This guest post is by Eileen N. Sinett, a speech and presentation leadership coach, communication consultant and author of “Speaking that Connects.”
Here are 10 quick tips to help you add polish at the podium, enjoy your public speaking experience and influence your listeners.
- Begin with the end in mind. Start planning your presentation by asking and answering this question: What do I want my audience to remember when they leave my presentation?
- Use a mind-map or other right-brain organizational tool to organize your presentation. Landscape beats portrait when it comes to presentation planning. Think, “map, direction, flow” rather than lists, paragraphs and text.
- Know the “story” your presentation tells. Refrain from data-dumping. The information you present has a story behind it. Your audience will understand the details better if they understand the big picture first.
- Do not apologize or put yourself down publicly. Even if you didn’t prepare, feel insecure, or have forgotten your slide show.
- Look at one person at a time rather than scanning the room. People feel your intention to include them individually if you speak directly to them. If it’s a large crowd, mentally divide the audience into a tic-tac-toe grid and target an individual to look at from each section. One-to-one eye contact creates connection differently from scanning the crowd.
- Commit to being in control. Know your material without being slide-dependent, manage your mindset to neutralize any negativity and sense your body language so you can make adjustments naturally.
- Begin your presentation with your hands in “neutral.” Standing with your arms at your sides and your feet parallel and slightly apart may not be natural at first, but it’s a much better choice than crossing your arms across your chest, cupping them behind your back, or clasping them at your crotch! Your hands will move more freely when they are not holding onto themselves.
- Expect to influence 80% of your audience. We all want 100% of our listeners to leave our presentation thinking we were great, but realistically, we may not win everyone over. Don’t interpret a listener’s distraction or multi-tasking as your fault. Instead, focus on the attentive listeners.
- Allow yourself to enjoy speaking publicly. This comes from smart planning, self-trust, a desire to be heard and knowing you have something important to share.
- Be authentic. Risk being the person you are when you are with your best friend. Let that inner self show up for your business presentation. Technical information can be interesting if you are. Communicate clearly and genuinely.
What are some of your favorite tips for delivering effective presentations?
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Originally published on MonsterThinking