If you’re looking for presentation tips and put those two words into Google search you will be greeted with 1,160,000,000 results.
The internet is teeming with presentation tips, tools, techniques and valuable advice.
Each time I introduce myself as a presentation skills coach I can be confident that I’m likely to be asked two questions:
– Isn’t it true that great speakers are just born with the ability to captivate an audience?
– What are your top 3 tips?
Let me tell you my response to the first question.
How many astronauts, surgeons, nuclear physicists, athletes or brilliant actors were born that way?
Without exception everyone has to learn their craft and it takes time, commitment and an overriding belief that it’s possible.
In short, I believe that just like any other skill, being able to speak eloquently and connect with an audience is something you learn. In my experience you only need to be able to answer YES to two very important questions before you begin the journey:
– Am I able? – In other words, is it humanly possible for someone like me to become a great presenter?
– Am I willing? – Which means am I prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve my goal.
The answer to the first questions is simple; I have absolutely no doubt that we are all able. It’s the second question that most people struggle with because of course not everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goal.
Unfortunately, there are no short-cuts to becoming a highly effective presenter.
It seems to me that it’s the people who think it’s a gift that speakers are simply born with are the ones who struggle with answering both questions.
Assuming you’ve answered yes to both questions though, here are 3 of my top tips to set you nicely on your way.
Tip 1. Make friends
Regardless of your credentials, idea, or the extensive research you may have done, if your audience doesn’t like you they simply won’t connect with you or your message.
It sounds harsh but it’s true.
Exceptional speakers know that their first priority is make friends with their audience.
The Magic Formula!
– Make eye contact
– Show them the real you
– Put yourself in their shoes
– Tell them stories
– Make it about them not you
As you can see, there is no ‘magic formula’ really; in fact most of us have been doing it all perfectly naturally since our very first day at school; although I’m not so sure about the last point!
Tip 2. Make pictures
Most of us don’t need to read the wealth of research to understand and believe what we’ve been told by neuroscience for years, which is that most of the decisions we make are emotional not logical.
We know it instinctively.
Words really do have the power to change the world and they do so through the emotive use of language. Many of history’s greatest orators have taught us above everything else that the colourful, descriptive and imaginative use of language is key to helping us to make the all important connection to capture the hearts and minds of our audience.
– Paint pictures with your words :
“This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity” – Martin Luther King
– Make them smile – Unless you are making people redundant or giving a eulogy most presentations could benefit from a little humour.
– Use metaphors that people can relate to and bring your message to life:
“Here are the title deeds of freedom which should lie in every cottage home” Winston Churchill
Many would argue that Martin Luther King and Winston Churchill were gifted rhetoricians at birth but I’m sure you will find that they too learned their craft.
Tip 3. Make memories
Every presenter wants to ensure that their message is clear and completely understood; the exceptional presenter wants to be remembered.
More importantly, if your audience don’t remember what it was you said then arguably there is little if any point in presenting to them at all. Follow these suggestions to help them remember you and your message:
– Get them involved, make it interactive
– Dare to be different – Open with impact and make them curious
– Use stunning, compelling and relevant visuals – kill the bullet points
– Make it thought provoking
– Make it personal – to them
Great speakers and presenters aren’t born that way, they make themselves that way and if you can answer yes to those two all important questions I shared with you then it’s within everyone’s gift.
At Mindful Presenter we really do believe that everyone is able, the only question that remains is are you willing?
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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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