jpg logo cropped

presenting

Panicked your Zoom audience is bored? Follow my 3-part framework to alleviate your stress

The first time I presented after starting my company was a nightmare.

I was terrible.

A major Chicago publisher asked me to talk about how small businesses can land TV interviews. There were about 100 people in the room.

I wasn’t that nervous.

But I felt like I had to prove myself.

So I spit out about three hours of information in about 45 minutes.

It was too much. I was not entertaining. I never told a story. I never paused to let them absorb. I didn’t read body language.

I just “puked” information at them.

How could they absorb it? I was going too fast. There was no way to make an impact.

I sucked. I failed. I was never asked back.

I didn’t let it stop me.

In the seven years since then, I’ve presented hundreds of times.

I’m more prepared now. Audiences learn more from me. I’m more memorable. I’m asked back over and over again.

How can you be asked back and be more memorable when giving a presentation online?

Here’s my 3-part framework

It can feel impossible to have a meaningful connection with your audience online. Some executives think it’s okay to just fly through slides for 45 minutes. It’s not. That’s the easiest way to lose people and not be invited back to speak.

Before Your Presentation

The key to being a successful presenter is changing your mindset from a “speaker” to someone having a conversation with a group of people. But, of course, it’s not a real conversation unless you know them and can see them. Here’s how to do that: Do not present blindly.

Do not present blindly.

  • Empower yourself to ask questions ahead of time about your audience to help you build a better presentation. You need to know them, so you know what to teach them.
  • Ahead of time, practice the technical aspects of Zoom or Microsoft Teams so you can see the faces in the audience. If you can’t see them, that’s a technical problem you need to figure out ahead of time. Invest in a second screen to help you see more windows.

During the presentation

Here’s where the magic happens. Like to dance? We don’t just pick someone up and throw them around the dance floor. You move and your dance partner moves according to your body’s movement. It’s similar when presenting. Here’s how:

Watch your audience.

  • Look at your audience once in a while. You should know your slides well enough that you’re not reading them, and instead, you’re looking at people’s reactions while you’re presenting. This lets you gauge their reactions and adjust as you go. They don’t like that you sped up your dancing feet? You’ll be able to see that and feel it. They will look lost. They’ll start checking their phones. Watch their body language.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak to it directly if you’re losing people. “It looks like I’ve lost some of you – is there a specific question I can answer?” See frowns? Don’t be afraid to speak to that. “I’m seeing many of you may disagree with what I just said. What am I missing?” People will appreciate your honesty, and you’ll be much more effective in teaching the information.
  • Change your presentation in real-time. Your audience is giving you feedback and telling you what they need. You, as the speaker, need to react because this is a two-way conversation.
  • Try to stand if possible. Raise your desk or prop your computer and camera on something higher. This helps get more oxygen to your brain. When you slouch, you compress the space for your lungs, reducing capacity and sending less oxygen to your brain. When you have increased oxygen flowing to your head, your brain functions better, helping you think, focus and concentrate better. If you have to sit, be sure to sit nice and tall in the front one-third of your seat.
  • Be sure to give adequate breaks. If you see people dancing in their seats at that hour spot, provide them with the option of a quick break. They can’t concentrate with full bladders (I do an earlier break for those first thing in the morning presentations).

At the end of your presentation

The end of the presentation is when you share your email and website, right?

No.

The call-to-action is not your closer.

  • If you have an “ask” or a “call to action,” don’t make that the end. End on a solid note they’ll remember. Ending with “go to our website” is not a powerful way to end a presentation.
  • When you do so well, there will be a lot of questions. Do everything possible to finish on time – to respect their time. You can always follow up with the organizers and offer another presentation or send supporting materials to the audience. It would be great to email them within 24 hours while you’re still on their mind.
  • Also, offer the organizers ideas for future presentations. Before you know it, you’ll be back to present to a new group eager to hear what you have to share with them.

You’ve got this!

P.S. Want more tips? Be sure to sign up for my LinkedIn newsletter where you’ll get exclusive tips on strengthening your mindset to become a better communicator. Click here to subscribe to Thought Leaders Amplified on LinkedIn.

P.P.S. I created a training program for healthcare professionals who need to discover their message and story, deliver it clearly, succinctly, and confidently, and present in a way that intrigues, entertains and keeps the audience’s attention. Share it with your friends in healthcare. Check it out even if you’re not in healthcare. The tips and tricks are universal. Click here to learn more.

P.P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are a few more ways I can help you build your brand, own your voice, and stand out:

  1. Need actionable strategies to be a more trusted, authentic, confident, and inspiring thought leader? I just launched a podcast called Thought Leaders Amplified – you can listen to it here.
  2. Want more tactical advice you can implement today? Check out my blog here for great articles, stories, and lessons I’ve shared over the years.
  3. Looking for one-on-one coaching or a consultation with me? Schedule a complimentary call here to speak to our team about how we can help you.
  4. Follow me on Instagram here for more media and public speaking tips, videos… and a little fun.

How to stop using these 10 filler words when public speaking

Do you have a problem with those pesky words that come flying out of your mouth when you can’t think of anything else to say?

They’re filler words or crutch words. The “uh’s” and the “like’s” that buy us a few seconds of thinking time when our mouths try to keep up with our brains or vice versa.

Stopping this habit can be a challenge. But don’t fret. I’m here to share my advice on eliminating filler words for good, which will boost your confidence and credibility.

You can learn more in this video: How to stop using these 10 filler words when public speaking. ▶️

Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode:

✔️ Amplify your voice. Filler words can muffle your message. No matter how passionate you are or how meaningful your mission is, just a few “ums” can diminish your credibility. You’re a confident and eloquent thought leader with a purpose to share, so make your voice and word choice clear.

✔️ Know your piece inside out. The best way to kill filler words once and for all? Preparation. Lots of it. You should know the steps like the back of your hand. Familiarize yourself with your mission and plan exactly how each part of your talk should play out.

✔️ Less confidence causes filler words. Butterflies in your stomach, stage fright, or getting jittery — that’s all quite normal before giving a speech. Allowing nervousness to consume us can lead to poor word choices, such as over splicing our sentences with “like.”

✔️ Get enough sleep. Cliché as it sounds, a healthy 7-8 hours of sleep can increase your reaction time. It also enhances your brain’s ability to fire up with ideas and transmit them to your mouth.

✔️ Lay off the alcohol and sugar. I’ve got nothing against alcohol and sugar, but I’ll never take them before a big speaking gig. These two bad boys cause inflammation and create brain fog. An unclear mental state reduces your speed and sharpness in forming cohesive sentences.

✔️ Keep your mouth closed. If you don’t have anything good to say, zip it — especially if they’re filler words. Get in the habit of taking silent pauses when emphasizing a point or buying thinking time. Those few seconds of dead air would be less distracting than throwing out an “um.”

You’re a confident and eloquent thought leader. Your voice and word choice should be clear and confident.

The world needs your voice.

P.S. Want more tips? Be sure to sign up for my LinkedIn newsletter where you’ll get exclusive tips on strengthening your mindset to become a better communicator. Click here to subscribe to Thought Leaders Amplified on LinkedIn.

P.P.S. I created a training program for healthcare professionals who need to discover their message and story, deliver it clearly, succinctly, and confidently, and present in a way that intrigues, entertains and keeps the audience’s attention. Share it with your friends in healthcare. Check it out even if you’re not in healthcare. The tips and tricks are universal. Click here to learn more.

P.P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are a few more ways I can help you build your brand, own your voice, and stand out:

  1. Need actionable strategies to be a more trusted, authentic, confident, and inspiring thought leader? I just launched a podcast called Thought Leaders Amplified – you can listen to it here.
  2. Want more tactical advice you can implement today? Check out my blog here for great articles, stories, and lessons I’ve shared over the years.
  3. Looking for one-on-one coaching or a consultation with me? Schedule a complimentary call here to speak to our team about how we can help you.
  4. Follow me on Instagram here for more media and public speaking tips, videos… and a little fun.

Stop touching your face in Zoom meetings

Body language is essential to get right whenever you’re presenting.

Even though we’re only seeing the top third of your body on Zoom (or Microsoft Teams or Google Meet), how you appear up there matters.

This is especially true when you need to be perceived as a leader.

This is not about lookin’ good.

It’s about gaining the trust of your audience.

Whether you’re giving a sales presentation, talking with a client, leading a meeting, or giving a media interview — here are three things I highly recommend you stop doing.

Touching your face

When we touch our face it tells the audience we’re nervous or uncomfortable.

We want to come across confident so our audience trusts us and the company we represent.

Touching your hair

When we fiddle with our hair or move it away from our face, it again makes our audience less confident in us.

Make sure your hair is always away from your face and it doesn’t move into your eyes so you don’t have a tendency to touch it.

Looking at other monitors

You wouldn’t stare out of the window or at your phone during an in-person meeting, would you?

This is why we shouldn’t look away from the person we’re meeting with and at another monitor.

You’ve seen it, you’ve felt it, you know how rude this is.

Making these small tweaks makes a huge impression on audiences.

Whether it’s an audience of one or many.

One specific VP told me recently his team is much more engaged now when he speaks.

And it happened right after he enacted the “stop touching your face” (for him, he touched his beard a lot) and “stop looking at other monitors” rules I created for him.

He says his team is more engaged.

That’s all it took.

Worth a try, right?

P.S. Want more tips? Be sure to sign up for my LinkedIn newsletter where you’ll get exclusive tips on strengthening your mindset to become a better communicator. Click here to subscribe to Thought Leaders Amplified on LinkedIn.

P.P.S. I created a training for health care professionals who need to discover their message and story, deliver it clearly, succinctly, and confidently, and present in a way that intrigues, entertains and keeps the audience’s attention. Share it with your friends in health care. Check it out even if you’re not in health care. The tips and tricks are universal. Click here to learn more.

P.P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are three more ways I can help you build your brand, own your voice, and stand out:

  1. Want more tactical advice you can implement today? Check out my blog here for great articles, stories, and lessons I’ve shared over the years.
  2. Looking for one-on-one coaching or a consultation with me? Schedule a complimentary call here to speak to our team about how we can help you.
  3. Follow me on Instagram here for more media and public speaking tips, videos… and a little fun.

A lesson from Elton John

Elton John finally made his way back to Chicago.

This was a show originally scheduled for 2020.

Like a lot of concerts, it was delayed because of the pandemic.

As the months passed, I didn’t think he would actually make it back.

As you may know, Sir Elton recently had COVID.

Was he going to be too nervous being in a big crowd again? Would he be fully recovered?

Instead, what I witnessed was a man who put every ounce of his being into the show.

From the first second to the last – he had endless energy.

He was like a kid.

And so were each one of the band members.

Many of whom are in their 70s.

But each one acted like they were… maybe 25.

So much energy and so much enthusiasm.

These legends have been playing on stages worldwide for decades.

We all would have been fine if they phoned it in.

But instead, they played like they were still earning our respect as musicians.

They genuinely acted like they were excited to be there.

Elton waved to the crowd for 2 1/2 hours like he was your grandpa and you were driving up to his house after he spent two years in quarantine.

Energy. Excitement.

Right from the top, no time wasted.

Preparation.

Practice.

True professionals.

They get it.

There isn’t time to warm up.

Once you hit the stage, you have to be ready.

To entertain.

To captivate.

This comes up with my clients all the time.

When they first call me, they explain how they were great in the middle of a podcast or another interview, but it took them time to warm up.

But we live in a world where we don’t have time to warm up.

If we don’t catch people right off the top, they will start checking their email or move to a different podcast.

We must captivate and entertain from the top.

Capture the audience and make them want to stick around.

Elton didn’t need to do that.

Nor did his 74-year-old percussionist, who has played for every major act in the world.

Yet, they acted grateful to be on the big stage.

The next time we’re on a stage or in the media – we have to act like we’re grateful to be there and that it’s not old hat.

We have to prepare and be ready on the first beat.

This is not a normal conversation.

This is something that takes a different level of preparation.

That first soundbite has to be a headline.

It has to encapsulate all of the excitement going on in your organization.

It’s an important lesson to learn from these pros.

They’re teaching us night after night, how to perform to make our audience keep coming back for more.

P.S. I had great seats (thanks to my United Center/Chicago Bulls client). If you want to see video from the show, I shared it here on LinkedIn.

P.P.S. I created a training for health care professionals who need to discover their message and story, deliver it clearly, succinctly, and confidently, and present in a way that intrigues, entertains and keeps the audience’s attention. Share it with your friends in health care. Check it out even if you’re not in health care. The tips and tricks are universal. Click here to learn more.

P.P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are three more ways I can help you build your brand, own your voice, and stand out:

  1. Want more tactical advice you can implement today? Check out my blog here for great articles, stories, and lessons I’ve shared over the years.
  2. Looking for one-on-one coaching or a consultation with me? Schedule a complimentary call here to speak to our team about how we can help you.
  3. Follow me on Instagram here for more media and public speaking tips, videos… and a little fun.

They’ll love your snow stories

Have you ever met a really BORING person?

Been on a first date and wondered how someone could really be that bland?

Are you sitting in a Zoom meeting right now listening to a person go on and on… about nothing?

Or worse… are you afraid you might be that person?

The best piece of advice I give thought leaders I work with before they do a media interview or speech is:

Have a relatable story.

You MUST have a story people can relate to if you’re going to attract people to you, speak in public, or if you’d like to sell your brand by using the media.

No producer or writer is going to publish a story about your grand opening or sale.

But if you have a story, like you’re donating 40% of opening day profits to a charity that’s in the news… or there’s something special about the owner… you have a much better chance.

Numbers are great – but stories are even better.

You may have a great success story at your company. Numbers are way up. Bosses are happy.

The way to break through to an audience and show what those numbers really mean is to tell a story. Explain what those numbers mean.

Talk about how many people you were able to hire because numbers are up. Highlight a person you hired and their family.

You need a compelling story of human interest.

Remember: the media has a job to do.

They need to make sure their audience watches, reads, sticks with them even after a commercial, learns something and keeps coming back for more.

All you need to do is learn a few tricks to do it the right way.

Here are a few quick thoughts I shared on YouTube.

And think about how a story connects you to people in your day-to-day Zoom meetings.

I was on a call with an exec of a Fortune 100 company last week.

He showed up in a baseball cap and a hoodie.

Not his normal wardrobe.

He told me he had just finished shoveling his wife out of the driveway.

And then he drove her to work.

She’s a nurse.

At that moment, I knew I wanted to work with that exec – and I even happily altered my price when we negotiated my contract.

Give your audience an authentic story that makes them feel something and you’ll have a better chance of seeing your story in the media.

They may even become open to negotiating their prices because they just like you.

P.S. Creating a story that stands out is the critical component needed to grow your business or practice and ensure you get an ROI on your time and energy. I shot a YouTube video on this. Check it out here.

P.P.S. I created a training for healthcare professionals who need to discover their message and story, deliver it clearly, succinctly, and confidently, and present in a way that intrigues, entertains and keeps the audience’s attention. Share it with your friends in healthcare. Check it out even if you’re not in healthcare. The tips and tricks are universal. Click here to learn more.

P.P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are three more ways I can help you build your brand, own your voice, and stand out:

  1. Want more tactical advice you can implement today? Check out my blog here for great articles, stories, and lessons I’ve shared over the years.
  2. Looking for one-on-one coaching or a consultation with me? Schedule a complimentary call here to speak to our team about how we can help you.
  3. Follow me on Instagram here for more media and public speaking tips, videos… and a little fun.

The ripple effect of communication issues

How are the people inside your company communicating with your customers?

Or future customers?

I was on a call with a $12 billion company today.

I’m sharing this in case you have the same issue.

They hosted their annual meeting recently.

Many of their execs had to give presentations and they quickly realized… several of them were having issues presenting and getting their message across.

These are well-regarded individuals inside a Fortune 100 company.

They’re smart and know the industry in and out.

But they have an issue.

And it’s costly.

They are not confident or convincing when it comes to presenting.

So they called me.

They need to be prepared before they present again in a year – but more importantly, the concern is:

How are they communicating on a daily basis?

In front of customers? Potential investors? Their team?

There’s a ripple effect when it comes to communication.

Whether it’s your receptionist who takes inbound calls and walk-ins, your sales team, all the way up to your leadership — your message should:

  • establish trust,
  • be confident,
  • show empathy,
  • and it should make people want to do business with you!

If your message is being miscommunicated, at any level within your organization, that’s a potential client or customer — gone.

Potential referrals — gone.

Potential media or speaking opportunities — gone.

It’s all interconnected.

As you’re reading this, think to yourself for a moment.

Could you possibly have a communications issue inside your company?

Don’t dismiss someone as having stage or Zoom fright.

They may have a bigger communications issue.

It’s fixable and a little work now will save (and make) you a lot of money quickly.

P.S. Worried your organization is struggling like this Fortune 100 company? I created a training for health care professionals who need to confidently show up on camera, attract more patients, move up in their careers, and let their expertise shine. Share it with your friends in health care. The tips and tricks are universal. Check it out even if you’re not in health care. Click here to learn more. Want training that’s more specialized for your industry? Let’s connect and make it happen.

P.P.S. I just published a new video on YouTube sharing with you some easy adjustments to make before recording a video or going live. This might be something you haven’t considered. Check it out here.

P.P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are three more ways I can help you build your brand, own your voice, and stand out:

  1. Want more tactical advice you can implement today? Check out my blog here for great articles, stories, and lessons I’ve shared over the years.
  2. Looking for one-on-one coaching or a consultation with me? Schedule a complimentary call here to speak to our team about how we can help you.
  3. Follow me on Instagram here for more media and public speaking tips, videos… and a little fun.

The missing piece to your marketing strategy

You know how important video is to connect with your audience.

I don’t need to convince you.

The stats are all there.

Video will make up 82% of all internet traffic this year.

How do you make sure your messaging doesn’t get lost?

You’re heard? Remembered?

How will you ensure your goal – the reason you want to get a message across – comes through?

I was training the CEO of a nationally known public company this week.

He was creating a video message for his employees.

He has the fancy equipment and team.

But he was missing the right words to reach his team.

And the tone and cadence.

The pieces to really move them.

Inspire them.

Make them act.

Video is powerful.

But you’re even more powerful.

So, what could you be missing from your marketing strategy?

Authenticity.

Vulnerability.

YOU.

Without YOU, video is weak.

This goes for Zoom video meetings, media interviews, website videos, social media videos and internal videos for your employees.

Don’t leave out YOU next week.

Your audiences came to the YOU party.

They chose to work with YOU.

Don’t disappoint.

P.S. If you would like help on how to be a more effective thought leader in video, in the media, and on stages, book a free consultation with me here.

P.P.S. I’ve created a special program just for healthcare professionals who need media training so they can confidently show up on camera, attract more patients, move up in their careers, and let their expertise shine. If that’s you or you know someone who can benefit from this, click here to learn more.

P.P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are three more ways I can help you build your brand, own your voice, and stand out:

  1. Want more tactical advice you can implement today? Check out my blog here for great articles, stories, and lessons I’ve shared over the years.
  2. Looking for one-on-one coaching or a consultation with me? Schedule a complimentary call here to speak to our team about how we can help you.
  3. Follow me on Instagram here for more media and public speaking tips, videos… and a little fun.

How to Make Sure Your Message Takes Center Stage (and not this)

The key to any speaking opportunity – whether that’s speaking on Zoom in a meeting, on stage, in the media, in your website videos, or in job interviews – is to keep the audience focused on your message and nothing else.

There are a lot of things steering your audience away from you and your message.

A busy background.

Disrupting noises.

Or even a pair of glasses.

It’s one of the biggest questions I get:

“What do I do about my glasses?”

They’re not asking whether they should wear them…

But really – what to do about the fact that they’re distracting.

The light from their room is bouncing off the lenses…

They know they need help.

I struggled with this for so long – I just ditched my glasses for years… which has made it pretty hard to see my slides when I’m training.

But I figured out some tricks.

And I’m going to share a little bit with you now.

(If you want to go more in-depth with me, click here to watch this video I just shot.)

Do you have big thick frames?

Or are they too small and cutting off your pupils?

While glasses may sometimes feel like an afterthought, they could be detrimental to your overall message.

You want your audience to connect with your eyes.

The eyes are the window to the soul (or so I’ve heard).

This is also why it’s important to look directly into the camera. You’ll appear as if you’re looking right into the eyes of your audience.

This takes practice to get it down and not let your eyes wander off and look at all the other people on the call.

When you let your eyes move from person to person or somewhere else in your room, you may appear to be insincere, detached, uninterested, insecure, and even shifty.

When someone can really look into your eyes — they feel more connected to you. AND TRUST YOU MORE.

That’s why I care about this.

It’s not about looks.

I care that you connect with more people.

And they trust you.

P.S. I left out one of the other big no-no’s when it comes to making sure you connect with your audience and stand out. I’m talking about lighting. I just published a short video telling you all about it. Click here to watch.

P.P.S. I’ve created a special program just for healthcare professionals who need media training so they can confidently show up on camera, attract more patients, move up in their careers, and let their expertise shine. If that’s you or you know someone who can benefit from this, click here to learn more.

P.P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 more ways I can help you build your brand, own your voice, and stand out:

  1. Want more tactical advice you can implement today? Check out my blog here for great articles, stories, and lessons I’ve shared over the years.
  2. Looking for one-on-one coaching or a consultation with me? Schedule a complimentary call here to speak to our team about how we can help you.
  3. Follow me on Instagram here for more media and public speaking tips, videos… and a little fun.

How to Look Better Under Stage Lights or on Camera

Many of my clients had a successful career, but are now looking for help with their public speaking careers.

Some are looking for opportunities to get on live TV to talk about their companies or their story.

Do you know how to prepare so you look your best?

I’m going to show you how you can look better on TV or on stage. The lights really alter our appearance.

I always suggest that my clients hire a makeup artist — but if you have to do it yourself, here are a few things you can do to make yourself look better under all those lights.

If you’re going to present on stage soon, here are three things to ask before you show up.

Kathryn Janicek | Media Coach, Producer, Public Speaking Trainer
Kathryn Janicek is a three-time Emmy Award-winning television producer with 20 years of experience working in newsrooms across the country. Kathryn coached talent, producers, and writers before switching her focus on helping entrepreneurs and corporate executives. Now, based in her home city of Chicago, she is a much sought-after media coach and public speaking trainer who will help you produce the best YOU. Click HERE now to book a complimentary consultation with Kathryn.