If you are planning to deliver a presentation to your staff or coworkers, naturally, your aim is to inform or influence your audience. However, ensuring that your presentation makes the desired maximum impact requires a certain level of expertise.
Often, the content of a presentation is, albeit sometimes subconsciously, judged upon the quality of its delivery. Therefore, it’s no surprise that individuals will often more vividly remember presentations that were either outstandingly accomplished or very poorly executed.
According to Presentation Specialist, Motivational Speaker and Marketing Expert, George Torok, everyone possesses the essential skills necessary to deliver a quality presentation. Yet, the capability may come more naturally for some than for others. Needless to say, those who give effective presentations will likely have a higher rate of professional success.
While quality presentation delivery is an integral part of many corporate professions, a recent Gallup poll has indicated that 40 percent of the American population is afraid of simply speaking in public. Additionally, StatisticBrain.com reported that 74 percent of people suffer from “speech anxiety”. Unfortunately, this particular phobia can negatively impact one’s career.
Fortunately, however, this fear can be overcome, as public speaking is a skill that can be learned and improved upon over time with the right tools.
How can employees improve their public speaking abilities?
- Preparation should be your priority.
According to business leader and top-performing sales professional, Ryan Estis, when you thoroughly prepare for your public speaking event, you automatically become more confident. Thorough preparation will also help improve the way you speak and articulate during your presentation, as advised by global speaker and best-selling author, Scott Eblin.
- Change your outlook on public speaking.
Elbin also suggests, instead of focusing on your fear of public speaking, think of this moment as a valuable opportunity to share a message that you are passionate about. Concentrating on the significance of your words, rather than the simple act of vocalizing them, improves their overall impact.
- Silent pauses are okay.
Communications coach, Eileen Sinett, states that presenters should learn to be comfortable with not speaking at certain intervals during their presentation. Pausing will help you to remain calm and impart your message more effectively.
- Keep it short and simple.
Twenty minutes is the average listening attention span, according to Sinett. Unless you have an inordinate amount of information to get across, aim for a general 20 minute time frame. Presentations that run for extended periods of time often lose the listeners’ attention, lessening the impact of the overall message.
- Be the energy in the room.
Scott Elbin also suggests that instead of letting your audience’s energy lead you as you speak, you, the speaker should lead their energy. This will also allow you to maintain directive of the room. Your listeners will ultimately appreciate your sense of initiative.
- Learn to make eye contact.
Eye contact is not just looking at the eyes of another person, according to Sinett. It is “looking deeply through the eyes to the essence of the individual.” This is what connects a speaker to their listeners. It’s crucial to speak directly to, rather than at an audience.
- TED is a great resource.
Eblin reminds would-be speakers to watch the highest-rated talks on TED to learn how the speakers handle themselves. Study the videos and try to apply what you learn to your presentation. Then, invite friends who will help you practice and provide you with honest feedback on how to improve your presentation.
- Never stop learning.
As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” Estis reminds presenters that this applies to public speaking as well.
Now that you know how you can improve your public speaking skills,
How can you give effective presentations in the workplace?
- Do not start your presentation with a joke.
While showing a sense of amiability and personality will help endear you to your audience, leave the one-liners for parties or other social gatherings. Instead, try to craft an enlightening, engaging introduction to draw in your listeners.
- Choose the right presentation software.
There are a multitude of presentation software applications that will help you achieve your result. If your place of employment is inclined to using Powerpoint, for instance, this particular software is not too difficult to learn. However, there are currently so many available presentation softwares to choose from, that as a presenter, you should feel free to explore and make use of the one with which you’re most comfortable. After all, scrambling about during your presentation while you battle your software will not make for a successful event.
- Don’t over-simplify your slides.
While simplicity can be good, the main purpose of a work presentation is to inform and educate your audience. Try to identify questions you think your listeners will want to ask. Then, record your answers on slides in advance. Provide examples and references in the forms of graphs and other charted data. Your slides should have a core message in the headline along with evidence that will support the main idea.
- Avoid being overly self-aware.
Instead of focusing on the way you stand or how your voice sounds during your presentation, direct your attention toward how you can most effectively help enlighten your listeners. Here is a checklist of questions to focus on while preparing and delivering your presentation:
- Who is your audience? Determine how your audience would prefer to be spoken to, and how they will likely use the information you are sharing. Try to recognize which members of the audience are the decision makers and how they go about making their decisions.
- Why are you speaking to your audience? What will your listeners likely obtain from your presentation, based on their own standing in the company? Identify ways your message may assist them in their future endeavors.
- What is the answer to your audience’s question? Research, analyze, and develop a complete answer to your audience’s question, which will likely be directly related to the topic of your presentation. Having an arsenal of potential questions and answers will allow you to provide thorough responses to most of the questions you are likely to encounter.
- Determine how you can best communicate the answer to the audience. Remember that your listeners are relying on you to clarify any ambiguities or uncertainties relating to the topic at hand. Be sure to clearly present your answers in a patient and organized manner, and use applicable references and data to support your responses.
At its core, an effective presentation should be instructive and meaningful, while clearly demonstrating the passion the speaker has for the message or topic they are conveying. While speaking style and delivery method will surely affect the ease with which you express your ideas, the best presentations offer something new and different. Conversely, the weakest presentations are trite and mechanical, at best.
When you present, be sure to make it your own. While we all have influences, don’t try to sound exactly like someone else. Remember that most people have an innate sense for spotting authenticity. The most memorable presentations result from thorough preparation and a sincere awareness and appreciation of the subject matter.
Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200