PRESENT TO SUCCEED LESSONS LEARNED

Get Smart at Presentations with Verineia Codrean

PRESENT TO SUCCEED LESSONS LEARNED

Get Smart at Presentations with Verineia Codrean

In our Present to Succeed Lessons Learned series, we include all of the fascinating, valuable, and wow moments from the sessions of our debut 2021 conference. We aim to share with you the best takeaways and help you improve your presentation craft every day.

Verineia Codrean is a top public speaking coach who has trained high-level CEOs that then got featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, etc. She coaches and lives all over the world. At the time of her session at our conference, she presented from a place quite near the Arctic but resides in Hong Kong sometimes.

In her session, she shared some tangible tips that you can implement right away and get going when you present, and disruption happens.

What is the best way to handle any disruptions that might come up during the presentation? How to deliver for maximum impact?

Handling disruptions when presenting

We may devote a significant amount of time and attention to the presentation’s design. However, as we have seen in conference presentations, disruptions may completely derail your presentation and leave a sour aftertaste. So, how can you deal with all of the interruptions that occur? From a technological disruption to an audience disturbance or getting some tricky questions.

A lot of the time, when we consider how to address disruptions, some of us go to the extreme of attempting to anticipate every conceivable trouble that could happen. Other times, we pray that there will be no interruptions at all.

Here, Verineia was explaining that the more you try to manage things that are outside of your power, the less control you actually have over the situation.

All we have to do is focus on what we can control and ignore what we can’t. According to Verineia, how you say something is more important than what you say. You are an expert on your topic if you are presenting, but the way you deliver that message is more crucial.

Verineia shared a story from one of her clients as an example.

This person had a very important pitch in front of a high-level executive. And as often happens with the schedules of high-level execs, it got changed at the very last minute, and the meeting got canceled. But this guy was determined not to miss the opportunity. So he asked if there was any chance for even the shortest meeting. And a chance there was. For exactly two minutes on the way of the executive to the car that would drive him to the airport. And Verineia’s client utilized that walk to deliver a life-changing presentation for him and his company. He succeeded not so much thanks to what he said, but because of how he said it, with energy, commitment, and the way he packaged that presentation.

You should focus not just on the substance of your presentation but also on how you deliver it. Your presence, body, and voice will give you the boost you need to deal with any disturbance that comes your way.

She emphasized a few times that how you say something is way more important than the words you use.

You should focus not just on the substance of your presentation but also on how you deliver it. Your presence, body, and voice will give you the boost you need to deal with any disturbance that comes your way.

Imagine you hear someone say, “I am excited to be here”, but with a monotonous voice and zero enthusiasm. This person can be using the right words, but this way they are not fully communicating their message. If you think what you say is delivered mostly by how you say it, that will change your presenting skills for the better. You can present the most interesting subject, but if you are not talking from a place of enthusiasm, unfortunately, you are going to lose the audience.

Keep in mind your voice pitch and rhythm

The first thing to consider is your voice. It is what carries your presentation. We frequently have presentations that carry their message or the whole presentation in a single beat. Verinea suggests viewing it as a dynamic, and she encourages us to practice changing the dynamic throughout our presentation.

Verineia also underlined that we have an attention problem. Many people, she said, listen to audiobooks and podcasts at 1.5 or even 2.0 speed. It implies that if you talk at a speech pace that a person is not used to, they will disconnect from your message or not follow along. You should not try to imitate someone else’s speed, but rather be alert and test your own to find out what others are comfortable with. Do not be frightened to experiment.

Verineia suggested that you can go to the #voicecoaching hashtag on TikTok and find how you can practice your voice in different situations. 

Rehearsal

The people you see being spontaneous, such as TV anchors and performers, who think on their feet and come up with witty, brilliant, and smart answers. We believe they are born with it or have some type of skill, but this is not the case. It is the ton of preparation before that allows them to be spontaneous. So how to think fast on your feet?

Verineia gave the example of integrating some quotes from shows, which can bring over the gravitas of the context from where it is. It is a way to combine your presentation with spontaneity. And spontaneity comes from preparation.

She shared a personal story when her screen went black, one of her worst fears, on an important presentation for her. The first thing she said after she was back on the screen was “You know guys, a Lannister always pays his debts, so I am buying everyone a beer after this disruption.” And this quote carried on her presentation well. She did not apologize or draw attention to the disruption. She jumped right in and moved on with her presentation.

When you prepare, you will have something in your pocket and reach out in case of need. It can be something that everybody can smile at and lets you not apologize endlessly or drag the disruption more than needed. And the quote Verineia used also could not have the impact it has had if it was not said confidently. It is all about how you deliver with your voice, your energy, your excitement, and the pace with which you speak.

Handling tough questions

A lot of executives and startup founders are put in that situation. You can be asked a question that can be more difficult to handle.

In Verineia’s opinion, the first step is always to build rapport. Establish a bridge between you and the audience.

By asking a question, your audience may exhibit frustration, try to embarrass you, display what they know, or try to take control of the agenda. Do not fall for it, be wiser than that. Instead, acknowledge the depth of emotion in the question, but not the emotion itself.

If you are asked a tricky question, you can win yourself time and space by appearing a bit confused. Or when you represent your company you can emphasize that you are only speaking for yourself for the circumstance. Shift the attention from anything negative to something that has already been done. Focus on what you can answer.

Handling the even tougher questions

What do you do when you are asked something that you do not know the answer to, or you cannot answer due to confidentiality or other various reasons, or you are guilty as charged of the answer? Veriniea gave us the answer.

You can reframe it, be open to not knowing, or point out who would know the answer. Always be honest, but don’t just say that you don’t know. Give something more. And that’s the mechanic behind how to tackle a question that you don’t know the answer to.

What do you do when you cannot answer? You know the answer, but you absolutely cannot mention it in public? If you are unable to respond, say so but mention a reason for your inability to respond. One strategy here is to convey the limitation that you have. If they are trying to attack you in a way, always maintain control of the narrative, by switching with your answer to a more positive direction. Defend yourself and your stance, but never answer directly with the hostile emotion.

Sometimes the audience can ask you a “gotcha” question, where you are guilty as charged. Now, reframe it in a way that shows that you listen, change its tone to a more positive one, agree and validate the expressed concern but also dispel it and positively defend your position. Then show your evidence then and explain it. Do not start by explaining your stance; instead, demonstrate the legitimacy of your argument and show that you are on their side, have given careful consideration, and agree with their concerns.

Now that’s a final slide that we loved! 

Let's summarize

From Veriniea’s session, we learned that we should not try to cover all the possible questions or all the possible disruptions that come our way but concentrate on the things we can control.

Rehearsing helps you be spontaneous and handle situations better or improve when there is a hurdle with stories or ready-to-go phrases. If your voice, body language, and energy are great, then handling any tough questions is already covered. Even if you do not know the answer, your energy, improvisation, and tone of voice can aid you in dealing better with anything.

Now, if you have a massive disruption in your presentation, you know how to handle it and carry on effortlessly. Becoming a fantastic presenter means handling any disruptions well also. And remember to aim for impactful results, not for perfection.

Let us know by commenting on what the most valuable learning from Verineia’s session was for you!

And while reading is great, why not see the whole session yourself? Get the Tools Recordings for the discounted price of €39 or all 30+ sessions for just €79!

VISIT SHOP

Join Present to Succeed - the biggest presentation skills conference in the world

Whether you are part of an organization or running a business, how your slides look will always factor in your success. Learn how to become an influential speaker by joining our 30+ industry-leading speakers’ sessions.

Start engaging your audience better and influencing them to embrace your concepts, hire you, or buy your products. Now is the best moment to get your ticket!

Join Present to Succeed - the biggest presentation skills conference in the world

Whether you are part of an organization or running a business, how your slides look will always factor in your success. Learn how to become an influential speaker by joining our 30+ industry-leading speakers’ sessions.

Start engaging your audience better and influencing them to embrace your concepts, hire you, or buy your products. Now is the best moment to get your ticket!