Business Presentation Tips – How To Command Attention

All eyes are on you. Yes, it’s true. In business presentations, you are in charge. You are the leader. As the leader in a presentation, you are in charge of the pace, flow, and impact of your story.

In business presenting, a lot of professionals confuse their audiences by multi-tasking. This is a really bad idea. Instead of giving your audience a clear direction, multi-tasking points them in 15-directions at once.

Let’s look at the common (but awful) practice of talking while changing PowerPoint or Keynote slides.

If you talk, change slides and keep on talking, what should the audience do? Should they listen to your words? Should they focus on the slide? What is the right place to look? They aren’t sure.

The audience doesn’t know what is the top priority. Simply put, if your audience is confused, they will check out. Instead of staying connected to your message, their attention will drift.

Next thing you know, people will be checking email, daydreaming or having side conversations. This is NOT how to command attention.

What can you do differently? Slow down. Do one thing at a time.

Here’s the simple tip: Announce where you are going. Pause. Then change the slide. Next, describe where you are.

This is just the same kind of step-by-step approach that you need to take when giving a tour, or managing the attention of a young child. Only now, you’re acting as a patient tour guide for your audience.

Here’s the break down in precise detail.

Tip 1: Tell Where You Are Going

Announce where you are going in advance. This tip applies to your entire presentation, each slide, and the next action.

For the whole presentation: always give an overview. This helps participants get oriented for the entire journey. Even if everyone is familiar with the topic and you’ve met before, give an overview.

For each slide: prepare participants for what’s in the next slide – before you go there. This is important. The mind can wander. It’s your job to tell people where you are and what’s coming next – before you go.

For each action: tell people what you want them to do. Announce this in advance.


Tip 2: Change The Picture

After you have alerted participants, it’s time to do what you promised. Change the slide.

If you are not using slides, you can still do this step. Change to a flipchart. Change to a video. Or change to a whiteboard. You also might be changing to an exercise or activity.

Whatever you promised to do, do what you have announced.

Tip 3: Show Where You Are

Now that you are in a new slide, or a new whiteboard discussion — show people around. Familiarize them with the new part of the presentation.

I like to think of this as playing the tour guide. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it shows how much you care about your audience. It shows you care deeply about their experience.

Are you commanding attention in client and prospect presentations? Get the skills you need to focus attention with visual storytelling. 

Top Ten Rules for Effective Presentations

I am of the belief that the majority of people can improve their
presentations dramatically by focusing on eliminating bad habits and presentation skills more than seeking to add anything on. How often have you come out of a seminar and overheard someone say, “Wow, she was great! Did you see how effectively she used her hand gestures?”

That said, here are some ideas to help you become a better speaker.

1. Keep it simple

Speak naturally

Make eye contact

Don’t do crazy things with your hands

Don’t do much more than speak, i.e. managing props etc.

2. Be impassioned

3. Balance the format of your information

4. Build the relationships beforehand if possible

5. Get the audience to participate at varying levels if effective

6. Show, don’t tell. That is, use stories, not facts and figures

7. Get rid of distracting idiosyncrasies

8. Don’t misinterpret people’s actions and get discouraged

9. Know your material

10. Never, ever, go overtime

Conquer the Present Perfect and Past Perfect Tenses in Spanish

If you have reached the present perfect and past perfect tense, you are a good way into your Spanish studies and it’s time for a serious talk about grammar.

I don’t know of any shortcut around regular practice. However, you can do yourself an enormous favor by taking the time to discover what you mean to say in English before you attempt to construct the grammar in Spanish.

It is possible to learn how to conjugate verbs in the present and past perfect tenses without truly understanding their meaning or where and when to use them in writing or conversation. If you are reading this, you’ve likely set higher goals for yourself.

Let me begin by introducing the present and past perfect tenses in English. After we’ve grasped the purpose of these verb forms, we can move quickly and easily through the “rules.”

Recall that in the simple present or simple past tense we say “I live” or “I lived.” “I love” or “I loved.” Fairly straightforward. In the perfect tenses of the present and past, however, we express “I have lived” or “I had lived.” “I have loved” or “I had loved.”

If you imagine yourself narrating the story of your life, you can probably see why certain recollections require “I have loved” or “I had loved.” Because we “love” people and things for durations of time in the past that begin and end and sometimes overlap or change, it is not so simple as just “I love him” (now) or I “loved her” (then). There are moments in your story that need a more nuanced timeline–additional context that anchor a feeling in the past or draw it, alternately, all the way up and into the current moment.

“I have lived” (present perfect) and “I had lived” (past perfect) is a tricky distinction for students to make. Hopefully the examples below will clarify the difference between these seemingly interchangeable statements.

“I have lived” refers to the immediate past or to an action or state of being that occurred in the past, but continues into the present time. “I have lived without chocolate for a week” or “I have lived in California all my life.” Do you see how the present perfect suggests both the past and the present? The speaker is very well (though not necessarily) still longing for chocolate and continues to live in California. The past perfect, on the other hand, expresses a past action that has come to a definite end.

It is useful to look at the past perfect like a two-part story. Often the past action we are referring to occurred before yet another past action, for example, “I HAD lived in California for three years BEFORE my family moved to Pennsylvania.” An extra bit of context establishes that the action came to a definite conclusion in the past, as in “I had lived in California as a child.”

Now we move from the abstract to the concrete. How do we build the present and past perfect tenses?

In both languages the perfect tenses are “compound tenses,” meaning that they require 1. an auxiliary verb (have) and 2. the past participle (lived) of the main verb (live). “I have lived.”

1. “Haber” is the translation of “to have” in English. The conjugated form of “haber” will precede the past participle and must reflect the subject of the verb (I, you, he/she, etc.) in addition to the tense.

2. In English, we typically create a past participle by adding “-ed” to the main verb: “lived.” To create the past participle of a verb in Spanish, we drop the “ar” from AR verbs and replace it with “ado.” We drop the “er” or “ir” from ER and IR verbs and replace them with “ido.” So, if the main verb is “live” or “vivir,” the past participle becomes “vivido.”

At last, here is the construction in Spanish:

Present Perfect: (“Haber” conjugated in the present tense) + (past-participle of the main verb);

“He vivido” / I have lived.

“Hemos vivido” / We have lived.

Past Perfect: (“Haber” conjugated in the imperfect) + (past participle of the main verb);

“Había vivido.”/ I had lived.

“Habíamos vivido” / We had lived.