5 Ways to Add Some Oomph to Your Presentations
Last week I delivered a Presentation Skills Workshop to a group of very clever HR, IT and Engineering clients. They were all super-talented at what they do, but Kerry called the day before saying that she wanted to cancel. She had never spoken in front of a group before and was absolutely terrified. I knew that feeling when I had it before the first time I ever spoke in front of a group. It was in 2002 and I had to teach a group of people I’d never met, how to tie a shoelace. I was frustrated with myself that it was something that I knew from childhood yet I was scared to death to explain it to a group of 20 strangers.
Jerry Seinfeld once said “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” So true isn’t it?
Certainly this fear doesn’t discriminate at any level and there are a few key things that can make a scary experience move to a more memorable one for you and your audience.
- Invest in good quality graphics: People are visual creatures and images make your presentation stick. Choose 1 image per slide and ensure it’s clear and not blurry. There’s something wrong if you’re saying “I’m not sure if you can see this but….”
- Know Your Key Message: By knowing your #1 key message you’ll create an anchor for yourself for the presentation. If you stumble or get questions that can take you off track, knowing your key message will keep you focussed.
- Emphasise Your Points: Ensure you only have one point per slide. Don’t overcrowd your slides with too many at once. If you have to, create a strapline running across your page.
- Tell Stories: Look for emotional anchors that support the point of your story. For example a client in my recent workshop was trying to explain to his team that they needed to be mindful of their spending and watch their resources. He told the story about when he was at university and had to work three jobs to make every dollar count. It was something we could relate to.
- Accent management: I know this doesn’t apply to everyone, but I’m adding it anyway. If you’re not easily understood you’re going to have less impact with your message and points. Your English could be excellent but your accent could be difficult to understand. If you feel like this might be the case, there are plenty of speech coaches who can assist you so ask for help!
Of course you need to rehearse too, but when I’m coaching people on their presentation skills these are the first things that are easy ways to elevate it. It can just be a few tweaks here and there that can give you so much more confidence! The good news Kerry did come along and she was the one who made the greatest gains in the group. I’m so glad she came!
Jane Anderson is a Speaker and Author who works with Sales Managers, Marketing Managers, Thought Leaders, Experts and CEO’s to leverage the expertise of their talent through LinkedIn.
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