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THE Presentations Japan Series by Dale Carnegie Training Japan

THE Presentations Japan Series by Dale Carnegie Training Japan

Dale Carnegie Training has been effective in guiding individuals and organizations to success through enhancement of human relations skills for over 50 years in Japan and over 100 years in the United States.

We offer a number of podcasts and tools of engagement that will help align the hearts as well as the minds of employees with your organizational objectives.

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Speaking in front of others makes many people tongue tied and nervous. They struggle to get through a simple presentation, internally, in front of their colleagues. A public audience is something they would flee from, screaming and waving their hands in the air. Why is that? We all learn how to talk. The presentation is just a talk, so what is the big deal? Yet, it is a barrier to many people who have to navigate this impediment to move up through their careers. If you are in front of the big bosses and you can’t make a competent presentation, kiss your career aspirations goodbye baby. There is very little chance they are going to put you in charge of others. So, if you like what you are doing today, that will be just fine, because you will stay where you are right now for a long, long time. 

 
Most talks and presentations we hear, we cannot recall. Why is that? We were there presumably because we had an interest. The presenter no doubt made an effort to share something of value with us. They probably spent hours on their presentation slides and were perhaps somewhat anxious about giving the presentation. So a lot of nervous energy was expended in the exercise, but with a zero result. If we can’t remember the content or the speaker, then it is hard to say it was a success, wouldn’t you say? 

 
Every performance is better when practiced beforehand and presenting is no different. We don’t do it for a multitude of “good” reasons, none of which abrogate the need to make the time and put in the effort. We have the time, we just need to allocate it. We are putting ourselves out there when we present, so don’t miss it, there is a lot on the line. We need to ensure we are a triumph rather than a joke. The way to do that is to practice beforehand. How do we do that, what are some best practices to help us? 

 
Pizazz is one of those unusual words, that sounds kind of cool, but is a bit vague. In presenting terms, we are really looking at being more interesting and engaging and doing that in a sparky, non-anticipatory way. Droning on when presenting is a pretty strong norm for many people. They talk at us, not with us. They are lifeless and low energy. This may be fine for having a cup of tea with your friends, but if you want to present, then you have to switch it up. 

 
Getting up in front of people is confronting for a lot of speakers. Beady eyes are boring into you, a sea of serious faces is scary, the lights are painfully bright and the pressure feels intense. You start to doubt your preparation was sufficient for the occasion. You throw up the laptop lid and then try to mount the podium such that it provides a safety barrier between you and the great unwashed. You studiously avoid confronting eye contact, by staring down at your laptop screen or your notes. Or to leaven things up, you read the screen to the audience, presenting a nice view of the top of your head. If you have a partly bald pate, like some medieval monk, then that makes it all the more gripping. It doesn’t have to be so pathetic. In fact, you can “own the space and work the room”. 

 
It is so easy to become “Johnny One Note” when presenting. We get locked into a modality of voice and body language power. We just keep hammering away with that mode throughout the whole talk. That might be fine for us, but for our audience it is killing them. If we are all massive power and bravado, after about five minutes, people want a break. If your “aura” is too strong they worry about radiation. If on the other hand, you are a mouse at the microphone, then they feel all their energy being drained from their body, as they shrink into the chair. 

 
As the Foreign Secretary for Britain, Boris Johnson gets a lot of practice giving speeches and fielding tough questions. There is the temptation to say, “Well of course he is a good public speaker, he is a politician after all, isn’t he”. That is true, except that very few politicians are any good at public speaking and amongst those who are good, he is certainly up there with the best. Being an Aussie, I have no well informed views on Boris as a politician. I use him as an example, because I want to draw out some lessons for all of us, on how to become better public speakers. If you do or don’t like him as a politician, then fine, but let’s limit our discussion to his speaking abilities. 

 
Highly knowledgeable people are often at a big disadvantage in business. They have expertise and experience. Their opinion is sought after, they have high personal levels of credibility. They often went to prestigious schools, elite universities, completing challenging degrees. They have paid their dues and have worked they way up the greasy pole to the upper reaches. Yet, they have feet of clay when it comes to representing their section, division, department, company or industry. They are a dud when presenting. 

 
Formulistic presentations tick the boxes, but don’t ignite much enthusiasm in the audience. Yes, the key points were covered, the time was consumed, people heard the presentation about the topic previously promulgated but so what? When we attend a mediocre or even bad presentation, we are reminded that a great opportunity has gone begging. When we stand in front of an audience, we are representing our personal brand and our firm’s brand. People will evaluate our whole company on how we perform. So why not perform well and really build fans for our business and ourselves? 

 
Japan is an interesting place. So many things here are ultra modern, high tech, totally nuanced and sophisticated. You take it for granted that your refrigerator door opens from either side and is deathly quiet, that your vacuum cleaner is very light weight and efficient, that your toilet has more control options than most aircraft. So when you hit something out of character you really notice the difference. Presenting skills is the outlier. 

 
Lawyers are smart people, but sometimes do self-defeating things. They are discovering that unlike the “good old days”, there are many service alternatives today facing prospective clients. Business development is a common term in most industries, but it has a certain unpleasant cache in the legal fraternity. They are only slowly coming to grips with this is new reality. They know they have to work harder to get and keep clients, but somehow this irks their sense of self-importance. Being very good in the law should be enough, they think. “We are experts and that is all we need to do, as far as attracting clients goes”. Wrong. 

40.  Well Japan, I’m Sorry
 
Well educated from two top ranked Universities. Undergraduate in Japan and an MBA from the USA. He had a very capable command of English and our presenter did a very good job of conveying the business structure, strategy and results of his publicly listed enterprise. Yet, that presentation could have been so much better with attention to a few simple basics. This difference in polish is both cultural and attitudinal. 

39.  Show Me, Don’t Tell Me
 
Japan is an interesting place where there is a lot of respect for people’s job titles and position in the company. Sometimes though, you are left wondering is this person really one of the elite or is this the best the elite can produce? American friends tell me Missouri is famous for it’s “show me, don’t tell me” mantra. When you can’t back up who you say you are with the goods, credibility declines rapidly. 

38.  Designing Our Presentation Part Two
 
Questions are very powerful. These should be asked rhetorically, in a way that the audience is not actually sure if it is a rhetorical question or something they actually have to answer. This creates a certain amount of tension that drives audience attention to what the speaker is saying. 

37.  Designing Our Presentation Part One
 
Designing our presentation is a critical stage. We have identified our target audience for our key messages. We have selected the title to really engage our audience. We know the purpose of the exercise - inform, persuade, entertain, motivate to action.

36.  Are you Any Good - It Is 10 Minutes In?
 
We have worked hard to get our opening right. We know that first impressions really count and we have planned the start. We contacted the organisers well before the talk to get a sense of who has signed up for the talk and what their main interests are. We got to the venue early and checked on all the logistics. We don’t need to thump the microphone and ask if they can hear us don the back because we have already tested it. We don’t need to fuss around with our laptop because we are ready to go or if there is a laptop change over, we do that first before we even start saying one word.

35.  You Need 400 Faces When Presenting
 
Can we be successful as a presenter if we don't connect with our audience? Many presenters believe this simply is not needed. This connecting lark is rather fluffy and irrelevant for them because the content is king. The delivery is a sideshow, a trifle, a distraction from the main game. Solid high value information, backed up with verifiable data is the mother lode. Actually that is not true.

34.  Should I Memorize or Read My Presentation Content?
 
The content was really great and the way the words were put together was quite clever. Obviously a tremendous amount of work had gone into this piece. The speaker had a previous professional journalistic background and the careful selection of just the right vocabulary and the descriptive flourishes were excellent. The speech was a dud.

33.  How To Present Technical Subjects To Non Experts
 
Technical experts love their specialty. Usually, they have studied hard and long to get into their profession and there is also substantial on-going professional development required to stay current. They are analytical types who thrive on the detail. When they present technical subjects to business people who are not experts they can run into trouble.

32. Don't Give Mystifying Presentations Please
 
The global chief’s private jet has landed. We are all assembled in a luxury hotel’s gorgeous function room. The big brand name, the resplendent silver mane, the speaker’s resume and abundant confidence all speak to a brilliant talk coming up. After the obligatory networking and chatting with tablemates over lunch, the main event gets underway. The keynote starts well but gradually we start to lose connection with the speaker’s message. The talk is full of supple subtleties. The main point becomes fuzzy, distant, unapproachable and impenetrable. We sit there wondering are we all stupid, because we can’t grasp the speaker’s nuanced argument or is the speaker simply rambling and incoherent?

31. What Is The Correct Breathing Method When Presenting?
 
Breathing is such a natural act and normally, we don’t pay it much attention. Some how though, when we are giving a presentation, our breath control becomes a factor of success. One component is our nerves, which are driving the chemical surge through the body, making our heart rate skyrocket, which speeds up our breathing pattern.

30. Where Should I Stand When I Am Presenting?
 
Usually this isn’t even a question for most presenters, because the organisers have already set up the room when you arrive. Our speaking spot has been designated for us. But have we been designated a spot by experts in public speaking or by the venue crew who usually just haul chairs, lug tables around and set up the stage? Sadly the coalescence between expertise in public speaking and membership of the logistics team is rare. 

29. How Not To Use Your Hands When Presenting
 
We think of speaking as an activity where we use our voice. That is true but we use a lot more than that. We use our face, eyes, legs, body and our hands. When we are speaking while seated it is different to when we are standing. We need to master all situations for when we are called upon to speak in front of others. One of our problem areas is what to do with our hands when we speak. Judging by most of the presentation I see in Japan, few speakers have worked this out yet. 

28. Presentation Advice for Japanese Politicians

Vince Staples, American Hip Hop Rapper, was recently quoted in a Financial Times interview, “You have to paint the picture because everyone doesn’t come from the same background”.  Even a humble Long Beach rapper gets the point of engaging our audience with stories when we are the speaker.  Japanese politicians have to do a lot of public speaking, but they are rarely engaging.  They are generally speaking at their audiences rather than to them.  I previously attended the Japan Summit at the Okura Hotel Ball Room run by the Economist. Sitting there listening to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, then Minister for National Strategic Zones Shigeru Ishiba and then Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy Akira Amari, I was struck by the lack of picture painting and storytelling in their presentations.


27.  Speaker Final Impressions

Final impressions at the end of a speech are what determine our memory of the person. Life is throwing so much information at us and at such a manic pace we are easily overwhelmed. We are unlikely to recall too much of the detail of the talk, because there are so many other details in business and life competing for our brain space. I remember reading that Albert Einstein didn’t bother remembering his own phone number. He said he wanted to apply his available memory space for more higher order items. I like that excuse for why I can’t remember a lot of stuff! Anyway, as an audience we may be similarly picky about what we choose to recall. Yet, we will retain an overall impression of the speaker, for good or otherwise, forever. We can let that be a random selection event or we can plan to have the final impression the one we have chosen in advance.


26.  Evidence Rich Presentations

There are a number of common structures for giving presentations and one of the most popular is the opening-key points/evidence-closing. We consider the length of the presentation, the audience, the purpose of our talk and then we pour the contents into this structure. Generally, in a 30 minute speech we can only have a few key points we can cover, so we select the most powerful and then look for the evidence which will persuade our audience. This is where a lot of presentations suddenly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.


25.  When Presenting You Gotta Have Rhythm

Usually a speech or presentation is somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour long. Obviously, the longer the talk, the harder it is to keep the audience’s attention. Even worse, today, everyone has their internet connection to email, social media and apps in their hand, right there under the desk, while we are speaking. We have all become fervent multi-taskers, listening to someone speak while surreptitiously scrolling through our email feed, Facebook or LinkedIn or all three!


24.  The “55% Of How We Communicate Is Visual” Myth

Professor Albert Mehrabian’s 1967 study of communication concluded that 55% of the presenter’s message was received visually, 38% from voice tone and only 7% through the words. As we all know a little bit of knowledge is dangerous and these numbers have been widely misinterpreted. As a result a number of gurus and pseudo experts have built businesses around emphasising the importance of how we look when we present. So, according to this misplaced logic, how we look accounts for over half of the impression of how we come across, so pay careful attention to dress etc.


23.  The Design Stage of Presenting

Many people don't start out with a design for their talk.  They launch straight into the details, especially working with the slides.  The lack of design shows as the structure isn't tight enough, the points are nor clear enough and mostly the talk is totally forgettable.  They feel happy however because the talk was completed and they can tick that box.  This is often the case here in Japan where giving the speech well and just giving the speech are confused. Our objective is to provide value to our audience and build our personal and professional brand, not just give a speech.  We judge companies based on who we meet. If the person speaking is really impressive, we extrapolate that ability and project it to the whole team.  Conversely, if the speaker is a dud, then we assume nobody at that shop is much good.


22.  The Presenter’s Mindset

Our mental approach to our activities determines our success.  We know this in sports and in business, but when it comes to speaking in public, we somehow manage to forget this vital point.  We know we have to make a presentation, so we get straight into the details and logistics, without spending even a moment on our proper mindset for the activity. Given we are putting our personal and professional brand out there for all to see, you would recognise this was a fairly important opportunity to get it right.


21.  How To Prepare For Your Talk

Before jumping straight into the slides to build your presentation, identify your likely audience. It might be an internal meeting report to your team, a presentation to your immediate boss or to the senior executives of the firm. It might be a public talk. How knowledgeable are the attendees on the subject matter? Are you facing a room full of experts or are they amateurs or a mixture of both? What are the age ranges and the gender mix?


20.  Showtime - Are You Ready?  Part 2

19.  Showtime - Are You Ready? - Part 1

The hush has now swept across the room. All eyes are fixed on the MC, breaths are being held, awaiting the announcement of this year’s winner. Amazingly, it registers that it is your name they are calling to the stage. Emotion wells up. Your team join you for handshaking, shoulder hugs, high fives and backslapping. The prize is now firmly ensconced in your hand and you are beckoned to the microphone. What happens next?


18.  How To Kill Your Brand With Public Speaking

Seriously sad really. Our speaker had some excellent points to convey but due to silly basic errors, killed his organisation’s messages. I believe there is no excuse for this anymore. Today there is so much information available, so many role models, so much video instruction, so much access to insight, so much training, you really have to wonder how some organisations can do such a poor job.


17.  Stage Fright Got You?

Hands and legs quivering, knees knocking together, face turning red, pulse racing, mind whiting out – this is stage fright. The term is associated with the total melt down people experience when they get up on stage in front of an audience to speak. In Japan, there is even an association of stage fright victims who wish to suffer no more. Our exposure to the “stage”, broadly defined, is any occasion where we are required to get up and speak in front of others. This frequency increases as we get older.


16.  Don’t Tell Me, Show Me

Japan is an interesting place where there is a lot of respect for people’s job titles and position in the company. Sometimes though, you are left wondering is this person really one of the elite or is this the best the elite can produce? American friends tell me Missouri is famous for it’s “show me, don’t tell me” mantra. When you can’t back up who you say you are with the goods, credibility declines rapidly.


15.  Dale Carnegie’s Three Iron Rules Of Public Speaking

Not everyone should be a presenter. We don’t need higher levels of boredom or disinterest than we have already. A big “No thank you” to those conspiring to waste our precious time. This does not mean that only a few super talented individuals can be presenters. We can all learn to become competent and become better presenters. This is “nurture” not “nature” in action. The key point is your motivation, why are you doing this?


14.  Goodbye Presentation Nerves

Unexpectedly, twelve time Grand Slam Tennis tournament winner Novak Djokovic has some good advice for public speakers. “I believe that half of any victory in a tennis match is in place before you step on the court. If you don’t have that self-belief, then fear takes over. And then it will get too much for you to handle. It’s a fine line. The energy of those moments is so high: how are you going to use it? Are you going to let it consume you, or are you going to accept it’s presence and say, ‘OK, let’s work together’. ”


13.  Rockin It Women Presenters In Japan

The presentations world is still a male bastion in Nippon. I attend lot of events in Tokyo and probably the vast majority of even the internationally oriented business audiences that I see here, have a 70/30 male female ratio. The number of women presenters though is about 5%-10%. In the case of very domestic, Japanese language based events, the female ratio of attendance is maybe 1%-2% and the speaker ratio usually a zero ahead of two or three decimal places.


12.  Persuasion Power Trump Style

Donald Trump isn’t a textbook presenter. He breaks many of the rules of presenting, but nevertheless he has been effective in getting his message across. Love him or loath him as a contender for the Republican Party Presidential race nomination, as the Republican candidate and as the President, he won against the expectations of the vast majority of American political experts. He had large numbers of people turn out to hear him speak. What was he doing right? How was he being persuasive with the audiences who came to hear him. Are there any lessons here for us, when we come to give our own presentations?


11.  Wow Them At The End Of Your Presentation

It is rare to see a presentation completed well, be it inside the organization, to the client or to a larger audience. The energy often drops away, the voice gradually fades out and there is no clear signal that this is the end. The narrative arc seems to go missing in action at the final stage and the subsequent silence becomes strained. It sometimes reminds me of classical music performances, when I am not sure if this is the time to applaud or not.


10.  That Vital Two Second Window

Question: how long does it take you on average to form a first impression of someone? My presentation training participants tell me “two seconds”. Wow, I nearly fell over when I heard that the first time. I was thinking, “what does this mean for the speaker?”. It could be in the boardroom, the meeting room, at the networking event, a public presentation or at the pitch to the client. Regardless of the occasion, one thing is sure – everyone is a critic.


9.  Find Your Leader Voice

Why are so few business leaders good communicators, given all the education they have received, starting at varsity and then later, through their workplace organisations? Leaders – let’s stop kidding ourselves, the reality is, if we can’t talk to people, we can’t lead successfully.   The TED talk phenomenon, which has spawned TEDxEverywhere, should be having a positive impact on leaders. It would appear though, that not many of us are taking any note.


8.  How To Market Yourself In Under One Minute

Meeting new business contacts, expanding personal networks, promoting a reliable, trustworthy “Brand You” are the basics of business. By the way, even if our job title doesn’t explicitly mention “sales and marketing” we are all in sales and marketing. In modern commerce, even professionals in non-traditional sales roles like accountants, lawyers, dentists, engineers, architects, analysts, consultants all need to pitch their expertise to get new clients. This may not have been the case in the past, but this is the “new black” of the professions. When we try to influence a decision – buy my widget, use my service, fund this project, open a new market or even where shall we go for lunch - these are all sales and marketing efforts to get others to follow our ideas. Don’t miss this change and instead master the process, such that you get the business and not your competition.


7.  How To Command The Rabble

The Master of Ceremony (MC) goes to the microphone to get the programme underway but the audience are simply oblivious, caught up in their own riveting conversations. The situation is much worse at receptions where alcohol is already flowing and the people down the back are generating a roar, a positive din, that drowns out the speakers. Apart from bona fide members of Imperial Families, everyone is fair game in the “let’s ignore the speaker” stakes. Cabinet Ministers, eminent speakers, famous personalities all struggle to get the attention of the crowd. When it is our turn, what can we humble beings do about this?


6.  Storytelling For Business

Best intentions, higher callings, righteousness – all good stuff but without good communication, our efforts fail. Instinctively, we all know storytelling is a great communication tool, but the word itself is a problem. We associate it with bedtime stories and therefore the idea sounds a bit childish. In the modern era, Hollywood talks about the arc of the story or in politics, the media punishes the lack of narrative. Actually, this is storytelling just dressed up in more formal attire.


5.  Making Yourself Clear

Public speaking throws up many fears and challenges for all of us. As part of High Impact Presentations, one of our public speaking courses, we have been surveying the various participants for the last four years about the types of things they most want to improve. The most common request, from both Japanese and English speakers, is to “be clear when presenting”. What do they mean by clear? The speakers want their message to get across to the audience, to be easy to follow, to have some impact from their efforts to get up in front of others and speak.


4.  How To Destroy Your Reputation In 60 Seconds

It is a big crowd, yet the conversation suddenly dies and a hushed silence now sweeps through the room. All eyes are fixed forward, as the MC tears at the envelope and announces this year’s award winner. Polite applause fills the air as the proud selectee stands up, glances around smiling, shakes hands and navigates between the maze of tables and chairs up to the podium. Receiving the prize, obediently posing for the photographer, our winner turns and begins to move gingerly towards the microphone. Facing the assembled crowd of industry peers, personal and organisational brands now begin to disintegrate.


3.  Presentation Effectiveness For All

We are such a judgmental lot aren’t we! We form opinions about people within seconds of seeing them, often even before we hear them speak. We judge their dress, their body language, their style without knowing anything about them as a person. We are slow to unwind our first impression as well, so those first seconds of any interaction are vital.


2.  Delivering Presentations With Clarity

There are a number of common structures for giving presentations and one of the most popular is the opening-key points/evidence-closing variety. We consider the length of the presentation, the audience, the purpose of our talk and then we pour the contents into this structure. Generally, in a 30 minute speech we can only consider a few key points we can cover, so we select the most powerful and then look for the evidence which will persuade our audience. This is where a lot of presentations suddenly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.


1.  The Presenter’s Mindset

Our mental approach to our activities determines our success.  We know this in sports and in business, but when it comes to speaking in public, we somehow manage to forget this vital point.  We know we have to make a presentation, so we get straight into the details and logistics, without spending even a moment on our proper mindset for the activity. Given we are putting our personal and professional brand out there for all to see, you would recognise this was a fairly important opportunity to get it right.

 

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