Presenting is a key part of any job, whether you’re dressing for that interview, or presenting a report to colleagues. Despite ‘presenting’ being fundamental to many jobs, a lot of people find it daunting. To help those of us who struggle with this, Emma Serlin, Director and Founder of London Speech Workshops has written a ‘how-to’ guide in communicating more effectively in 50 easy steps. Here’s a taster below:
The fundamental building blocks of any good presentation are the writing, and the physical delivery. The writing should be powerful, engaging, and should get the point across fluently and succinctly. The physical delivery should feel fresh, alive, and full of energy.
Start with your objective. To avoid waffling and going off topic, clearly define the objective of your presentation beforehand. Think about the effect you want to have on your audience. Do you want them to come away feeling inspired? Delighted? Motivated? Every slide or point should clearly refer back to the objective.
A good structure is key. The most straightforward and fool proof example is the sequence: problem, solution, evidence, summary.
Enrich the story of your presentation by connecting with your audience; infuse your presentation storyline with a palpable sense of emotion and humanity.
The physical appearance of the presentation is essential. First impressions count, so make the most of this by holding your shoulders back your head upright, and your chin level as you “take to the stage”. A good way to stay calm as you begin is to take a moment to absorb the space. It will ground you, let the audience see you, and you see them. It’s a small thing, but will also help to connect with the audience.
Eye contact is the best way to connect whilst speaking. However, a lot of people get this wrong by looking up at the wrong point. The place for ‘quality’ eye contact is the final few words of the sentence or important point. Here, hold the gaze for a moment, as if you are checking with the audience to confirm that they have received your message. They will start to feel as though you really care.
Answering questions after a presentation can also be nerve-wracking. Always take a moment to acknowledge and compliment the question – it makes people feel recognized. It also helps ensure that the entire audience is involved, which will keep everyone focused and engaged.
The main thing to remember through all of this is to relax! You’ve got this!
Read more great tips from Emma Serlin in The Connection Book, out 14 September.
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