The new year will always usher in plenty of opportunities. Be ready for a productive and fulfilling year by learning to improve your communication skills. Professional success relies on our ability to present and share new ideas. If you want your projects to keep moving forward, you need to focus on improving your skills as a presenter.
Keep your ideas afloat and the audience engaged with our own version of New Year’s resolutions:
1.) Start integrating storytelling into your presentations
You can’t separate storytelling from the presentations you deliver. It’s not enough to recite facts in front of your audience. Whether you’re pitching to investors or convincing clients to get on board, a story is the most powerful tool in your arsenal. That’s because stories are built right into our DNA. As social beings, we connect with each other through storytelling. What better way to get the audience to sit up and listen than by sharing a great story?
So what makes a great story? How can you spin your presentation into a compelling narrative? There are three things you need. First, you need to start with a message that resonates with your audience. Next, you need to have a character they can relate to. Lastly, you need to structure your presentation in a way that really pulls the audience in.
2.) Deliver a better presentation by fixing structure
Structure isn’t just important to presentation storytelling. Creating a well-structured presentation is also helpful for the audience. If you create a clear and discernable structure, they’ll be able to follow what you’re saying much easier. They won’t feel like you’re dumping a huge amount of information because you’ve carefully arranged them in a way that makes sense.
Aside from making sure that your presentation has a discernible beginning, middle, and end, keep all your points and arguments grouped according to specific themes. According to Barbara Minto’s Pyramid Principle, you can tackle one theme at a time, and the audience can easily categorize your ideas into groups.
3.) Improve the quality of your presentations through practice
Of course, you can’t expect to improve your skills without putting in some work. Aside from making sure your presentation is perfected, you also have to improve the quality of your delivery. You won’t be able to do that without taking the time to practice.
A lot of people think they can ‘wing’ their presentations. However, presentations are more than just being familiar with your materials. You also need to know the proper way to address the audience. The only way you can prepare for that is by rehearsing the way you’ll speak and move in front of people.
4.) Create a memorable experience by appealing to emotions
A presentation doesn’t have to be a dull affair just because you’re delivering an informative report. You can still create a memorable presentation that’s accurate and straight to the point. Strive to create a significant connection with the audience by appealing to their emotions.
What emotions are significant to your presentation? Do you want to make this a light-hearted affair? Or do you want to deliver a sense of urgency? Think of your emotional anchor and plan your presentation around it. Make sure your story and visuals contribute to conveying it. You should also focus on how you deliver your presentation. Emotions are also conveyed through speech and movement, so be mindful of your body language.
2015 brings an abundance of new opportunities. Don’t let them go to waste. Make sure all your points are well-presented. Deliver better presentations and achieve greater outcomes with these helpful but oft-neglected tips.
“The Minto Pyramid Principle: A Powerful and Compelling Process for Producing Everyday Business Documents.” Barbara Minto. Accessed January 11, 2016.
Zak, Paul. “Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling.” Harvard Business Review. October 28, 2014. Accessed January 11, 2016.
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