You are perceived as the expert to the audience when giving a presentation. It’s important you deliver and look like the expert that impresses and convinces your audience. At the same time, you want to feel confident and comfortable.
Here are some important considerations to shine in front of your audience.
The 6 P’s are essential for the perfect presentation.
WHO – WHAT – WHERE
WHO are you talking to? The better you know your audience, the better you can hold their attention by tailoring your material around their needs. Who will be in the audience? Why are they here? Why did they invite you to speak? Talk to the event organiser before writing your speech, and on the day, establish a rapport by mingling with the audience before you begin your speech.
WHAT do you need to say? Begin writing your speech with a clear outline of the points you want to make. Select a few key points and embellish these with examples and anecdotes. Build this into a complete manuscript, and read this aloud to ensure you are keeping your message to the point. Once you are confident of your structure and your message, you can simplify your speech into note-form again. Prepare charts as handouts or screen presentation to present statistical or analytical information.
WHERE are you presenting? Arrive at the venue at least an hour early to make yourself comfortable with your surroundings. Check the microphone, lighting, audio-visual and any other factors that may affect your performance.
CLARITY – CONFIDENCE- PASSION
Your goal is to deliver your speech with clarity, confidence and passion while maintaining eye-contact with your audience.
Begin by practicing from your manuscript, then once you’ve achieved fluency, simplify the speech into note-form.
Record your delivery so you can listen to yourself. After each point, ask yourself, “Who cares?” If nobody does, omit that point. Ensure that each point is listed in logical order, so your audience can follow your argument. Listen to your speaking speed, your volume and voice pitch to ensure the audience can hear you comfortably.
Video-tape your performance so you can review your physical delivery. Review your energy level, body language, eye contact to assess your impact, energy and rapport.
IMPACT – ENERGY – RAPPORT
Your opening sentence must have impact. Come out punching with a startling statement, quote or story. Don’t waste precious seconds with “Ladies and Gentleman” and save any greetings or gratitude until you’ve grabbed the audience’s attention.
Deliver your speech with energy and passion. Use inside stories to personalise information and add colour to the information you’re trying to pass on. Charts and graphs can convey statistical and analytical data more effectively than a long recitation of numbers.
Maintain your rapport with the audience. Encourage audience participation through questions or personal insights. Use humour with caution: if your jokes fall flat, you will lose your credibility with the audience. Conversely, your audience will be puzzled if a speech that began humorously, abruptly becomes dry and serious.
Finish with a strong memorable closing statement or with a vivid example. Memorise your finishing statement so you can flawlessly “bring it home”. Save this statement until after you’ve accepted questions from the audience. Rather than closing your speech with “Are there any questions?” say “Before I close, are there any questions?” Once you’ve answered the final question, deliver your concluding statement, so you finish on a high note.
Your clothes should reflect the client’s image as well as your own
Consider the client’s image. In the corporate world, most traditional businesses favour conservative attire, while creative industries respond to more individualist outfits. Consider what your audience will be wearing, and dress one level up.
Staying true to your own image enhances your confidence and credibility. While you should dress to reflect the audience expectations, you should also dress to suit your own personality and taste. Being comfortable in your outfit will help you remain relaxed and confident. Don’t force yourself into a three-piece suit if you’re going to squirm awkwardly throughout your presentation.
Demonstrate your professionalism by paying attention to the small details that enhance or detract from your overall appearance.
Check your outline. Remove anything that dangles or jangles when you move. Your hem-line should be secure, your hair neatly trimmed and your shoes polished, with the heels fitting securely.
Ensure your clothes fit correctly for your figure. Generally, a looser fit is more flattering as tight clothes can call attention to unsightly bulges.
Avoid distracting details. If you wear glasses, choose clean lines rather than funky colourful frames. Jewellery should not be a focal point of your outfit. Have one simple bag for all your documents and personal items.
Colour, texture and complementary tones give a polished finish to your professional appearance
Wear colours that complement your skin tone, hair and eye-colour. Avoid colours that overpower you. If you are petite, bright colours will help you stand out in front of an audience. Wear some contrast, such as a contrasting scarf or tie, to help your audience maintain their attention upon you.
Choose clothes of high quality fabrics.
Make-up should be as neutral as possible. Try to look healthy and rested.
Try to find out what your backdrop will be. If you are presenting on a stage with a black background, your dark clothes will blend into the background. Bright clothes will seem glaring in an extremely bright room.
It’s through Practice, that people who give presentations can work on their presentation to give maximum impact to their audience. So let’s look at practice some more, depending on your profession some call it , rehearsal but whether you call it rehearsal or practice, the key is with being prepared.
The, it’s one thing to talk about what you want to speak about, its another thing completely, whether your audience understands the points you are delivering.
Even the most experienced presenters practice their speeches, fine tune their messages, understand the timings of their presentations so their audience really gets the most out of attending and ultimately wants to hear more and wants to do business with the presenter.
So , what is the Process of Practicing a Presentation?
PREPARE – this is where you gather your information, write your presentation, look at your objectives for giving the speech and what your message is. Use stories that are yours , this will help you to remember what goes next. This is where most of your time is spent. The SpeakersTrainingCamp® has a wonderful structure that can really help you to look at every aspect of a presentation.
REHEARSE – you have your presentation ready, now to get your delivery smooth and confident, you need to rehearse a number of times so that you really feel that you know it inside out. Then you can present your speech not relying on notes, you can have them there ,however, it really helps your presentation if you are not glued to your notes and you are looking at your audience.
AUDIENCE – you are delivering your presentation to inform, inspire and guide your audience. You can make a difference with your presentation – whether it’s an important presentation to an executive committee , a work group or its a social presentation. Your presentation is for your audience.
CONNECTION – Practicing your presentation will give you the opportunity to maximise your connection with your audience. The more confident your presentation, the more you know your message, the more authentic you are, the more eye contact you have with your audience, the more you know about your audience – the better your connection with your audience and the more you will be successfully able to get your message across.
TIMING – Always ,and I mean , Always respect the timing of your presentation. Know your presentation, and by going through this process you do now, Know how long it takes and suite the timing to what is expected. You may be given 20mins, then , have your presentation going for 20minutes. This point is really important. Speakers that think they can go on for hours instead of minutes loose their audience’s respect as well as credibility. By practicing, you can fine tune the timing and increase your confidence.
IMPROVE – Professional speakers practice and improve their presentations so that they can confidently present their speech and achieve maximum impact. Don’t wing it, practice and Improve then you will get maximum impact from your presentation.
CONSOLIDATE – Now you have Prepared, REhearsed , thought about your Audience, built a Connection wtih your audience, worked at the Timing, Improved – all these tasks have Consolidated your presentation so that you can really achieve what you would like from your presentation – and that is Impress them!
EXCEL – when you follow this process , you will Excel and do your best. Ok, there’s always areas to work on ,however, by continuing along this path of Continuous Improvement and Practice of your Presentations , you will Excel! this is the Power of Practice.
Enjoy your Presentations, Practice your Presentations and appreciate the Power of Practice!!
Adrienne McLean, The Speakers Practice offers Executive Presentation Skills coaching and the SpeakersTrainingCamp ® Presentation Skills workshops to develop public speaking skills. Adrienne is skilled at challenging people to develop their speaking skills. Adrienne is a SpeakersTrainingCamp ® Instructor , a member of the Professional Speakers Association and a member of Toastmasters International. See www.thespeakerspractice.com.au,