You’ve been there. Prisoner to a painfully poor presenter who drones on and on without any apparent consideration for you…the “captive” audience. Public speaking certainly isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, but if you are called upon to speak, there are some simple things you can do to make your presentation more meaningful, memorable and motivating!
Breathe deeply before speaking as this will help calm your nerves and steady your voice.
- Outline your key points on a note card, but don’t read from a script. Be conversational and natural in your delivery.
- Never begin with an apology or a downer statement such as, “I’m not really good at this, and I hope you don’t fall asleep … just bear with me.” -Be confident and just get started … with a good opening!
- Prepare a strong opening such as a story, an analogy, an intriguing question, or a meaningful statistic. Give the audience a reason to engage and keep listening. This is called the “opening hook”.
- Answer the listener’s unspoken question, “Why do I care about this?” before he or she even thinks it! That’s called giving them the WIIFM – What’s In It For Me
- Stick to the main points and don’t try to cover too much information. Make your presentation as short as possible, and leave some “change in your pocket”. That means having a little extra information to add if people seem to want more.
- Close with power! Refer back to your opening, share a concluding story to summarize or deliver a poignant quote. Don’t end with the cliche’, “Are there any questions?” That just leaves your close hanging. Deliver your power close, say thank you, take the applause and then say, “I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have at this time.”
The great John Wayne summarized it best when he said, “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t talk too much.”
Presenting doesn’t have to be painful…for the presenter or the audience! Next time you’re called upon to present, give your audience the gift of a great presentation!