Powerful presenting is something that that many people aspire to and with the New Year rapidly approaching it can be far easier than you may think.
Knowledge, process and emotional expression are the critical elements that every presenter needs to be mindful of. They are so important that people have been speaking and writing about them for over 2000 years.
There is a plethora of advice on how to speak with impact on the internet and in book stores; some good and some not so good.
As we are in the holiday season the image of the 3 wise men in the traditional Christian nativity scene comes to mind where they each come bearing gifts. Imagine if everything we’ve learned over the last 2000 years about effective communication could be handed to you gift wrapped in 3 beautifully simple messages by 3 wise men.
I believe that we would receive 3 very wise words.
The wise presenter knows that the success of any presentation or speech regardless of content begins and ends with focus. That means pinpointing with clarity who your audience really are, what they need from you and how you can make a meaningful difference to their personal or professional lives.
The real value of the gift of focus is that it’s mindfully simple yet immensely influential because you only need to concentrate on 6 things:
– Getting and keeping their attention
– Ensuring that everything you say is perfectly relevant to your audience
– That your message is clear, compelling and not something they already know or can find out from an email or Google
– Making certain they don’t have to work to understand you by bringing your words to life with clear and colourful examples.
– What do you want them to do the moment you finish speaking
– How you want them to feel.
A pre-requisite of any high impact presentation is that you also focus on making your presentation content rich and that means delivering the facts. If your content is weak or senseless it doesn’t matter how entertaining or graceful you are as a speaker – you will lose your audience.
They need to hear and understand with absolute clarity why they should listen to you. To achieve that you need to deliver:
– A logical argument
– Accurate data, simply expressed
– The benefits
– Case studies
Presentations fraught with facts at the expense of making an emotional connection with an audience are extremely dull. When it comes to making decisions our minds struggle with the noise of logic versus emotion.
The emotional and intuitive part of our mind is extremely powerful and even though you may not be aware, it’s often the emotional part that overrides logic when we are making decisions. Having received the gift of getting your facts straight it’s now time to frame them in a way that makes your audience feel something.
It’s your job to decide what you want them to feel way before you build your presentation. Only then can you begin the construction process.
Here are a few features which may help you:
– Metaphors and anecdotes
– Thought provoking questions
The greatest gift a presenter can give his/her audience is to help them feel something.
You’ve crafted a presentation which is content rich, supported with compelling facts and data and you are ready to help your audience to connect with you emotionally.
They need to see the future.
Every presentation has to help the audience see the big picture. It’s incumbent on the speaker to take their audience on a journey from the problems and challenges of today to the possibilities of tomorrow.
Having invested 20 minutes of their lives listening to you they want to know exactly where you are taking them and what their brand new world will look like.
The pleasure-pain principle expressed originally by Sigmund Freud suggests that human beings only ever act to either move towards some form of pleasure or to avoid the perception of pain. What’s the pleasure and promise of listening to your message and acting on it and what’s the pain associated with not doing so?
The wise presenter knows that there are only 3 gifts you need to deliver a powerful presentation.
– What you focus on and help your audience to focus on
– How you make them feel
– What the future looks like
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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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