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Public Speaking and Insincerity: What Ruins Authenticity?

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.

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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 Outdated facts and miscalculations aren’t the only factors that can affect your credibility as a presenter, but the way you talk can also ruin your authenticity as a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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References:

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

3 Tips to Avoid Being Late to Your Own Presentation

Time is an essential factor in most professional presentations.

It’s important to keep yourself on a schedule not only before your speech, but after it as well. However, even with the precautions against poor time management, people still end up showing late to meetings and presentations.

As a listener, tardiness is slightly forgivable. As a speaker, however, being late could cost you your credibility and your listeners.

If you’ve been late to your own presentation before, repeating your mistake definitely sends out the wrong message. People might stop attending your talks once you’ve become associated with tardiness. It doesn’t matter if it’s five or thirty minutes. People will remember.

Be on time by following three tips:

Don’t Stall

Lateness is often associated with laziness. According to management consultant Diana DeLonzor in her book, Never Be Late Again, this image is countered by a type of tardiness that’s caused by wanting to cram too many things in too short a time. In trying to get everything done at once, you might lose track of time and forget to get going.

If you find yourself identifying as a crammer, don’t let it get in the way of proper planning. Keeping a timetable to track your progress avoids procrastination. The definite outline of a set schedule prevents you from squeezing in any extra last-minute activities.

Know what time your presentation is going to start and plan your agenda around that. Give yourself a five-minute allowance for any unexpected complications you may encounter mid-preparation. Having spent all your time, gather all the materials you need and leave.

Don’t stall with extra activities. Get up and go.

Prepare for Downtime

Studies show that late people are really afraid of being early. Being punctual may trigger a deep-seated fear of not knowing what to do.

For presenters, arriving before the audience causes anxiety while waiting for the room to fill up. In such cases, learn to plan for the downtime. You don’t have to sit idly and let your stage fright consume you. There are a number of helpful activities you can do before your presentation. You can start doing warm-up drills that can improve your body language. It’s also possible to do some breathing exercises to ease your nerves. Simple things like stretching and taking deep breaths will keep you preoccupied long enough.

Once you’ve established that you have something to do with the spare time, you’ll find it easier to come on time.

Be Mindful

The most effective way to combat lateness is to be mindful. Check the time every now and then to see if you’re still on track. You may lose yourself in preparation and forget about doing the other things you need to do.

Another timetable comes in handy here. Being aware of how much time you spend on a task lets you improve your pace. However, this isn’t limited to pre-presentation. You can also apply this to your actual speech. Monitor yourself as you speak and make sure to end on time. Keeping your audience longer than the allotted span will also frustrate them and make them zone out on you.

Conclusion

Learn to overcome your tardiness.

Don’t stall during your preparation. Once you’re done, head out the door. If you arrive early and get anxious with the long wait, prepare activities to keep you busy during the downtime. Be mindful of the time you spend on everything to avoid upsetting your audience.

Delivering a good presentation involves improving all aspects of your performance, including your time management.

Need help with your presentation? Contact our SlideGenius experts today and get a free quote!

 

References:

Durayappah, Adoree. “The Real Reason Some of Us Are Chronically Late.” Psychology Today. November 14, 2014. www.psychologytoday.com/blog/thriving101/201411/the-real-reason-some-us-are-chronically-late
“Here’s How You Can Stop Being Late All the Time.” Time. May 22, 2014. www.time.com/106815/stop-being-late

 

Featured Image: “Time” by Moyan Brenn on flickr.com

Canons of Rhetoric: Using Presentation Language with Style

We started this blog series off with the relevance of invention and arrangement in crafting presentations.

This post focuses on the third canon known as style, or expression.

If the first two phases were concerned more with what is said, style concentrates on how it’s said.

It’s often thought of as ornamentation, which means “to equip, fit out or supply.”

However, style is more than frivolous decoration of ideas.

Let’s see how it can create a bigger impact in your pitch.

Here are the five virtues of style explored:

Correctness

Effective use of language is an important aspect of public speaking.

Presenters need to ensure clear and precise communication to captivate audiences and command their attention.

Even the most minute mistakes can attract rabid ridicule.

Error-free communication can keep you away from hostile comments and reactions.

Apply the nuances of language such as vocabulary, syntax, and grammar into your speech to secure your credibility.

Clarity

Making your audience “read between the lines” is a solid presentation killer.

It can trigger disinterest, especially if people don’t identify with your vocabulary and speaking style.

Be comprehensible to everyone.

Use strong verbs to add a punch in your message.

Keep your sentences and paragraphs short to avoid jumbling different points.

Speak with smarts and clarity to better connect with your viewers.

Evidence

This virtue of style doesn’t necessarily mean providing logical proof.

Evidence tackles language’s appeal to emotions.

It focuses on eliciting emotional responses from the audience.

Don’t just verbalize facts. Introduce arguments creatively.

Share some evocative experiences or stories to make your message more persuasive.

Use vivid descriptions that appeal to physical senses for more impact.

Propriety

Proper decorum must be observed in all instances, including professional speeches.

With respect to style, words should fit with the subject matter.

This concept governs the overall use of language with accompanying moderation and timeliness.

Gauge the event you’ll be speaking at, and try to measure the expected level of formality needed.

Develop your message and modify it to the given circumstances, occasion, and viewing audience.

A measured approach speaks volumes when presenting yourself as a consummate professional.

Ornateness

Ornateness is about building beautiful imagery and strong rhythm.

It adds impulse to truth with the power of poetry and metaphor.

Straight facts can end up boring your listeners.

You can spice up your presentation with sayings and expressions.

Explore classic figures of speech like alliteration, onomatopoeia, and antanaclasis

Smart use of idioms and turns of phrase add creativity and add fun to your idea.

Conclusion

This rhetorical canon embodies strong speaking skills which multiply the effectiveness of any idea.

With the right mix of virtues, effective style touches people’s emotions to create greater impact.

Delivering a speech isn’t just about going over a list of facts and data.

It’s also about communicating truth with poise, form, and finesse.

Master this canon to satisfy your audience’s appetite!

 

References

Classical Rhetoric 101: The Five Canons of Rhetoric – Style.” The Art of Manliness. March 13, 2013. Accessed October 16, 2015.
Virtues of Style.” Silva Rhetoricae. n.d. Accessed October 16, 2015.

 

Featured image: “Procession on the Ara Pacis (I)” by Institute for the Study of the Ancient World on flickr.com