<![CDATA[The perfect presentation - Blog]]>Wed, 27 Jan 2016 11:21:06 +0100Weebly<![CDATA[Dealing with stage fear (public speaking fear)]]>Wed, 17 Jun 2015 11:42:54 GMThttp://www.theperfectpresentation.com/blog/dealing-with-stage-fear-public-speaking-fearAllegedly 75% of people have speech anxiety and don’t feel comfortable speaking in public.

Or as Jerry Seinfeld brilliantly noticed, commenting on US national surveys that show that fear of public speaking ranks among Americans’ top dreads (surpassing fear of illness, fear of flying, fear of terrorism, and often the fear of death itself): “In other words, at a funeral, the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.”

For many people, fear of public speaking is the number one fear. But what really matters here…  are you one of those who would like to know some strategies on how to cope with the stage fear?
If so, here are some tips on how to deal with it.
1. Know your stuff (and trust that you know it)

If you know your content, your confidence will be much higher. You will feel more relaxed and credible – and as a result will be more convincing.
Even if you are not an expert on the content that you are delivering, it surely helps to be prepared, learn main information that you are presenting (and a bit extra information on the topic), and practice your speech before the moment to deliver it comes.


2. Get rid of the adrenaline

The cause of our anxiety, shakiness, unclear thinking and feeling of stress is fight-or-flight mechanism caused by adrenalin rushing through our body. Therefore, easiest way to deal with this stress is to get it out of your system in pure physical way.
If you have a chance to do it discreetly before the speech, do a few quick jumps or strong claps – that way you will throw out excessive energy that comes from fight-or-flight reaction and that makes you feel stressed.
If you need to be more discreet, grasp something with your hands and press it strongly (it can be anything from market to book or to your other hand) – just make sure to let it go before you start your presentation.
And don’t forget to breathe!

3. Breathe

When stressed, we often forget to breathe. That puts our body under ever more stress, as our body starts to feel even more uncomfortable due to lack of oxygen.
Also, we tighten up our muscles and stiffen our body – causing body to feel even more in danger and making breathing and circulation even more difficult.
Three to five long deep relaxed breaths will solve both of these issues.
Breathe in a way that each exhale lasts twice as long as inhale – while inhaling, count to 4, and while exhaling, count to 8.

4. Identify what you are afraid of….and attack it directly

  • Audience
Often our biggest fear comes from the audience – we feel watched, judged, assessed, and our identity and credibility feels at stake.
One of the ways to deal with this is to prepare in advance a short mantra that you will be saying to yourself (not out loud, of course) about why you are the best person to deliver this speech. Eg, it can be something like “No one knows this topic better than me.”, “They are all here to hear what I have to say.”, “Every sentence that I say makes me more confident”, or anything similar that works for you and makes you feel more confident.
If their looks are what seems most scary, try looking at them in the “third eye” (place on the forehead, in between the eyes) instead of looking directly in the eyes. They wont notice the difference, and it will be much easier for you.
Another often mentioned advice is to imagine your audience naked or on the toilet (I do must admit I haven’t tried this one myself) – this is supposed to work really well if audience frightens you with their authority or huge amount of knowledge or experience.

  • Forgetting your speech
If you are afraid that you might forget what you wanted to say, that feeling might put you under a lot of stress but also makes you rush and focus on “spitting it all out”, instead of focusing on how to say it in the most impactful way and paying attention to the audience.
This is actually fear of being at stage and saying nothing at all – feeling watched, and judged. One way of dealing with it is to practice exactly that – stand in front of the audience, try to be silent for 3,5,7, seconds and see how it feels. Slow your thoughts down and learn that there is nothing to be afraid of.

  • If you really forget it
Your mind goes blank and you suddenly realize you have no idea what to say next… start from relaxing. Pause, smile, breathe deep and slow, and take a moment to try to remember what is coming next (but for that, you need to relax and give yourself a bit of time). If you succeed, simply proceed with the presentation.
In case you need a bit more time, you can buy around 10 seconds without having to say a word. Ten seconds is A Lot of time.
If you manage to remember and proceed with your story within that time, chances are that they’ll never notice a thing.
Easiest way of buying some time is to smile, breathe, make a pause. What seems like a minute to a presenter, it is just couple of seconds to the audience. So, don’t hesitate to use that time. Repeat the last line and again pause, nod, smile, and breathe. Or add on couple of more sentences regarding the same last point that you described already. If appropriate, ask your audience “What do YOU think will happen next?”
If you cant remember what was the exact part that follows, just skip it (of course, if content allows for that) and continue to the part that you know.
Remember, the trouble isn’t that you forgot some detail of your presentation. It can happen to any of us. The trouble is the fear of forgetting, that makes us freeze.
If you really cannot remember….Smile, and admit it. Perhaps you will drop couple of points that you wanted to say, but at least you will keep good, human connection with the audience.

If you remember later on what is that you forgot to say it, try to embed it in the later part of the presentation. But, do so only if it shows to be convenient and fits into that part, and if you really think that it is an important part of the whole story.


 5. Deal with physical give-aways 

If you have a dry mouth, visualize lemon being squeezed and dripping the juice. It will cause more saliva to be produced in your mouth.
If you feel your hands trembling, put them together (push one against other) – but try to open them up again as soon as you feel that they stopped trembling.
If your legs are trembling, make sure to balance your weight evenly on both legs, putting your feet parallel to each other and in width of your hips, and keeping balanced position. Make sure that you don’t walk around nervously.

6. Focus on a story or content, and enjoy it

Try to think less of what will your audience think, and focus more on the content that you are trying to deliver. Why is it important? Why are you excited about it? How can you make sure that you deliver it in the most interesting, impactful, colorful way?
Get into the story, and you will forget all about the “mean” audience or any other fears.

7. Smile!

Smiling will relax your muscles and let endorphins kick in, causing you to feel much more positive and confident.
It will also cause reaction from the audience – you will appear closer, warmer, more human and charming, building connection with people around you more easily.
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<![CDATA[Avoid most common speaking mistakes]]>Wed, 17 Jun 2015 11:42:16 GMThttp://www.theperfectpresentation.com/blog/avoid-most-common-speaking-mistakesIn case you would like to be sure you don't fall into the trap of some of the most common speaking mistakes, video below is definitely a great resource. 
At the same time, speaker in this video is demonstrating some great speaking skills.

Few more tips that might help you to avoid mistakes:
  • Use simple language and try to be relaxed (perhaps post on Dealing with stage fear can help :)).
  • Understand your audience, and try to see your speech from their shoes. Don’t be too busy with you speech to think about your audience.
  • During the speech, take your time! Breath in, pause, don’t rush.
  • Don’t get so focus on the information that the structure of the speech slips away. Before the speech, ask yourself “what is the beginning/middle/end of my speech?” and make sure that all of these exist.
  • Don’t be afraid of making a mistake. The only way to never make a mistake is to do nothing at all, and even that can be a mistake sometimes. Fear of mistaking will only paralyse your ability to avoid it, correct it, and to get on with your speech in the best way.
  • Know what you can get away with…But if you do a mistake that you cannot hide….don’t even try. Apologise shortly, with a friendly smile, and us it to build connection and friendliness with the audience.


And don't forget... The best speakers are not the ones who never make a mistake!

The best speakers are the one who use their mistakes to their advantage – appearing more human, launching a smile and making sure that in this end this mistake connects them closer to their audience.



The more you practice your speaking skills, and the more you stretch your limits, the more likely is that some mistake might slip it’s way into your speech. Part of the growth as a speaker also means ability to avoid and cope with those mistakes.

Check out how to avoid some most common mistakes in this really good 7 minutes video “Speaking mistakes to avoid” by Toastmasters, providing some useful tips and ideas:

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<![CDATA[How to create and deliver a great (elevator) Pitch]]>Wed, 17 Jun 2015 11:41:17 GMThttp://www.theperfectpresentation.com/blog/how-to-create-and-deliver-a-great-elevator-pitchWhat is a pitch

In a presentation, what really matters is how you form your message.

Yet, in many other situations in life, exactly the same thing matters. When “pitching” to your future boss on a job interview, on a first date, when pitching your project to management or potential investors,…. I am sure you can think of many more situations when capability to form effective and short pitch would come in handy!

Even emails that you send out are sort of a pitch!

In this article, when I say pitch, I really have something like this in mind:

“An elevator pitchelevator speech, or elevator statement is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a product, service, or organization and its value proposition.The name “elevator pitch” reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes” (thank you, Wikipedia :))

So, we will be talking about short speech with a purpose of convincing someone in something that we believe or offer, being it in a formal environment, or (much more often used) in everyday life.
How to  create a pitch

So let’s talk about how to create pitch that will work and bring you a result that you desire 

Pitch is really a story about a problem, and its solution.

Be careful not to just put the information out, but to form it in a story.

The way to start is with the problem part – it is really the part where you need to use empathy and understanding – demonstrating that you really “see and hear” what is on top of the mind of person who is standing in front of you.

The second part of the story – discovering solution – needs to be gradual, well timed and not revealing all at once (think striptease :))

Like in any good story, things need to unfold, with some tension and excitement, but also with a clear beginning and an end.

Preparation of content

Taking proper time for thinking and planning is a foundation for everything that comes after that, and should not be underestimated.

Preparation really matters when we talk about pitch!

Cause the more short and direct you need to be, the better you need to form your message, making it effective and clear.

Preparation of pitch involved gathering information, meeting others to discuss ideas, getting content (or slides) prepared, allowing both time to be creative, and time to shape the structure.

Writing pitch shouldn’t be a mechanical act – it needs to be imaginative and creative. For that to happen, you must allow enough time, but also try to do it in a creative environment.

To make sure your message is clear enough, and also simple enough, make sure that you are able to form your message in one single sentence. It does not mean that that is the only sentence that you will use in the pitch, but it really means that you have some backbone to hold on to, some clear focus for the rest of your pitch.

“One strong, central idea beats a thousand pages of analyses every time.”, as Stephen Bayley, author of “Life’s a pitch”, says.

Make sure that you pitch has a structure. Even if its short, structure must exist. That means that you will need short introduction, middle part where you bring in most of the content, and strong summary in the end. End is usually the most influential part…but it will only work if you “warm up” your audience and make them curious and receptive in your intro and body of a pitch.

Delivery

Person that stands behind the solution that you are pitching and the impression that that person leaves usually matters more than the solution itself.

In delivery, these are the things that are most crucial:

  • how you pace and shape the pitch
  • how you deal with the question
  • radiating confidence and being relaxed
To make it short and clear, focus on a few things that Really matter. Always have in mind what is your one central most important idea.  Don’t fall into a trap of putting in all the details, and losing the strength of the core message because of that.

Make sure that you pitch has sense of movement, but no rush. The time needs to be well used, but never creating feeling of pressure or stress.

Say it Simple, but make sure you know the details behind. This will give you confidence, but also enable you to deal with any questions.

If they ask a question, thank them for it! It does show involvement and effort from their side, so it is really something that you can appreciate. Very often question is a lot about seeing how much you listen to them and use their opinions, and not only about the answer that you provide.

Radiating confidence can be achieved by having three things in your mind: don’t try too hard, demonstrate example/proof from the past and approach to other person as equal (how can people trust to someone who is “under” them?).

While delivering a pitch, make sure to balance excitement and reassurance – you do want to get that yes, but also to avoid some potential ‘NO’’s. Make sure to do both: minimize risk, and bring in some excitement.

Involve them. Ask them a question. Make them feel that you are in it together.

When you pitch something, you are asking another person to “place a bet” on something in your future. As no one can judge your future based on logic (facts are unknown) – it really comes down to their Faith in your future.

So make sure to shoot for the emotion, and not mere logical info! Demonstrate trust, confidence, hope, ambition, desire. Make them feel the person behind the pitch.

While delivering  a pitch, bear in mind you message, but also your purpose – what is that you want to achieve in the end of this pitch? Another conversation, some next steps, “closed deal”, leaving them informed, or something else? Make it clear for you, and have it in mind while closing the pitch.

Couple of examples to learn from:

Elevator pitch winner Josh Light:

He did a nice explanation of what is in it for you (for all sides), and covered all aspect of his proposal. However, he did rush a bit.

Elevator Pitch Winner – Katie Sunday:
Here you can see great formulation of Problem – Solution structure. Incredible how much you can say in 1minute, even with moderate pace! 

TravelBlender:
Notice the structure.

  • Why are we talking about this? (Be cause that is what people want)
  • What is the idea that I am respresenting? (travelblender)
  • Why am I talking about it? (cause no one else is doing it)
  • What is the benefit? (profit)
Notice in all this videos: it is two things that are really crucial – first one, what kind of impression the presenter leaves, and second one, how the idea is formulated.

If you would like to dig deeper into formulating  a pitch, book “Life’s a pitch” by Stephen Bayley and Roger Mavity is a great place to start.
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<![CDATA[The power of our body – “Our bodies change our minds.”]]>Wed, 17 Jun 2015 11:39:51 GMThttp://www.theperfectpresentation.com/blog/the-power-of-our-body-our-bodies-change-our-mindsWhen we speak about body language, most often we speak about how others get affected or influenced by our body moves and gestures – how they “read” us, what conclusions or subconscious messages they receive.
But rarely we stop to think about how our own body language affects ourselves – our confidence, our way of thinking and our own behavior.
Yet it is a fact that our own body language effects our thinking and feelings immensely.

Try it out for yourself, with a small exercise:
First, put your shoulders down. Close your chest. Look towards the floor. Make a sad face. Think of something really sad and depressing, and take a moment to notice how that makes you feel.
Now, put your shoulders up. Take couple of really deep breaths. Put your chin up. Put a big grin on your face. And now, try to think about something really sad and feel depressed about it.
If you do this, you will notice that physiology of your body greatly affects your thoughts, and even more, your feelings. It is literally not possible to be depressed while your lips are stretched in a smile.

So often we think that happy mood comes first, and that laughter on our lips is only a demonstration of that. But the truth is, it works both ways. Remember of the times when you feel sad, but someone close to you just cannot stop with a happy laugh, and you just get engaged in that contagious laugh, started laughing even if you didn’t feel happy yet, but it lead to feeling relaxed and joyful couple of moments later?

Great insights into this can be seen in TED speech by Amy Cuddy on the topic of “Your body language shapes who you are”

http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html?utm_source=email&source=email&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ios-share

When we want to demonstrate power, we spread out and try to look bigger. But we do the same when we feel in power. And most important, that posture itself leads us to feeling even more so.
When we feel powerless, we close up and make ourselves small. Yet, we don’t even notice that that posture will only lead us towards feeling even smaller….

“Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.”

Effect of this is much greater than we perceive it on a first sight: from Amy’s observation, how safe people feel (which shows in their body language) actually effects how much they participate in class – and because of that, how successful they end up being.

She asked students to fake powerful body language, to see if they would feel more in power – and it worked wonderfully! Asking her students to behave the way they would like to feel really led into them starting to feel that state as natural, and to identify with it.
As she would say, “Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.”
Or in other words,  “Our bodies change our minds.”

Now, the real question is, what can we do with this valuable knowledge?
First of all, a great step would be to become aware of it. To tune into how we feel, and see what is the “underlying” body language to that feeling and to play with changing that body posture or movement, to see and feel how that affects our emotional state.
Next step is to apply this powerful information – to use it in speeches, but also in situations which we feel as a social threat and we would like to feel more confident in, as well in situations in which it really matters to us to leave a good impression – for example, at a job interview.

If there is only one thing you will remember from this article, please remember this one: your body is a wonderful tool and it is in your power to use it to create any mindset that you would like to have in a certain moment!
There is only one small catch to it – you need to go out there and use it!

P.S. This speech is also a great example of making it personal and sharing a story – notice how greatly Amy connects to the audience by using her own genuine emotion.
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<![CDATA[One step further – Inspiration]]>Wed, 17 Jun 2015 11:37:50 GMThttp://www.theperfectpresentation.com/blog/one-step-further-inspirationInspirational presentations have such a huge power – they can move our hearts, push us into action, and I honestly believe that they can change the world.

How to inspire

So what is that inspirational factor in a presentation?

Idea – the great visionary idea behind the presentation is what brings most inspiration. Especially when you can feel that the speaker honestly believes in that idea. If you need example for this, just check out TED: http://www.ted.com/

Energy – the speaker can be a great inspiration with the positive energy and enthusiasm that (s)he conveys. For example, check Al Pacino’s speech from “Any Given Sunday” :

Pictures and stories – emotions are what creates inspiration. The best way to evoke emotions is through pictures and stories.

Example of some powerful stories can be seen in these 2 TED videos:
Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

Rick Smolan: The story of a girl

Some web repositories of short stories:

http://www.indianchild.com/short_stories.htm

http://www.short-stories.co.uk/

http://www.americanliterature.com/ss/ssindx.html

Lots of beautiful inspiring stories can also be found in the book by Jorge Bucay “Stories to Think About”.

The best way to collect stories is to keep your eyes and ears open for everyday amazing things, and store any cool stories that you find on the way. Easy way to do this is to open a folder on your computer called “Stories” – how about doing that right now, and storing those mentioned stories in there? :))

Words – Big words. Noble words. Powerful words. Inspiring words. Nothing can hurt, and nothing can inspire as much as words. Don’t hesitate to use Thesaurus to find the strongest words to convey your message. Great example of powerful words is The Inviation – Oriah Mountain Dream:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&v=73ynLnUFLkQ

Live your idea – the most powerful way of inspiring people if by showing them with your own example that things that sometimes seem impossible are possible after all. Amazing proof of that can be found in this video:

Great examples of inspirational speeches

Erik Weihenmeyer: the first blind man climbing Everest (10min)

Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do, and how we can do it better – TED (22min)

Tony Robbins just mastered it all – from the catchy body language that underlines his points, to high energy level, good way of building creativity, involving the audience…and motivating us into being more than we are.

How about you – what is the speech that inspired you most? That really changed something in your life?
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<![CDATA[Presence - part 1 – Understanding Presence]]>Wed, 17 Jun 2015 11:33:54 GMThttp://www.theperfectpresentation.com/blog/presence-part-1-understanding-presence
Presence… that one little magic thing, “vibe”, not so tangible and very hard to define yet so important.


Building presence is somehow like falling in love – you cannot force it, yet you must be open to it, and create fertile ground for it to grow.

Presence is really about our personality and confidence in life and ourselves, confidence that is coming from inside but is demonstrating to others in a way that we call Presence.


What is Presence?

People with presence really radiate all of these things:
I guess the easiest way of explaining what presence is to answer the question “Who gets noticed in a crowded room?

Although presence is difficult to define, most of people would easily recognize it when they see it or, better to say, feel it.

Person that has presence is the person that gets noticed, captures attention, leaves impression on others and stays remembered.

This goes from the moment when they enter the room, to the moment when they speak. Attention of others simply goes in direction of people with Presence – people listen what they say, notice what they do and follow their lead.

People with strong presence seem at peace with themselves and self-confident.

At the same time, they are open and engaging towards others – their attention is turned outwards, toward people around them, with curiosity, positivity, enthusiasm. People feel drawn towards them and get engaged in their enthusiasm and motivated when around them.

But where is Presence coming from? Some describe it as strength of personality, and personal energy.

In my view, Presence is a combination of 3 aspects:

1. Physical aspect of presence

Perhaps physical aspect is not the most important one when we speak about the presence, but it is the first thing that gets noticed.

Standing tall and strong voice are tools that will help you being seen and heard.

Posture will demonstrate confidence and open body language will show open attitude towards our environment.

Even clothes can impact our Presence, as it radiate our confidence, how much importance we give to ourselves, and serves to bring attention to us.

Using our body and all of its aspect to own the space around us and to demonstrate our confidence is the best basis that we can set for a strong presence.

2. Emotion that you feel about yourself

Presence is the way in which your positive sides shine out of you – strength of character, knowing what you stand for, being at peace with yourself and faith and optimism in self and others.

The best way to be present is to be authentic – and being proud of that authenticity.

People with Presence are honest and open of their opinions and truly believing in what they say or do.

3. Emotion that you radiate towards others and environment

At the same time, they adapt to the others and the environment – listening, observing, being tuned into people and situations around us.

They approach situations with sense of responsibility for themselves and the results of their actionsbeing active player in space around him/her and shaping that space

People who are present make others feel good about themselves. They enter a room not with “Here I am”, but with “Here you are!” ->with openness, curiosity and positivity towards others.

Really important thing to remember here is that energy flows where you focus your attention! Where we focus of our mind and attention also directs the way in which we act.

“Personal energy” is really about expressing positive emotions, being energetic but peaceful, demonstrating optimism – channeling energy effectively, without appearing hyperactive or nervous…..how? Through attention – its not about how much energy you radiate, but about howyou direct it.

Its also about attitude – showing interest and trust in other people and situations.

Importance of Presence in Presentation skills

If you remember one of the first posts about ‘bird-attention” http://theperfectpresentation.com/?p=60, then presence is  keeping that attention from the audience throughout your presentation, but also making them feel that they can trust you, and your message.

Having presence is really about using personal power to create an impact.

Now, after setting the basics as to what presence is…. the next step is obviously to learn more about how to grow your own personal presence.

About that…more in the next post 

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<![CDATA[Content vs. performance in a presentation]]>Wed, 17 Jun 2015 11:31:49 GMThttp://www.theperfectpresentation.com/blog/content-vs-performance-in-a-presentationI got an interesting question recently – it was about importance of the content vs. importance of the performance while delivering presentation.

Is it more important what you are saying, the information that you are transferring and the way in which you form it?

Or is it perhaps that a truly great speaker can make any information appear meaningful, packing it in a story and using all his assets to raise interest for his message?
This video has a great and catchy way of showing that after all the message is what matters most – do you have something to say, or are you just quaking? 

Not to put down the importance of “technical” skills of presentation – voice, body language, using space etc.

But if you are wondering what to prioritize and where to start your learning from, I would definitely go for forming your content, providing structure and making sure that you have a clear, concise, impactful message.

Make sure that you know what you want to say, and notice that everything else is just a tool that will help you get that message across.

If you are not sure how to get there, check out some of the older posts that can help you achieve this:

How to create and deliver a great (elevator) Pitch

The presentation structure

How to transfer the message effectively

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<![CDATA[Memory Palace – a great technique to remember your speech… or anything else ;)]]>Wed, 17 Jun 2015 11:31:09 GMThttp://www.theperfectpresentation.com/blog/memory-palace-a-great-technique-to-remember-your-speech-or-anything-elseOne of the main causes of stress before a speech is due to a self-imposed question “huh, what I forget some part of my speech?!”

One of a great ways to deal with this worry is by using technique called Memory palace.

The story of how Memory palace technique was invented starts from ancient Greek poet Simonides. Simonides was attending dinner at the house of a wealthy nobleman, where he was invited to entertain guests. While Simonides stepped out of the banquet hall for a moment, a horrible accident occurred – the roof of the hall where the banquet was fell in, crushing the nobleman himself and all other attendees  underneath the ruins, killing each one of them. Even worse, when their friends wanted to bury them, they were altogether unable to know them apart as they had been completely crushed. The story goes that Simonides managed to identify them by his memory of the place in which each of them had been sitting at the table and lead their friends to the exact place where the remaining’s of the fallen would be found.
This sad event lead him to the discovery of the idea that the best way to achieve sharp memory consists in linking the objects or people to space with some order to that space.
Developed on the basis of Simonides idea, “Method of Loci” or “Memory Palace” is a mnemonic strategy of mentally placing to-be-remembered items along a well-known route.
The whole ideas it so associate items that you would like to remember with specific physical locations, where recalling the location will evoke the memory of the item.

How it works?
It is actually pretty simple and straightforward technique – one simply imagines walking the chosen path, in a specific place which one knows well, while memorizing items, and then imagines that walk again, in the moment when he wants to retrieve items from memory.
Step by step:

1. choose the space (it can be one that you are familiar with already, or you can get familiar with it for the purpose of using it with memory palace

  • It is really important to know the place well – the effectiveness of the technique relies on your ability to mentally see and walk around in that place with ease – this will usually require you to take a walk through the space before you start using if for memory techniques, and pay more attention to the details or specific points in that space…
  • define a specific (walking) route in your palace instead of just visualize a static scene.
  • A basic palace could be your kitchen, for example. Larger memory palaces can be based on your house, a cathedral, a walk to work, or your neighborhood. The bigger size and more details the real place has, the more information you can store and memorize using it

2. List Distinctive points in the space (items that are “permanent” in that space or features of the space) – Try to have them linked one to another (so that your look goes naturally from the last point noticed to the next point)

  • Make sure you know these points well, and that one point naturally leads to the next one – one way to remember that is to physically walk through the route repeating out loud the distinctive features as you see them, or to write down the selected features on a piece of paper and mentally walk through them, repeating them out loud.
  • Always look at the features from the same point of view
  • When you believe you’re done, go over it one more time.  – you want to know these place and items really well
3. Memorize the items or storyline that you would like to memorize by linking it to this route that you know well

  • each “new” item that you want to memorize link to one “familiar” item from the route
  • use associations that are “out-there” – the more weird, crazy, ridiculous, unusual, extraordinary, colorful you make it, the better your memory of it will be—make the scene so unique that it could never happen in real life – the only way to do it wrong is to make it boring
  • also, link together visual, auditory and kinesthetic queues (eg apples falling down the stairs – see the apples, see how they hit and bounce of the stairs, hear them hitting the floor)
4. Recall by taking a walk in your memory palace

How to use it

Notice that you can create as many palaces as you like, and they can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish to make them.
A memory palace can be reused over and over again, in case you want to remember things for just a limited period of time. If you replace the existing contents with new ones, and you’ll soon remember only the new ones.
If you need to remember the contents of your palace for a long time, you can keep that palace as it is and create new ones in which to store other information as needed.
Space can be real or virtual – it is only important that you know it well and that it has specific “points of interest” whose order you remember clearly.
You can use Memory palace to remember full “list” of items or exact sequence. You can use it in learning a foreign language, memorizing a presentation you’re about to deliver, preparing for exams, grocery lists and many others — even if all you want is to develop and advance your memory.
For more complex things (e.g. a long speech), there is no need to place all the details in the memory palace – just a crucial ideas and transitions.
To make it more efficient, use symbols – you don’t need to put full sentences or absolutely all content in a given location in order to be able to remember it, and trying to do so can be too complex and counterproductive. Generally, all you need to store in each location is some cue that will pull out the rest from your memory, something that will lead you to the actual idea you’re trying to remember.
And in the end, don’t forget to be persistent. The memory palace is a very powerful tool, but it is not necessarily easy to master. It will require some practice, and you will need to prepare each new memory palace as you did the first, so you may want to develop new ones before you need them.


Real life examples

Great example of how to use this technique when preparing speeches, and making it memorable yet flexible at the same time, can be found in chapter called “Navigating through your message – Interview with Bill McDonough” from great book Slideology.
This 2-pages-chapter can be found here: http://my.safaribooksonline.com/book/office-and-productivity-applications/9780596522346/chapter-11dot-interacting-with-slides/224

Example on how to use this technique can also be found in this short (1’30’’) youtube video:


If you are interested in some celebrities that are using this technique, you might be interested in learning that all world champions in memory contests are using it. Hannibal Lecter used is as well, and so it Mentalist from tv-series with the same name.

For those who want to know more

There are many variations of the memory palace, such as the Roman Room and the Journey. They are all based on the idea that associating abstract or less-known ideas with a well-known location will enable you to more easily recall the things you want to remember.
To learn more, check out Joshua Foer’s TED Talk “Feats of memory anyone can do”:
http://www.ted.com/talks/joshua_foer_feats_of_memory_anyone_can_do.html

More info about the technique can also be found on Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_loci

Or in a  very good book Joshua Foer: “‪Moonwalking with Einstein: ‪The Art and Science of Remembering Everything”, in which he uses Roman palace method to become a memory champion.

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<![CDATA[The secrets of a great first impression]]>Wed, 17 Jun 2015 11:30:22 GMThttp://www.theperfectpresentation.com/blog/the-secrets-of-a-great-first-impressionIn formal or informal presentation setting, as much as in everyday communication, one of really valuable skills for one to master is the skill of leaving positive first impression.
It affects our communication and the success of delivering our message, as people listen to people they trust and they feel positively about.

It is in our nature to communicate with people around us, and to do that fairly well. After all, it is what made our species survive all this millenniums 
Some people do this naturally well, while some simply miss some small details.
Here is your chance to check on those details, and make sure that you have them all covered.

What makes the first encounter pleasant?
What makes conversation pleasant is openness, friendliness and feeling that you are sharing something with the other person. That’s why it is always easier to build the connections based on what you have in common with the other person, and based on things in which you are alike, and not the ones where you have different opinions or preferences.
People are naturally inclined to like people who are like them – so, underline those similarities instead of highlighting how special you are.

Next to that, people feel comfortable in a conversation that conveys openness and acceptance and feeling that we are not judgmental towards person – even if we disagree on the opinion, we can still communicate verbally and non-verbally acceptance of the person ☺

Elements of a great first impression

What first impression is really about is being relaxed, spontaneous and yourself, and just make things happen naturally 
So, even if you have some of these things in mind, please, make sure that they are genuine, and use this just as a tiny reminder or a check-list – not to fake it, but to allow it to develop naturally 

• Be aware of your body language and posture – make sure that it communicates openness, relaxation and interest, as well as confidence
• Make it feel personal – focus your attention to the other person , using eye contact, listening to what they say…. Be present in the moment, and spark honest interest in the person and what they are saying
• Be interested, not interesting – allow your natural curiosity to rise and use it to focus the attention to other person and to open your mind
• Be original (authentic) – don’t try to show some perfect image of yourself, but just let authentic you come across – don’t be afraid to allow people see our sensitive or weak sides and be ready to show them your human, sincere side
• In every conversation, try to follow a guideline of Reciprocity – in a pleasant conversation, it is really important to give something, and receive something, to ask for information as much as sharing our own opinions, and have balance between talking and listening. Share your vision of the world, but also to ask for other person’s vision 
• And lets face it, sex appeal does help as well ☺ – if person find you attractive (and even more if (s)he feels attractive to you), it will help open the door to that person’s views and it will be easier to build a connection.
• Remember, successful interaction is really about how you make the other person feel!

Four social gifts

So what is that that we can give to a person in our encounter, or that we can get from them?
As Ann Demarais and Valerie White in their book “First Impression” say, what we can give to other person in our encounter is one of four social gifts:
1. Transferring new information, ideas, perspectives
2. Improve state of the soul – laugh, humor, being fun
3. Connection – feeling alike and connected to another human being – “I like that movie as well!”
4. Appreciation – accepting them, provide respect, admiration or approval – “You did that really well!”
During conversation, it might be worth of asking yourself “What am I giving in this interaction?” and “How am I contributing to this persons day/life/happiness/etc?”…. and then grow that into “What else can I give?”

Assessment of your own skills and road to improvement

Simple ways to asses how well we are doing when it comes down to leaving the first impression, it is enough to pay attention to two things:
• Be aware your body language and pace of talking
• Notice reaction of the other side

After noticing what we could be doing better, we can build a pathway towards improvement by:
• Make a list – put down strong sides and weak sides
• Ask your friends for an opinion (take their feedback as a gift!)
• Decide what to change – one thing at a time
• Observe reactions

Traps to avoid

Make sure to avoid those traps, that often end up being rapport-breakers:
• Offering information about ourselves, that I would like to learn about others – remember that people are different and they have very different interests
• Starting conversation with whatever is on my mind at the moment, without thinking of importance or interest of the other person in that topic
• Trying to present characteristics that makes me unique and distinct myself from the other person
• Searching to talk about my financial or social success

Don’t forget….

If there would be only one most crucial component of the first impression that you are planning to walk away with, it would really be to develop genuine interest in the other person – to open the door of our curiosity, and make person feel listened, important, accepted, and interesting. That is the real key to leaving positive first impression!

And remember wise words from Maya Angelou:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Further reading

In case you would like to research this topic further, check out this blog article rich in valuable information: http://lifehacker.com/5857432/how-to-make-and-sustain-a-good-first-impression-every-time
Or pick up a book “First impression” by Ann Demarais and Valerie White – definitely a book to recommend!

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<![CDATA[Links to great resources]]>Tue, 07 Apr 2015 15:28:14 GMThttp://www.theperfectpresentation.com/blog/links-to-great-resourcesPicture
Here you can find links to really valuable resources related to presentation design, delivery and to development of own presentation skills. 

DEVELOPING SKILLS
Toastmasters International – worldwide organization aimed at development of public speaking skills

GREAT RESOURCES - BLOGS AND WEBSITES
Presentation zen – fantastic blog by Garr Reynolds
Alltop – collection of speaking resources by Guy Kawasaki
Power Voice facebook page for load of good tips and ideas

EXCELLENT SPEECHES AND SPEAKERS
TED – examples of inspiring speakers and speeches
Pecha-Kucha – a bit different format of presentation

CREATING VISUALS
Fascinating way to work with flipcharts: http://vizthink.com/blog/2009/11/06/bigger-pictures-7-steps-to-drawing-almost-anything/
RSA Animate videos – powerful messages with amazing visuals

RECOMMENDED BOOKS:
Garr Reynolds: Presentation zen
Garr Reynolds: Presentation zen Design
Nancy Duarte: Slideology
Dan and Chip Heath: Made to stick
Jim Endicott: The Presentation Survival Skills Guide
Jerry Weissman: Presenting to win


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