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Perfecting Your Choreography for Professional Presentations

For performers, choreography combines proper body movements, positioning, and timing to elevate their act. Dancers rehearse their performance by familiarizing themselves with corresponding dance steps. Visiting the venue helps them experience the actual feeling for the live show.

Stage players also do this by matching their lines with appropriate body movements and gestures to engage the audience. They rehearse in the venue to arrange the setup, make minor adjustments, and be comfortable with the blocking and placement. Similarly, perfecting your movements can help you improve your pitch delivery, boosting your convincing ability.

Choreograph Your Pitch

Since choreography relates to physical space between the speaker and the audience, this is where the four spatial zones (intimate, personal, social, and public) take place.

  • Intimate space covers a foot and a half to zero, and is usually reserved for significant others.
  • Personal space ranges from four feet to a foot and a half – the right amount for close friends.
  • Social space spans twelve feet to four feet. This is sufficient for large gatherings and social functions.
  • Public space goes beyond twelve feet. As the name suggests, is best for public speaking.

As a presenter, you don’t have to stay within the public space all the time. Audience interest increases the closer you move to them.

Activate Your Audience’s Mirror Neurons

Interacting with a large audience is possible thanks to mirror neurons. As author Vicki Kunkel defines in her book, Instant Appeal, a mirror neuron allows people to experience the same feeling when observing others, mirroring their behavior as if they’re in the same situation.

Communications expert Nick Morgan suggests this technique when you’re in a crowd of 500 people have no room or time to engage each of them. In this case, you can connect freely with your audience by moving towards chosen audience members.

Kunkel cites Dr. Wayne Dyer, a well-known speaker, who knows this technique by heart. When telling a story, he’s able to make his audiences feel that they’re actually on the same occasion. He also uses typical stage areas when making and emphasizing a point. For example, when he describes an event or a situation, he stays in one location. He transfers to another position when he tackles another issue or topic.

This makes the performance more chronological and understandable, where audiences can easily follow. Let’s take a look at some room setups which you can best maximize to your advantage:

1. U-Shape Setup

This setting lets you engage your audience at the center, then walk towards them at some part of your speech.

Be careful not to show your back to some audience members. Eye contact shouldn’t be discarded since it contributes to your connection with the audience.

2. Classroom Setup

This style depends on the number of aisles in a classroom. If it has only one, you can walk through to move closer to some of your listeners in the middle. In this case, you interact more with the people sitting in front.

If there’s no aisle, stay in front and proceed with your pitch. Compensate with your body language to emphasize your points, and you’ll still connect with them.

3. Auditorium Setup

If you’ll be giving your speech in an auditorium, it’s advisable to practice in the actual venue more than once. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the area, and think of best strategies to engage the audience. A venue this large gives you more chances to maximize the stage.

Let your audience know your desire to connect with them by supporting your pitch with the right body language.

In Conclusion

Choreographing your presentation helps you maximize space and grab attention. Meanwhile, activating your audience’s mirror neurons through body language provides an emphatic and emotional connection.

Lastly, familiarizing yourself with the different room styles engages audiences more effectively for impactful professional presentations. Plan your pitch like a stage performance to get the best out of any public speaking opportunity.

To help you with your presentation needs, SlideGenius experts can offer you a free quote!

 

References

Morgan, Nick. “How to Choreograph Your Presentation.” Forbes. April 11, 2013. Accessed August 12, 2015. www.forbes.com
Kunkel, Vicki. Instant Appeal: The 8 Primal Factors That Create Blockbuster Success. New York: AMACOM, 2008.

 

Featured Image: “Poly Prep – Afternoon of Student Choreography” by Steven Pisano on flickr.com.

3 Small Talk Habits That Delay Professional Presentations

Don’t boring scenes make you want to press fast-forward?

If you’re bad at entertaining your audience, then they’ll want to fast-forward your professional presentations, too.

But what makes a scene boring?

There are many reasons for a dull presentation, but one of the most notorious is because the presenter is trying to cover up a lack of preparation.

Here are 3 delaying tactics you should avoid:

1. Overdoing Background Information

Introductions are where you engage audiences so that they’ll listen to you from start to finish.

However, taking too long to get to your main point will bore them to death.

Avoid including too much background information in your script.

Anecdotes are a great way to start a pitch, but make sure it’s directly related to your core idea, or else you’ll just go off-track.

Instead, go straight to your main points point and work on particular details that best inform and educate the crowd.

2. Stating the Obvious

Everybody knows that the Earth is round and the sky is blue.

Why tell your audiences information that they probably already know?

If you’ll be mentioning well-known facts, make sure that you have follow-up questions or points for discussion.

For instance, look for the reasons behind the fact, concrete examples that demonstrate that data, or ways how you could take advantage of it.

Otherwise, skip that piece of information altogether.

3. Delaying the Solution

Your audience is there for a reason: they’re looking for something beneficial that you can give them.

If you fail to deliver, then you’ve failed your audience.

Build-up is important, but spending too much time hyping up your offering could cause your audience to doze off from boredom.

Worse, they may get annoyed and think that your pitch was a waste of time.

Caring about your audience involves giving them what they expect from you. Offer something that makes them think that they’re your priority. Don’t give them the opposite of what they’re looking for.

Get Straight to the Point

Why would you end up delaying your presentation in the first place?

Often, this is a result of not preparing for the big day.

Careful planning allows you to craft and organize your script. It helps you recognize what is valuable to your audience.

When you plan for your next presentation, instead of talking about how significant your topic is, make sure to go straight to delivering your main point.

Remember: avoid including too much background information, stating the obvious, and delaying the solution.

Avoiding these delaying tactics is your ticket to the fast-lane of engaging, convincing, and sales-worthy presentations.

References

Burns, Tony. “Does Your Audience Want to Fast-Forward You?Speaking About Presenting, August 6, 2014. Accessed July 1, 2015.

5 Warm-Up Exercises for Professional Presentations

Utilizing your whole body is a must when presenting in front of a crowd.

Non-verbal communication makes a difference in getting your message across effectively and concisely. What you do physically should match what you’re saying, as any inconsistency between visual and verbal delivery could make your audience doubt the authenticity of your claims.

After all, audiences don’t only have ears – they have eyes, too.

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To make the most out of your body language skills and look more professional, do some warm-up exercises before you step up and deliver your presentation.

1. Take Deep Breaths

As with any warm-up, you have to do some breathing exercises first. This calms you down and prepares your body for the stretching you’ll be doing.

To get yourself at peak alertness, we recommend the Bellows Method. This entails breathing rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Doing this also invigorates and primes you for that important pitch ahead.

2. Relax Your Neck

While standing up straight, rest your head forward, and slowly rotate your neck around your shoulders. Do this both clockwise and counter-clockwise. Make sure not to overdo it. Rotate as gently and as naturally as possible.

This frees your neck from tension and relaxes you.

3. Wiggle Your Hands

Hand gestures are the easiest tools for conveying your message in a simple and effective manner. Wiggling your hands not only improves blood flow, but also loosens your muscles.

Properly using hand gestures can have a dramatic effect on how your audience listens. Make sure to prepare your hands well to get the best out of them.

4. Stretch Your Legs

Moving around is as important as waving your hands around, especially with a large crowd. Therefore, ensure that your legs are in top shape before you step up. You can achieve this by doing your basic lunges, alternating each leg.

To avoid missteps or trips, stretch your legs before your pitch.

5. Exercise Your Face Muscles

Don’t worry. Your parents were wrong when they said your face would stay that way forever. Your facial expressions are important for emphasizing emotions that you wish to invoke in your audience. Contort your face in every possible way to stretch your facial muscles.

Doing this in front of a mirror also lets you be more comfortable with your appearance, and allows you to pick out the expressions and angles that show you at your best.

Summing It Up

Public speaking isn’t all about using only your mouth. Your body language matters, too. Enhance and complement your pitch by preparing yourself physically and mentally. To avoid cramping up and embarrassing yourself, don’t forget to do preparatory exercises. Make sure to stretch and loosen up your whole body.

Start with some deep breathing to calm yourself down. Breathing exercises prepare you not only for more stretching, but for the coming presentation. Then, work on releasing the tension in every part of your body, starting with your neck. Shake your hands to loosen them up, then do some quick lunges to stretches your legs.

Finally, don’t forget that you face has muscles, too, so make all sorts of expressions to warm them up. Warming up your body helps you warm up your mind, making you more alert and efficient during your presentation.

Need a well-designed PowerPoint deck for more professional presentations? Contact SlideGenius for a free consultation.

 

References

Breathing: Three Exercises.Weil. Accessed September 10, 2015.
How to Use Body Language Like a Presentation Expert.” SlideGenius, Inc. June 02, 2015. Accessed September 10, 2015.
Presentation Warm-up Exercises.” Syntaxis. Accessed September 10, 2015.

Finding Common Ground: Key to Professional Presentations

Inevitably, you’ll encounter a crowd of listeners with highly mixed and diverse backgrounds.

Their differences can be in levels of knowledge, perspectives, responsibilities, and expectations. They’ll likely have concerns that mirror their diversity.

You want to address all their issues without taking too much time presenting.

At the same time, you want to make sure your approach caters to all their learning needs.

Professional speakers can bridge the gaps inbetween by finding common ground to optimize their presentation.

Understand Their Perspective

Always begin by finding out as much as you can about who you’ll be presenting to.

If possible, request help from intermediaries to get you in contact with people who’ll be attending your presentation.

Find out as much as you can about their experiences and competencies, their important concerns and questions, and their preferences in enjoying presentations.

In case you can’t talk to them personally, ask people of similar backgrounds to give you an idea of what you need to do to better prepare.

If you’re unable to get in contact with your potential audience in advance or ask people of similar qualifications, come to the venue early. You can use this extra time to mingle with your audience before the appointed time.

Not only will this lessen your chances of running late, it’ll also make you look more professional because the audience will see that you don’t waste anybody’s time.

Identify and Avoid Misunderstandings

Sometimes, an investment pitch will be unsuccessful because the audience misunderstood or misinterpreted information.

Usually, you can answer questions through a Q&A session after your main presentation.

However, you can avoid this problem altogether by researching your information and checking your facts correctly.

Don’t get tangled in an awkward situation where an audience member catches you on factual mistakes. This embarrassment can cost you potential clients.

Also, base all of your arguments on clear data. Avoid jumping to conclusions based on incomplete raw numbers or facts.

Don’t prematurely claim a long-term upward trend in profits based on just one week of data with a sample size of one sole company.

The one thing an audience will hate more than being confused is being willfully deceived.

Connect the Dots

Now that you know what your listeners have in common, you can easily craft a message that speaks to each of them, while sounding like you understand them as a whole.

Based on what you’ve found out about them, you can easily determine which stories or metaphors the whole crowd can relate to.

This will also help you determine if you can speak in a more conversational tone or if it would be safer to use a more formal tone.

Knowing the composition of your audience also lets you decide the amount of jargon you can let through with your speech. You wouldn’t want to seem highfaluting while explaining to a crowd of marketers, would you?

Common Ground

A diverse group of listeners requires an approach that caters to each one of them, while also connecting with all of them simultaneously.

Getting into their head allows you to best cater your message for your mixed audience.

Proper and responsible research and fact-checking avoids embarrassing situations and misinformation.

All of this guides your message and allows you to deliver it to best inform, engage, and convince.

Find the common ground to radiate a credible professional vibe for any presentation opportunity.

References

http://smartblogs.com/leadership/2014/06/17/finding-common-ground-with-your-audience/