Super-Charge Your Presentation Style – 50 Great Strategies

1. Preparation. Preparation. Preparation.

2. Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse.

3. Ask someone whom you trust to give you feedback on your presentation ahead of time.

4. Ask for the feedback to be specific, focusing in on commendations, recommendations and commendations preferably in that order.

5. In preparation, write down everything you want to say – without censorship.

6. Cluster what you consider to be the salient points and build your speech around these.

7. Present your speaking, life and work credentials very early on. This helps to build credibility.

8. Speak persuasively and authoritatively. The audience is coming to listen to you because they believe you have the answers.

9. Use interesting transitions that take you from one point to the next.

10. Create visual images with your words, remember the old adage; ‘a picture paints a thousand words’.

11. Speak clearly, annunciating appropriately.

12. Speak enthusiastically, if you’re not enthusiastic, why
should the audience be?

13. Start with a ‘big bang’ opening – something your audience will remember.

14. Close your speech with a call to action. What do you want your audience to do, say or think as a result of hearing your speech?

15. Research your audience. Who are they? What do they want to know? What do they know already? How large is the audience?

16. Find out what types of questions you might be expected to respond to.

17. Prepare answers to questions.

18. Deal with hostile questions by staying calm, receiving the question from the questioner and presenting the answer to the whole audience. Make sure you don’t get into a two way dialogue.

19. If using visual aids, make sure that they are in appropriate working order, check this ahead of time and certainly make sure they are checked on the day, ahead of your speech.

20. Make sure you project your voice appropriately to the size of the audience and the room.

21. Use a microphone as appropriate, there’s nothing worse for the voice than continually putting a strain on it.

22. Ensure you have appropriate inflections, no one wants to listen to a monotone voice

23. Pace your speech, not too fast, not too slow.

24. Avoid the use of jargon, unless you know your audience understands that jargon.

25. Decide what it is you want to do with your speech; entertain, persuade, inform etc.

26. Build rapport with your audience. Speak, using a number of representational systems: visual, auditory, kinaesthetic. This will ensure you are bringing most of the audience along with you most of the time.

27. The general format of a speech is: tell the audience what you will tell them, tell them and conclude by telling them that you have told them.

28. It’s usually best to take questions at the end of a speech, each time you allow questions you lose control of the ‘floor’.

29. Determine how long you will speak for and stay within
that time frame.

30. A speech lasting much more than 45 minutes will have much of your audience asleep.

31. Get your audience’s attention from the outset with a quote, a story, a statistic, a joke, an anecdote etc.

32. If you can, it’s best to have nothing between you and your audience.

33. If you wish though, ‘cue’ cards are acceptable to help you remember the key points you wish to make.

34. Join a speaking club such as Toastmasters International – a great learning ground for fledgling speakers.

35. Control your nerves with diaphramic breathing.

36. Be mindful of inappropriate body language – fidgeting for example will take people away from the speech.

37. Dress appropriately for your audience and for your own comfort.

38. Pause appropriately, a well timed pause adds intrigue and draws your audience in and is better than the ubiquitous uhmmmmmmmms and ahhhhhh’s.

39. Have a glass of water handy, for the potential dry mouth syndrome – take sips during pauses, rather than gulp.

40. In order to combat shortness of breath it’s best to inhale and then speak on the out breath. This may feel a little strange at first and gets better with practice.

41. Prior to speaking it makes sense not to consume alcohol unless you want to risk inarticulation and muddled ideas.

42. Be aware that milk causes mucous and so may make you nasaly, here again you might want to think about what liquid you intake prior to a speech.

43. Ahead of your speaking in public take a few moments to scan the audience, this gives the added benefit of enabling you to relax prior to beginning.

44. If speaking humorously, remember this really must be done with confidence or you could go down like a lead balloon.

45. A humorous speech has a number of benefits: acts as an ice-breaker, could win over a hostile audience, keep people interested and helps them to remember what you have said.

46. Use a range of resources to build your speech: books, magazines, current and historical news stories, movies, tapes, internet, themes from your own life and those around you.

47. Engage with the audience’s own experiences, use information that they have given you during the question process.

48. Leave the audience satisfied, wanting more and wishing to hear from you again.

49. At the end of your speech undertake a self-evaluative review: what went well in the presentation? What could you do differently? How effective overall was the speech?

50. Please create your own list of tools for effective public speaking.

If you feel your friends, relatives or colleagues may benefit from this information I would be really happy and grateful if you could forward this article to them. Many thanks.

Basic Presentation Skills: How to Craft Effective Speech Openings

The opening of your speech or presentation needs to hook your audience. If you can’t capture their attention straightaway, then there is a good chance that your entire presentation is doomed from the beginning. One crucial basic presentation skill you need to know is how to craft an effective opening that hooks your audience and draws them in. Here are four tips to help you accomplish that.

1. Be prepared. We cannot stress this enough. Even if you normally just create a basic speech outline and fill in the details as you speak, you should always learn your opening word-for-word. Practice it relentlessly until you can say it backwards in your sleep! Not only will this improve the quality of your crucial opening, but it will lessen the chance that you make a mistake or accidentally leave something out.

2. Grab your audience’s attention. Your opening is the first impression your audience forms of you. Make sure it’s a good one! Tell your audience exactly what you’re going to talk about and-perhaps even more importantly – why they need this information. Also, skip preliminaries like “ladies and gentlemen;” you can always weave them into the opening lines of your speech.

3. Tell the audience why they should listen to you. This is related to step number two, but it’s worth covering in greater detail. Why does your audience need this information? What will they take away from your presentation? Be sure to tell them this as early as possible in your speech. Your audience will want to hear why they should take time out of their busy schedules to sit down and listen to you, and will appreciate it if you give them that information outright.

4. Set the mood. This is a more abstract tip than the previous three, but it’s still just as important. What is the tone of your presentation? Serious and somber? Light-hearted and funny? Technical and laden with information? Be sure you get that across here. For example, if you have a funny opening but the rest of your speech deals with heavy subject material, then you may want to re-evaluate it. This entails getting a firm grasp on the tone of your piece and the tone the subject matter deserves.

Remember, your opening can determine the success of your entire presentation. So be creative with it, and use it to make a splash! Follow all four of these tips and you’re sure to boost your basic presentation skills by crafting effective openings.

How to Develop Great Presentation Skills – The 5 Sins Of Making Presentations

After many years of studying how people make their presentations, I’ve uncovered in my mind, the top 5 sins which many people commit when making presentations. Avoid them at all costs!

1. Starting like a caged mouse

Many presenters begin with a polite, “How is everyone” or “Thank you for giving me this opportunity” Rather trite, don’t you think? I am not saying that you should be rude. What I am saying is to get the formalities out of the way as quickly as possible and start with a bang not a whimper like a caged mouse. Give the audience a startling statistic, an “in your face” statement, an interesting quote, a news headline . . . something powerful that will grab their attention immediately!

2. Failing to “feel” your audience

If you fail to take advantage of the time before your presentation, you have lost a window of opportunity to enhance your credibility with your listeners. You should always arrive early to greet your audience prior to your presentation. Of course you would do this at your own functions. But when you are presenting to strangers, make it a point to “feel them ” – don’t arrive two minutes before your speech and leave immediately after it. Your audience wants to meet you, know you and understand the person behind that presentation. Give them this opportunity and you will connect with the audience better.

3. Making a presentation word for word from a prepared script

Can you recall when was the last time someone actually read to you? I bet it must have either been your Mother or Father and she/he was trying to get you to sleep! Instead of reading through a prepared script during your presentations, use a “keyword” outline. These keywords will prompt complete thoughts as you speak. Look down at the keyword, look into the eyes of the audience – then speak.

4. Speaking on a subject without passion

You want your audience to do something as a result of your presentation. Whatever you want them to do, there is a better chance that they will do it if you show that you are passionate about your subject. An added benefit is that your fears will dissipate when you are truly excited about your subject matter. Speak with passion . . . and you will inspire others.

5. Failing to adequately prepare

This is the mother of all cardinal presentation sins. It is amazing how many executives will take the stage without adequately preparing. They may have someone else prepare their slides and script for their presentation without their input. They may write their own rambling presentation that has no organization or purpose. Once on the stage, they fumble for their notes, they pause for a long time trying to remember what to say or they even go off tangent of what they are supposed to present. Don’t let this happen to you. You will lose credibility and worse become a laughing stock. Always PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE.

The good news is that these common presentation sins are easy to avoid if you recognize them. I am not saying that if you don’t commit the above sins, you would become a fantastic presenter, but rather, you will be much better off compared to most who refuse to make the effort to make adjustments to their presentations.