Be a presentation sensation

Think about this: you can’t NOT communicate – even saying nothing says something about you. What you say, the way you say it and the way you present yourself are components of a complicated code the people around you read without realising it.

Good idea, then, to make sure that what you communicate is positive, interesting, appealing, and attractive, especially if you are the face of your business.

So it’s a complete mystery to me why more people don’t take the time and trouble to develop a decent presentation style. Making a presentation, speaking in public, standing up on front of a group of people and communicating some information – these are the occasions for which you have the time to prepare, to practise, to hone your skills.

And if you’re prepared to put the effort in to making your presentations more effective, more interesting, more compelling, you’ll get the benefit of a brilliant side-effect.

You become more confident, more effective, more interesting, more compelling.

Here are three dead-cert ways to improve the way you deliver a presentation:

1.    Practise visualising yourself making a great presentation. If you’re nervous about public speaking, and lots of people are, your negative side has contributed to many a negative mind-movie in which you make a complete mess of standing up in front of people and saying your piece. Turn the tables by consciously creating a mind-movie showing you completely captivating your audience with your fluency, energy and dynamism. “See” the audience cheering and clapping when you finish, while you look calm and composed, confident and comfortable. Keep visualising until you can do it, er, with your eyes closed.

2.    Prune back what you’re going to say. Simple is good. It’s a mistake to try to convey too much at one time, and you’ll be more successful if you create two or three simple presentations than if you try to cram everything into one complicated one. If there are constraints on you – perhaps you absolutely must transmit certain information – say what you have to say as clearly and simply as possible. Don’t be tempted to use long words in the hope of sounding erudite. You won’t. You’ll probably sound stilted and uncomfortable. Use language that you’re used to using.

3.    Be rigorous about practising. It’s amazing how often people neglect to practise for a public presentation. Perhaps they think “well, it’s only speaking, I know how to speak”. Yes, you do, but if you haven’t done it in front of a group of people before, you’re going to find it’s a whole different ball game, so you need to be prepared in ways that everyday conversation doesn’t require.  Practise alone initially, then in front of a a mirror, then in front of a friend or friends. Ask them to tell you what works and what doesn’t, and respond accordingly. Keep doing it until you get it right.

Written by Hazel Walker

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