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Forget sweaty palms and trying to imagine everyone in the room naked, these presentation pointers will help you to deliver a presentation where the audience concentrate on the content and not your delivery.
For many, having to communicate ideas through speeches and presentations is part of everyday life particularly in the workplace and, for the vast majority of people, it’s their biggest fear.
Recent studies have shown that public speaking is the number one fear in the world, feared more than dying, which prompted comedian Jerry Seinfeld to famously say that if you went to a funeral you’d be better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.
If you think about Obama’s inauguration speech, or John F. Kennedy’s famous “Ask not what your country can do for you – but what you can do for your country” speech, why do these speeches stick in your mind? What about Winston Churchill and the way his speeches empowered people during the war and the hope that Martin Luther King Jr. gave black American’s with his ‘I have a dream’ speech?
You’d be hard pressed to find a politician in the House of Commons today who isn’t capable of delivering a strong speech. Nicola Sturgeon can hold the attention of the entire country and Mhairi Black, Scotland’s youngest MP, grabbed the attention of every person in the room, and over half a million people on the internet, as she gave her maiden speech inside Westminster.
If you were to compare these speeches, you see a clear set of skills and behaviours they possess that make them great public speakers.
Above all, they exude confidence and belief in what they are presenting.
When delivering a presentation, you are presenting yourself. The audience is concentrating on you, your body language, speech and mannerisms which are all being controlled by you. Every gesture, movement, or even a facial expression you use reflects your personality. So how do you present yourself and what messages you want to convey effectively?
Here are 5 tips that can help combat any fears you have and help let your personality shine:
Knowledge is King – you will know what’s in your presentation, but the key to not being scared of being caught out is to know more about the subject you are talking about than just what’s in the presentation.
Speak to your audience – it may seem simple, but it is often very easy to read from slides or notes, or stare at the lectern. Your audience is there to listen, make sure it is them you are addressing – complete with eye contact and a projected voice. Take your time and don’t always feel the need to fill the silence. If you take a pause to gather your thoughts, the audience won’t notice, but they will notice any incidental waffling.
Tell stories – after analysing hundreds of TED talks, experts have concluded that stories are what capture an audience’s attention. Stories are said to ‘inform, illuminate and inspire.’ We all have our own stories, be sure to tell yours.
Images allow your words to speak louder – Nothing makes your audience switch off quicker than a presentation of bullet points. Using images will give your audience a visual reference and they are less likely to get bored.
Practice, practice and practice some more – Whether it’s rehearsing your presentation until you can recite it backwards, or getting some pointers from a professional who specialises in developing your skills, practice really does make perfect.
At BlueSky Experiences, we understand that most people need more than 5 tips to learn how to be an effective public communicator, which is why we offer a unique Presentation Skills course that aims to provide you with all the necessary tools to take you from someone who avoids public speaking to being able to approach presentations in a fresh way that isn’t threatening and can be something to enjoy and excel in - all in just a day and a half.
Our unique course covers everything from the very basic ‘how do I start?’ to learning the golden rules of presenting. You’ll learn how to deliver introductions with impact, meaningful middles and convincing conclusions.
You want your audience to remember you, and for the right reasons, so it’s worthwhile investing time learning the skills that can help you deliver a memorable presentation. From training your pace, pitch and tone to tips on appearance, nerve control and visual aids, our course helps you learn, review and plan how to unleash your inner Obama.
To find out more about our Presentation Skills course get in touch and we can answer any questions you have.