In these tough times presentation is key and, as Barbara Moynihan, Past President, Toastmasters International opines, when you have the ear of a potential customer, a wasted opportunity can be avoided if you take these ten critical issues into account.
One way to raise the profile of your business, or of yourself within an organisation, is to seek opportunities to speak in public. But with so many speakers failing to hit the mark your presentation could end up putting your audience off. Not really the result you want! So how do you avoid the presentation pitfalls and stand out from the crowd?
1: Lack of rapport
Make sure you talk in terms of your audience’s interests. Smile and start on time.
2: Being unauthentic
Take the time to prepare, practice and just be yourself.
3: Inability to use silence
Use pauses to add impact and emphasise your key points – silence speaks volumes.
4: Lack of facial expression.
We have 80 muscles in our face that are capable of producing 7,000 facial gestures. Engage them and engage your audience.
5: Poor eye contact.
Look at, and visually connect, with members of your audience. If you have to use slides, make sure they add value and aren’t just a crutch.
Do not bore your audience with technical details that they do not need. Simplify your message. Avoid Three Letter Acronyms (TLAs).
7: Lack of humour
You don’t have to be a stand up comedian. If you cannot tell a joke – then don’t. Use alternative methods of humour such as anecdotes, relevant pictures or short movie clips.
8: Lack of direction.
Ensure you have a clear structure to your speech with a beginning, middle and end, with appropriate signposts and transitions to keep your audience on track.
9: Lack of energy
Counteract this by projecting your voice, varying your pace and pitch, and using gestures.
10: Boring Language
Use what performance story teller, and Toastmasters champion Andrew Brammer (www.speakingwords.co.uk) calls “linguistic sparklers”: adjectives, adverbs, and rhetorical devices such as metaphors and similes. Whether you want to raise your business profile through public speaking, or simply want to motivate your team to take on new challenges, investing some time in developing your speaking skills will pay handsome dividends.