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Should You Memorize Your Presentation?

If there’s one thing people fear worse than death itself, it’s public speaking.

Professional speakers and experienced executives will often hire PowerPoint design services to focus on the visual aspect of their presentation. This way, they can maximize their time for speech preparation.

Sure, it can be nerve-wracking, but if done right, it will always feel fulfilling in the end.

Once you address your anxiety, it might make you a bit paranoid, but don’t worry about it—many people deal with this, too, and everyone has their own way of dealing with it.

While there are those who consider memorization as a means to reduce anxiety, others may find it difficult, consequently adding to their stress.

Dr. Genard, author of Fearless Speaking, thinks memorizing speeches is a terrible idea. To him, reciting from memory detaches the speaker from the audience. In addition, it makes them sound stiff and mechanical.

When stress and anxiety kick in, all the information you’ve memorized will disappear. These hijack the brain and reduce fluid intelligence—or the ability to solve problems. This was observed by Sian Beilock, an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago.

Instead of memorizing your presentation, rehearse as much as you can. Ask your peers to critique and give their feedback so you can apply these to the way you present.

Knowing the pitch like the back of your hand results in you delivering your pitch conversationally. This makes it easier for your audience to pick up on the emotions and reactions you’re trying to coax from them.

Break your ideas into bite-sized chunks and get to know the gist of each one, so you can describe them on your own later on. By then, it will become easy for you to play around with concepts to compare and contrast them with. This allows for a more authentic, on-the-spot performance, as you’re telling it with your own voice—making your expertise on the subject shine.

Darlene Price, a communications coach and the president of Well Said, Inc., stated in an article with Business Insider, that memorizing your opening is fine and recommended since the beginning of the pitch often carries a rush of adrenaline, empowering you to start strong and make a confident first impression.

The way you deliver your speech matters more than the content. No matter how interesting the information is, if you’re lacking confidence, it’s not going to come out right. Why sell your presentation short when you could be convincing people to trust you.

Above all, reciting a memorized pitch takes the authenticity and fun out of presenting. Custom PowerPoint presentations can provide the key points of your discussion, but it’s still up to you to carry the flow of conversation with confidence.

Presentation anxiety is normal and you shouldn’t make a big deal out of it. The only way to lessen it is to make sure that you’re prepared for it. Accept their feedback gracefully, so you can improve and deliver your next presentation with more confidence and conviction.

Turn the Can’t Do it Yet Mindset into a Presentation Asset

“The mind is a wonderful thing. It starts working the minute you’re born and never stops working until you get up to speak in public.” – Patricia Ann Ball

We’ve all heard the “I Can’t Do it Yet” excuse from those who refuse to respond to challenges and setbacks. Some think this is a lack of immediate mastery, a sign of weakness, or worse, inability to perform.

But this is, in fact, a positive intervention that can greatly influence everyone’s outlooks and events, to which presentations are no exemption.

Not yet ready for that very important client presentation? Don’t hold back.

Here’s how to use that ‘can’t do it yet’ mindset as your greatest asset:

Think Positively

It’s true that there’s always a first time for everything and that you can always do it better.

If you’re new to public speaking, and you think you can’t do it yet, focus on the possibilities that you can hone your skills over time.

Feed yourself with positive self-talk and look past the desire to look smart, to avoid challenges, criticisms, and failures.

Be open for growth and embrace every challenge that might come.

In case negative feedback and unexpected events happen during your pitch, treat them as a chance to improve the next time you present.

Doing this unleashes your full potential and manifests a great deal of behavior in both professional and personal contexts.

Put Extra Effort

There are two mindsets that shape our lives: one that’s geared towards fixedness and growth.

According to Carol Dweck, a fixed mindset sees risk as potential giveaways of inadequacies, while a growth mindset believes basic qualities as things that you can cultivate.

Even history’s most prominent speakers have experienced presentation jitters. Find lessons and inspiration from them to encourage yourself to keep learning and improving.

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Don’t get discouraged by your previous mistakes and other people’s perception of you.

Instead, put in extra effort to nurture your abilities and master useful skills.

Cultivate Motivation

What makes the “growth mindset” so winsome is that it creates a passion for learning, rather than a hunger for approval (Dweck, 2007).

The word ‘yet’ implies that something hasn’t occurred or happened at present. It’s like being stuck until you reach the final point.

In a brighter perspective, this word suggests one to become better when it finally comes up.

It has a catalytic effect on motivating oneself to achieve optimal success and improvement.

It sets you in a light mood and frees your mind from presentation anxiety, making you more confident and motivated.

Getting There

All things grow through application and experience.

Don’t let the ‘Can’t Do it Yet’ mindset stop you from reaching your highest potential.

Instead, see it as a tool for creating greater possibilities to climb the presentation ladder.

Wash the negativities away and focus on the positive things to come.

Put some extra effort to nurture your public speaking skills.

Always remain motivated to keep a steady pace and to ensure growth and success.

 

References

Britton, Kathryn. “I can’t do it. Yet.Positive Psychology News. June 18, 2014. Accessed November 2, 2015.
Popova, Maria. “Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives.” Brain Pickings. n.d. Accessed November 2, 2015.

Featured Image: “September 13, 2013.” by Arya Ziai on flickr.com

 

About SlideGenius

SlideGenius.com is your Power Point developer for business. Based in San Diego, California, SlideGenius has helped enhance the presentations of more than 500 clients all over the world, including J.P. Morgan, Harley-Davidson, Pfizer, Verizon, and Reebok, among others. Let us help you with your presentation needs! Call us at 1.858.217.5144 today.

3 Presentation Benefits of Using Silence as Strategic Pause

“There are times when silence has the loudest voice.” – Leroy Brownlow

Most presenters neglect how essential silence is during presentations. Instead, they focus on improving their vocal projection, pitch, and language choice.

However, speech trainer, Gary Genard, suggests that there are times when silence doesn’t necessarily indicate awkwardness.

When you’re overwhelmed by noise and can’t express yourself clearly, pause for a while. Embrace silence and let it guide you throughout your discussion.

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Let’s look at some of the benefits you’ll get when you use silence to your advantage:

Assists Learning

The sound of silence plays a key role in facilitating audience’s learning.

If you’re explaining a complicated situation or critical information, a moment of silence allows your audience to process and absorb your message.

Using silence as a strategic pause creates a smooth transition from one point to another. It also prevents your listeners from tuning out and getting lost in your pitch.

Develops Relationships

Pausing makes you more like a listener than a speaker. And this isn’t a bad thing, because you need to listen before you speak. It’s crucial, especially when responding to audience feedback and their questions.

Though silence is often interpreted as a nervous habit, it also indicates your willingness to listen. It gives your listeners a chance to speak up, demonstrating respect for them and what they’re trying to convey.

Creates Emphasis

Pausing at the right time builds emphasis and adds positive suspense that builds up to the meat of your speech.

As Mark Twain said, “The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.”

Silence is an effective tool for emphasizing dramatic statements, important details, and points that need to be clarified. Well-placed pauses for emphasis also take participant attention and interest further.

Demonstrates Confidence

Effective pauses demonstrate your control and confidence about your message.

Your courage to break the flow of your discussion shows an authoritative presence, supports your nonverbal communication, and enhances your relationship with your listeners.

When done properly, pauses don’t connote unease or ineptitude, but grace and power.

Conclusion

Using silence as a presentation tool makes you a more effective speaker.

When used properly, it can make it easier for your audience to catch up with what you’re saying. Pauses make you sound like you are willing to listen to your audience, creating a positive relationship with them. Well-timed silences also give you an air of confidence, especially when used to add drama to a significant statement.

Forget about the awkward silence. Instead, embrace its power in assisting your audience, building relationships, building up your speech, and demonstrating your confidence.

Looking for pitch perfect PowerPoint decks? Our dynamic team of presentation experts can take your PowerPoint’s selling power to the next level. Visit SlideGenius to learn more about the services that we offer.

 

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References

Dig into Your Presentation Audience’s Key Learning Styles.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 8, 2015. Accessed July 3, 2015.
Genard, Gary. “Public Speaking Tips: Silence Is One of Your Most Powerful Tools.TheGenardMethod. August 25, 2013. Accessed July 3, 2015.

 

Featured Image: “Silence” by Patrik Theander on flickr.com

Tips for Expressing Natural Body Language in Presentations

The fear of public speaking is a common obstacle that hinders you from delivering effective presentations. It affects your communication skills, making you more conscious of your words and your actions.

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Exuding a confident and relaxed image is important when presenting to a crowd. According to presentation trainer Olivia Mitchell, however, speaking with confidence doesn’t only involve your pitching skills, but also your body language.

Below are tips for best expressing natural body language during your presentations:

Pace Yourself

Walking and speaking at a slower pace allow you to move calmly.

Slower movements make it easier for you to get something across without looking nervous.

They prevent you from expressing boring and unnecessary body language like scratching your face, looking at the floor, and rocking back and forth, which can seriously undermine your speech and distract your audience.

Space Everything Evenly

The amount of space on your presentation stage is as important as white space in your presentation slide.

But unlike white space, you need to fill in the spaces of the stage with your movement. Don’t stand stiffly in the center. This creates a disconnect between you and your listeners.

Showing your audience that you’re comfortable in the spotlight builds up spontaneous movement and gestures.

Free Your Hands

You can’t naturally express nonverbal cues if your hands aren’t free.

Keeping them in your pockets, holding them behind your back, and folding them across your chest hinder you from making actions that complement your presentation idea.

The most natural hand position is hanging them loosely at your sides. This gives you total freedom to move them for emphasizing points or interacting with your audience.

Relax Your Shoulders

Your business presentation is an extension of your company, just as your hands are connected to your shoulders.

All those hand and finger motions are expressed gently and naturally if your shoulders are relaxed.

Maintain a professional stance that keeps the shoulders back, your head up, and hands up front to convey confidence, reinforce your message, and engage your audience.

Conclusion

Body language communicates assertiveness, appreciation, sincerity, and more.

Using nonverbal cues appropriately isn’t enough in presentations. They should also appear natural to mark an amazing speaking presence.

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References

Public Speaking Anxiety: Facts, Stats, and Methods to Beat It.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed June 11, 2015.
The 5-step Cure for Boring Body Language.” Speaking about Presenting. Accessed June 11, 2015.