1. Be a Know It All!
When you feel familiar whether it be your material, the room or the audience you will naturally relax. We know this as fact. So the professional speaker must invest in getting the edge by…
- Finding out the outline of the day – we call this the running order but essentially is the format of the day or the agenda.
- Know your audience – who is in your audience, do you known what they want, what will interest them and if you are out to impress – what would wow them.
- Finally practice the presentation – an obvious point. But if you are familiar particularly with the beginning your messages will land well and your confidence will flow.
2. Immediate Actions
I will always try to get to the venue with plenty of time to hand – it means I can spend time adjusting to the room but also mingle with my audience perfect for building connection and allowing the nerves to settle. Being there some time before (I suggest at least 30 mins beforehand) – gives the added benefit of knowing what the ‘temperature’ in the room is. All adding to your confidence armour – what you know acts in your favour.
3. Start with a Strong Persona
When you start your adrenaline will be at its highest. I re-frame this and say in my seminars – it helps you “speak at the peak!” To do this uses your strongest persona at the beginning.
What is “Speaking Persona”? It is characterised by your tone, body language, facial expression, even the feeling you muster internally. It doesn’t mean you start as if you have just been clamped – i.e.: angry!! It does mean that you adopt a naturally powerful state – worth exploring.
By having a strong persona, your opening lines will work really well and your audience will move from blank faces (cold) to warm (smiling, nodding faces). There’s lots you can do to get in this peak state, but we don’t have space to cover in details (something we focus a lot on in our training sessions, and individual to you).
4. Gift your Audience
Our ability to focus has diminished as a society, it is not surprising to learn that your presentations need to capture interest and then maintain which is increasingly harder. Therefore I recommend you add value early on – not only do you gain credibility you create a compelling reason for your audience to listen to you.
Practically speaking this means giving your most interesting fact, a story or a finding early on. You could use a prop, tell a joke or even share some gifts literally!
Either way you have created a positive contract with the audience that reaps benefits later on.
5. Maintain connection
What is interesting is that we do not script our conversations with friends yet we can over script when it comes to presenting. Preparation is essential as pointed out but practicing your talk should not be on paper.
In fact I highly recommend speaking out your talk loud for practice. After all it is spoken word practice that is essential not the notes or slides. When you are familiar with it you can then focus on the how by improving the delivery tools such as pausing, using eye contact, gestures, changes in tonality – all to ensure that your audience continue to be gripped by your presentation.
6. Turn to Passion
If you have a message that is well structured, well-rehearsed – it can sometimes lose its edge. What do I mean? Well when you tell a story for the first time you may show fresh passion, energy and enthusiasm for your subject. That is brilliant as passion binds the audience to you the presenter.
However sometimes practicing can have the converse impact on your message –it may dilute the level of passion. To address this whilst being clear on structure and the order of points you are making be equally clear on WHY you are presenting. When you are clear on the why – you will make it both passionate and purposeful.
7. Finish Strong
Finally it is the ending that people remember most. Be clear and end with your call to action – that is what you want people to do or understand post presentation.
Many people end with a bit of whimper which is a shame as you have just gone to all the trouble of presenting!
So repeat slowly what you most want them to know, add more vocal variety and animation – and make sure you finish with a huge smile!
So here are 7 Steps to Confident Presentations – and your call to action is to implement it and let us know at Public Speaking Academy how you got on.
And yes enjoy your presentation!