Presenting is both art and a science. Discovering ways to communicate what is compelling about your or your business is something to experiment with, tirelessly practice, and continually refine. Your mission to move your audience is attained by engaging them, putting them at ease, and making them feel like partners.
With these five simple hacks, you’ll be well on your way to nailing that next presentation.
What does your listener truly care about? If you don’t know this — you’re doomed. When pitching to a client, think about how they will benefit from working with you and then propose to give them what they really want. Get well crafty in researching your audience. Ideally, you want to know them better than they know themselves.
It’s also helpful to have your listeners synch to your tempo. Do this simply by telling them what you’re going to tell them — and after you do — hammer it home with a concise summary.
Tell a story.Make it purposeful and make it personal. Consider structuring your presentation so that a story comes early on. It helps to grab the listener’s attention and allows you to display emotion to set the tone. Stories have souls too — they help bring your facts to life and help your audience empathise with you. Remember, curious people love to learn — you’ll have served them well by sharing a powerful narrative.
Debbie Madden makes the case for clarity crystal clear: ask your audience to read or listen — not both. “The human brain physically cannot read and listen at the same time. In fact, the brain is terrible at multitasking. We have to choose one activity to focus on,” she explains.
Do yourself and your audience a favour — don’t make them tap their head and rub their belly at the same time. Clarity always wins.
It’s important to ask yourself if you’re timing is right. In other words, is it the most optimum time to be presenting? If it’s a set date for a conference you don’t have much choice in the matter. But if it’s a client pitch or one in which you have some control over the date and time, this is where science works in your favour.
Research demonstrates that judges’ rulings are harsher when they’re hungrier. Accordingly, you’ll want to appear in front of your audience when they’re bellies are full from breakfast or lunch. They will be more open and gracious at these times. Considering that Mondays and Fridays are typically no-goes, there are a few optimum slots for you to strut your stuff.
Don’t take my word for it. The most epic Ted Talks see speakers practicing their presentations in excess of 200 times. The other benefit of practicing is that it’s one of the only proven methods of alleviating fear. Indeed, public speaking is rated as the thing humans fear most in the world — that’s more than spiders (3rd place) and even higher than death (7th place). In the end, practice really does make perfect.
Wrap up all of these hacks together with a compelling invitation and what do you get? A sure-fire way to stimulate and move your audience to join you on the journey.
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