Presentation Skills Training For Highly Effective Mobile Teams

More and more teams are working remotely. With new tools and technology, this is now easier than ever before. Yet one thing can derail highly effective teams. Find out how to guarantee success of your remote teams.

With the evolution of tools and technology, distributed teams are becoming more and more commonplace. It’s possible to work from anywhere and connect with a click.

Among the hottest tools for team communication are tools, which simplify mobile connection:

Smart Scanner is an iphone app that captures and recognizes scanned materials. You can scan articles, printed reports, or whiteboard sketches. Once you scan, you can copy and edit text. The application recognizes phone numbers, URLs and more.

Mobila Headset is an iPHone/iPod/iPad app that records calls and acts as a headset for PC or Mac. It works with numerous VoIP applications such as Google, Skype and more.

IM + Talk enables you to make Skype calls from your smartphone. You can receive calls to SkypeIn, check who is online and chat with other Skype users.

But one big question remains. What are you saying, showing and doing? How well is your team communicating? Is the quality of your communication matching the ease, simplicity and convenience of the technology tools?

In more than one team we’ve helped, the answer before presentation skills training was a resounding: “NO! We need help!”

Here are a few tips for communicating with impact within a distributed team.

1. Give an overview
As tempting as it is to jump right in, don’t. Give an overview of what you’ll cover in each meeting. By framing the scope of each meeting, you’ll help manage expectations-and hold focused online meetings.

2. Stay ‘hands-free’
If you’re used to talking with your hands, explain your gestures. Some team members may be dialing in and won’t be able to see your active hand movements.

Use words to replace the gestures you’re making. This feels funny and awkward at first, but you’ll get used to ‘pointing’ things out with your verbal descriptions.

3. Smile
Yes, it’s true. People can hear when you’re smiling. And if you’re on Skype video, they can see it too. It’s a lot easier to have an open conversation with smiling team members than with folks who are grimacing and frowning.

4. Recap and summarize
As good as the technology and tools are, there are interruptions. Static, poor connections and distractions on location can interrupt attention. Recap and summarize what you’ve covered. This helps late comers and everyone involved stay on point.

5. Check for understanding
Check in for confirmation from participants. Use chat, emoticons, and polls. Ask for verbal feedback. Include everyone on the event.

The more you work remotely, the more you’ll find communication skills to keep things moving forward. When in doubt, ask for feedback. Get high quality virtual presentation skills training. With new options in online training, it’s a whole lot easier to get better at bridging the gap. By staying open to new ways to work, your team will grow critical skills and improve communication in record time.

HELP! I Have To Deliver A Presentation!

“The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.”

- George Jessel

What is it about public speaking that drives people nuts? Many studies have shown that given the choice of what registers the greatest fear in humans, “untimely death” actually is less fearful than speaking in public!

1) Public Speaking or Humiliation

2) Peer Rejection

3) Untimely Death

It is hard to believe that such angst is caused about presenting to groups. As with many things in life, I believe it comes down to one thing and one thing only: Preparation. Those that are thoroughly knowledgable in their subject matter as well as their delivery of the subject matter, find presenting not only easy, but actually energizing.

One of the goals I have always used in delivering speeches, is to know the material so well, that the well-prepared content is delivered in a nearly ad-libbed fashion. This casual delivery style keeps the audience engaged through both delivery of content as well as inflection in the voice. In the early days of my speeches, I used to have three key words highlighted in my speaking notes for each slide. I would ad-lib the slide but always ensured that I covered the three key words – that was the solution to delivering the message. Now, I practice speeches so much that the “ad-lib” sections and anecdotal stories flow seamlessly to capture the essence of the presentation.

Rules Of Thumb:In a nutshell, make the presentation entertaining! Presentations should be inspirational, exciting, well-thought through and yes, entertaining. From the look and feel of the presentation, to its delivery, it is critical to keep the audience dialed in. Specifically, I prefer the following as my simple rules of thumb:

  • Black background with vibrant colors to pop of the slides
  • Kabel Ultra Bold font for the best readability – not everyone is sitting in the front row
  • No more than 3 bullets per slide in – short and to the point!
  • Graphics on every slide – think entertainment and interest
  • Presentation should be timed to about one minute per slide – keep the audience engaged

StoryBoard It! Slow down… and don’t race to create slides just yet. Before you start creating slides for your next presentation, plan what you’re going to say. Storyboard the flow of the speech first – this will make your presentation more cohesive and easier to create the slides. Believe me, some time spent up front in mapping the sequence, will save you more time than it takes to create it. This storyboard process will help you clarify what you want to say, when to say it and how you want to say it. The flow of the presentation is equally important as the content of the slides.

Never, Ever Read Slides: Raise your hand if you have been in the audience of a speech where the presenter read the slides WORD-BY-WORD… positively riveting! Don’t be THAT guy! The audience can read the slides – keep them brief and to the point – accentuating what’s on the screen with anecdotal tidbits that enhance and personalize the slide. Keep the pace moving so that the audience does not fall into a trance staring at a slide with 100 words on it for five minutes.

Be A Story Teller: Personalizing your speech is an excellent way to deliver a message. Interweaving anecdotal examples of real-life stories that help to characterize the essence of the point create a longer-lasting impression on the audience. In addition, these interjections of personal experiences enable the speaker to humanize the points and allow the audience to create commonality with the presenter. The more the speaker can make the content their own, the better the reception from the audience.

Be Prepared – Practice! Now is not the time to go lightly – this is the area that will make or break your speech. You MUST practice your speech to the point that it flows effortlessly from your mouth to the audience. In your mind, you need to know not only where you are in your presentation but what is coming up next. I always love it when I get “in the zone” where I am simultaneously delivering the speech while thinking about what is going to be presented next. Or as Wayne Gretzky, hockey Hall-Of-Famer would say, “skate where the puck is going, not where it’s been.” That is being in the zone.

Overcoming the fear of presenting is solved through one way only – preparation. Know your stuff, be well-practiced and your delivery will be seamless and well-received. The “rubber chicken circuit” is not for the faint of heart, but with proper planning and preparation, you can unleash your “inner orator”.

Presentation Topics

Great news, you have a second interview. As part of the hour long meeting they want you to present for twenty minutes on… oh my goodness, the subject of your choice. Where on earth do you start with deciding a subject. Should you go professional, serious, fun, talk about something you have done, something you are doing, somewhere you have been?

If you are working with a recruiter ask them if they know what previous candidates have presented on and which of those people were successful. If three out of the last ten people interviewed were hired and they all presented on how to sell widgets in an emerging market then that is probably a topic that the interviewers like; or if you don’t think you could do that subject justice you at least know that work related is a good route.

In general, a good starting point for your choice is subjects you are passionate about. People say that sex sells (although I wouldn’t recommend that as a presentation topic unless you are going for a sex industry related job). I would suggest that passion sells and that sex and passion, at least sometimes, are related. One thing we know you are passionate about is this job. This is the role you have envisioned and dreamed about. You are truly passionate about getting it and what a good fit you will be once you’re hired. What a compelling topic; how about ‘My first six months as ‘XYZ”? Six slides either month by month or subject by subject if the role has six categories within it. Think it through carefully. What will you do? How will you do it? Who will you do it to? When will you get a previously mentioned desired result? Why are you going to be successful? Write notes as and when you think of them. Keep a sheet of paper near you over the next couple of days and just keep scribbling things down. Then sit and start to make sense of what you have. Format it. Add some pictures, graphs, charts. Write notes to go with the slides. Review them again the following day. Rehearse your presentation. Is it sounding good? Does it give the message you are trying to convey? Are you passionate in your presenting of it?

Oh this is so exciting… good luck; go and wow them with your thoughts, ideas and enthusiasm!

For help putting together a presentation or making the transition from where you are to where you want to be please contact one of our Consultant Coaches at [email protected]