Category Archives: Blog

How to Deliver a Stand-Out Presentation While Seated

Do you make more presentations sitting down versus standing up? Wonder how to highlight key points while seated? Not sure what to do with your vocals when delivering over phone or computer? These questions are frequently asked of our expert Presentation Facilitators when we work with companies to grow their teams’ public speaking skills.

These days, many professionals deliver presentations via zoom, webinars, or in small meeting rooms where sitting down makes more sense. So how do the stand-up delivery skills work in these sit-in situations? Turns out that all the speaking skills that are traditionally used in a stand-up forum are transferable to a seated speaking engagement, with some adjustments. For example, eye contact is just as important sitting down as standing up; even more so when you are in a small intimate meeting space. So use your eyes to connect briefly with each person around the room. Similarly, gestures are important for stressing key points, and changing the pacing of your verbal remarks. While your gestures may be smaller in a boardroom versus a ballroom, the same principles of delivery are important to consider. Think about your timing, your gesture zone, and your placement of your hands; keeping your gestures above a meeting room table is key to ensuring people “see” your message.

What about your vocals? Think you can forget about varying your pitch, your pace, your projection or your passion? Definitely not; a boring, monotone presentation is killer especially if you are speaking via teleconference. So remember the importance of varying your vocals, changing your pitch, adjusting your projection and emphasizing key words while seated. It will be the difference between a mediocre presentation and a great one!

Bottom line, if you deliver presentations seated or standing up, it is extremely valuable to learn how to use expert performance skills such as eye contact, vocals, body language and gestures. Check out our Powerful Presentations training course for a good overview of speaking skills that deliver – whether you’re sitting down or standing up!

Boost Communication Skills for a profitable New Year

Ready to grow your professional skills as we hit another New Year? A quick survey of top professionals in the communications field identified that three skills can help you to to grow your professional mastery, no matter the industry. These three skills include:

  1. Improve your Presence
  2. Improve your Presentations
  3. Improve your Listening

All three of these skills include a combination of self-awareness and relationship awareness, cornerstones of EQ otherwise known as emotional intelligence. They also involve communication skills. No matter what industry you work in it helps if you can improve how you relate and interact with others. You can build these three skills by reading books, taking an onsite training course and setting attainable goals. Focus on improving your communication skills as you head into the new year and you and your career will benefit. Learn more by looking at the many free tools and onsite courses offered through Bold New Directions.

How To Grab Your Audience’s Attention From The Start & Improve Engagement

As a presenter or public speaker, the first minute of your remarks is the most important.  It’s the time to grab your audience’s attention, establish credibility, and let them know what to expect. Your introduction is one of the most critical elements of your talk and it can literally make or break your presentation.  Experienced speakers know that a well-crafted opening is worth its weight in gold. How can you make your opening remarks stand out from the crowd?  Try these three strategies below.


Get the Audience’s Attention

Say something interesting right away. Don’t waste time focusing on housekeeping details, off-color jokes or even your name; instead get the audience’s attention immediately.  Here are a few speaker strategies that can help:

  • Share a compelling statistic.

Statistics that point out an important issue help you captivate audience attention.  They make an impact and persuade the audience to listen.  Statistics can also help people understand the magnitude of the problem or opportunity at hand.

  • Provide a powerful quote.

Think about some of the great leaders of the world and see if there is a quote that relates to your topic.  There are some amazing quotes that are compelling and speak to an audience.  Choose a quote that is relevant to your topic and provides meaning about what you are going to say.

  • Make an outrageous statement.

A good hook is one that gets the audience engaged and makes them want to hear more.  You can make an outrageous or provocative claim such as, “Everyone in this room has one thing in common…we are all dying.”  While you may not agree with the comment, it certainly engages the audience and gets them to listen to your next remarks.


Weave a Compelling Story

Now that you have your audience’s attention, make your intro even more compelling by sharing a real-life story.  Storytelling is an extremely compelling tool for a public speaker.  Most people are interested in the experiences of others; and want to learn about humankind.  Stories teach us lessons and remind us of our own lives.  You can tell a personal story that will give audience an idea of your own experience with the topic. You can also share a story about a third party to convey a point. Storytelling is a powerful way to captivate listeners and convey a message about your topic.


Use Props or Visual Aids

We are all familiar with the expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  That’s because images grab our interest, create imagery and evoke emotions.  They are also wonderful tools to make an important point. You can use a short video clip or series of images.  You can also use a prop such as a shovel, clock, arm-chair or shopping bag – as long as you can tie it to your topic.  I have seen speakers use sneakers, back-packs and chewing gum to connect stories and inject humor into their remarks.  Think about what props could be symbolic to your story-line and weave them into your next presentation.



Making use of all of these devices will not only help you create a compelling introduction but will allow you to entertain people throughout your remarks.  And that’s a great way to create a compelling presentation.


What are 3 Top Benefits of Improving Coaching Skills For Managers?

Looking back on your career, which boss stands out as the most helpful?  Was it the one who was quick to criticize and put you in your place?  Was it an intellectual bully? Or, was it the one who asked you important questions and mentored you to success?  Chances are it was the latter, assuming you were one of the lucky few that had a boss that knew how to use coaching skills effectively.

Many professionals share that their own experience with bosses was difficult; they worked for bosses who wanted to own the glory but not share the struggle.  How might it have been for you if your past boss had helped you to hone your skills and improve your confidence?  And what if you could do that for your direct reports?  Imagine how morale, productivity and overall effectiveness would change. So how does coaching help?  Here are three benefits of growing the coaching skills of your managers; increased morale, increased productivity and increased effectiveness.

1. Increased Morale:

Staff members who feel supported report that they feel better about their work and specifically that they feel better about their relationship with their boss.  They are more likely to share anecdotes and participate in joint discussions and problem solving, rather than try to hide problems under the rug.  Overall, team members who have received coaching say they feel valued and appreciated; and their overall morale improves.

2. Increased Productivity:

Ever spent too much time worrying about making a mistake, or trying to cover your tracks for fear of getting in trouble with a difficult boss? What if you didn’t have to do all that? What if you could decrease the down time of worry and anxiety, and instead focus on getting tasks done.  Over time, staff members who are in a positive relationship with their manager indicate they feel increased confidence in their roles, and that they can contribute in more productive ways since they are not fearful of failure. The coaching relationship helps to change the culture of the workplace to one that rewards innovation and effort and this in itself creates more productivity within the team.

3. Increased Effectiveness: 

Just like a well-oiled machine, a company that works together smoothly hits less snags and has less downtime.  Direct reports who spend less time feeling frustrated, worried or bullied, have more time to devote to getting things done – well!  Coaching can even be the oil that lubricates the various cogs in your company machine; preventing and dissolving friction that might occur, lubricating the innovation and creativity of your workers.  By increasing effectiveness of key players on your team, coaching helps your organization perform at a higher standard.

All in all, training programs that help your managers develop coaching skills pay off in spades.  By assisting your managers to develop the attitude, knowledge and skills of how to coach an employee to success you set up your organization to receive multiple benefits from increased morale, to increased productivity, to increased effectiveness.  Ask us about our Coaching Skills For Managers Training Program which can be delivered onsite at your organization.  The immediate results and the long-term pay off will make you glad you did.

Why is Resilience So Popular Now?

Do you ever notice there’s a run on avocados?  Or that every restaurant you visit has guacamole on their menu?  Sometimes life’s like that; a new topic comes along and everyone’s asking for it.  For us that avocado is Resilience Training!  Of late, the phone rings frequently and email inquiries arrive daily asking “how can we improve resilience in the workplace?”.  But why is Resilience so popular now?  Let’s take a look at what’s going on in the world around us and how  its creating a momentum for greater resilience training in the workplace. We’ll explore what’s happening on the national, organizational and individual level, drilling down to the essential undercurrents that are stirring up stress and discontent.  Then we’ll consider what to do about it.

On the national level, recent events in security, politics, and the greater environment have been troubling to many households. Watching the nightly news can expose us to stories of tragedy and destruction that chip away at our core “good feelings”.  Similarly, on the organizational level many government groups are experiencing funding cuts and downsizing.  The remaining employees feel the uncertainty and the overwhelm as they have to take on additional tasks once handled by their former colleagues.  On the individual level, the overall stress takes a toll.  Working parents may be alarmed about finances, crime, and child care all in the context of trying to juggle busy work and home lives.  All in all, it makes for a troubling time for the individual.  Too much stress, too much overload, too much overwhelm.

In the midst of all these factors, Resilience Training is like a beacon of hope. With it’s emphasis on the whole person, strengths and resources, Resilience Training helps employees access tools to remain optimistic, buoyant and upbeat.  Who wouldn’t say more of that please.  So pass the Avocado’s would you, they are good for us.