Whether you’re holding a presentation at work, explaining what you do at a networking event, or selling yourself to a potential employer, you’re conveying a message. If that message isn’t conveyed clearly and effectively, your time is wasted and your message is lost. Are you focusing 100% of your preparation time on the CONTENT of your message? If so, you’re not alone, but you’re not doing yourself a service. Only 7% of your message is received through your content. The other 93% is through your tone and message. If you’re completely ignoring these things, you’re hurting your message. “Your tone and your body language are important,” said Doug Melder, a presentation coach at Own The Room, a communication skills training company. “So important [that] it can either enhance or betray your message.” So, does that mean you should spend 93% of your time on tone and body language and only 7% of your time on content? Absolutely not. Content is still king, and without good content, your message is sure to fail. Instead of going to that extreme, bring your content preparation time down from 100% to 80%, before your next presentation, introduction, or meeting, according to Melder. This should give you plenty of time to focus on your tone and body language. You always have enough content, he said. Spend that extra time focusing on your tone and your message. That will help ensure that your message is enhanced, not betrayed. Your message is important, no matter what you're trying to convey to someone. If you don't articulate it effectively, your message will get lost. Are you making this mistake with your message? What have you done to overcome it? Will you implement this strategy?
Everyone has a reputation as a speaker. Yes, even you. Even if you don’t make a living presenting, you have a reputation as a speaker based on your ability to share a concise and clear message with your audience. But even if you’re not the best presenter, a simple technique can help you improve your speaking ability. Do you find yourself saying “um,” “basically,” or “like” when you talk to others? This is called “weak language,” and it can bring down your presentations and conversations. "Every sound, syllable, or noise that comes out of our mouth either helps our message or hurts our message," said Tim Fortescue, a presentation coach at Own The Room, a communication skills training company. "There's nothing in the middle." So, the one of the most effective things you can do to change your speaking habits for the better is to eliminate this weak language. Obviously, this is easier said than done. However, there’s a little trick you can use that will help you ditch these filler words: pause. Learn how to pause when you’re talking to others. If you can’t think of what to say next, instead of saying “um,” don’t say anything. Take the pause. Relax. Don’t be afraid of the silence. If you want to start incorporating this habit, the first thing to do is identify what your “word” is when you speak. Is it “like’? Or “so”? Or “um”? What is it? Understanding what your “word” is will make you more aware of when you use it. And being aware of when you use that word will allow you to stop, relax, and plan about your next thought. It will allow you to pause. If you can do this for four days, you’ll build better habits and become a better speaker. What's your reputation as a speaker? Want to increase your communication skills? Check out our course "How To Improve Your Communication Skills At Work" to become a better communicator and learn how to work with others more effectively.
Think about the last time you had a presentation, led a meeting, or pitched an idea. Was your audience fully engaged? Were people leaning forward, enchanted by your delivery, and completely fascinated at what you were telling them? ...Or were they looking off into space, eyes glazed over, clearly not listening to what you were saying? When you're presenting, part of your job is to captivate your audience. If you want to become a great presenter, you must learn how to condition your audience before you open your mouth. If the people you're speaking to aren't fully engaged, they won't take away the important points you bring up during the presentation. Marie Wedderburn, a presentation coach at Own The Room, a communication skills training company, warns that your audience will mentally step out if you don't grab them from the very beginning. So, if you feel like you could do a better job captivating people with your words, try this: next time you hold a presentation, a pitch, or a meeting, start with a scene. Share something that will captivate your audience. Whether it's a joke, a story, a compelling statistic, or something else, find a "hook" that will grab people's attention and hold it. Your goal, as a presenter, is to condition your audience so everyone is "waiting for you to open your mouth," said Wedderburn. Keep them engaged. Harness their interest. If you can achieve this in the first few seconds of your presentation, meeting, or pitch, you're more likely to hold attention throughout. How will you start your next presentation? What has captivated you in the past? Watch the video above to learn more about this presentation tip.
Most people are troubled when they have to perform in front of a large audience. This is nothing to be ashamed of – it’s normal to have stage fright. This is something you need to work on and you’ll get addicted to the feeling you get on stage in time. But before you get there, you need to do your homework and learn about performing. Related: First Impressions: You’ve Got 30 Seconds To Make The Right One There are three equally important goals that your presentation needs to cover. First, a presentation should be all about new information that you want to share. Second, you need to find a way to share that information the right way, in order to increase the demand for your product. And third, your product must stand out when compared to the competition. If you follow the steps below, you’ll make a successful presentation.
1. Make a positive first impressionThis is one of the few rare occasions where you don’t have time to correct the wrong first impression – you’ll have to try to do it right the first time. The key is in honesty. People won’t give you any feedback if you don’t give them a reason. Make sure that everything you say during a presentation is a reflection of your thoughts. It’s really easy for the audience to know when you’re being insincere. You need to be polite and simile genuinely. Also, a touch of classy humor won’t do you any harm.
2. Talk about legitimate information during your presentationIt’s really easy to check any unknown information today. So, if you make your audience think that you’re bending the truth to your advantage, they’ll just unlock their smartphones. Try not to give them a reason to doubt you, because you won’t be taken seriously. You could damage a whole promotional project with just one wrong sentence.
3. Connect with their life experienceIf you want your audience to really pay attention to what you’re saying, you need to get inside their heads. Try to give a global example that can make most of them identify with it. It’s recommendable to do this somewhere in the beginning of the presentation and then just try to maintain their attention.
4. Interact with your audience using different methodsIt’s not simple to have everyone interested, especially if you want to give a longer presentation. Make your audience feel that they’re involved. Ask them questions from time to time, even rhetorical ones will do the job – you just need to make them concentrate to what you’re trying to tell them. You should ask for feedback, but don’t push it because they may find you needy, and that won’t be good for your integrity.
5. Don’t keep it just verbal - visualization attracts attentionWhile you’re writing your speech, think about the moment when you’re going to interpret it to an audience. It’s desirable not to use any notes, so that you can make as much eye contact as possible. This way, you’ll make them feel important. Also, don’t try to use to much fancy words because they may consider you arrogant. Regarding your presentation, try to use visual tools. But, if you decide to make a PowerPoint presentation, try to avoid words. Keep your focus on pictures and videos so that the major part of your audience’s attention on you.
6. Make a back-up planNot everything will go according to the plan. Consider yourself a showman while you’re on the stage – you have to improvise. You should always expect tech problems. If that happens, you need to find a different way to keep everyone interested. Go with a learning game that’s connected to your topic – this way your audience will be entertained and you can be sure they’ll remember you later.
7. Reward your audienceThink of an award system that you could use during your presentation. For example, you could give them a quiz and reward those people who give a correct answer to your question with a promotional product, something like a key ring with your logo on it. Your promotion can only get positive reactions to gifts – everyone loves free things. If you manage to cover all this, you did a flawless job. It may take some time to plan it, but practice makes perfect. All you need to do later is sit back and wait for results. This post was originally published at an earlier date. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Some employers require shortlisted candidates to give a presentation as part of the screening process. The thought of giving such a presentation can be daunting, but it can also be a perfect way to showcase just what a great fit you are for the vacant position. Make your presentation as impressive as your test and interview results, and you’re more likely to be the winning candidate. Related: 3 Pre-Interview Confidence Boosters If you’re not used to presenting (and even if your are!), it’s very common to feel nervous at the prospect. This is natural - it’s the “flight-or-fight response” you’ve probably heard about: the body’s automatic and unconscious reaction to anything perceived (rationally or not) as a threat. Restless motion, shaking hands, and other tremors, sweating, difficulty speaking - these are some of the more common manifestations. Fortunately, there are a number of fundamental, guiding beliefs - coupled with practical, doable actions - for getting these involuntary physiological reactions under control. Let’s look at three of them...
Presentation Anxiety Is All In The MindYou may wonder why some people seem to be brimming with confidence during an interview presentation. The answer is quite simple: they are aware that not all challenges are life-threatening. The belief that an interview presentation is a great opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and skills, is a good, positive way of thinking. Achieving such an outlook is sometimes easier said than done, though. So, in order to gain or strengthen an optimistic approach, complement your positive thoughts with these concrete techniques: Prepare – Research your topic well, then structure your content to cover the pertinent essentials. Add a story or stories (another item to find as part of your research), integrating them with relevant to make your presentation more interesting. Clever placement of audio-visual aids reinforces key points and heightens interest. Practice – Rehearsal allows you to present your ideas verbally and non-verbally in an effective manner. It helps you become more articulate and composed. It allows you to adjust your presentation style as you go along.
Improving Presentation Skills Is A ProcessWhile optimism and pre-presentation preparation are great helps, there is a more gradual, longer-term process for overcoming anxiety. The process begins with self-awareness. Why do you feel threatened by the prospect of an interview presentation? Is it because you have a shy disposition? Did you run into a mental block during a previous talk? When you were a child, were you discouraged or prevented from voicing your feelings or thoughts? It’s helpful to know the roots of your anxiety because it’s at those roots that you’ll begin picking up the pieces. Once you have an idea of the roots of your anxiety, the next step is to grab opportunities for expressing your thoughts aloud.
- Do your family dinner gatherings start with a toast? Propose a toast yourself, expressing your good wishes.
- Is there a resort or vacation spot you’d like to recommend to your classmates or colleagues, for a summer getaway? Tell them (as a group) during your next gathering.
- Is your company looking for an employee who can facilitate an outreach workshop for an orphanage? Volunteer.