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This Week's Public Speaking Blog

Question: How do you know if an engineer is an extrovert?

  Answer: He looks at your shoes when he talks to you!

I am allowed to say that, coming from a family of engineers. Yet it’s also exactly to the point of this week's blog on the art of successful presentation design and delivery. 

At the heart of all successful presentations is a presenter who maintains proper eye-contact with members of the audience at all times.

Microsoft estimates that with over 500 million copies of PowerPoint installed world-wide, something like 5 million presentations are given every day.

 What they don’t say is that roughly 4.9 million of those are completely ineffective in achieving true knowledge transfer, what presentations are supposed to be about in the first place.

Knowledge transfer occurs, for the most part, when you are able to keep every member of the audience on the same page, on the same wavelength, every step of the way.

 Unlike a written report, where the intended audience has the luxury of acquiring the embedded knowledge at his or her own pace, a presentation is actually an event where knowledge transfer is a rather ethereal event; information appears on the screen and is discussed for a fleeting moment in time, and then disappears.

To understand the relationship between an on-screen presentation and a written report, think billboard versus magazine ad.

Look me in the eye 

To keep the audience together, you first must start with a presentation that allows you to stay engaged with the audience, as opposed to either the screen or your notes.  When you lose engagement in business presentations today, you invite audience members to wander, and that’s when the Blackberries blossom.

A key element to successful engagement involves learning proper eye contact, which requires you to hold contact with an individual for anywhere between 3-12 seconds; i.e., until you have completed one thought.  At which point you pause and move to another person and do the same.  Ninety-nine percent of presenters, unless properly trained, look at one person for no more than ½ to 1 second at a time, and then only when they’re not looking up at the ceiling or down at the floor. 

Or, with extroverted engineers, your shoes.




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NOTE: Please be sure to read our list of Non-Frequently Asked Questions

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Excerpt: Ever hear about maintaining “eye contact” with the audience?

The way that 99% of us learned public speaking leads to not only increased fear and anxiety, but also robs us of our ability to focus on our thoughts and delivery, too.

Instead, discover the simple presentation skills that bond  you to your audience while delivering your message with razor-sharp precision.

presentation skills testimonial





Welcome to a whole new approach to communications skills training.


Get rid of public speaking fears forever and learn the art of  confident public speakingPublic Speaking is a full-service business communications firm, emphasizing public speaking, presentation skills, and presentation design.


Public Speaking provides on-site training in the following courses: 


Presentation Skills

Advanced Presentation Design

Consultative Selling

Telephone Skills

Customer Service

Business Writing


Media Relations



For our catalog:

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We offer presentation skills seminars, public speaking seminars & coaching by internationally known professional speakers; and presentation skills, public speaking, and presentation design training by presentation skills experts.


Public Speaking specializes in highly interactive on-site training in all aspects of public speaking and presentation skills. 


Call Public Speaking for public speaking training, communication skills, presentation design, business communications & enhanced presentation skills training.


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Delivering Training in Public Speaking, Presentation Skills, Presentation Design, Consultative Selling, Business Writing and more for over 30 years

We provide you with the training you need in the way that fits your schedule, your time and your budget:

On-site small group training (2-20)

On-site large group training (20-2000)

On-site One-on-One training

Remote large group, small group and One-on-One training via Skype

Presentation Delivery & Design Videos - Either DVD-to-own or On-Demand Streaming

Textbooks that include video links and exercises at the end of each chapter

eCourses that combine online content, textbooks, streaming videos & DVDs



New! Optimizing Your Presentation Skills   

This course will change your career - and your life - as it's done for tens of thousands worldwide - Guaranteed!


FORMATS:  Half-Day  |  Full Day  |  2 Full-Days                                                 READ MORE _______________________________________________________________________ 


In as little as a 1/2 day, you can acquire "The Skills".  

Discover how the Lock, Talk & Pause method 

not only eliminates anxiety, 

but keeps audiences hanging on your every word.


Say goodbye to fear, sweat, and "practice, practice, practice"!  

All great speakers share a common trait: 


They learned to be great by studying those that went before them. Although we are sometimes enamored by the oratory skills of public figures, none was born with the ability to persuade or inspire.


Instead, what makes them good is their common desire to study and learn the basic skills that set great speakers apart. JFK studied FDR and Churchill and then put his own very human stamp on their style.  Bill Clinton studied Kennedy and Martin Luther King; Obama studied them all, and when he shares stories from his life, (and not using the tele-prompter!) you can even hear tones of Ronald Reagan. 

Trailer courtesy (c) Mindperk, Inc. |

Speaking well is not about genes.  Unlike basketball or the violin, no inborn talent is required.  Speaking well is a skill, comprised of physical behaviors, learnable by anyone who cares enough to succeed.  


"And now for something completely different..." - John Cleese


Participants come away from this class knowing exactly why each of the behaviors they employ when speaking causes a specific physiological result. They learn how by modifying those behaviors, they can change the way their bodies and minds respond.  We don't use pep talks.  We don't tell you to 'imagine' that you're feeling something that you're not.  We don't droll on about the power of positive thinking, or tell you to "just relax".  You learn that although you can't change the way your body responds to certain stimuli, you can certainly change the behaviors that create and magnify the stimuli in the first place.  


"We show people how to look good, sound good, and

look confident & comfortable just being themselves."


More good news: you can also forget what they’ve always told you about “practice, practice, practice”.  Who today can follow “rules” such as “For every minute you speak, spend 60 minutes practicing”?  A presentation designed and delivered with our 3-Step method never needs to be scripted or memorized.  Instead, using our proven system of public speaking that you will learn-for-life, you will have the skills to look and sound like an expert, even the first time out of the box!  At the end of the day, participants deliver a presentation they've never given before, yet look and sound like experts doing so.  Really quite empowering!


 Read more... (Go to full course description)



Do you prefer to learn via books or DVDs?

We make learning "The Skills" easy and private.  

 New Streamng Versions now available (Be watching in seconds!)


Conquering Death by Power Point  |  90 Minutes to Killer Presentation Skills

Killer Presentation Skills Textbook




 We also specialize in one-on-one, in-person 

Executive SessionsTM

A whole or half day with just you, your instructor, and your Virtual Audience!



Have a group to train but just can't get them out of the office 

for a full day?

Or looking for professional presentation skills training 

just for yourself?

Prefer to learn at your own pace? 


Check out The Skills eCourse: Online learning for one or groups  




You may wish to explore enrolling in our self-paced systems. Work at your own pace with the knowledge-transfer components of the training. Then, if you desire, enjoy the opportunity to perform delivery segments live, via our proven two-way interactive video system, either alone or together in small groups.  Courseware includes the 4-part online sessions, online videos and animations, printouts of your Virtual Audience members, the textbook and the 2 DVDs above.

For more details, please see our eCourse page.  




Have a group of 20 to 2000 who need to put aside their old ways 

and put your organization in the best light?

You may easily qualify to have us bring our 60-90 minute

 "Nail It!" seminar to your door, at a per-person cost of less than a book. 

Call: 888-883-6074 or 1+484-883-6074  


Please check out our other award-winning programs:


Presentation Skills

Advanced Presentation Design

Consultative Selling

Business Writing


Media Relations 



Non-Frequently Asked Questions


IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are tasked with choosing amongst numerous presentation skills training firms, here are some Non-Frequently Asked Questions you should definitely be asking of your potential vendors (and writing down their answers):

1) How many years experience actually delivering business presentations does our instructor have, not including simply instructing this course?

2) What techniques do you teach to reduce speaker anxiety? (hint: if their answer includes advice such as "just relax", or "imagine yourself on a tropical island...", we suggest you might want to look elsewhere - quickly!). 

3) What personal involvement does our particular instructor have in creating and revising the course materials? 

4) What is the copyright date on the workbook? (We suggest having their fax the copyright page, right now.)

5) When delivering, how far ahead in the presentation should the speaker be thinking?

6) What is the Number 1 rule for obtaining and maintaining audience engagement?

7) What do you see as the relationship between slide design and delivery skills? (give examples)

8) Describe what makes putting on a live presentation different from a webinar, and what special techniques do you train to make webinars engaging?

9) Can you supply a list of clients by whom our instructor has been invited back at least five times?  OK, how about three times? 

10) How do you maintain the attention of our participants throughout the training day? (If the answer involves any form of sugar - or group aerobics - again, you may wish to check elsewhere).

Bonus Question: How do you handle participants for whom English is not their native language?

We would be happy to answer all of these questions, and more, at your earliest convenience. 



 Like to see a sneak preview of this training?  

  Check out the trailer to our video, "Killer Presentation Skills"


Call Today: 1-888-883-6074 or 1+484-883-6074

Or, click here for a copy of our catalog


 FAQ: What does Optimizing Your Presentation Skills training cost?                  

Also see:

Optimizing Your Sales Presentation Skills

Advanced Presentation Design

Trailer for the 90-minute video "Killer Presentation Skills"


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Public Speaking offers Presentation Skills Seminars, Public Speaking Seminars, workshops, keynote speeches, & coaching by internationally known professional speakers; and presentation skills, public speaking, presentation design, and PowerPoint training by presentation skills experts. Call Public Speaking for public speaking training, communication skills, presentation design, PowerPoint skills, business communications and enhanced presentation skills training. 032506

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