Part 2 of a 3-part blog post looking at Presentation Skills. In this post, we look at how you deliver your presentation to the audience with more great tips to help you out. If you enjoy reading this blog and find it helpful, please share it on Twitter and Facebook using the links at the bottom of the post.
1. Body Language
Body language accounts for over half of our communication, so it is important you get this right. Anyone can say words, but it’s how you express them that keeps the audience connected to your message. Persuasive and influential speakers always look smart and deliver significant information.
To be a great speaker, you should not forget to ponder the major communication tool that is your body. Think about using your hands to emphasise the points, how you stand, and your facial expressions.
To build a rapport with the audience they need to know they can trust you and that comes across subconsciously through body language. Smile, be happy to be there, and emphasise key points through gestures.
Don’t be afraid to move about and use the space you have, this will change the pitch of your voice and speed of your speech, keeping it dynamic and engaging. Stay away from hands in pockets or on your hips/behind your back.
2. Eye Contact
Many people say, you shouldn’t surf the audience with your eyes – those same people will find it difficult doing a presentation with five hundred to a thousand people sitting in front of them. If you can, try and talk directly to each person. The best presentation is delivered as a conversation to every person in your audience one person at a time.
If you want to be believed – talk to every individual – looking them in the eye. Try and keep looking in all directions to engage the audience. People usually expect the speaker to look at them when they talk, which results in building better trust and rapport between the speaker and the audience.
3. Get To The Point
A 2005 study by the Helsinki Institute found that the average adult was able to focus on a loading web page for only four to eight seconds before looking somewhere else. Attention spans are short; don’t dwell on a specific subject too long and if you have to, make sure you engage the audience through interactive questions.
To make sure the audience is paying attention to everything you say; highly persuasive speakers always try to recap the key points a few times. At the end of the talk, reaffirming the different points covered in the presentation will result in greater engagement of the audience.
4. Ask Questions
To keep the audience engaged try using questions. This can be something as simple as pausing to ask if your audience understands everything you’ve presented thus far, asking what their favourite so and so is (related to the topic), or raising their hands if they do.
These types of questions allow for interaction between the presenter and audience which means a higher level of engagement. Before your presentation, prepare two wild card questions.
These are questions that you can use if you lose track of your presentation. For example, if I’m doing a life coaching seminar, I might ask my audience to turn to the person next to them and explain what they appreciate in their life – when the audience is doing this, I can then check my index note bullets and I then know where I need to go and my next move. Be prepared.
5. Filler and Crutch Words
You should avoid filler words such as umm, uh, like, okay, so, err. These words and phrases are what people use to cover verbal gaps. Presenters often use them out of fear.
They think, “I’ve just finished a statement, and now I’ve got to insert something during the silence or the audience will be bored and I won’t be able to keep their attention”. The best way of dealing with this is to just add a pause instead (easier said than done).
I recently worked with a sports coach and counted 110 okays in a sixty-minute session – which says to me that they are lacking a little confidence and not convinced the audience understands – so they’re trying to rush through the session.
By using the word okay at the end you’re just trying to get confirmation everything makes sense to the audience. When you practice your presentation, get someone to watch and clap every time you use a filler word. It becomes annoying and frustrating and you anchor your brain to stop the word and pause instead.
I promise you, once you understand this you will not be able to sit through the Goonies again, as they repeat ‘guys’ something like five hundred times in that movie – it becomes ridiculously frustrating.
In the final part of this blog series, we look at ‘controlling nerves’ when delivering your presentation.