Would you like to stand out from the crowd as a presenter?
Cast your mind back to the last business presentation you sat through.
Did the speaker drone on and on telling you things that had little relevance or value to you?
Did they capture and maintain your attention, interest and curiosity throughout their presentation? In other words, did they stand out from the crowd?
If your experience was more of the former description please don’t scorn them; it’s not their fault.
Is it hard to stand out from the crowd when presenting?
It takes time, consciousness and a little creativity to connect emotionally as well as intellectually with any audience. If you are prepared to change your thinking and habits it becomes much easier to stand out.
The world is changing at lightning speed and many professionals are still presenting they way we did decades ago.
“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” ―Eric Hoffer
The old rules
– Bid your audience good morning. Thank them for coming to listen to you, tell them your name, position and how many offices you have.
Tell them how long you’ve been around, how many widgets you make and how wonderful you are.
– Show them a 8 point agenda on your first slide and then read it.
– Start speaking the moment you leave your seat, rather than standing still, pausing, breathing and smiling.
– Don’t be yourself; be the corporate spokesperson and sound like everyone else in your business. Be as serious as you can and whatever you do don’t smile.
– Turn your back to your audience to use your slides as a script and read them.
– Saturate your slides with text and data.
– Take at least twice as long to say what you really need to.
– Have your logo on every slide.
– Use as many clip art images as you can.
– Animate your slides and make sounds that your audience haven’t experienced before.
– Tell them you’re going to bore them, then bore them and conclude by reminding them how much you’ve just bored them.
The new rules
Whether you work in finance or pharmaceuticals, are the CEO or caretaker, you can be certain that your audience want something different from you.
Here are 16 presentation tips to help you to stand out from the crowd:
1. Set a clear intention
Long before you open your laptop to prepare your presentation, ask yourself how you want your audience to feel when you finish speaking. Informed and engaged isn’t enough.
Create a strong emotional intention and craft your entire presentation around that feeling.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
2. Focus on connecting rather than performing
To stand out from the crowd you have to accept the fact that you will be judged. Accepting that premise means you have to remember that your presentation is not about you. It’s about making a tangible difference to the lives of your audience. An ego based presentation will serve neither of you well.
Focus on connecting with your audience rather than performing for them.
3. Make it personal
Cut out the ‘noise’
Make absolutely certain that everything you say is relevant and personal to your audience in some way. Ensure that every fact, every story and every piece of data is completely aligned to your message.
Make your message personal.
‘Mindful presenting begins with taking complete personal responsibility for every aspect of the presentation. That responsibility includes, Making sure that everything you share is relevant and important to your audience.’ Mindful Presenter
4. Look at them
The greatest key to connecting emotionally with your audience is by making eye contact with them. Good eye contact also projects confidence and authority and can improve your concentration too.
“Where words are restrained, the eyes often talk a great deal.” Samuel Richardson
6. Make it content rich
Make sure that everything you say is of value to your audience. A presentation fraught with data that serves no tangible value is pointless, regardless as to how well it is delivered. Give your audience only what really matters, is relevant, significant and helpful. If it does not support your message and enrich their experience leave it out.
‘At Mindful Presenter we coach professionals to focus on the ‘gold’. Imagine you are panning for gold. You can be absolutely certain that most of what you will find is dirt, dust and gravel. If you filter long and hard enough you just may find a piece of gold.
That’s our job as presenters, to filter the ‘noise’ until we find the gold.’ Mindful Presenter
7. Speak with passion, energy and purpose
Your audience wants to feel your enthusiasm and passion. If they connect with your positive energy it’s highlight likley that they will begin to feel that way too.
Don’t hold back on them; show them just how much you care!
“Yes, in all my research, the greatest leaders looked inward and were able to tell a good story with authenticity and passion.”
8. Be in the room
Before you enter the room, take a few minutes beforehand to breathe, calm down and check in with yourself.
“We convince by our presence.” Walt Whitman
Have you every tried not warming to someone who smiles at you.
The moment you smile to your audience you send a very important message to them. You’re telling them that, you are a nice person, you are happy to be there and they are in good hands. ‘The 9 Superpowers of Your Smile’
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” Thich Nhat Hanh
10. Lighten up
Use humour where appropriate.
Being professional doesn’t mean you have to be deadly serious and rigid as you speak.
“I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.” Maya Angelou
Move your hands, your legs, your eyes, your face. Movement represents energy and offers visual stimulation.
Don’t listen to the presentation coach who tells you to stand still. ‘The most popular TED talks had an average of 7,360,000 views and speakers used an average of 465 hand gestures.’
“Small gestures can have a big impact.” Julianna Margulies
12. Think in pictures
The old saying ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ has stood the test of time because it’s true.
Use clear, relevant and compelling images to help your audience to see the point you are trying to make.
“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
13. Tell them stories
Presented on their own facts and data are often recieved as boring.
Tell your audience short, relevant and powerful stories and they will be glad they came to listen to you. ‘A presentation without stories is a lecture.’
“Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.” Jean Luc Godard
14. Speak well
There is nothing worse than listening to a speaker with a monotone voice.
Mindful presenters don’t rely on hope to ensure that they connect with their audience vocally. They stretch, challenge and develop their vocal chords to ensure they speak well and with impact. Julian Treasure’s TED talk offers some great tips for how to strengthen your voice.
“How wonderful is the human voice! It is indeed the organ of the soul. The intellect of man is enthroned visibly on his forehead and in his eye, and the heart of man is written on his countenance, but the soul, the soul reveals itself in the voice only.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
15. Think like a ‘tweet’
At the heart of every great presentation is a clear, strong and powerful message.
If you can’t articulate your message to yourself with the clarity of a tweet its likely you don’t understand it yourself.
“It’s a lack of clarity that creates chaos and frustration.” Steve Maraboli
16. Don’t be like a comedian
Get to the point quickly, don’t save the punchline for the end. That may work for comedian’s but business is different. Brevity is key.
‘The key to mindful presenting is having clarity of your ‘M’ POINT?’ Mindful Presenter
If you would like to stand out from the crowd and need a little help:
– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.
– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.
– Get yourself some excellent presentation training
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