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Guila Muir

Developing trainers, presenters and facilitators to make a difference

Articles to Boost Your Presentation Skills

Presenters, Don’t Crash the Plane!

Do your presentations “run out of gas”? Many presenters take their audiences on a wonderful journey. But then, for the lack of a flight plan, they crash. Why are Conclusions Important? A closure is not just where you stop. A great conclusion reinforces, summarizes, and ties up the session. Take action to prevent YOUR crashing…
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Love Your Struggles!

I was shocked when a Presentation Skills client started a  diatribe against herself using the words “I condemn myself for…” and then launched into all the mistakes she could dream of. WHY do we presenters, trainers, and facilitators sometimes berate ourselves with words we might never use for another person? Self-care supports our resilience.  Practicing…
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Crazy Warm-Ups for Great Presentations

Years ago, I overheard some presenters claiming that to “pump up” their energy, they would fall to the floor and do a series of pushups before a presentation. I was both intrigued and appalled. Wouldn’t doing pushups render them desperately out of breath? How about the embarrassing sweat marks? Besides, I couldn’t do a push-up…
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Mini-Van or Ferrari for Presenters?

To go shopping, would you use a minivan or Ferrari? What if you were going to race? The choice is a no-brainer. Yet when speaking publicly, many of us want to take a minivan when we should be gearing up to drive a Ferrari. The Role of Adrenaline in Peak Performance Driving a Ferrari takes…
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Be Honest! Are You a Facilitator or Trainer?

Be honest! You can really confuse your participants if YOU aren’t clear which role you are playing…trainer or facilitator?

“Information Only” Presentations Don’t Exist

Do you think your data should speak for itself? Guess what, it doesn’t. These two presentation tips ensure that your audience cares about your message.

Focus on the Uncommitted in Your Audience

Presenters, do you fear waves of animosity coming from your audience? Or have you ever believed your audience to be friendly and accepting, only to receive a terrible shock? One of the best “Presenter Tricks” I know is to present as if everyone in your audience is “uncommitted”. Doing so allows you to effectively deal…
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Great Presenting: Enthusiasm or Entertainment?

Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. —Douglas MacArthur Teacher enthusiasm has long been identified as a behavior that positively effects student learning (Carlise & Phillips, 1984). However, with electronic devices competing for participants’ attention, should trainers and presenters strive not for enthusiasm, but instead to be more entertaining? It…
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Presentation Disaster Zone: A True Story

Who wants to feel exposed and inept in front of an audience? No one! Yet recently, I observed a presenter obviously wish she could disappear…all for the lack of a sound check. This speaker had plenty of important content to deliver. The press was buzzing and there was excitement in the room. She was introduced,…
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Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Annoying Cliche or Truth?

I occasionally surprise myself by uttering the cliché above while encouraging a shy person to improve their presentation skills and confidence. I used to secretly kick myself for using such a hackneyed phrase—until I read Richard Wiseman’s great book, “As If.” In it, he cites dozens of studies showing that if we act a certain…
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The “I Don’t Feel Like Me” Blues

Have you taken a presentation skills course with me (Guila) and found yourself feeling strange, even “fake” as you practice unfamiliar behaviors? You may remember hearing my prompts during the session. They include: Use the Magic Circle! Own the Real Estate! Drop the Figleaf! Sternum Up, Shoulders Down! and even Show Your Body! Sometimes, my…
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Sabotaging Yourself as a Speaker

Recently, I had the honor to be an audience member instead of a presenter. By watching instead of doing, I got the opportunity to re-assess my beliefs about what makes speakers effective. Here’s what I noticed: 5 Ways Speakers Sabotage Themselves Mechanistic Movement I’ll be honest here. I’ve only noticed a case of “robot-arms” this…
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FEAR, Revisited: Manage Your Presentation Nerves!

Do your hands sweat at the mere idea of public speaking? Does your stomach flip-flop, your mind go blank? Four guidelines from professional speaking coaches will help. 1. Don’t hate your nerves. Remember that your goal is NOT to overcome fear. Your goal is to deliver an effective message. When you invest yourself fully in…
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Which Is More Important? How You Design or How You Present?

After observing trainers for years, I realized one counter-intuitive, yet powerful, truth. Design (the way you organize your training session or presentation) often trumps “how” you present it in terms of effectiveness. That is, the rational, linear, and creative planning you used to develop your session may ensure your success MORE than the way you…
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Embracing “Figleaf”

Oh, if only I could advocate Figleaf, since it’s the favorite position of many of my clients. In my fantasy scenario, after giving Figleaf the thumbs up, I could also wholeheartedly endorse holding hands in pockets. locking hands in an “I’m handcuffed” position behind the body. fiddling with hair and clothing. I can only imagine…
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