Category Archives: Training

Want to know the secret of a great presentation?

What’s the best way to keep people interested in your presentation?

Have you got a big presentation coming up? Are you worried that your audience will think you’re boring?

Would you like to know the one thing great presenters do all the time to keep their audience interested?

The secret is a technique used by great public speakers, performers, comedians, politicians – even top salesmen.

When you give a presentation you also give a performance.  So you need to mimic the techniques used by performers.

So what is it?

Well, it’s already been used four times in this article so far. Have you spotted it? (clue – that’s the fifth appearance)

No? (that’s six)

The trick to keeping your audience engaged is to ask questions.

You don’t have to wait for the answer. But each question makes the listener subconsciously answer it for themselves  and they want to know if your answer agrees with theirs.


You can introduce questions to the driest of subject matters.

Imagine you are presenting annual sales figures.  Instead of saying “You can see here that sales rose by 10%” why not switch it round?

Try “Can you see here that sales rose by 10%?”

Your audience will pay close attention because they want to congratulate themselves that of course, they can see the increase.


Asking a question also changes the tone of your voice. It can help add variety to your tone and your pace. Your voice will naturally rise at the end of a sentence which asks a question. (go on, try it)

It’s almost impossible to present in a monotone way if you ask a few questions.

No-one expects you to be a stand-up comedian when you present. In most cases it would be wholly inappropriate. But you can watch them and see the techniques they use to get a roomful of strangers on their side.

I’d bet my house that few of them manage more than a minute on screen without asking the audience at least one question.

Watch some of the best speech makers and presenters in action.  While heavy Churchillian rhetoric is out of fashion you’ll still see some of the greats asking questions.

Of course by asking the question you give yourself the opportunity to provide the answer – the answer you want your audience to agree with – and the one you want them to remember.

Is this a powerful way to convince someone you are right? You bet.

Another benefit to asking questions during your presentation is they give you the opportunity to breathe. Sounds obvious, but many people who are giving a presentation become so nervous they forget to do the basics – like take a breath. Nerves are natural – part of the human body’s in-built survival mechanism.

Giving a presentation can be scary and it’s only natural you should feel nervous.

But you don’t want to gallop through your presentation. If you do there’s a risk your audience won’t understand what you were trying o say.

Asking questions in your text will help introduce natural sounding pauses. While you momentarily pause after your question to allow your audience time to reach their answer, you can breathe.

If you’re still nervous about presenting or want more advice on how to improve your technique you should consider taking specialist advice. Training courses on presentation skills which provide interactive sessions that allow you to practice your skills can be worth every penny. But make sure you choose a course that’s tight for you. is a good place to start.   The skills you learn will be with you for life and, because they’re transferable skills, can be applied to more situations than just presenting.

3 Things Businesses Need In Abundance

The business world is a tough one to survive in. It is no surprise that phrases such as ‘dog eat dog’ and ‘it’s tough at the top’ are used on a day to day basis when talking about business because they really do describe the way it is in today’s corporate landscape. Therefore, in order to make it in such an environment, a business and its workforce need to display certain characteristics that will take it above and beyond to supersede the competition.

A great business idea and plan of action are both imperative to succeeding as a company, but the venture is still likely to fall short if there is no real passion and motivation driving it. Here are three personal attributes that any business needs to display if they don’t want to be left standing still.


Even the most basic business in society need to be forward thinking in their approach and therefore needs to be constantly coming up with new creative ideas. In a world that is littered with competition at every turn, it is important to stand out in as many ways as possible and being creative is going to help you do just that. New ideas are what drive a company forward and keep it always evolving. If you have a great deal of business creativity then the chances are you are likely to be the ones setting the trend rather than struggling to try and copy it.

Encourage creativity in the work place by allowing employees to share and develop any ideas they have. Arrange regular meetings between departments so that different areas of the company can interact and bounce ideas off one another, but most of all you should promote an environment that allows room for any idea to flourish; no matter how good or bad it seems. You could even send your employees on some creativity training courses in order to get the most out of them.


Most of the big companies that are the front runners in business today would not be there if it wasn’t for the hard work and dedication of their valued employees. If you have people that are willing to put their all in for the benefit of the company then turning a good idea into a great one is a real possibility.


Creating a dedicated workforce is no mean feat, but it is no coincidence that some of the most successful companies in the world are also the best ones to work for. A list was recently released stating which corporations had the highest job satisfaction rate and search engine giants Google and technology overlords Apple both featured highly. Feeling valued as an employee, enjoying what they do and a good pay structure were all cited by the people surveyed and are all sure to breed dedication amongst employees.


With any business venture there are sure to be as many low points as there are high ones, maybe even more. In these situations you need to know that the people in your company are going to be able to pull together and work through the tough times. Many businesses come out of difficult periods stronger and with a better understanding of what it takes to make it in this unforgiving industry and this is much more likely to happen if everybody digs in and shows a little determination.

All businesses would almost definitely fail to get off the ground without determination. When starting your company it can be a very testing time and you will ultimately ask yourself whether this is really what you want to do and if the life of a business owner is really one you are cut out for. However, this is can be the making of a powerful business man. The determination it takes to get back up time and time again in the face of adversity will put anyone in great stead to make it in this ‘dog eat dog’ world.

Chris Mayhew is blogging here on behalf of Now Go Create. This innovative company offers courses on creativity training and brainstorm facilitation to help improve the productivity in your workplace. Creativity is integral to businesses so visit their website today to see what they can do for your company.

Self employed but need a CV?

I am often approached by business owners who confess they have never needed a CV or not needed one for so many years that they wouldn’t know where to begin – there have been a few who have decided to go into contracting or permanent roles due to a number of reasons and are stuck for what to do. Whenever anyone sits down to write their first CV it is a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be – take it step by step. First of all I would like to point you to a blog article which takes you through the basics of structuring your CV and gathering information.

Now I would like to talk you through a skills audit – basically it is a process which will help you identify your current skills and any gaps which may need addressing for future roles.

  1. 1.   Identify existing skills and knowledge – make a list of all the skills and knowledge you feel is important in your current role. Make sure you identify your key job description – looking online at example job descriptions can help with this, and then take a look at all the extras you are involved in such as marketing, finance, business development and other key areas to running a successful business.
  2. 2.   Skills required for your next role – research the job descriptions and adverts for roles which you feel you are best suited for and list down the key requirements next to your existing list.
  3. 3.   Compare – how well do your current skills match up to those required for the job you wish to apply for? Tick off the list on all areas covered and look to the additional skills required to see if in fact you have missed any from your own list.


Once you have a strong list of key required skills you are at a fantastic starting point for adding detail to the structure of your CV. Remember to flesh out the skills by contextualising them in bullet points which should average approx 2 lines. By adding detail rather than just skills keywords you are qualifying your competences and making your CV about you – not just a lot of keywords; exactly what the hiring manager wants to see.

Using this information as a guide and the link to structuring CVs you will soon have a professional document which can really harvest results and also inject some confidence back into yourself moving forward. Also identifying sills gaps will assist you in making a decision on training to ensure you are up to date with required skills in the marketplace today.

How To Manage Your Work Load At Uni – guest blog

University students have to do a lot of coursework. In your first year, it may seem overwhelming to make the change from A Level student to undergrad. Many students have jobs, a social life and possibly a family to take care of as well. How do you manage to get your work done without completely burning out?

Plan Out Each Day

Make a timetable that you can stick with each day. If you have work right after a lecture, make sure that you plan time for homework after work. If you have breaks during the day, it may be a good idea to get your homework done before you even leave campus for the day. Some days may require you to use your breaks to meet with groups or finish homework for your next lecture or seminar. Whatever you decide to do, you need to make sure that you are using your time wisely.

Get Plenty Of Exercise

Working out will relieve stress, burn nervous energy and clear your mind. When you are stressed, you are going to have a harder time thinking and focusing. Stress also causes you to eat more during the day. The foods that you choose are going to have a lot of fat or sugar in them because your body wants comfort food. Working out will keep your in shape and focused for the majority of your day.

Have A Regular Studying Spot

Dedicate a spot where you will study each day. It can be the library, a desk in your room or the kitchen table at home. What you want to do is establish a routine that you will be able to follow. If you have a routine, you will be able to do the work without thinking about how much time it takes up each day.

Provide Yourself With Distractions

Listening to music while you are writing an essay can make the time go by a little quicker. Music can also get you pumped up for when you have to tackle that large and boring assignment. Try to befriend someone with a pet. Playing with a cat or a dog for even a few minutes can relieve stress and provide for a legitimate break from the steady stream of work.

Take Breaks

Don’t be afraid to take breaks every so often. Each hour should have a five minute break pencilled in for yourself. This will keep you from overloading and giving up on your work for the night. You can even schedule your work in blocks as a way to keep everything manageable.

Uni can be a great experience for many reasons. However, you are going to have a lot of work that you will be expected to do. Time management will be critical to your success in University. Following these tips can make your time much easier to manage.

Sally writes for Richmond, the American Uni in London. Richmond’s specialist courses range from their international relations masters to their unique art history degree program. Richmond offer low student numbers and a great student experience.