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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.

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 Outdated facts and miscalculations aren’t the only factors that can affect your credibility as a presenter, but the way you talk can also ruin your authenticity as a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

4 Ways to Boost Your Likeability in Business Presentations

A likeable image has nothing to do with physical beauty. Looking the part might give you a charismatic appeal, your characteristics as a speaker are what actually attract interest, and engage your listeners.

Make a winning impression and boost your business relationships by working on what keynote speaker Tim Sanders calls the likeability factor. Presentation trainer, Cath Daley presents a list of questions that can help you determine your scale of likability. This involves aspects of your personality such as friendliness, relevance, empathy, and realness.

Here’s how you can enhance your innate traits to become a more likeable individual and more effective speaker:

Show Genuine Friendliness

The simple acts of smiling and disclosing some personal information make you look approachable and interesting. While a neutral face may sometimes be more appropriate in formal occasions, showing some emotion where needed connects your audience further to you. Communicate appreciation with small courtesies such as saying “thank you.”

Maintaining a professional reaction towards negative feedback also adds a more congenial feel to your business presentations.

Make Yourself Relatable

“Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self. “ – Dean Jackson

The skills to listen and to engage are not only essential in achieving life success, but also in attaining business growth. Demonstrating responsiveness during your pitch creates room for audience participation.

Express your willingness to understand their comments and observations about your presentation.

Express Passion and Compassion

If there’s one thing that Steve Jobs taught us about doing great work, it’s to love what you do. Business deals are closed when potential clients feel that you can offer them benefits. This is why your passion to inform your audience makes you a more likeable presenter.

Signify your intent by acknowledging your audiences’ needs and providing information that is designed to help them without difficulty.

Embrace Authenticity

Combine humility and positive vulnerability with your expertise to create authenticity. Show your listeners that you’re a human being with a sincere message. Share a personal experience that’s directly related to your pitch to add a human touch to the hard data you may be presenting.

Being confident without being arrogant makes you closer to your audience.

Conclusion

Become a likeable presenter to attract and engage your audience effectively. Increase your likeability factor to create meaningful connections that boost your business success.

Looking for pitch perfect slide presentations? Give us a call at 1-858-217-5144 or request a free quote from Slide Genius today.

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References

“Are You a Likeable Presenter? Which of These 10 Key Characteristics Apply to You?” CathDaley. Accessed July 30, 2015.
Body Language: Signify Intent with Movement.SlideGenius, Inc. October 20, 2014. Accessed July 30, 2015.
The Likeability Factor.” Tim Sanders. Accessed July 30, 2015.
Three Powerful Ways to End Your PowerPoint Presentation.SlideGenius, Inc. May 18, 2015. Accessed July 30, 2015.

How to Take Tough Questions Like a Presentation Expert

Q&A’s are the perfect opportunity for welcoming observations and clarifying people’s confusion about a certain idea. This opens the floor for deeper audience involvement, although a tough question could sneak through and ruin a stellar performance.

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Here are tips to handle your next Q&A session like a presentation expert:

Take Questions Only at the End

Take audience questions like feedback. They help tune up future presentations. However, taking queries during a structured speech distracts you, ruins your flow, and steers you off-track.

The main part of the speech is not the right time to field questions. If audience members attempt to sidetrack you while speaking, inform them politely that there will be time allotted at the end to address their concerns.

It’s important to avoid coming across as avoiding the question altogether. At the same time, you need to take control of your own presentation to deliver effectively and efficiently.

Don’t Lose Sight of Your Objectives

The Q&A session is a part of your presentation – and should still follow your goals. Set objectives to keep your overall speech concise and effective.

Avoid getting distracted or taken off topic. If you’re asked a question that might seem loosely connected, answer it in a way that always draws it back to your topic.

But never refuse questions, even those that seem difficult or out of your scope of research. Every question is an opportunity to make your message even clearer. In the face of an intimidating question, be honest with the audience, but say that you’ll get back to them once you’ve found the answer.

Keep Yourself Calm and Composed

Even if you’re legitimately taken aback by a hard question, never let it show. Letting your negative emotions show in the midst of a presentation makes you look unprepared and unprofessional, reducing your credibility.

People easily pick up on signs of nervousness such as stammering, fidgeting, shaking, and unnecessary vocal interjections (your uh’s um’s and er’s). Stage jitters can also get your adrenaline pumping, having the awkward side-effect of speeding up your speaking pace.

Taking a deep breath calms those nerves, and gives you a brief chance to quickly internalize and properly respond to the question. This short pause will make your answer more natural and articulate, as well as your speaking more relaxed and well-paced.

Conclusion

Answering questions is an important responsibility as a speaker. No matter how perfect your performance might have been, your listeners will always have additional questions. Address these questions in a way that makes you more effective and knowledgeable.

Need a well-designed deck to go with your speech? Check out our portfolio for ideas or contact our presentation experts for a free quote.

 

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Reference

“Responding to Questions Effectively.” University of Leicester. Accessed July 16, 2015. http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/presentations/questions

Three Major Presentation Fears and How to Cope With Them

Fears related to public speaking are some of the most common phobias. Take control of these fears and make the best out of all your chances to achieve success.

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We’ve broken down three big issues that can give you jitters, along with valuable ways to stomp them out for good.

Self-Consciousness

Your greatest enemy is yourself.

Specifically, it’s your own self-consciousness. Being self-critical increases your awareness of your flaws and shortcomings. There are times that you may worry over minute details and prevent yourself from properly preparing for your speech.

Stop thinking about yourself and focus instead on your presentation’s goals and objectives. Efficient planning and detailed goal-setting fine-tune your message and guide you towards more efficient and timely preparation. You’re the best tool that can deliver your message, so always be prepared.

Inevitable Mistakes and Errors

Mistakes can’t always be avoided. They can come in the form of a stutter, a misplaced slide, tripping on a small obstacle, or forgetting parts of your speech.

The sooner you accept the inevitability of making mistakes, the sooner you’ll realize that it’s easy to redirect your fears into constructive action towards self-improvement. It’s important, however, to refrain from apologizing. Pointing out what you did wrong when others may not have noticed draws attention to the mistake and reduces your credibility.

Make a conscious effort to learn from your errors and improve to set yourself on the right track to becoming a better presenter.

Repeating Past Errors

Previous fumbles can have repercussions on an upcoming speech, especially if you’re expecting to present in front of a familiar audience. This shouldn’t stop you from doing your job.

Just because you’ve slipped before doesn’t mean you’ll do it again for no reason. Be optimistic about your current presentation, and minimize all room for error by studying past mistakes and preparing as much as possible for it.

As we’ve discussed previously, credibility is a dynamic concept. If you’ve followed and imbibed the second tip, then you’ll have improved on your past mistakes, whether they’re from your previous pitches, or just five seconds ago.

Don’t immediately look at a mistake as a lost cause. Instead, grab it as an opportunity to surprise your audience and improve your reputation as an effective and adaptable speaker. Be spontaneous and innovative. You know your presentation best, so you’ll know how to give it a spin when you’ve forgotten what you were about to say, or when you encounter technical difficulties in the middle of your speech.

Conclusion

As a highly social species, we understandably don’t wish to disappoint other people. In the professional world, a bad presentation can affect job opportunities and financial security.

The sooner you conquer your fears, the faster you get on the road to becoming a better presenter.

Need a presentation deck to give you an edge? Check out our portfolio for inspiration, or contact our slide design experts for a free quote.

 

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References

Overcome Fear of Public Speaking.” anxietycoach. Accessed July 14, 2015.
Presentation Tips: 5 Easy Ways to Establish Your Credibility.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed July 14, 2015.

 

Featured Image: “A leaning child’s view through a skyscraper’s window and glass floor.” from Wikimedia

Presentation Tips: 5 Easy Ways to Establish Your Credibility

What does it take to convince an audience?

As we often say, the success of your presentation relies on how well the audience receives you. If you can present yourself as someone who is trustworthy and reliable, then you’re one step closer to achieving the outcome you want. This is why first impressions are particularly important in the world of business. When you’re trying to impress potential clients or investors, your message is only as good as how you present yourself.

So how do you establish your credibility and authority? How do you cast away any doubts that the audience may have about you? Aside from making sure you leave a positive impression, you also need to be careful about particular things in your presentation. The smallest misstep might cost you a successful outcome, so keep these presentation tips in mind:

Do your research

As a presenter, you’re expected to be knowledgeable about the topic you’re presenting. Make sure you know your subject matter inside out before you step on stage. Don’t just rely on the information that you already know or have. Research might be tedious work, but it’s the only way you can be sure that you won’t be blindsided during your presentation. What if someone asks a difficult question? What if there are points that you need to elaborate? Your credibility relies on your preparation.

Provide clear and specific data

Don’t expect the audience to take everything you say at face value. Always provide specific data to back up everything you say. You can’t expect your audience to verify your information on their own time. Lay out the numbers for them in a clear and discernible way. Make use of charts and illustrations to make sure that your data is presented in a comprehensible way.

Proofread your slides

Grammar slips and typos might seem like small mistakes, but they’re sure to cost you in the long run. As a presenter, your credibility rests on your communication skills. Aside from being an eloquent speaker, you also need to show that you’re a capable writer. Take the time to double-check your slides for any grammar and spelling mistakes. To be extra sure, you can also ask someone else to proofread your content.

Share your credentials

For pitches, it’s important to show your audience your accomplishments. Give your prospects a chance to see how well you’ve worked with previous clients or customers. You can show them brief testimonials or quickly outline your achievements. Don’t shy away from anything that will prove that you’re exactly what they’re looking for. Check this in-depth discussion to learn more about impressing investors with an awesome pitch deck.

Handle interruptions and mistakes with grace

As much as you prepare, you can’t always account for everything that could happen during a presentation. You might make a mistake. Your presentation might be interrupted by technical difficulties. Whatever happens, make sure you keep your composure. Handle any unscripted disruptions with grace. A sincere apology can go a long way to undo any negative impression you make.

As a presenter, you need to be careful with anything you say or do on stage. You also need to scrutinize every slide you show your audience. Any mistake—no matter how small—can easily hurt your credibility. Make sure you put your best foot forward with these quick and easy presentation tips.

 

Featured Image: Dennis Stachel for GDC Europe via Flickr