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How Stage Presence Can Boost Your Presentation

A speaker standing still throughout a presentation is dull to watch. The audience may not relate with your message if you don’t show enough interest in delivering it. In the same way, if you move excessively onstage, you may risk distracting your viewers from the content of your presentation. Exaggerated and unnecessary movements only make you look like you’re trying too hard. You should know how to carry yourself under the limelight. Smoothly transition from one point to another using fluid movements.

The Power of Body Language

Dynamic speakers maximize their stage presence by moving around and owning the stage. They also use appropriate body movements that help accentuate their point. Moving purposely and naturally will give you an opportunity to foster a bond with your audience. Being dynamic onstage will endear you to your audience and help you win their attention and favor.

How Stage Presence Can Boost Your Presentation: Captivate Interest

Captivate Interest

A compelling speech and a well-designed PowerPoint deck will only win you half the battle. Ultimately, the success of your presentation lies on how well you deliver it. What’s a good content if it can’t be understood by the audience? When stressing an idea, match your words with the proper gesture and non-verbal cue. Use appropriate body language so as to stress your message. Remember, content, design, and delivery work hand in hand. You need to put equal emphasis on all three for your presentation to be successful.

How Stage Presence Can Boost Your Presentation: Stimulate Emotions

Stimulate Emotions

Certain body movements are so engaging that you can use them to invite your listeners to join in the conversation. You can make your presentation feel like a dialogue rather than a monologue by simply putting a variation in your movements. The more you make your audience feel included, the more you can build rapport with them. Once you have that connection, your audience will be more likely to remember your message and share it to others. 

How Stage Presence Can Boost Your Presentation: Highlight Transitions

Highlight Transitions

When you’re relating a narrative that involves occurrences from the past and present and some hopes or predictions for the future, you can move around the stage to establish the transitions between them. For instance, you can start ambling to one side of the platform to communicate that you’re talking about the past. Then, you can walk to the other side to show a change of perspective. Your audience will get a hint that you’re now talking about the present. Finally, when you return to the center, your audience will know that you’re moving on to future events. Needless to say, you need to make these transitions look and feel natural. Draw a pattern in your movements, but make sure the audience won’t detect it. 

Move with Meaning

Now that you know how important body language is when delivering a presentation, you’re probably wondering how you can use it to your advantage. There’s only one sure way to master this skill: REHEARSE. As ironic as it sounds, rehearsing your movements onstage will help you carry and deliver them with grace. Practice until your non-verbal expressions look seamless and natural. Moving with purpose and meaning will make you look confident onstage. But more important than this, it can make your audience feel more engaged and included. Make sure not to forego an impactful body language.

 

Resources:

Galarza, Erin. “Public Speaking: Developing Stage Presence.” Percolate. February 25, 2015. blog.percolate.com/2015/02/public-speaking-developing-stage-presence

Gallo, Carmine. “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience.” Presensatie. 2010. www.presensatie.nl/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Presentation-Secrets-Of-Steve-Jobs.pdf

Genard, Gary. “The 5 Key Body Language Techniques of Public Speaking.” Genard Method. May 31, 2015. www.genardmethod.com/blog/bid/144247/The-5-Key-Body-Language-Techniques-of-Public-Speaking

Young, Graham. “To Move or Not to Move When Presenting.” Young Markets. October 10, 2012. youngmarkets.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/to-move-or-not-to-move-when-presenting

“Gestures: Your Body Speaks.” Toastmasters International. June 2011. web.mst.edu/~toast/docs/Gestures.pdf

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6 Tips to Keep Your Audience Engaged and Interested

Imagine looking intently at your audience ten minutes into your hour-long presentation. Imagine seeing, instead of eager faces, a sea of spectators wearing I-don’t-want-to-be-here looks. Some of them are yawning; others are glancing at the time. You also spot a few snoozing in plain view, as though daring for you to call them out. Any speaker facing this situation would undoubtedly be unnerved. After all, no one wants to feel like they’re imposing themselves to others.

The scenario you’ve just played out in your mind is a proof that presentations aren’t just about content. The way you say something is just as important as what you have to say, if not more so. No matter how unique and valuable your content is, it’s useless until you present it in an interesting manner.

The thing about presentation delivery is that it’s not a “one time, big time” deal. It’s not something you can apply only at the start and end of your speech. Building momentum isn’t enough; you need to be able to sustain it throughout the presentation. Since this is harder than it seems, we’re giving away some tips to help you with this ordeal.

Keeping Your Audience Hooked from Start to Finish

There’s a certain stigma that pervades presentations: boredom. Many people perceive speeches as nothing but a waste of resources. The time is ripe for you to join the few great presenters who aim to eradicate this stigma by delivering presentations that are interesting from start to finish.

1. Tell them outright why they should listen.

Your chosen topic should be something that the audience is interested in. If you want them to listen, give them a reason to lend you their ears. Unless you make the talk about them, it’s unlikely that they’ll care at all about what you have to say.

2. Give them enough mental challenge.

Presentations are neither about spoon-feeding your audience with information nor baffling them with incomprehensible data. To keep them hooked, you should provide them with enough mental challenges that will keep them occupied without straining their mental faculties. Dispose of anything that will either underchallenge (e.g. bullet points) or overchallenge (e.g. complicated graphs) them.

3. Turn your speech into a two-way discourse.

An effective way to engage your audience is to include them in the presentation. Cook up some strategies to switch the limelight from them to you. Audience interaction doesn’t come by accident; as the speaker, you need to be the ringleader of the action. By framing the presentation in a way that encourages participation, you’ll be able to keep your audience’s minds from wandering off.

One way to elicit engagement is to embolden people to ask questions. Getting their opinions will not only bring variety to the table but also deepen the conversation. You can also post interesting questions that will get them thinking from beginning to end. Also, leveraging social media by inviting your audience to tweet or blog about your presentation can go a long way in achieving interaction. If you only want minimal engagement, however, you can just poll your audience as a group. Ask them to raise hands or stand to show agreement or dissent.

4. Grab their attention with any kind of change.

Uniformity fosters boredom, so you should veer away from any predictable patterns of speech. Add any kind of nuance, however small, to draw your audience’s minds back to the presentation. There are a lot of aspects that you can modify in a speech. For example, you can change your style of delivery depending on the type of content you share. State facts with a deliberate tone and tell stories in an animated manner. You can also change the inflection of your voice to emphasize the differences between strong and trivial statements. By varying your vocal inflections, you can add emotional layers to your words.

Another thing you can modify is the type of media you use. For instance, you can shift from a PowerPoint slide deck to a whiteboard presentation. By incorporating these small changes in your presentation, you can recapture the audience’s attention every time their minds drift away.

Audience Attention Tips: Schedule Breaks Between Sections

5. Vary the types of content you share.

Don’t limit yourself to one type of content. While it’s true that facts and data are essential in business presentations, you shouldn’t let your speech turn into a lecture just because you can’t find creative ways to present your content. As much as possible, blend in some stories into your presentation. People are hard-wired to love narratives, so they’ll be more interested to hear what you have to say when you package your content that way. You can also use metaphors to illustrate a point, or draw from a personal experience to make an example.

There are other types of content you can add to your speech. For instance, a mind map can work for organizing your thoughts. Visual elements are also good for spicing up your presentation. If you can apply humor prudently, it can also be useful in lifting the boredom and energizing your audience.

6. Schedule breaks between sections.

Don’t underestimate the rejuvenating effects of a short break. Give your audience ample time to walk around, refill their drinks, take a breath of fresh air, and get the blood flowing through their legs once again with a quick stretch. These small activities will revive your audience and keep them from dozing off halfway through your speech. Schedule breaks where they apply and see an immediate improvement in the mood of your spectators.

When you feel inclined to settle for a mediocre presentation that will no doubt bore your listeners, just remember that having a ready audience to listen to you is a privilege. It’s an honor you can earn by devoting enough resources to make your presentation worth everyone’s time and effort. Apply the tips we’ve provided, and you’ll be taking a step in the right direction. Good luck!

Resources:

Belknap, Leslie. “How to Find a Story to Enhance Your Public Speaking Presentations.” Ethos 3. November 6, 2015. www.ethos3.com/2015/11/how-to-find-a-story-to-enhance-your-public-speaking-presentations

Brownlow, Hannah. “10 Ways to Keep Your Audience’s Attention.” Bright Carbon. June 18, 2015. www.brightcarbon.com/blog/10-ways-to-keep-your-audiences-attention

DeMers, Jayson. “10 Presentation Tricks to Keep Your Audience Awake.” Inc. August 11, 2015. www.inc.com/jayson-demers/10-presentation-tricks-to-keep-your-audience-awake.html

Grissom, Twila. “How to Make a Presentation: The Importance of Delivery.” CustomShow. November 27, 2014. www.customshow.com/giving-great-presentation-importance-delivery

Hedges, Kristi. “Five Easy Tricks to Make Your Presentation Interactive.” Forbes. January 28, 2014. www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2014/01/28/five-easy-tricks-to-make-your-presentation-interactive/#223ff6ae2586

Martinuzzi, Bruna. “How to Keep Your Audience Focused on Your Presentation.” American Express. September 14, 2012. www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/how-to-keep-your-audience-focused-on-your-presentation

Mitchell, Olivia. “7 Ways to Keep Audience Attention During Your Presentation.” Speaking About Presenting. n.d. www.speakingaboutpresenting.com/content/7-ways-audience-attention-presentation

Patel, Neil. “When, How, and How Often to Take a Break.” Inc. December 11, 2014. www.inc.com/neil-patel/when-how-and-how-often-to-take-a-break.html

Why Listening Is the Most Important Communication Skill

When was the last time you had a decent conversation? While some say that communication is “talking to” people, others would argue that a simple change of preposition can mean a world of difference between one-sided ranting and healthy dialogue. Try “talking with.”

Hearing and listening, as is often said, are not the same. A common difference in definition is that the former means your ear takes in the information. Scientifically put, it’s the physical phenomenon of vibrations in the air reaching your eardrums; thus, you hear many things, like the whistle of the breeze, the roaring of engines, or footsteps and claps. Meanwhile, the latter is more than just hearing; you also heed and keep in mind what the other is saying, taking in the details and assessing and analyzing their thoughts. When you get the facts straight, you can answer with and/or add your own insights—and eventually, an exchange of ideas. This, then, is discourse, a conversation.

No matter the setting, be it a business meeting, negotiation, personal relationship, etc., listening precipitates proper understanding. While the act may seem simple, don’t underestimate the power of distractions. It could be the sound of a TV or a radio in the background or the whispering hum of a nearby motorcycle. It could be anything that takes your attention away from the one you’re listening to. Even your own thoughts can be a disturbance.

Communication is not a one-way street; you must do you own part too. Foster better conversations by listening because it…

Communication Skill 101: Encourages Open-Mindedness

Encourages Open-Mindedness

Sure, you’re an individual with your own thoughts, judgments, and biases (which, in perspective, isn’t inherently wrong or bad since it’s human nature). But shutting your mind to your own prejudices is a surefire way to close yourself off from the point and mindset of the person you’re talking with. Worse is that you will only spiral down to the mentality that you have a solution you can’t keep inside and interrupt them so that you could speak. This is a very rude gesture. Avoid it at all costs.

Instead, be openminded and receive with no preconceptions or assumptions. If it helps, try thinking of yourself as a blank slate, and everything you hear and listen to is carved onto you. It’s a different take on empathy, but it helps you be in the speaker’s shoes. It helps you connect and relate. And that’s when the magic begins.

Helps Understand

When you keep an open mind, you learn more about the situation and/or the person you’re talking with. You mentally process the information and analyze the details as they come. You don’t jump to conclusions; rather, you are guided by the information you received as you fit the pieces of the puzzle.

Seek to understand. By listening intently, you open yourself up to see what they see and feel what they feel. It’s more than empathy (but it does play an integral part). It’s also about creating a deeper connection and relationship with the person you’re talking with. Since there are no shortcuts to strengthening bonds, listening to understand is a good place to start.

Communication Skill 101: Allows for Better Responses

Allows for Better Responses

When everything has been said, you take things into consideration, be it the problem and its circumstances or the task at hand and its instructions. Knowing what the other party knows and feels about the whole matter makes responding easier and more natural, especially when it deeply affects them.

Because you listened, you have more insight on the stance of the person you’re talking with. You get to see deep into their minds and their thought processes. Then you come up with your responses and add to—or counter (but not argue about)—what they said.

There’s no more dancing around the issue, no more sugarcoating, and no more stepping on anyone’s toes. Listening makes you completely aware and sensitive of your partner and how they respond back to you, and that level of mindfulness goes a long way.

Deepens Bonds

Humans are social creatures. If you have no one to socialize with, you’ll most likely crave talking to anyone or anything—even a volleyball. People feel joy in being with others. Even the mere presence of someone satisfies the neocortex, the part of the human brain comprised of sections involved in social cognition.

This is the foundation of communication: the need to interact with others, be it casual storytelling, heavy rant sessions, or business meetings. Listening shows you’re not just there to talk and socialize; it gives people the comfort and security that what they say is heard, understood, and taken to mind and heart. That puts them at ease, and the trust slowly builds and/or strengthened. You know more about them, and they get to know more about you.

Of course, you’re not the only one who should listen. Ideally, communication is a two-way street. When you’re the one talking, the other should focus on you and on what you’re saying and vice versa. This is common courtesy. There are more rude gestures than interrupting one when speaking, like imposing your unsolicited solution.

A cornerstone of any great relationship is communication. The better the communication, the more lasting the bond. Don’t waste a good one just because you feel the need to talk over the person you’re speaking with. Instead, let it be a proper conversation. Listen, then talk. Talk, then listen. It’s about the giving and taking.

 

Resources:

Bush, Mirabai. “Why Listening Is the Most Radical Act.” Mindful. January 31, 2017. www.mindful.org/why-listening-is-the-most-radical-act

Feintuch, Stacey. “9 Things All Good Listeners Do During Daily Conversations.” Reader’s Digest. n.d. www.rd.com/advice/relationships/how-to-listen

Foster, Nancy. “Good Communication Starts with Listening.” Mediate.com. n.d. www.mediate.com/articles/foster2.cfm

Hellesvig-Gaskell, Karen. “The Difference Between Hearing & Listening Skills.” Livestrong.com. April 16, 2015. www.livestrong.com/article/83661-difference-between-hearing-listening

Roua, Dragos. “After I Read This, I Started to Speak Less and Listen More…” Lifehack. n.d. www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/6-benefits-speaking-less-and-listening-more.html

Schilling, Diane. “10 Steps to Effective Listening.” Forbes. November 9, 2012. www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2012/11/09/10-steps-to-effective-listening/#12e324f73891

Verstraete, Mary. “What Is the Most Important Communication Skill to Acquire?” Center for Coaching Excellence. n.d. www.centerforcoachingexcellence.com/blog/the-most-important-skill-to-building-trust

Vrticka, Pascal. “Evolution of the ‘Social Brain’ in Humans: What Are the Benefits and Costs of Belonging to a Social Species?” The Huffington Post. November 16, 2013. www.huffingtonpost.com/pascal-vrticka/human-social-development_b_3921942.html

“Listening Skills.” Skills You Need. n.d. www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/listening-skills.html

“The Importance of Listening.” Boundless.com. n.d. www.boundless.com/communications/textbooks/boundless-communications-textbook/learning-to-listen-and-helping-others-do-the-same-5/understanding-listening-29/the-importance-of-listening-132-8285

“The Importance of Listening, and Ways to Improve Your Own Skills.” Udemy Blog. December 13, 2013. blog.udemy.com/importance-of-listening

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Public Speaking Fear: Getting Rid of It in a Jiffy

Let’s face it: public speaking is frightening. Even the best speakers experience jitters before they go onstage. They just hide it really, really well—or they’re so used to stage fright that it’s no longer an issue after their warmup exercises.

Audience members pick up on signs of discomfort when you as a speaker have a hard time onstage: excessive sweating, stuttering, shortness of breath, etc. When they do, you become more conscious about what you’re doing, and the anxiety starts to build up. Does that mean you’re not ready? Possibly.

There’s no denying that some people, to no fault of their own, have a hard time dealing with high-stress situations—and you can bet that giving a speech in front of a crowd is stressful. Imagine the scenario: You’re minutes away from being called onstage. Your presentation is ready, perhaps designed by a PowerPoint design agency. The lights focus on your spot. But backstage, butterflies are abuzz in your stomach; your knees are shaking, and your palms are sweaty. You feel a bit lightheaded. Dizzy even.

These are uncontrollable responses to nervousness. While completely natural, especially in the context of public speaking, they’re still something that faze lots of people—80 percent of the US population, in fact. However, there are people easily debilitated by the mere thought of speaking in public. Those who suffer from a specific social anxiety disorder, glossophobia, feel nauseous and are prone to having panic attacks, which is why they try to stay away from doing it as much as possible.

For those who need to speak in public, though, how do you deal with stage fright? The ways to do it vary from person to person since each individual handles stress differently. Check this infographic to learn a few tricks to calm down and nail that speech.

Resources:

Hagen-Rochester, Susan. “Got Public Speaking Jitters? Experts Say Embrace the Fear.” Futurity. April 8, 2013. www.futurity.org/got-public-speaking-jitters-experts-say-embrace-the-fear

McClafferty, Alex. “12 ‘Fear of Public Speaking’ Symptoms and How to Beat Them.” Forbes. January 12, 2015. www.forbes.com/sites/alexmcclafferty/2015/01/12/fear-of-public-speaking/#b4fe7fd37a0c

Morgan, Nick. “Why We Fear Public Speaking and How to Overcome It.” Forbes. March 30, 2011. www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorgan/2011/03/30/why-we-fear-public-speaking-and-how-to-overcome-it/#4848c54fea43

Jamieson, Jeremy P., Matthew K. Nock, and Wendy Berry Mendes. “Changing the Conceptualization of Stress in Social Anxiety Disorder: Affective and Physiological Consequences.” Clinical Psychological Science. 2013. journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2167702613482119

Becoming a Better Presenter: From Bad to Superb Presentation Skills

Have you ever come across a speaker who knocked you breathless with his or her speech? A speaker who pulled you to the edge of your seat and made you feel like you’re part of a privileged audience? At least once in your professional career, you’ll be granted the chance to be that speaker. You’ll find yourself holding the opportunity to make an impact and leave a lasting impression that will resonate with the audience for a long time.

It doesn’t matter if you’re ready or not. Circumstances don’t choose their preys. You’ll have no choice but to take the limelight when the moment strikes, so bask in its glory while you can. No excuse is good enough to turn down an opportunity to be great at something. Greatness doesn’t happen by accident, and mastery doesn’t come in a snap. You need to invest both time and effort to be a better presenter.

Below are some aspects of public speaking that you can hone with dedication and perseverance.

Building Around Your Core Message

You can’t plunge head-first to a speaking engagement without fully understanding your core message. Take time to get your thoughts straight and identify the essentials of your speech. Don’t treat your presentation like a dumpster for ideas. If you cover too much material, your audience will end up either bored or boggled. In a typical public speaking setup, less is more, so know what to include in your talk and what to leave out. Once you have a tight grip on your message, structure your thinking so that you can present your ideas in a way that’s both interesting and comprehensible.

The Audience as Your Touchstone

You can’t preach to an audience that you know nothing or little about. Unless you speak with their interests in mind, don’t bother speaking at all. The audience is an important part of your presentation that you can’t ignore. You need to know their pains, opinions, desires, and goals. What do they understand about the topic? Where do they stand about the issue? How can you challenge them to think differently? How can you improve their lives?

Your presentation will be for nothing if the audience remains unreceptive to your message. Make sure your ideas don’t fall on deaf ears. Speak on a personal level to encourage your listeners to engage in a conversation with you. When you make the mistake of being self-righteous, you’ll lose the game. Remember, the goal is to communicate effectively, not to look impressive.

Crafting a Killer Slide Deck

Your supporting visuals can have a huge bearing on the success of your presentation, so make sure you use the right design elements across all your graphics. Do away with bullets, long texts, and cheesy slide transitions. Be consistent with the font, and stick to a simple color scheme. If you’re going to use an image, don’t go hunting in the clipart library—use high-quality stock images and authentic photos instead. If you need assistance for PowerPoint design, collaborate with a slide design artist who can take the aesthetics of your presentation to the next level.

Fine-tuning Your Presentation

How many stage presenters does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Four. One to do the actual task, and three to help him rehearse the act.

That may be a pathetic attempt at comedy, but it sums up the importance of constant practice in public speaking. Once you have your content and design all figured out, it’s time to put everything you’ve worked hard on to the test. Demonstrate your presentation to three qualified people, and elicit their feedback and reactions. Make sure to address everything they have to say. Find time to practice your gestures and rehearse your speech. Learn the piece by heart, and don’t stop until the day of your presentation. Don’t worry about over-practicing—there’s no such thing.

A Word on Authenticity and Confidence

Presentation jitters are natural, but that doesn’t mean you should let them overpower you. Don’t beat yourself up for having the urge to shy away from the spotlight. Although it’s true that the audience don’t want to see how nervous you are, they will likely empathize with you if you fail to keep your composure onstage. You’ll be amazed at how many people can relate to the nerve-racking feat that is public speaking. Just take deep breaths and remember who you are and what you’re there for. Tell yourself, “I have something unique that the audience wants, and I’m going to go ahead and share it.” Stamp out your self-doubt by letting your personality shine through. If you stick to the real you, the audience will be more willing to receive your message.

The Performance of a Lifetime

Take every public speaking assignment like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Prepare for it like it’s the performance of your life. If you look at it this way, you’ll be able to prepare thoroughly and put your best foot forward. While onstage, you need to project a good stage presence. You can do this by dressing professionally, establishing eye contact, taking full control of your voice, and breathing evenly. It would also do you and everyone else good if you respect your audience’s time by sticking to the schedule.

Of Passion and Enthusiasm

If there’s one thing you should be while delivering a speech, it’s enthusiastic. Nothing beats the warm vigor of a presenter brimming with passion about his or her speech. If you’re passionate, the audience will be too because passion is infectious. When all’s said and done, energy is more impactful than eloquence.

Becoming a better presenter will serve you well throughout your professional career. It will open new opportunities that you’ve never had before. Take your presentation skills to the next level, and watch as you get closer to finding success.

Resources:

Cummings, Harriet. “You Could Be a Better Presenter, Here’s How.” Distilled. August 21, 2014. www.distilled.net/resources/you-could-be-a-better-presenter-heres-how

Kaye, Jezra. “For Great Public Speaking, a Little Daily Practice Goes a Long, Long Way.” Speak Up for Success. n.d. speakupforsuccess.com/practice-a-little-every-day

Kim, Larry. “20 Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills.” WordStream. November 3, 2016. www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/11/19/how-to-improve-presentation-skills

Malone, Sean. “10 Tips to Become a Better Presenter.” Virtual Studio. August 17, 2010. www.virtualstudio.tv/blog/post/13-10-tips-to-become-a-better-presenter

Singer, Thom. “Get Noticed: 7 Tips for Better Presentation Skills.” Pragmatic Marketing. February 17, 2015. pragmaticmarketing.com/resources/get-noticed-7-tips-for-better-presentation-skills

“Authentic Public Speaking: Why Being Real Makes All the Difference.” Presence Training. January 18, 2014. presencetraining.co.uk/authentic-public-speaking-real-difference

“Enthusiasm: Bringing Passion to Your Performance.” Voice and Speech. n.d. voiceandspeech.com/articles/enthusiasm.html

Presentation Tips for Introverts: Conserving Energy

Introversion isn’t the same as being shy.

With enough preparation and focus, introverts are just as capable of being on stage as their more outgoing counterparts.

Though being in the spotlight isn’t something they enjoy, it’s something they can excel at given the right time.

It can also be draining to talk to a lot of people, so pace is important to keep things running smoothly.

Your confidence will naturally grow as you master your topic.

In addition, these presentation tips for introverts can help you further in your preparation.

Conserve Energy

While extroverts draw energy from social interactions, introverts draw their energy from within.

Pacing is crucial to avoid wasting energy while presenting.

If possible, craft a short speech to avoid running out of strength.

A shorter presentation also means that you’ll have more energy to expend engaging with your audience.

Prepare your deck thoroughly so you don’t fumble through your speech and lose your precious energy reserves.

Potential Power

Introverts are good listeners, but they can be good speakers as well.

Here are more reasons why introverts can be excellent public speakers too.

Overstimulation of their senses may cause them to withdraw in social situations.

Thankfully, speeches aren’t completely spontaneous and are conducted in an organized space.

Introverts can devote their time and energy to ensure an outstanding presentation, rather than rely on their personality to wow audiences.

Allocate Time

Use your strengths to conquer your weaknesses and you‘ll be a better presenter with practice.

Devote some time to figure out how you can improve the way you speak and how you structure your topic.

The focus should be on the message you’re trying to convey and not on you.

This kind of mindset takes pressure off of you, which allows you to focus on your content and delivery.

Pretending to be confident will work to your disadvantage because you’ll have to spend more energy trying to sustain this behavior.

Your energy is better spent elsewhere, and the time you spend working on your strengths will give you more room for growth.

Energy = Power x Time

Proper pacing should make delivering a speech look a lot less frightening.

Even if they feel up for to the task, introverts have the right skills to be in front of a crowd.

But they have a limited amount of energy to spend and need to manage it carefully.

Impress your audience through a message with a strong impact to alleviate the pressure to over-deliver.

Some presentation tips suggest faking confidence, but it’s much better to spend time building up your strengths.

With this, you’ll be true to yourself and the message you’re trying to get across through your deck.

Remember: introversion should never be an excuse for a subpar performance.

 

References

Cain, Susan. “Public Speaking for Introverts: 6 Essential Tips.” Duarte. February 1, 2013. Accessed October 23, 2015. www.duarte.com/blog/public-speaking-for-introverts-6-essential-tips
Cherry, Kendra. “What Is Introversion?” About.com. Accessed October 23, 2015. http://psychology.about.com/od/trait-theories-personality/f/introversion.htm

Featured Image: “Shy statue.” by fredrik Andreasson on flickr.com

5 Tips on How to Talk like TED

This is a guest post from Kalibrr.com.

If you’ve ever watched or attended a TED Talk, you can clearly tell how well each speaker delivers their presentation. Maybe at one point during the talk, it captured your attention, and somehow sparked a bit of curiosity, wonder, or perhaps, even action.

TED Talks have always been like that—they showcase moving, insightful, and powerful presentations on subjects that affect us all. It also means that, whether you like it or not, your next presentation would likely be compared to one.

So how do you turn yourself into a compelling speaker just like the TED speakers? Follow these tips and secrets from the speakers themselves and harness them to change any pitch or presentation you’ll ever do in the future:

1. Unleash the Master Within

Be passionate about what you’re trying to impart, because mastery forms the foundation for an extraordinary presentation. In order for you to become an inspiration to the five or one hundred people in the room, you have to feel like you inspire yourself too. Exude confidence with powerful body language and a commanding presence accompanied by a conversational and engaging tone. That’s the only way for you to persuade them to listen to the message you’re trying to communicate.

In this TED Talk, Why We Do What We Do, Tony Robbins, a psychologist and life coach, discusses the “invisible forces” that drives us to do what we do. These forces, usually grounded in emotion, can motivate ourselves and others. He invites us to explore our minds so we’ll have more to give, but more importantly, so we can understand and appreciate what drives other people too.

2. Stories Connect Us

This is backed by science, too! Brain scans reveal that stories stimulate and engage the human brain, so by telling compelling stories related to the topic, this helps the speaker connect with the audience by reaching into their hearts and minds.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg did this during her talk about women in the workforce. In order for her to be in sync with her audience, she had to connect with them in an emotional level. So she told this story of her three-year-old daughter tugging her leg and had asked her not to leave for work. This, she was sure, a lot of her female audience could relate to.

While statistics and data may support your argument, it’s the stories that connect you to your listeners. They illuminate, inform, and inspire. Tell more of them.

3. Stick to the 18-minute rule

TED speakers can speak for no longer than 18 minutes, and for a reason. Dr. Paul King, a scholar in the field of communication at Texas Christian University calls it “cognitive backlog,” a process where too much information actually creates anxiety. In other words, giving out too much for a long period of time wouldn’t be that effective anymore—your listeners simply cannot remember them all.

TED Curator Chris Anderson said that a presentation should only be long enough to be serious and get the message out, but short enough to hold people’s attention.

4. Deliver jaw-dropping moments

Jaw-dropping moments are anything in a presentation that evokes strong emotional response such as joy, fear, or surprise. These actually grab the audience’s attention and are the moments that will stick to the audience long after the presentation is over.

Bill GatesMosquitos, Malaria and Education is one good example of a jaw-dropping moment. During his talk about malaria in third world countries, he presented the audience with a glass jar containing mosquitoes, and told them that he was going to set them free so that they, too, can experience malaria. Despite the fact that those mosquitoes weren’t carriers of the disease, the stunt still brought his listeners to attention.

5. Practice relentlessly

No TED speaker became an expert in public speaking overnight. It took them probably since the beginning of their careers to hone those skills. Practice relentlessly and internalize the content or message you want to communicate. Most successful speakers in the world practice their talks more than a hundred times before delivering them to the public. When you know your presentation well, it’ll just be like having a conversation with a close friend.

Kalibrr is an online job matching platform based in the Philippines with over 5,000 customers worldwide. Kalibrr’s vision is to connect talent to opportunity at scale. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for more career advice.

The Hunt is On: How Presentations and Easter Eggs are Alike

“Resurrection Sunday,” commonly known as “Easter,” is an annual Christian celebration, with Easter Eggs being symbols of rebirth. Today, this celebration is usually associated with rabbits and decorated eggs, with Easter Egg hunts being one of the most exciting and highly anticipated events.

As a professional presenter, you can share the same fun and excitement to your audience. Showcasing your proposal as a treat for their business is a good way to get them interested in what you have to say.

Compelling slides and pitches can help you achieve your goal, so get a head start by gathering useful facts about your topic, removing unnecessary information that can mislead the audience, and incorporating your idea with visuals that accentuate your content. However, you also need to consider other elements that can complement your overall idea, such as body language and hand gestures. Your content and delivery work hand in hand to convey your message clearly and give life to your performance, ensuring success.

It’s no surprise that you want to give the best for your audience, but it’s impossible to do this unless there’s mutual effort from both parties. While you’re aiming to deliver your existing message in a way they can easily understand, most audiences are much more excited to hear about something new.

How, then, can you take inspiration from Easter egg hunts to spice up your presentation?

Let the Hunt Beginlet the hunt begin | easter eggs

Award-winning speaker and marketing expert Chakisse Newton says that some pitches have ideas that are like treasures from an Easter egg hunt: useful and sought-after but hidden too well. When presenting to your audience, though, you don’t have to make your meaningful insights so hard to find. First, get them excited about what they can expect to hear from you, like when you are getting people excited about what treasures they’ll find. Then, present your ideas in a way that isn’t obtuse—make it clear but give them just enough hints at the beginning to get them wanting for more. Give them facts, guidelines, and benefits to capture their interest and motivate them to take action, whether in the form of relatable videos or visual representations.

However, it’s not just about sharing information that you think is relevant to your subject. Rather, it’s about meeting their needs without making them have to spend too much time finding your core message. Here are some possible ways to generate audience interest and convince them to look for hidden treasures from within your presentation without making it so hard that they give up and quit:

1. Surprise the Audiencefinding easter eggs

Packaging your proposal as a surprising treat is a good way to arouse people’s curiosity. Just like in an Easter egg hunt, children look forward to the surprises that they’ll run into as they hunt for their prizes. Likewise, your audience will look for something that makes you stand out from the competition.

This is why answering your listeners’ most important concern is still one of the most effective ways to make them more interested and attentive. That question is: “What’s in it for me?

Before you stand in front of the crowd, make sure you’ve taken the time to find an answer to their question. While establishing facts enhances learning, telling stories can stimulate curiosity as it allows the crowd to visualize what they’re being told about. By using familiar tropes, arcs, and outlines, you can use storytelling to make your point easier to find and understand.

You also need to prepare your outline as well as a list of facts to help you meet their expectations. This includes conducting research or surveys about their interests and then matching the results to your topic’s main message. Don’t let that excitement die down. Arrange all the necessary things, such as your visually appealing PowerPoint deck and fresh insights, to excite the audience on your big day.

2. Satisfy Their Needseaster egg hunt

Some Easter egg hunt organizers handle such events for fund-raising projects, knowing that investing in this kind of activity can provide benefits to others. Likewise, addressing your audience’s needs makes them feel that you care about their problems more than your own. Giving them enough reasons to stay connected also makes them feel that you’re worth their time and effort.

Above all, show that you value their presence and that they’re your priority by attending to any questions or concerns they might bring up. You can do this by introducing cost-effective services they can depend on in the long run. Identifying their own objectives also enables them to see how serious you are about providing them with the solutions that they’re looking for. Will you make a long-term or short-term partnership? Are you just going to sell something or build up a client with a portfolio of services to offer them?

Once you get this information, keep them entertained by adding humorous elements to your pitch. You can play with words and use puns while talking about facts and ideas related to your topic. Aside from this tactic, incorporating stunning images, interactive videos, and visual representations of facts like graphs and charts will support your message and increase audience recall.

3. Stimulate their Impulses

looking for an easter eggs and easter bunnies

After you successfully grab their attention and keep them engaged, you can end with a call-to-action that’ll persuade them to take immediate response. Always leave them with a URL to your Web site, social media accounts, and other contact information to ensure your connection with them and allow you to conduct followups. With this information in hand, they can easily reach out to you and ask about your offerings. You can include these contact details in your freebies, handouts, or any other take-home resource materials.

Since their motivation is what keeps them going, it’s important that you establish the foundation first. Focus on how you can make your personal branding stand above the rest by highlighting your distinctiveness. Once they notice that you’re determined to offer something beneficial, they’re more likely to take action and choose you over the others, making them want to come back for another transaction.

Finders Keepers
easter egg: finders keepers

While Easter is celebrated every year, you can make its essence last for more than a moment. Likewise, your pitch’s message isn’t only confined to any one venue or auditorium. Convincing your audience to participate in your activity makes them feel involved and valued, so do your best to create an impact on them that will last even after your presentation is over.

Planning before your performance helps you prepare some surprises to build up their interest and enable them to give you their undivided attention. Meeting their expectations and addressing their concerns make them feel satisfied and fulfilled thanks to your hard work. Keeping them connected and engaged inspires them to act without delaying it any further.

Encourage them to search for hidden treasures without having to stress themselves out. Make the experience worthwhile by giving them something they can keep and cherish. Make your pitch memorable so that they’ll look forward to a more exciting and fun-filled activity during your next performance.

Need to give your audience something memorable? Our presentation specialists can assist you with a free quote!

Check out and share our infographic about Easter eggs and presentations!

References

Newton, Chakisse. “Are Your Presentations Like Easter Egg Hunts?” Newtons Laws of Influence. April 25, 2011. www.newtonslawsofinfluence.com/2011/04/are-your-presentations-like-easter-egg-hunts

How Stepping into the Beam Can Help Your Presentation

In public speaking, crossing the projector’s beam is one of the biggest no-nos that every presenter should be aware of. It’s a careless act that greatly distracts audiences from a distance while also lessening your credibility.

Like other disruptions, this can lose your audience’s interest and prevent your presentation’s success, no different from how poor delivery and cluttered PowerPoint decks make the crowd zone out. However, is walking over the beam and covering your projection really all that bad all the time?

Can It Really Be Effective?

In every rule, there’s an exception. While it’s true that blocking off the audience from viewing your slides is a mistake, it could still work for certain situations.

In her article, presentation trainer and public speaker Olivia Mitchell explains that delivering a pitch with statistical concepts can be difficult, with all the numerical data displayed. However, it can be better understood by using visual illustrations, such as graphs and charts, to make it more interesting. TED speaker Hans Rosling, a data visionary and global health expert, is an example of a professional presenter who brings complex statistics into life. While speaking, he likes to get into the beam. But instead of distracting audiences, it makes it easier for them to understand the statistical facts that he’s presenting.

What Does It Indicate?

Making your data sing doesn’t only provoke interest. It also convinces your audience to listen attentively. This is what Hans Rosling does to show his enthusiasm in interacting both with his slides and audience. He makes sure that the crowd understands his message by exaggerating body movements that emphasize his words.

In doing so, he considers his PowerPoint presentation as his partner in conveying his main idea. While laser pointers can help you emphasize a certain point, circling around a particular word or phrase can be distracting, putting the focus on the pointer instead of on your speech. Simply pointing to it using your finger can work to deliver a clearer idea.

How Do You Get in the Beam?

To help you out, here’s a few guidelines for getting into the projector’s beam:

1. Be aware of your position. Going to the venue prior to your performance can give you an idea on where to put yourself come presentation time. You can also practice walking around the podium and plan the right location to stay in.
2. Don’t block off your audience’s view. Allowing the crowd to see your slide completely is one of your goals as a presenter. You don’t want to hinder your audience from comprehending your message. Once you display your text or visual onscreen, you can get into the beam and let your body language heighten your performance.
3. Interact with your listeners. Explaining your slides is important, but focusing on your audience is more important. You can physically go into your visuals but make sure not to set the crowd aside.

To Beam or Not to Beam?

Getting into the beam while presenting can be distracting. However, considering your audience can help you pull it off for a more interesting and persuasive presentation. Though it’s frequently considered a recipe for a disastrous performance, there are always exceptions to the rule.

Be conscious of your body language, your venue, and your audience so you can judge for yourself if you should be jumping into the beam. Our PowerPoint professionals can assist and offer you a free quote to craft PowerPoint decks that stand out.

Check out and share this infographic!

Reference

Mitchell, Olivia. “How Getting in the Beam Makes You a Better Presenter.” Speaking About Presenting. September 17, 2009. www.speakingaboutpresenting.com/delivery/getting-in-the-beam

Prepare Your Defenses: Battling Noise in Sales Presentations

As we’ve seen in stories, zombies are drawn to loud noises. This lets them swarm you and prevent you from reaching whatever goal you have set. Applying this in our line of work as presenters, there’s no better way to infect the audience with zombie-like expressions than letting noise interfere with your own pitch.

It’s impossible to get your message across if the crowd can’t hear you properly, but this isn’t limited to sounds that your audience can hear. Noise can also come in the form of unnecessary interruptions that get in the way of your business presentation. Technical glitches, distracting colors, inappropriate pictures, unreadable fonts, even a malfunctioning air conditioner can all count as noise.

Simply put, anything that makes your listeners uncomfortable is a potential hazard. These can prevent you from convincing them to invest in your proposal, which means lost partners and potential profits. Fortunately, there are two types of noise and three ways to immunize your clients from it.

In a post written on Public Speaking Tips, professional speaker and author, Lenny Laskowski, states that noise comes in two forms: external and internal.

External Noise

extermal noise in a presentation: walking dead themeThe first type may come from your surroundings, disrupting effective communication with your listeners. An unsilenced phone going off, a tall person blocking the view of another behind him, or an unexpected update notification flashing in the middle of your presentation can get in the way of delivering a successful performance.

Parts of your audio-visual aid might even unintentionally distract your audience. For example, if the speaker volume isn’t high enough, any narration that might be embedded won’t be heard. The same thing applies to your visuals if the screen is too bright or too dark.

Using colors can also be a distraction. If the setting or topic requires formality, using bright colors isn’t ideal to complement a formal presentation. The same goes for times when you need to put on an energetic personality and fire up your audience but end up using dark colors in your slides.

The venue itself is also a factor. If it’s too hot, too dark, or uncomfortable because there aren’t enough seats, people may have trouble listening to you. That’s why you should always check out the area beforehand.

Internal Noiseinternal noise in a presentation: walking dead theme

The second type, internal distractions, are worse because these come from within and may include your own negative thoughts and feelings.

You might be emotionally distracted by being too enthusiastic or possibly tired, which can affect the energy you have for your presentation. A lack of energy or sounding too serious can give the impression that you just want to get your speech over with. It may be fine to sound enthusiastic, but too much of it, like in an investor’s presentation, might make you sound too biased if you make promises without backing them up with hard facts. Alternatively, if you become too serious in an event that needs a more casual and friendly setting, this can send the wrong impression to your clients and infect them with that same lack of interest.

On the other hand, the audience might also be biased or have misgivings about your topic, especially if you present any new unproven products that have yet to enter the market. While skepticism may be unavoidable, you need to prepare for possible contrasting opinions during your Q&A section if you have one.

Here are three things to consider when combatting both types of noise to safeguard your presentation’s success:

1. Detect the Source of Noise detect noise and proceed to your presentation: walking dead theme

Damon Verial, a professional writer and contributor for various Web sites, including eHow, tackles the importance of finding the source of noise. He explains that depending on the importance of the situation, noise should be eliminated through various means.

Careful preparation is what helps you avoid unwanted interruptions, but despite your best efforts, some unexpected circumstances are still hard to prepare for. For example, your laptop might randomly shut off, or your slides could suddenly freeze while presenting. In times like these, you need to have backup devices that have copies of your presentation, if possible, so you can pick up where you left off immediately.

Before striking back, identify the root of the problem to find an immediate solution. Was it lack of preparation that disgruntled you? Or was it a problem with the venue that disturbed your presentation? The former can be taken as a lesson for what to prepare for next time. The latter can be resolved with some help. In this case, ask for the organizer’s help to take control of the situation and minimize any disruptions.

For technical problems, politely ask the coordinator to help you fix any issues so you can continue your presentation. This will help you handle the situation and put everything in place. Lighting problems, sound systems, microphones, and even power cables are things that they should be ready for.

2. Sharpen Your Listening Skills

sharpen listening skills for better presentation: walking dead themeYour job isn’t limited to speaking; listening is also vital to dealing with your audience. With the end goal of delivering a message, improving your listening skills is an essential part of the process. You need to know what concerns your clients will have when you bring your proposal to the table. These aren’t limited to prices. Timelines, implementation costs, and possible benefits are also factors to determining how feasible your proposal can be.

However, passive listening isn’t enough. To be an effective listener, actively seek out and attend to people’s concerns. This lets you better understand what they mean when they ask questions about your topic. After all, noise works both ways too: you need to ask for clarifications if clients voice out their concerns in order to prevent any misunderstanding and give appropriate responses.

By being an attentive listener, you get to answer in a constructive and engaging manner while showing your audience respect. This gives the impression that you genuinely want to know what others need, as opposed to simply pushing your products out and hoping someone will be willing to invest in them.

Aside from convincing them to voice out their opinions, give your viewers a chance to help you clarify anything that needs to be addressed. This prevents any possible misunderstandings that can divert their attention.

3. Harness the Power of Repetition

stress relevant info in your presentation: walking dead theme

Never underestimate the power of repetition when combatting unwanted noise. People remembering your pitch after it’s over can make the difference between success and failure. If your prospects remember what you want them to, and you give them the means to contact you afterwards, you’re halfway to converting more leads to sales.

Simply having excellent speaking skills isn’t enough. You also want your listeners to remember the best parts of your performance. That’s why audience recall is important in any presentation. Keep your points simple enough to repeat them for emphasis but not so much that you endlessly reiterate each one. Are there aspects of your proposal that you can reduce into one to three words? Use these to reinforce your speech and support your facts so that the audience will remember exactly what you stand for.

A simple way to improve recall is to repeat your main points during vital breaks or at the end of your pitch. This highlights important takeaways for the audience, emphasizing your thoughts and stressing relevant information for your listeners to make your pitch memorable.

Done right, it makes your pitch sound more entertaining and convincing.

The Takeaway: Always Stay Alertstay alert: walking dead theme

Always anticipate an onslaught of diversions. These can come from the venue, your equipment, your slides, or even yourself or the audience. Consider the appropriate tools to use and have backups in place when technical breakdowns happen. It won’t hurt to coordinate with your organizers for any contingencies you can use in worst-case scenarios, too. This lets you stay focused to avoid further distracting your listeners.

Instead of immediately going on the offensive, strengthen your defenses against disturbing noises that can ruin your performance. At the same time, maintain a solid feedback line for communicating with your audience. They may not always understand you, but if you take efforts to understand their side of things, you’ll be able to find out exactly what causes the noise on their end. You’ll also come across as someone who wants to build better business partnerships with other people rather than a typical salesman who simply talks about their own products without considering if it’s the right fit for his customers.

Don’t let negative thoughts or circumstances overwhelm you. Combat them by detecting the unnecessary noise, enhancing your listening skills, and reiterating your ideas to make sure everyone gets the point. Once you’ve got unnecessary noise under control, you’ll have the audience focusing on the most important things: the benefits that you can give them, and why they should choose you over the competition. This’ll prevent spreading blank stares to the audience and help you convert more leads for your business.

 

References:

Laskowski, Lenny. “Aspect 6 – The Noise.” Public Speaking Tips, May 22, 2015. www.ljlseminars.blogspot.com
Verial, Damon. “How to Overcome Noise Barriers in Communication.” eHow, n.d. www.ehow.com/how_8031308_overcome-noise-barriers-communication.html