The key to high impact public speaking and presenting is contained in a number of timeless, real and very powerful truths.
We call it mindful presenting.
2020 was a challenging, exhausting and troublesome year for all of us. The team at Mindful Presenter would like to help you take your public speaking and presentation skills to a whole new level in 2021. We hope this series of articles will help you to do just that.
Truth 35 – Question everything
Unfortunately, far too many presenters begin crafting their presentations by cramming everything they know onto a few PowerPoint slides. Another key to success in high impact public speaking and presenting is questions. The mindful presenter questions everything from start to finish.
From the most basic question to the most thought provoking and challenging, they question everything. In fact, in a previous article I wrote, ‘7 Habits of a Mindful Presenter’, the first habit is arguably the most important:
‘Habit 1 – Me, now, why?
When you are called on to present, rather than complain, procrastinate or leap into your laptop, sit quietly and ask yourself the following questions:
Am I the right person to be speaking on this topic or is there someone else in the organisation who has far more knowledge, belief or impact to lead change? If the answer is no, or you know of someone who would be much better placed, then have the mindfulness to at least present the opportunity to them.
If I am the right person, do I have enough time to craft a story that respects and values my audience’s time? Do I have enough time to research and build a compelling message that will be understood, remembered and acted on by my audience? If you don’t then find the grit to push back. Delay or postpone the presentation until you do have sufficient time to approach it mindfully.
You’ve established that you are the right person to speak on the topic and you’ve created sufficient time to construct a message that will serve your audience well. The next question to ask yourself is why?
Why is this important?
Why should they care?
Why call them together for a presentation, why can’t I just send an email?’
Truth 36 – Don’t leave closing your presentation to chance
If you’ve been following this series of high impact public speaking articles, you’ll be familiar with how important your opening is.
As well as creating that all important first impression it’s critical that we leave our audience with a memorable and positive, lasting impression.
In a previous article I wrote, ‘6 Big Mistakes Presenters Make When Closing’, I shared my belief that: ‘A great presentation should be like a brilliant firework show – most of us look forward to the grand finale so don’t let your presentation fizzle out like a damp fireworks display.’
Remember, a really good public speaking coach will show you exactly how to open and close your presentation with impact. In the meantime, following these simple suggestions will help you enormously:
‘We can close with the usual “Thank you very much, are there any questions?” Or we can make a conscious and creative choice to:
– Tell a relevant but compelling story
– Share an unusual but powerful quote
– Show a stunning but thought provoking image
– Link back to your opening and your message
– Let them see the real you – a little humility goes a long way
– Use ‘The rule of three’ – “Here are the 3 things I’d like you to remember…”
– Ask a provocative question
– Share a surprising fact
As you can see the choices to close a presentation with impact are as infinite as they are to open one. The real choice is deciding exactly how you would like your audience to feel the moment you begin speaking and the very moment you finish.’
Truth 37 – Don’t be in a rush to speak
High impact public speaking is about presence and that has to start before you utter a word.
Before you begin your presentation take a few brief moments to:
Don’t be in a rush to launch straight into your presentation. With a little practice, it only takes 3 seconds to tune into yourself and your audience before you say a word.
In a previous article I wrote, ‘5 Mindfulness techniques to help you to present with confidence, clarity and impact’, I asked the question: ‘How can you connect with your audience if you haven’t taken the time to connect with yourself first?’
Truth 38 – There are no hacks
Every now and then, in one of our high impact public speaking courses or a one-to-one coaching session someone will ask:
– Tell me the one thing I need to know to be a brilliant presenter
– Tell me the 3 ‘hacks’ to high impact public speaking.
Our response is always the same.
– ‘The one thing you need to know is that there is a great deal more than one thing you need to know about high impact public speaking’.
– ‘There are no ‘hacks’, you need to put in the work’.
Truth 39 – There are 5 big PowerPoint mistakes
If you’ve been following this series, you may recall me suggesting in Truth 4 that there is nothing wrong with PowerPoint. Contrary to common belief it can be a very powerful tool. The only thing wrong with it is the way presenters use it. Here are the 5 big mistakes many people make:
- Thinking that PowerPoint is their presentation; it’s not, you are your presentation.
- Reading their slides to their audience. The moment you begin reading slides to them you are insulting their intelligence and giving them permission to ‘switch off’.
- Sharing too much information. If your slide contains anything more than a compelling image and creative headline it contains too much information. The golden rule is; one idea per slide.
- Too much animation. Whizzing, whirring and whistling is annoying. Just let your point appear.
- Sitting down. If you have the gift of physically being in the same room as your audience, where there are more than two people listening to you, stand up.
You don’t need a really good public speaking coach to help you with PowerPoint or any other visual software. These ‘21 Powerful PowerPoint Tips’ will tell you everything you need to know.
Truth 40 – There are 3 types of presentation
When it comes to high impact public speaking and presenting there are 3 types of presentation:
- The one you prepared for.
- The one you gave.
- The one you wish you had given.
The secret to success is to prepare for number 3.
A really good public speaking coach will show you exactly how to do that.
If you found some of these truths helpful, please watch out for part 5 in the series which will be coming soon.
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If this article has inspired you to learn a little more about how effective your presentation skills are you may want to take a look at our presentation training and presentation coaching pages to see how we may be able to help you. You will also find a great deal of really helpful ‘free’ information in our Learning Centre.
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