Tag Archives: workshop
August 23, 2016

Top 10 Presentation Skills Tips

Presentation Skills - zoedawes

How do you feel about public speaking? Does your heart leap with joy at the very thought? Or are you one of the millions of people who dread it? I used to dread it but now having been a trainer for many years and also given a lot of talks and presentations, I’ve learnt to manage my nerves over time. Whether you need to give a presentation at work, at a conference, in a training session or seminar, (as I did at Traverse Events Blogstock) to a client or a speech at a wedding, there are some simple tips that can help you get your message over clearly and effectively.

Here are my Top 10 Presentation Skills Tips

1. Know the WHY, WHAT and WHO of your presentation

Why are you giving the talk? Is it to entertain, to inform, persuade, sell – what? Be clear on why you’re speaking and stay focused. What are you talking about? It’s easy to get side-tracked, especially if you don’t prepare, so keep revisiting the topic of your presentation. Who’s your audience. Find out as much as you can beforehand ie how many will be there? what do they already know? how much do they need to know? Tailor your speech appropriately.

2.  Keep it simple and relevant

One of the biggest challenges to a presenter is making sure you present your content clearly, to avoid ambiguity and ensure understanding. Keep it Simple! You’re not there to show all you know, but to meet the expectations of your audience. Your audience will only be able to take in a certain amount of information – or your jokes – so keep an eye on your content

3. Rehearse and pay attention to timing

This is probably the MOST IMPORTANT tip of all. Once you have prepared your talk you must go through it before you deliver it. You’d be surprised how different it can sound once you actually speak it and of course you also need to practise using your visual aids.

4.  Be real and know your subject

The  most difficult goal you could set yourself is to appear to be an expert and know all things. No-one knows everything, not even Google, so just be yourself. Make sure you know what you’re talking about but don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something.

5.  Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them

Carnegie Quote

To help your audience absorb what you’re saying, outline what you going to talk about first, then present it and finally sum up what you’ve already said.

6.  Create a positive impact

Start with a smile (as long as it’s appropriate); universal language understood by all. Dress for the occasion and check your appearance beforehand. Modulate your voice in a friendly manner and keep it light, unless the content is not suitable for that approach. Try not to stride about, however enthusiastic you may be (see Point 7); it distracts the audience.

7.  Deliver with enthusiasm and passion

Don’t be afraid to share your passion for your subject. It will show in your voice, your face and your body language and your audience will respond more enthusiastically to your message.

8.  Use Audio-Visuals carefully

Using Visual Aids - Dilbert Cartoon

You’ve no doubt experienced ‘Death by Powerpoint‘ at some time. You know, the guy who throws slide after slide onto the screen, just repeats everything that’s on it and seldom makes eye-contact with the audience. Visual Aids, including props, clothes, slides, yourself, all need to be used appropriately and with discernment. Think about your audience (see Point 1) and what will HELP you to get your message over, rather than dominate your presentation.

9. Prepare for questions and handle your audience with respect and good humour

It can be challenging to deal with audience questions, especially when they ask something to which you don’t know the answer (see Point 4). Go through possible questions and think about your answers in your preparation. If someone gets rude or aggressive, try to maintain your own good humour.

10. Remember – it’s not about you, it’s about the audience!

However much you want to share everything there is to know about your subject, keep the audience’s needs in mind and structure everything around them. Try to enjoy it!

Business Pocketbooks - Presentation Skills

The tips here are taken from the TQT Presentation Skills Seminar, one of the TQT Workshops I run for the Tourism, Hospitality and Creative sectors.Business Pocketbooks are excellent and I use them all the time, including the two shown above. I also offer 1-1 coaching, delivered in person or online. If you’d like to discuss some training for your business or help with Presentation Skills, contact Zoe Dawes here and let’s make it happen.


Top 10 Tips for Presentation Skills - zoedawes

September 19, 2011

The difference between a Travel Writer and a Travel Blogger

QT ink wellAt a recent network meeting I was asked what I did and replied, “I’m a travel … well, a blogger… I mean, I write travel posts – I’ve got a website I blog on … I’ve had some articles published in magazines …” and ran out of steam.  You probably know about those business networking organisations where you have to give a 30 second ‘elevator pitch’ to sum up what you do; well, the descent from the new Burj Tower in Dubai wouldn’t have been be long enough.  The main issue I had was saying I was a travel BLOGGER – it didn’t feel right.

If you Google the phrase ‘travel writer v travel blogger’ there are over 40,000 pages; read Gary Arndt’s article Travel Blogging vs Travel Writing for a thoughtful take on the subject.  Gary offers a number of different criteria including writers as those who “write for someone else, either on staff or on a freelance basis, and bloggers “work for themselves and they are responsible for their own income.’  I fit both definitions depending on the situation.  My reticence in using phrase ‘Travel Blogger’ seemed to be based on something else …

I realised it came from my own perception of what constituted GOOD writing.  I grew up consuming all kinds of travel books for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  My heroes included the usual names;  Paul Theroux, Laurens Van Der Post, William Dalrymple, Laurie Lee, Dervla Murphy and my absolute favourite, Jan Morris. Novels set in foreign lands have always interested me, some have even caused me to move there – ‘My Family & Other Animals‘ by Gerald Durrell inspired a love-affair with Greece that lasts to this day.  Guide books are a must on every trip and I can’t wait for next month’s copy of Lonely Planet mag.  You’ll note that all of these fit the traditional, printed paper format.  However, my main definition of a good ‘travel writer’ is simply that their writing must engage me and take me on a journey via the words and images they create.

Travel bloggers use technology to facilitate ease of access to the written word.  Bloggers can freely ‘publish’ their words to world at the click of a mouse.  Using the definition above there are some truly brilliant travel writers amongst the blogging community and there are some lousy ones.  And that’s the point – anyone with basic IT skills can be a blogger. Using social media, PR, networking and other means will enure the blogger potential readers.  Whether or not they are ‘good’ travel writers – well, that’s another issue entirely.

Yes, I’ve had a number of paid articles published.  Yes, I’ve had The Quirky Traveller Travel Notes published and I am working on a travel book, but my writing is mainly in blog format here and for other travel blog sites.  So, the next time anyone asks me what I do, I am going to say, “I’m a travel blogger” and see how it feels.  It’s up to the reader to decide if I’m any good!

 QT Compass

Zoe Dawes runs Travel Writing Workshops sharing tips on how to write, blog and share the journey.