Presentation, presentation, presentation is the name of the Public Speaking game!
You may be the most knowledgeable person in the world on a given subject, you may be a PHD with clusters, but if your presentation of the presentation does not have presentation skills your presentation will fail! “Now that was fun!”
Have you gone to a seminar you were really excited about and if you made it to the end, got nothing out of it? Let’s take a look. When the presentation started this is what your heard; Welcooome toooday. . . . . . we will talk abouuut . . . . . .blah de blah, blah blah, blahblahblah. “Monotone, I hate monotone!”, “Drives me absolutely crazy!” Standing in one spot, like a mannequin and has the excitement of watching ice melt. Got the picture?
Continuing the series of “So You Want To Become A Public Speaker?” we are going to dive into Presentation. Not to be confused with the presentation itself, but how it’s presented.
Remember, a presentation is a performance, like an actor. Always bring your “A” game. No “B” movie acting here! How you are being perceived is critical to your longevity in this business.
Dress properly for the occasion. As stated in a previously published article in this series; you can always dress down, but not up.
If your topic is serious, be serious, but not stiff. Present the desired image to your audience. Be enthusiastic, confident, carry yourself with pride, but not cocky. Remain calm. Appear relaxed, even if you feel nervous. Remember the duck story; calm and collected on top of the water, even though your feet are going like heck below the surface.
Speak slowly, articulate clearly, and show appropriate emotion and feeling relating to your topic. But don’t be phony your audience will pick up on that immediately. Take the time to connect with your audience. (Refer back to “Public Speaking Pre Preparation” in the area of “know your audience”.) Speak to the person furthest away from you to make sure your voice is heard from back of the room. It’s okay and encouraged to ask that furthest person in the back if you can be heard. Fluctuate the tone of your voice and dramatize if necessary. If sound equipment is required, as was determined during your pre preparation, adjust accordingly. DO NOT TALK MONOTONE!
I was taught to speak with conviction as if I really believed in what I was saying. Throughout my public speaking career I have changed that teaching to, “Speak with conviction as I truly believe in what I’m saying!”
The material you present verbally should have the same structure as a written research paper, i.e. INTRODUCTION to BODY (strong supporting arguments, accurate and up-to-date information) to CONCLUSION (re-state intro, summarize, and a logical conclusion) with a verbal presentation, add a questions and answer period.
Body language is critical. Standing, walking and moving around using appropriate hand gestures is a MUST. Never present a presentation sitting down or standing still, reading from a prepared presentation. I encourage you not to use a lectern. “Here, check this out” American Heritage Dictionary – lec·tern (lěk’tərn) A stand that serves as a support for the notes or books of a speaker. Now here’s my definition – “A lectern is a crutch for the unprepared speaker.”
Audio-visual aids are okay; don’t torment your audience by creating a lengthy overhead presentation and reading it out to them. You will loose your audience for sure and most importantly your credibility.
Do not read from notes. It’s okay to glance at your notes, but personally I don’t use them. However, I do use overhead presentations so if I loose my place I can glance up, adjust and continue on. Know your subject! If you make an error, correct it, inject some humor and continue.
Add humor when appropriate. Keep your audience interested and relaxed throughout the entire presentation. Caution; don’t be a clown! Humor is great to get your audience relaxed and at the same time relax you the presenter. Don’t open with a joke. This is a bad practice. Trust me there will be plenty of time and opportunities for humor during your presentation. Remember that an interesting presentation makes time go by fast, but a boring presentation is always too long to bear even if the presentation length is the same.
Maintain good eye contact with your audience. Have direct eye contact with a number of people in the audience, and once in a while glance at the whole audience while speaking.
Maintain a constant visual on your audience. Their body language will tell you if you need to adjust your presentation. Speak to your audience, listen to their questions, respond to their reactions, adjust and adapt on the fly.
Your presentation of the presentation (gotta love it) is critical to your public speaking career. Voice tone, eye contact, humor, body language, subject matter knowledge, visual-aids and structure are items you must understand and implement. As stated in previous sessions, “You’re a walking billboard for your Public Speaking career and these are some of the tools in your toolbox of success. Good luck and see you at the next session.
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Mr. Simmons has been public speaking since 1973. Mr. Simmons has presented hundreds of public speaking presentations from business concepts to motivational. Mr. Dale Simmons, known as the “WHY” man, is a interactive motivational and “self-help” public speaker.