Myth- Great speakers are born; well some of them are certainly gifted, they are born with the ability to stand in front of people and deliver a dynamic speech.
While others, the not so gifted great speakers, they usually have invested years of their life in developing and practising their oratorical skills.
These are the people who have been through the continuous process of learning, unlearning, and re-learning the basics of Public- Speaking. Just like your favourite sports-star or your favourite film-star, your favourite speaker also puts in great deal of time and efforts.
Yes, presentations are a part of Public Speaking with a specialized audience; here the audience is well aware of the topics, intricacies, terminology, outcome, methodology of the topic.
The whole concept of these presentations is as old as the Aristotle and Socrates’ times, it is just that the advent of technology has glorified it to its ‘modern work skill’ form.
I have put the essentials of Presentation Skills in three pillars-
- Assess your speaking skills
- Plan and Prepare your presentation
- Deliver you presentation effectively
Assess your speaking skills:
With response to an individual’s behaviour towards Public Speaking, the speakers can be categorized in four groups:
- Avoider- This group avoids every single opportunity to be on stage
to interact with audience.
to network or talk to strangers
to be in lime-light.
- Resister- Speakers who belong to this group may resist to be called upon to address an audience, they may unwillingly accept to interact with an audience if it gets an unavoidable situation altogether.
- Acceptor- This is the group for people who take up the role of the speaker as a part of their job. They occasionally offer to deliver presentations.
- Seeker- as the name itself suggests, they always seek the opportunities to speak.
The difference between all of these categories is the way they manage their stress and anxiety. For avoiders, the anxiety creates roadblocks, whereas, for the seekers, it fuels their passion.
Plan and prepare your presentation:
Well planned is half done, it applies in the case of presentations as well.
Plan everything about the event, right from your personal appearance to your outline and the details of your presentation.
- Personal appearance- plan everything- keep your attire according to the occasion, colour coordination, hairdo, footwear, accessories.
I would like to add a note for the people who wear glasses- wear them if them you really need them during the event or you may invest in a pair of rim-less glasses for such occasions.
- Prepare your presentation- start with your ‘Why’- why do you need to create this presentation
Who is your audience
Where would you be delivering this
What- all would it be covering
Working on these ‘WH’ questions will help you in creating a solid structure of your presentation.
- Body of presentation- Brainstorm all the possible ideas you can think of, related to the topic of the presentation.
Prioritize these ideas and shortlist 3-5 topics (depending on the time allotted to you).
Write these ideas and 3+1 bullet points hinting what would you be talking about for explaining these ideas.
- Rehearse- a full dress rehearsal will help you prepare for the actual event.
Practice using a conversational tone, humour (in context), avoid chasing perfection- rather develop your own style of presentation.
Delivery of the presentation:
There is only one way of delivering any presentation effectively, i.e, engage with your audience. The way you connect and engage with your audience plays a key role in delivering a successful presentation.
You should be able to communicate not just your word but you enthusiasm as well if you as a speaker want them to be enthusiastic about your ideas.
Here, your non-verbal communication and your body language come to play.
“It is not just what you say, but the way you say”, makes all the difference.
Pay attention to your:
- Style- choose conversational style of speaking.
- Movement- move around to connect with them effectively and it will also let your energy flowing.
- Facial expressions
- Voice-tone, pitch, fillers
Learn to listen to your own self- it will tell you how you say what you say.
Concluding a presentation: Be open to take up questions at the end of the presentation
Be attentive to your audience’s questions and concerns
Be honest with them is you don’t know any answer, tell them that you will get back to them and do get back to them.
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Drop me a line @ firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to learn more about delivering effective presentations or to improve presentation skills.