There is wide acceptance that it’s a lot more difficult to persuade an audience about anything if you don’t personally “believe” – no matter what your topic is. Why then do so many erudite speakers who believe fervently in their topics still fail to convince – or get their point across with conviction?
It’s simply that they have yet to master the skill of showing how much they care! It’s a bit like getting the joke and finding it amusing, but not laughing. This critical communication skill engenders charisma – being authentically enthused so that you sweep people along with you. It combines charm and enthusiasm in the right doses, a good dollop – but not so much that it overwhelms.
- Know what you’re going to say, where you’re going with your message and what you want the outcome to be. You need to have a very clear objective.
- Make sure that you know why you’re enthusiastic about what you’re saying. It’s easier to sell houses when you yourself own a house. Life insurance brokers who themselves don’t own life insurance… well, why should you buy from them? You can’t afford to be a fraud.
- Do your homework about your audience. You need to know why they may be interested in what you’ll be speaking about and plan your presentation according to their needs and wants.
- Ensure that your presentation is structured logically with a strong start, interesting content and a powerful close. It just makes it far easier to follow.
- Make sure that your rehearsals include focusing on how you use your voice when delivering your message. Your tone of voice is one of your best connecting tools and skilful use of intonation, emphasis and pausing can add tremendous impact to your words.
- Get yourself in the right frame of mind right from the preparation stages. Of course I’m assuming that you’ll be preparing, right? Being ready and excited about your presentation just before you alight the podium is much easier when you’re properly prepped. But a conscious advance decision to be excited is very important too.
- Be conscious of the movements you’re going to make. If you move your feet, do so purposefully but not too much. Gestures are crucial – especially when there are no visuals on the screen. It’s difficult to make too many gestures, but very easy to make too few! So, gesture away and mix them up! (meaning – avoid repetitive ones)
- Minimise the number of slides you use. Since you’re doing the persuading, not your slides – you need to use as much of your time as possible being the centre of attraction. Slides don’t smile or persuade, you do that.
- Get the audience involved. Ask them questions during your presentation, and allow them to ask questions too. Interaction is the path to creating engagement and buy-in – which is the reason you’re doing your presentation – to get buy-in.
If you feel confident about your presentation before you start, enthusiasm may well flow naturally anyway. If you use the 9 tips above, you will guarantee not only your confidence, but your audience a memorable experience. You then have every opportunity of achieving the success you deserve!
That’s the reason you deliver a presentation in the first place, isn’t it? Well maybe not entirely. You may want to ask yourself – and answer a crucial question before you go live:
What’s in it for them. Somehow, it’s so much easier to transfer your genuine enthusiasm on to your audience if you’re certain that they will benefit from your recommendations.