Tag Archives: presentation tips


Stop speaking before your audience stops listening…

I know so many people who think that the longer you speak and the more content you provide, the more valuable it is. But what about your audience? They have most often a very passive role, just listening, and that is far more difficult than speaking.

Just last week I was following a presentation and I am convinced that everyone was there, as I was, because they were very interested in the topic. Normally this presentation was a session of 1,5 hours (this is for Peter Hinssen for example his favorite time frame for speaking). But as people were coming from all around Belgium and the presentation was organized in Genk, they had asked the speaker to make this a longer session (about 2,5 hours). Far too long and extremely difficult for the audience!

So let me ask you this? Do you organize welcome days for new people? Do they have to listen to presentations of the different division? This is all organized with the best intentions but let me give you this advise. Share short stories with them so they can get to know the company values and send facts & figures or whatever they need. Let them network with each other and mingle with people from the company. Make it fun and it will be so much more valuable… Enjoy your next presentation!

Schrijf jouw presentatie met 14-jarigen in gedachten


Toen ik Marcia De Wachter (directeur-schatbewaarder Nationale Bank van België) interviewde vertelde ze mij dat ze elke presentatie schrijft alsof ze zich richt naar 14-jarigen. Het werkt om ervoor te zorgen dat je het verhaal eenvoudig houdt. In hun boek ‘Made to stick’ hebben broers Dan & Chip Heath het over ‘the curse of knowledge’. Wanneer je veel weet over een bepaalde topic dan gaan we er al te vaak van uit dat het publiek ook alles begrijpt. Maak het eenvoudig, gebruik vergelijkingen, geef voorbeelden,…allemaal manieren om het ‘simple’ te maken!

Zenuwachtig om te spreken en toch krachtige uitstraling!

Gisteren werkte ik met een groep van allemaal onervaren sprekers. Ze volgden de opleiding ‘bewust presenteren’ omdat hun job inhoud veranderd was en in de toekomst zouden ze vaker moeten presenteren. Niet dat ze vragende partij waren, geen van allen! De problematiek was dat ze niet graag in het midden van de belangstelling stonden en dat is precies wat er gebeurt bij een presentatie. Ik laat hen allemaal een verhaal vertellen om hun stijl te ontdekken en dan zie je de typische houdingen waarbij ze zichzelf proberen weg te cijferen. En dan gebeurt er iets mooi. Ik vertrouw hen toe dat elke spreker zenuwen heeft (ik ook nog voor een groot publiek) maar dat bewust gebruik van lichaamstaal kan helpen om een krachtige uitstraling te hebben. En dan gaan we aan de slag, zien ze op de filmpjes de veranderingen en het ongeloof dat zij dat zijn die ik filmde. Hoe mooi kleine trucs kunnen helpen en effectief ook zelfvertrouwen geven. Heerlijk vind ik het :-)

Pitch your idea and make it short


Last week I heard once again that when you need to talk to a high level audience you better be prepared to make it short. It is not because they have given you 20 minutes that you will actually have 20 minutes speaking time. It is not because they let you begin your talk you won’t be interrupted…soon. So be prepared! Here’s an idea for you.

Next time you have to talk to a high level audience split your presentation in 2 parts: short talk of no more than 5 minutes and lots of room to fill in the details with a discussion. TELL your audience upfront that you only need 5 minutes to get your main messages across and afterwards you discuss the details together. Build your 5 minute talk around the main conclusions! And don’t end with ‘do you have any questions’. End with a valuable, straight forward question like: ‘On which parts would you like me to provide more details’ or any questions that works following your talk. Move from a monologue to a dialogue and notice how efficient this technique can be!

The audience is not your enemy

little 14 days old kitten hiding

I figured out long time ago that nearly everyone is nervous to do a presentation.The difference though between an experienced and non experienced speaker is that experienced speakers know how to deal with these nerves and ACT confident.They come close to their audience, they will rarely hide behind a lectern. They smile before starting and ‘connect’ with their audience. They make big gestures from their shoulders, they don’t make themselves small. Know that when you present your brain subconsciously might perceive the audience as the enemy. Your natural reaction is to hide from that enemy and protect yourself (you should sometimes see how people stand incredibly unnaturally to hide). Do the opposite and reinsure your brain that the situation is safe by coming close, looking for eye contact and stand in a powerful way!

Do you really need PowerPoint?

I just witnessed an interesting converstation while waiting at a reception desk. 2 ladies just met their contact, and the latter proposes to have a coffee first and sit in a relaxed area. She even proposes to have the meeting there and asks ‘or do you really need to show a PowerPoint??…’ The other 2 ladies answer yes, they have prepared a PPT and their faces show apologies… Wouldn’t it be easier to have dialogues and conversations instead of monologues with PowerPoint?…

When you are enthusiastic, so is your audience


I just watched a live stream presentation of Jef Staes. Each time it strikes me how much fun he has on stage. He really wants the audience to understand his message and is enthusiastic to get that message across. I noticed the same thing a few months ago during TEDx Maastricht. When I drive home after such presentations I always ask myself which presentations sticks in my mind. For the ted presentation 2 came to my mind. Not because these were the best presenters as such, but these 2 speakers were the most enthusiastic.So show enthusiasm for your next presentation. High volume voice helps, coming close to your audience helps and telling stories (examples) helps!

How to create a great pitch?

origin_2336190711  I don’t know why but lately I get a lot of questions on how to pitch? My first question then is ‘where do you want to use your pitch?’ An elevator pitch used for an informal networking event to let people know what you exactly do is significantly different from an investor pitch. My tips will focus on a pitch that you need to do ‘on stage’.
1. Focus on the WHY
Far too many presentations focus on ‘what’ and ‘how’ though the audience is far more interested in why because then it is linked to them. An investor needs to know why he should invest. This is not one of your agenda points. Your whole pitch focusses on the answers to this question.

2. Tell stories
You can tell audiences about the super team you have, your great product, facts & figures… but you can only make them care when you gives them examples or share anecdotes that proof what you say.

3. Connect
Your story should focus on them but so should you! A presentation is never a one way communication. Stand close to them and interact. Give them individual attention when you talk. Focus far more on them than on your PowerPoint. Ask questions to them. Make them part of your presentation. Don’t just talk to them, talk WITH them. It is less intimidating and allows you to communicate in a much more effective way.

Enjoy your next presentation!

e-Book on how to communicate with impact!

Presentation Tips from Presentation Coach Sylvie Verleye….After blogging and writing for 5 years on the topic of communicating with impact and presentations I decided last summer to share all my tips in an e-book. I had shared this free e-book after the summer break to everyone who had subscribed to my newsletter. As the feedback was so positive I have decided now to share it with everyone as a kind of New Year’s gift. Enjoy reading Presentation Tips from Presentation Coach Sylvie Verleye.

Expert Academy 2011

Evenement van Expert Academy waar ik één van de sprekers was…