How to be a Sensational Speaker
By Candy Tymson
In today's "information age" good presentation skills are
essential if you want to succeed. Building rapport with your audience and
keeping their interest is the key. Here are some tips to help you be a
sensational speaker, every time:
1. FORGET ABOUT YOU
There is a tendency when preparing a speech to focus on what you want to
tell the audience, rather than what they want to hear. Do your research.
Find out who is in the group, what level of experience they have and what
they are interested to hear. A good technique is to arrive early and talk
to a number of the group. Check if what you plan to say is of interest.
Find out what their concerns are.
2. USE LIMITED OR NO NOTES
What are you thinking when you see a speaker approaching the lectern
adjusting pages of notes? "On no, this is going to be boring!"
And they usually are! Use simple overheads, slides or computer-generated
images as your prompt. You know your material - you don't need to read it.
Instead build rapport by making eye contact with your audience and
speaking to them, rather than at them.
3. REMEMBER THE THREE P'S OF GREAT PRESENTATIONS
It is reported that Winston Churchill, one of the greatest speech makers,
spent on average 7 hours writing and preparing every 40 minute speech. The
only way to be great is to "practice, practice, practice".
4. BE FLEXIBLE
There's a cable missing, the Powerpoint presentation doesn't work; there's
a major disruption in the room next door. A true professional just carries
on, using humour to build rapport with the audience - who I promise you
will sympathise because it is everyone else's worst nightmare too.
5. USE A VARIETY OF VISUAL AIDES
Even a first rate presentation can become boring if the same format is
used over and over again. Add variety. Is there a prop you can use? How
about a video clip? What about handing something around the audience or
giving a demonstration?
6. USE STORIES AND EXAMPLES
Everyone loves stories. I'm sure you have examples or real life stories
that can illustrate your point far more effectively than just facts and
figures. Develop a number of stories and use them for impact. (A key to
using stories is to be sure that they have a point! They should
illustrate, explain or reinforce what you are saying).
And finally, have fun! We all take ourselves far too seriously. If you
are having fun so will your audience - and they will remember you.
About the author: Candy Tymson is an expert on
business communication, based in Sydney, Australia. Her latest project is a
workshop, tape series and book on "Gender Games: Doing Business with
the Opposite Sex". Check her website for other resources on effective
communication at: www.tymson.com.au
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