Thursday, August 8, 2013

Want To Be A Better Public Speaker? Do What The Pros Do.

Being an effective presenter is critical for anyone who is (or aspires to be) in a leadership position. In fact, certain presentations can be downright career defining.

Instead of leaving your speaking success to chance, take some cues from the pros.

Begin with the end in mind.   

Before you start working on your script or presentation, get clear on its purpose. What are you trying to accomplish? What impact do you want to have on your audience? Are you looking to inform? Inspire? Persuade? Knowing your ultimate purpose and desired outcome will help you stay focused through the preparation process.

Simplify your messages.  

 You are where you are because of the depth and breadth of your expertise. Your natural inclination will be to impart lots of that knowledge onto your audience. Resist it! Otherwise, you’ll bore and overwhelm your listeners with details they’ll never retain. Focus on conveying a few powerful ideas that they’ll remember. Think of yourself as Master Distiller of Information – boil it down and go from there.

Avoid the perils of Powerpoint.   

t’s called “death by Powerpoint” for a reason. Those “eye charts” crammed with words in 8-point type are dreaded by audiences everywhere. Lose them! Your job is to hold the attention in the room. All eyes should be on you, not the screen. If you use slides, make them impactful and use them sparingly. They should be simple, compelling and graphically appealing.  Also remember that when you’re reliant on slides, you run the risk of a technology problem and a presentation disaster. By reducing or eliminating slides, you minimize risk.

Connect with your audience. 

One mistake speakers often make is trying to prove they’re smart. Remember that you’re at the podium for a reason. Your credentials speak for themselves.