• Sample pages
  • Page 1

    The Opening

    Giving a presentation. Sharing a keynote. Leading a meeting. Facilitating a webinar. Each can be seen as a game, and each presenter or speaker as a player. The equipment and uniforms are expected. There are actual rules and assumed rules. There are opponents and playing fields to research. There are skills to learn and an attitude to adopt. A presentation can be seen as “just a game,” and you are in it to win.

    Throughout this text, we will use the term presentation to represent the different forms of verbal and/or visual communication including, but not limited to, keynotes, phone conferences, phone calls, webinars, meetings, verbal pitches, proposals, and reports, interviews, etc.

    Sports analogies connect to presenting for many reasons. As a teacher, even though my life has been spent in the theatre, I have relied on the universality of sports references. Most of us at some point, from childhood into adulthood, have been a player, a coach, or a fan, and we understand the play of a game. With a little shift of perspective, we get our head in the game and can experience the attitude adjustment needed to move from work to play, head to body, and “what should I do” to “I know this.”

    Players have different levels of skill, and they know that tips, techniques, practice and coaching can help them improve. While some players are naturally skilled, others just love to play the game, and still others are roped in, promoted in, or are just filling in. Regardless of whether the player is in the minor league, the major league, or even the pros, skills are continually being honed.

    For example, many of us would approach a long walk with the attitude: "I mean really, how hard can it be? I exercise all the time?" But for anyone who has done a day-long walk or hike, you know that a full day of walking does indeed use different muscles from jogging or biking, and this is emphasized when one is found hobbling at the end of the 34-mile event.

  • Page 2

    However, those who prepared with training in distance walking strolled on past the others and kept walking the next day. Public speaking often presents us with a similar feeling: “Shouldn’t I be fairly decent at this? I speak all the time.” We suit up; we show up, and think that we should be fine. We assume that we can wing it, but presenting uses different muscles and skills. Practice does make a difference. And being coached does improve your game. Ask any athlete.

    In addition, we find, that when we have been away from the game for a while, the game expectations, personal skills, equipment and playing fields may have changed. If you were a high school or college athlete and a friend asks for a pick up game, you might say, "Oh, I played in high school, it will come back to me." And while some of that is thankfully true, we also have older bodies, along with some bad habits stored in our muscle memory. All of this reminds us that it may be worth doing a little stretch, a warm up, and practice so that we are ready to compete again and, as in both games and presentations, to go for the goal.

    The Goal: The Why

    Games have goals. Often it is to win by obtaining a certain score. But sometimes the goal of the game is simply to have fun. While some people enjoy the competitive energy, some are more drawn to the play. Each and every presentation, or moment of communication, has a goal or objective. You must be very clear on your goal. Overall, clear communication, with resulting action from the audience, is what we hope to achieve. But that can take many different forms.

    It can be the yes to a deal; it can be the sell; it can be the empowerment of the knowledge shared; it can be the “ah ha” of guiding to self-discovery. We could be seeking visibility/exposure, or seeking new customers. We must prepare by asking a variety of questions of ourselves to lead us to our specific goal.

  • About the Author

    Hilary Blair is a presentation and speaking voice specialist. She is also a professional voice-over artist and actor with over 30 years experience teaching, coaching and facilitating. She teaches speaking voice, public speaking with ARTiculate: Real&Clear and is on faculty at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and adjunct faculty at a number of local colleges and universities. She is a highly regarded coach working extensively across the US at a variety of schools, universities, arts centers, theaters and in corporate settings with actors and teachers to lawyers and CEO’s. She holds an MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory and a BA from Yale University. She is a member of Toastmasters and VASTA – the voice and speech trainers association. Hilary is honored to have worked with finalists and awardees of the Make Mine a Million $ Business program since its inception. Hilary enjoys golfing, cycling, mountain biking, and Boggle.

    Robin A. Miller, PhD, MDiv is the co-founder of ARTiculate: Real&Clear, a communication and presentation company that helps individuals clarify their message. She is an energetic, motivational keynote speaker and has spent over 20 years in teaching, training and coaching others. Robin earned her PhD from the University of North Texas in Musicology and her Master of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology. Se has taught at Baylor University, Texas Christian University, and worked as a Customer Relationship Manager in the financial industry, as well as a Development Specialist in some of Denver’s leading Level 1 trauma centers. Her background in teaching, vocal performance, and public speaking enables her to work with large groups in actualizing their communication skills by connecting them to the real meaning of their message. She loves sports, spending many years playing competitive fast pitch softball.

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$4.95  buy now

An Attitude Adjustment for Presentation Skills

Can you really improve your communication skills? You already know that public speaking and presentation skills are essential for your business and personal success, but what can you do if you don’t feel comfortable making presentations?

With this SkillBite, not only can you improve your presentation skills, but you’ll enjoy doing so, and it’ll be easy and fun! Blair and Miller have been teaching for 30 plus years and have found that the traditional methods of teaching and/or coaching communication skills often miss the mark with clients; the concepts can be difficult to actually integrate into everyday use. This quick read incorporates crucial findings from years of teaching and captivates the reader’s attention through use of a sports analogy. Learning can be fun as you access the tips through the eyes, ears and body of a team player – understanding the rules of the game, the playing field, how to score and how to practice effectively. You’ll find many suggestions that will enhance your beginning presentation skills or polish your advanced technique.

“Miller and Blair have created a focused, detailed, and clear approach to presenting in any environment, for any purpose, and to any audience. Their use of commonly used terminology to illustrate the key points necessary to successfully presenting is practical and accessible. In this succinct format, Miller and Blair have honed in on the issues that most commonly sabotage even seasoned presenters, and detail the clearest and most direct solutions to frequently encountered issues with presenting. As a vocal coach and educator, I am always seeking the most concise and straightforward path to the practical use of concepts and the work of Blair and Miller is one of the clearest and serviceable tools I have encountered to date.”

Ailish Riggs
MFA, voice, speech, dialect and presentation coach.

“Having had the pleasure of working with both Blair and Miller on voice coaching in both a group and individual setting, I was impressed with their ability to hone in on the specific areas needing attention. As a frequent public speaker, I use the techniques they have taught me before and during my presentations to hit it out of the park. This guide provides a great tool for others to learn the tools and techniques needed to increase their presentation skills.”

Christine Cunneen
CEO of Hire Image LLC.

“Public speaking is an essential skill for most in business yet the process and techniques necessary for effective speaking can be very foreign and difficult to understand. This SkillBite does a great job of weaving a common analogy, sports, into the description, making it very easy to understand and internalize all the components of good presentations. Reading this note before any type of presentation would be a great benefit to any presenter. Until I worked with ARTiculate I never realized the more subtle aspects of a presentation that really make a difference in how the audience perceives your delivery. Any manager who makes presentations or speaks publicly should work with professionals like ARTiculate.”

Jason Newcomer
Senior Real Estate Manager, City Projects, Inc.

“This gem is coaching on steroids. A must-have for every presenter who wants to be a hall-of-fame performer.”

Bo Hansen
Research Consultant, Trainer, Coach and Presenter, HealthStream Research

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