Category Archives: Reader Questions

Responses to reader inquiries

What Is the Ideal Length for a Presentation?

If by presentation, you mean a speech (not training or workshop) then the ideal length is between 15 and 20 minutes. In the 1970s the U.S. Navy conducted a study to find out how long people can listen to other people talk. The Navy wanted to find out how to better use the time of…
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How Do you Create a Speech on Short Notice?

If you have very little time to prepare a speech, spend your time zeroing in on your purpose and your audience. Ask yourself, "What do I want to accomplish? How do I want my audience to be different after they have heard what I have to say?" Instead of focusing on all the things you…
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How Should You Conclude a Speech?

A strong finish is as important as a strong start. Never skip your closing, even if your speech is cut short. This is the time to remind your audience what you want them to do and to get agreement on next steps. Aim for a final  crescendo  and leave your audience in a heightened emotional…
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How Much Should I Rehearse Before a Presentation?

You should always plan rehearsal time into your timeline so that you have enough time to run through your entire presentation with your visual aids and without. There's no set number of times you need to rehearse, but the more you do, the more smoothly your presentation will go. A good rule of thumb is…
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How Do You Remember Key Messages During a Q & A?

I just came back from an industry conference where I was asked a lot of questions by the press regarding our company and new products. I found myself feeling flustered and forgot a lot of what I was planning to say. Do you have any suggestions? When we are stressed, abstract concepts are difficult to…
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What Are Some Ways to Introduce Humor Into a Presentation?

Using humor is a great way to create rapport with your audience by lightening the mood. Try turning your own life experiences into humorous stories. We've all had problems, and telling funny stories about yourself creates an impression that you're secure, confident, and likable. Here are four great books we recommend which are packed full…
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What Can I Do to Grab the Attention of My Audience Right Away?

There are several ways you can gain interest and buy-in from your audience before you go on to deliver the main points in your presentation. Here are a few ideas for grabbing your audience’s attention when you open. Ask a question: How many of you exercise at least 3 times a week? Use a quotation:…
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Do You Have Any Advice for How to Introduce a Speaker?

When you introduce a speaker, your goal is to pique audience interest and establish the speaker’s credibility. The following format can help you structure your remarks. Start with an engaging opening. You could tell the audience how you came to know the speaker, share a brief anecdote about him or her, or open with a…
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What Does it Mean to Speak With Authenticity?

When you speak with authenticity, you bring yourself into the presentation. You use personal pronouns ("I" "me") and show passion or interest in your subject. One way you can do this is by sharing an anecdote or example from your own experience. Here are three questions you can ask yourself to test your authenticity: Would…
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