Flu season is a doozy. And it seems that the strains this year are harder than ever to kick! That means a lingering cough, nasal tone and not enough rest can really impact how you communicate in your next meeting. While it would be nice to reschedule, sometimes that’s just not possible.
If you’re battling symptoms while presenting (hopefully at least no longer contagious), here are a few recommendations beyond, “drink lots of water:”
Do not start the talk by saying “Sorry, I feel sick.”I realize it’s tempting to introduce yourself this way. Doing so is a bit like saying you feel nervous: it’s successful in garnering audience empathy, but unsuccessful in convincing them of your message. You don’t want people focused on your cough rather than your message.
Be aware of the fact that due to congestion, you can no longer accurately gauge your volume. Before your talk, have someone (a friend, conference volunteer, whomever) head to the back of the room. Keep decreasing your volume until they can no longer hear you. Take a mental note of that volume and always try to exceed it. Feel free to play with variations, too, i.e. “Do I sound excited enough?”
Time how long you can maintain energy. If you can’t go 15 minutes without coughing, plan some sort of break every ten minutes: a video clip, audience interaction, even an actual break. If you’re wearing a mic, remember to switch it off for a second, cough, then turn it back on.
Finish early. I have never, ever heard someone complain about a talk going short. It will probably make you feel better, too.
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Ever get into the rut of doing what you’ve always done because it’s comfortable – or because it’s the way it’s always been done? I’m talking about presentations – specifically the ones where you use PowerPoint. We were reminded of this when a client recently shared that he led a … Continue reading →
If there were Survivor for words, I’d vote off “literally.” It’s inserted into sentences for no real reason. Consider: I am literally the hungriest person in the world right now. I am literally going to break this printer in a minute. The coffee machine is literally the slowest thing on … Continue reading →
A few weeks back I had to fend off cold/migraine as I gutted my way through a lengthy presentation. It would have been nice to reschedule. Sometimes that’s just not possible. You, too, may find yourself having to battle your symptoms while presenting. Beyond “drink lots of fluids,” here are … Continue reading →
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Dan Heath has done a fantastic job putting together a series of vignettes on stickiness. Watch this clip on presentations that stick. Let me add on to Dan’s 3 tips with a few examples we’ve seen in our programs recently: 1. Be Simple: Force yourself to prioritize. Boil down your message … Continue reading →
A cute white puffy cloud – like the kind you used to draw next to the smiling sun in Kindergarten. But rather than find it on your child’s artwork, these days you’re more likely to see it right smack dab in the middle of an insanely complex technical diagram (the … Continue reading →
Meg Whitman just debated Steve Poizner for the Republican Gubernatorial nomination. It was interesting, but not as interesting as looking at where Meg Whitman might go – if she can communicate. First the debate: Meg did well, but Steve probably did better if this was an equal contest. But it … Continue reading →
Did some work early this month with a client for their new hire training. When we introduce our methodology for developing content, we use the Decker Grid and SHARPs. We’ve talked about our SHARPs before: Stories, Humor, Analogies, References/Quotes and Pictures/Visuals. They’re a handful of tools to help make your … Continue reading →