When preparing a talk or presentation to an audience, consider the following. They are not in any order and the reader is welcome to use them if they are helpful.
SPEAK TO BE REMEMBERED Those most remembered as speakers are those who galvanise their audiences and engage with them. Don’t over talk. Twenty five minutes is tops. Engage the audience, involve them.
Always speak with conviction and sincerity. The audience can sense passion and speaker belief in his or her message by studying the presenter’s body language. Introduce, develop and conclude carefully.
I BELIEVE THE EYES TO BE THE MOST POWERFUL OF COMMUNICATIONS TOOLS. Speakers who are confident rove the audience, with his/her eyes canvassing the eyes of everyone in the listening group.
SPEAK FROM THE HEART. Never be a ‘veneer speaker’ whose polish belies his/her commitment to the subject. Be a person remembered by the audience for sincerity. Speak to, not ‘down’ to your listeners.
Speakers and presenters should aim to embrace the audience, drawing listeners toward him or her by the power of sincerely uttered words. This will being them ‘together as one’ in a sharing context.
Listen carefully to speakers and EVALUATE them for strengths and elements do presentation you feel they might do differently and better. The exercise helps you focus on message and messenger
DON’T OVERDO NOTES. They detract. Speakers generally know what they want to say. I recommend small cards that snug into the palm of the hand. List KEY WORDS as prompts for what you wany to say.
CONFIDENT SPEAKERS in an informal situation can go to pieces in formal situations. They pull down a blind in their minds which says ‘ uptight time’. Make sure the blind is never pulled down.
Make sure that topics have a beginning, middle and end. PLAN for presentations to establish, build and ebb to a telling and final conclusion. Balance within discourse is a key and essential need.
When presenting DON’T SHUFFLE. Movement is a part of gesture. Movement can be illustrative and points (of delivery) reinforcing. If movement is meangless stand in a relaxed but stationary manner.
SOME SPEAKERS GO ON AND ON FOREVER. What starts well goes downhill and the presenter loses it. I once heard that 24 minutes was the ideal time for any presentation where presenter owns the floor.
Presenters need to ensure that DRESS supports and enhances their podium status.The finest presentation in the world will be ruined if presenters do not respect audience by looking the part.
Speakers need to think about THANK YOU often offered at the end of a presentation. Realistically it is the audience who should be offering thanks to the presenter for his or her contribution.
Watch out for DISTRACTING GESTURES. Scratching parts of body while presenting needs avoiding. Don’t scratch nose, squint, overuse eyebrow wrinkle. Involuntary actions can be off-putting.
INJECT HUMOUR into speech, but AVOID LAUGHING at that humour. Humour engages and focuses audience groups. However, those same audiences can be off-put if speakers laugh at their own jokes.
‘AH’s’, ‘um ‘s’, ‘er’s’, and similar speech stumbles need to be avoided for the sake of fluency. Too many glitches may have the audience thinking you are unclear on your subject. Aim for ‘zero’.
Use notes as prompts, but try and avoid detailed reading. A speaker is more effective when speaking rather than being slavishly locked into notes. Notes can reduce the speaker’s confidence.
Consider vocalisation, the pitch, rhythm, intonation and vibrancy of voice. Live your message through your voice. Articulate carefully and correctly, and never come with a gabbling rush of words.
Messages delivered by presenters should be from the heart. Avoid (debates excepted) speaking on issues in which you have no belief. Avoid being a hypocritical presenter, a phyyric speaker.
When speaking, use POWERPOINT and props to support speech. Don’t read verbatim from power-points. KNOW your subject in case the power-point goes on the blink. Have a fallback position.
If an AUDIENCE MEMBER, take time to THANK presenters if you genuinely believe them to have delivered a quality message. Presenters value appreciation and with that constructive, skill honing advice.
If speaking to a paper, consider the speech first and distribution after. If audience members have the paper to hand while the presenter is presenting, they will focus on the paper, not the speaker.
‘AH’s’, ‘um’s’,’er’s’, and other speech glitches can happen unconsciously. Be aware and register them subconsciously as you speak. If aware, you can program them out of your speech. Try it – it works!
Using ‘metaphor’ and ‘anecdote’ to illustrate the point of discussion can be a very useful and identifying tool. “Likening phenomena unto…” using these illustrations identifies matter with audience.