heckling is. There are two types of heckling that you WILL have to deal with during one or more of your presentations: active and passive.

Active heckling occurs when someone in the audience starts talking back to you right in the middle of your speech. For a public speaker this often feels like you’ve just hit a speed bump in your speech while you were going 80 miles an hour. Talk about surprising!

Passive heckling is much closer to disrespect. This often shows up as people having their own conversations during your presentation. Normally this is their own call and you don’t really care, but if they are loud enough then it becomes your problem. Talking on a cell phone or having a huddle at the back of the room are common ways that this shows up.

No matter if you are speaking at a wedding, a graduation, or a business function, hecklers will ALWAYS be in the audience and it’s just a matter if they decide to speak up. First off, we should talk about what you should NOT do…

What Should You NOT Do?
I sorta like to think of this as the North Korea problem – man they are annoying, but they are so small as to not really count in the big scheme of things. Likewise, when you are faced with either an active or a passive heckler, you need to make sure that you don’t come out with guns ‘a blazing. Here are a few things that you should NOT do when you are trying to deal with a heckler:

  • Don’t try to be funny: this is the #1 response that trips up most presenters. They spend too much time trying to come up with a funny response to the heckler on the spot and it falls flat. A serious response will shut him/her up most of the time.
  • Don’t Lose Your Temper: I don’t care if you were just coming to that point in your speech which causes everyone to burst into tears and now this rude heckler has spoiled the moment. If you lose your temper, then you’ll never be able to get back into your speech after the moment has passed.

How To Correctly Handle A Heckler
Some hecklers are a one-shot deal – they make one comment and then they’ll go away forever. However, depending on what they’ve said, even this type of heckler needs to be dealt with. Dealing with all types of hecklers correctly is the key to being a successful public speaker. Here are 5 ways that you can deal with hecklers during your speech:

  1. Silence: Somewhat surprisingly the simplest solution is often the most effective. If you stop speaking and turn and stare at the heckler, everyone else will turn to see what you are looking at. In 95% of heckler cases this kind of social embarrassment is all that it takes to shut a heckler up.
  2. Tie Your Response To The Event: This is a clever way to remind the heckler why everyone is at the event. For example, if you were speaking at a breast cancer awareness event and started to have problems with a heckler, a great response would be “Hey, I’m talking here – unless you’ve discovered a way to beat breast cancer, how about if you just remain quiet”.
  3. Add The Heckler To Your Team: This technique turns an unexpected interruption into what appears to be a planned part of your speech. After the heckler has said what they are going to say, pause for a moment and thank your “speechwriter / joke writer / etc.”. The audience will laugh with you, the heckler will beam with pride, and you can go on.
  4. Give Them The Mic: This is a fairly drastic tactic, but it can pay great dividends. Walk over to where the heckler is sitting and offer to hand them the mic. Generally they will decline the offer and will get the point that this presentation is not all about them.
  5. Think Outside The Room: Certain hecklers, such as loud groups at the back of the room, can resist all efforts on your part to overcome them. This calls for innovative thinking. One way to handle this is either for you or your audience to move. You can move out into the center of your audience and deliver your speech “in the round” or you can have them move their chairs in order to be closer to you.