12 Keys for High-Energy Public Speaking

April 1, 2020 by  

High-energy speakers are more engaging and memorable for their audience so if you want to be sure to get your message across and be remembered, here are some tips to employ.

1. Display Confidence in Your Style: Confidence in a speaker begets confidence and trust from your an audience. Listeners will simply believe in you and the vision you are offering if they sense that you are truly and passionately committed to it without question.

2. Demonstrate Your Passion. Nothing compels attention more than a speaker who believes with all his or her heart in an idea. Interestingly, passion also overcomes weak platform skills, which simply become consumed in the fire. Playing it safe, in other words, isn’t safe. When you share your passion you can ignite your audience.

3. Create a Strong Opening and Closing: The most critical parts of your speech are your beginning and your ending. Your audience is paying the most attention at these times and will remember most strongly what you give them at these points in your talk.

4. Let Your Audience Know Where You Will Be Going Together: Let the audience know upfront where you will be going together in terms of your topic and main points. Audiences want to trust that they are in practiced hands, with a speaker who knows their topic deeply and fully.

5. Learn the Art of Being Conversational: Even the highest-profile speeches tend to sound conversational these days. However important your message, listeners will respond better if you sound like you are just sharing some thoughts with them, rather than speaking from on high.

6. Achieve Clarity and Conciseness: Speakers are sometimes afflicted with a terrible disease known as the I Can Talk About This Forever Syndrome. As subject experts, they don’t feel the need to prepare for a presentation. If you follow their lead, your talk may truly feel like forever for your audience. Instead, stick to the specific facts and key points of your topic as being clear and concise shows you care about your audience and want them to take away those key issues.

7. Take Charge of the Stage: As a public speaker, you have a stage to command whether it is in an auditorium, the space in front of a conference room table or actually on a stage. Pair your movements with the main parts of your speech; and again, be purposeful. Don’t wander or use too much body movement as it is distracting to your audience.

8. Employ Storytelling: It is important to make storytelling a part of your presentation because people remember stories, especially ones they can relate to. Data is fundamental, but too often it won’t get to the emotional heart of what you are trying to get across to your audience. Stories ignite people’s emotional response. You need that to happen.

9. Use Strong Body Language: What an audience sees is an important part of how they will judge you. Be the picture of self-assurance. Use spare, clean, and powerful gestures to emphasize your words.

10. Introduce Vocal Dynamics: If your voice isn’t an asset of your public speaking, consider getting some coaching in vocal skills. Your voice is your most reliable tool for influencing others. If it doesn’t compel people to listen, you are at a disadvantage. You need to project your voice, speak clearly and not too fast or you will lose your audience. However, if you speak too slowly they will get bored so choose a good pace of speaking for your delivery.

11. Use Metaphors: Employing metaphorical language will help make your speeches vivid and memorable. Nothing makes a concept come to life, with emphasis and power, like a comparison an audience can instantly relate to. Tailor your examples to your audience so that it will be relevant. When that is true it will be more memorable for them.

12. Find the Physical Dimension of Your Message: Despite our Digital Age, you are not a talking head, and your speech or presentation needs a physical dimension. Ask yourself if you truly embody your speech. Listeners will buy your persona if it is active and interesting. Most people today use PowerPoint or some other tool to reinforce their presentation. That is good but do not put everything you are going to say up on your slides. Rather, it is meant to reinforce your key points and remind you of the points you want to expand upon.

If you employ the above tips you will have more successful presentations and a more retentive learning experience for your audience. Just remember to have fun, too!

5 Tips for Preparing an Engaging Presentation

September 13, 2018 by  

Here are 5 tips for preparing your presentation so that you can enjoy better audience engagement and even get more enjoyment yourself from presenting to your audience.  If you are having fun and passionate about your material, your audience will feel that and it can be contagious!

1. Start with the end in mind. To end your session try to define the key messages or concepts you want your audience to take away. By reinforcing those keys you will more likely to help your attendees remember them. Also, try to keep those key messages at 3-5, especially if your presentation is short. If you are giving a longer presentation you can increase the number but do not expect your audience to recall a large number of new ideas.

2. Limit the amount of detail to only what the audience truly needs to know….”less is more”. This is particularly true of technical material. Understand the level of information necessary for the audience and try to keep it simple, to the point, and well-illustrated with stories, pictures and or examples that will resonate with your audience.

3. Never memorize your presentation because, as many people are somewhat nervous when starting to speak to a new audience you could simply forget what you learned and then you will be in real trouble. Besides, memorized material tends to sound robotic in delivery which will not engage your audience and once you lose them you will be done! Better to truly know your material deeply, be comfortable with it, and truly understand clearly everything you plan on sharing with your attendees. You can use PowerPoint, a flip chart, cue cards, or other tools to support your presentation and help you to remember which points you wish to make. However, be careful not to put too much text up for your audience as they will be able to read it faster than you can speak it so again will disengage. In addition, you want to be natural and authentic in your presentation style and that can only be achieved when you are passionate and deeply knowledgeable about your topic.

4. Develop stories and examples that are interesting around each point you wish to make. The stories will help to anchor the key messages in your presentation and because everyone likes stories, it will help them to remember the key concepts you are sharing with them. Just be sure that the anecdotes and examples you use resonate with your audience as this aids retentive learning. Also remember that most people are visual learners so pictures that help to tell the story and illustrate the point will also be more memorable for your audience.

5. Whenever possible, know your audience and what their needs are. Speak to those specific needs whenever possible, in other words, it is best to tailor your delivery and content to their expectations and for their benefit. This will also increase the chance for better retention.

If you follow these tips you will enjoy more success with your presentations and even find you enjoy making them more, as well.  Remember, you set the tone for the audience, so if you are enjoying yourself, they will likely feel the same way…..have fun!!

How to Turn Fear into Fun When Making a Presentation

October 19, 2017 by  

If the thought of speaking in public strikes fear in your heart you are likely in the majority. If you do have to make a presentation and would like to actually enjoy the experience, the following tips will help you to do just that.

1. Preparation is the key to any excellent presentation. That means researching your topic online, in a library, or even by speaking with some experts in the field. Once you have gathered sufficient information, then you have to decide which pieces you will include in your presentation. Be sure to only keep the interesting elements and try to be specific and simple. Now you can easily analyze your content, design your presentation, decide on how you will deliver the content and ultimately will be able to gauge how you were received.

2. Practice, practice, practice. You need to know your material inside out, backwards, and in your sleep….do not memorize the presentation as when you are nervous, you will forget what you want to say. However, if you truly know your material, have passion for it, and know how you want to deliver it, the adrenalin boost your body will give you when you begin, will actually give you focus and clarity and once you get into your presentation, you will forget to be nervous as you will be too busy sharing your knowledge and expertise in interesting and engaging ways.

3. Attitude is everything! Decide that you are going to have fun and enjoy giving this presentation and then you will as it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy for you. When you are positive, prepared, and well-versed in your materials you will be great! Remember, you set the tone for the room if you appear relaxed, confident and happy, you will put your audience at ease and so it will be easier to engage them and hold their attention.

4. Play “what if” before your presentation. Try to imagine what might happen during your presentation, what questions might be asked and then you can prepare what you will do in various situations and how you will answer any questions asked of you. Now, you may not come up with every eventuality, but you are human and no one expects you to be perfect, but you will feel more confident if you have gone over your ‘what ifs’ ahead of time. Even decide what you will do if you are asked a question for which you do not know the answer. Here is what I do: I ask the audience if anyone knows the answer….if no one helps me, I tell them that I do not know either, but anyone who wants to know can bring me their email address either at the break or at the end and will be happy to share what learn about that issue. Being honest is always the best policy and no one will fault you for not knowing but never “fudge” on an issue as someone will know the answer even if they do not tell you in front of their colleagues so do not make something up and you will lose credibility with your audience.

5. Arrive early. In this way, you can get set up and iron out any technical issues before you start. In addition, you will then have some time to “meet and greet” some of the attendees so that you will no longer be speaking to a room full of ‘strangers’. Rather you will now have spoken to several attendees so they now are more familiar with you and will likely be easier to engage and you can even bring some of your conversation into the session, which will also tie you more closely to the attendees.

6. Create an engaging start to your presentation. You only have about 2 minutes to grab the attention of your audience and if you do not do that you will be chasing them throughout your entire presentation. Use a good story, some shocking or interesting details, or a challenge to start off your session, this should make them sit up and take notice.

7. Finally, choose some meaningful way to end your presentation. You can have the attendees tell you what they are taking away, or what they liked best or you can provide a short summary of the key takeaways. Personally, I like to end with a short story or poem that relates to the content.

So, if you wish you have fun with your presentation instead of fearing to speak in front of an audience, try out the tips offered here and I think you will be so successful that you actually will enjoy speaking in public.

Remember, practice makes perfect!!