As a speaker, you always need to establish your credibility the moment you step in front of your audience. You want their attention so you have to earn it by being confident and showing them that you know what you’re talking about.
A customized PowerPoint presentation is just half of your performance. Outdated facts and miscalculations aren’t the only factors that can affect your credibility as a presenter, but the way you talk can also ruin your authenticity as a speaker.
If you’re conducting a presentation soon, here are a few things you should remember NOT to do:
Yes, smiling keeps you physically and emotionally healthy, but when you overdo it, it can be unnerving. If your audience notices this, they will not perceive this as genuine warmth, but as insincere and mechanical.
Resist the urge to smile just for the sake of smiling and instead, do it when you’re talking about something you and your audience should genuinely smile about.
Most—if not all—speakers have gone through presentation anxiety once in their professional lives. It’s normal, but fidgeting is one of the things you should avoid during a sales pitch. Not only will this make you look uncomfortable, but your audience will sense a disconnect between what you’re saying to what you’re showing them right away.
If you pause as part of the natural flow of your talk, that’s fine, but if you stop talking in the middle of making a point, your audience will start to wonder if you’ve actually forgotten what you have to say. Not only will this make you look unprofessional, but it will seem like you’re not an expert on the topic.
Stop using filler words. Take a deep breath and relax.
Every speaker wants to show their enthusiasm when presenting in front of potential investors and customers, but too much of this energy can come off as anxiety rather than ease. These behaviors include jerky movements, rapid pacing, and talking too fast.
It’s understandable that you want to avoid putting your audience to sleep, but if you go overboard, it will look as if you’re talking at your audience instead of to your audience.
The same goes for being too stoic. Listeners might misconstrue your lack of energy as mechanical and disinterest.
When you’re an up-talker, your sentences end with a rise in pitch, making your declaratives sound like questions. This can be confusing to your audience because it will seem like you’re unsure of what you’re saying, whereas, your main goal is to convince them that what you’re offering is the best option.
You might not be aware that you’re doing these things, which is why you need to practice as much as you can. Ask your peers to provide feedback, as these will help you improve for the big day.
Once you finish your customized PowerPoint presentation, study it. Make sure you know it like the back of your hand—don’t memorize, internalize—and you’ll be sure to have a great presentation.
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Abrahams, Matt. “3 Speaking Habits That Are Damaging Your Credibility.” Inc.com. March 9, 2015. www.inc.com/matt-abraham/3-speaking-habits-that-are-damaging-your-credibility.html
Rehn, Alf. “Every Great Speaker Is a Fantastic Pauser—On Using Pauses and Silences in Public Speaking.” Medium. March 29,2016. medium.com/the-art-of-keynoting/every-great-speaker-is-a-fantastic-pauser-on-using-pauses-and-silences-in-public-speaking-84b64f28f070