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How to Use Body Language Like a Presentation Expert

People communicate not only with words but with small actions like smiling, raising eyebrows, hand gestures, and other non-verbal cues.

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Words aren’t enough to effectively convey your intended message. Use body language like a presentation expert to deliver a successful presentation.

Defining Body Language

Non-verbal gestures are quiet, but they add impact to sales presentations. Posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact contribute greatly to expressing and complementing your main idea.

In your next corporate meeting, use these non-verbal cues to reinforce your presentation skills.

Why It’s Important

Body language speaks louder than words. In fact, Albert Mehrabian’s 7%-38%-55% rule states that non-verbal communication covers about 90% of overall messages’ impact. Spoken words influence your audience the least.

Your audience judges your physical behavior because it reveals your character and signifies your intent. Align your body language with your message to display authority and influence.

How It Helps You

Here’s how each of the typical signals affects your viewers:

Eye Contact

Never discount the value of looking into your listeners’ eyes to connect with them. This makes your audience feel that they’re involved and also shows that you trust them and have nothing to hide. This is useful when giving and receiving feedback or prompting others to speak.

Posture

Good posture indicates competence and confidence. Stand up straight yet relaxed, and avoid slouching or hunching over. This shows that you’re in control while also expressing friendliness, positivity, and even detachment when needed.

Hand Gestures

Your palm has the power to persuade your audience. Use an open palm together with fingers toward the audience to express sincerity. Face your palm backwards with fingers upward for persuading. Use a precision grip with your index finger and thumb together for emphasizing key points, or a power fist for grasping an issue.

Go above and beyond the spoken or written language with nonverbal communication. Even the simplest body movements, such as glancing at your audience, gesturing with your hand, or standing up straight, give your presentation implicit meanings.

Be cautious about your body language and use only those actions that’ll support your content and delivery. With enough practice, you’ll be able to land those sales with one word and one gesture.

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References

Body Language: Signify Intent with Movement.” SlideGenius, Inc. October 20, 2014. Accessed June 2, 2015.
Mehrabian’s Communication Research.” Business Balls. Accessed June 2, 2015.

Canons of Rhetoric: Applying Arrangement to Presentations

We’ve discussed the canons of rhetoric and examined invention’s importance in public speaking.

This post focuses on the second canon—arrangement.

In Classical Roman oration, arrangement is organizing a speech to maximize persuasiveness. This process of forming a coherent speech structure can be applied to any PowerPoint presentation.

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If you’ve survived the invention phase, then this canon won’t give you trouble. Let’s talk about how to organize your argument the rhetoricians’ way.

Exordium: Introducing Your Speech

All speeches begin with introductions—stating your purpose and establishing your credibility. Tell your audience what your message is about and why it’s important. Your introduction may sometimes require storytelling to make your material more convincing while reinforcing an element of fun.

Narratio: Stating the Facts

Follow up your introduction by stating supporting facts, or further information on your topic. Narrating fact-based examples back up your argument, making it more persuasive. If you hook your audiences with your introduction, this is where you reel them in.

Partitio: Dividing Your Topic

According to the Roman rhetorician Quintilian, this is where you streamline your key points. This is your argument’s outline—the trail that your audience follows. This gives them an idea on how long your speech will take. Listeners always look for clues to find out if you’re worth their time.

Confirmatio: Proving Your Argument

The proof stage is the life of your presentation. Have you ever read a good story and expected a great ending, only to be let down because the ending doesn’t make sense? The elements for a good story were there; they just weren’t properly connected. That’s why you present and construct arguments that stem directly from your earlier stated facts.

Refutatio: Refuting Yourself

There will always be ideas that contradict yours. This is where you refute these counterarguments. Admit your argument’s flaws while assuring that they’re solvable or relatively insignificant. This shows that you’re human and lets you gain your audience’s sympathy and trust.

Peroratio: Concluding Your Speech

End your discussion with a potent conclusion. Don’t simply restate what you’ve already said. Make your ending meaningful by leaving a call to action that encapsulates your narrative, reasons, and explanations. This is your last and most important chance to leave a lasting impact.

The rhetorical canon of arrangement gives your speech good structure. If you’ve arranged your ideas in the right order, your audience will easily follow and understand your message.

Master this canon and the rest of your business presentations will not only make more sense but will also land you more sales and approvals.

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References

Canons of Rhetoric: Applying Invention to Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 21, 2015. Accessed June 2, 2015.
McKay, Brett, and Kate McKay. “Five Canons of Rhetoric: Arrangement.” The Art of Manliness. 2011. Accessed June 2, 2015.
Why Storytelling Is an Effective Presentation Technique.” SlideGenius, Inc.. September 8, 2014. Accessed June 2, 2015.

Don’t Depend on Your PowerPoint Presentation Scripts

Have you ever seen a theater play where actors read their scripts onstage? Luckily, professional actors rehearse and deliver their lines naturally. The same goes for most public speakers.

Preparing a script isn’t a bad thing, but it can make your speech less effective.

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How can you fully engage your audience if you’re focused on reading a piece of paper or whatever’s projected onscreen?

In reality, great presenters write notes whenever they have speeches. This is to show that even professionals also rely on scripts to avoid getting lost in their topic.

Why You Shouldn’t Depend on Your Script

As a public speaker, your goal is to engage the audience. There’s nothing wrong with looking at your notes, but you can’t rely on them all the time or you may distance yourself from the crowd.

Scripts serve as your guide, but reading notes prevent you from connecting with your audience. Imagine yourself as an audience member whom the speaker doesn’t make any eye contact with. How would that feel?

Do your listeners a favor and connect emotionally with them with just a small glance here and there.

The Power of Your Brain

Writing down your script organizes your thought. Reading your script also lets you present ideas completely. Some presenters try to memorize their pitch so as not to depend on their notes.

There may be unexpected situations like corrupted files or technical problems before your PowerPoint presentation. That’s why you should rely more on how your brain works for you.

It’s still advisable to incorporate notes into your PowerPoint slides. However, being knowledgeable about your topic boosts your confidence to speak without looking or reading any guides.

According to Gallo (2010), you can make your speech more natural and conversational with these steps:

1. Write your notes in PowerPoint’s Notes section.

Construct your ideas to form four to five sentences. Don’t edit excessively. Just let your thoughts flow.

2. Emphasize the keyword from each sentence by highlighting it.

Practice by reading and familiarizing yourself with your script. Glance at the key words to remember them.

3. Remove unnecessary words from your notes.

Keep only the keywords as reminders.

4. Memorize the key idea in each slide.

Think of that one main point that you want your audience to recall.

5. Rehearse the whole presentation without notes.

Use your PowerPoint deck as your visual aid. Remember each significant idea behind your message.

Practice is still the best way to stop depending on your scripts. Using the above guidelines lets you speak naturally in front of your audience and focus on dealing with them.

Plan your PowerPoint presentation, pinpoint your main ideas, and practice, practice, practice —you’ll never have to glance at a note card ever again.

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References

3 Tips for Handling Unexpected Events During Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed May 29, 2015.
Gallo, Carmine. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York. McGraw-Hill, 2010.
Presentation Tips: 5 Quick Steps to Audience Engagement.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 16, 2014. Accessed May 29, 2015.

Use AIDA for Persuasive PowerPoint Presentations

It doesn’t matter whether you’re walking down the street or surfing the web, you just can’t escape advertising.

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Have you noticed that certain ads stick to you, while the rest just falls into obscurity? You can thank AIDA for that.

Now, you, too, can use this time-tested method to streamline your flow, to maximize, and sustain audience engagement with persuasive PowerPoint presentations.

AIDA is a helpful acronym and method that advertisers use to get the most of their campaigns and marketing materials. It breaks down the stages of a viewer’s stages of comprehension: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. It’s a highly versatile advertising method, helping copywriters find the most effective words and helping designers create the most suitable images.

Attention

Start by explaining who you are and what you do. Then, make the crowd lean forward and listen intently by:

  • Presenting a thought-provoking scenario the crowd can relate with
  • Initiating the lecture with a thought-provoking statistic or question
  • Incorporating humor into a short anecdote

Interest

Once you have their eyes and ears, explain what you can specifically do for your audience.

State your FAB—Features, Advantages, and Benefits—to differentiate your product or service from your competitors’. Highlight the niche you want to occupy and emphasize how you’ll fill it.

Desire

Build on your listeners’ interest and develop a craving for what you’re offering by appealing to their emotions. Explain what they will gain from what you’re offering them. Make them feel that what you have is essential for improving their lives, or that it results in greater sales.

Action

Now it’s time for your hard work to pay off.

Create a simple yet memorable call to action that persuades your listeners to come to your way of thinking. Include how they should proceed next. Remind them how they can contact you for more information, or how they can search for you if they have yet to decide.

Effectively communicating your message is the key to convincing your audience. However, putting all the information you have may not be enough to achieve this.

AIDA is a great method to maximize your time onstage and streamline your flow and delivery.

Next time you have an important opportunity, use this method to create a persuasive PowerPoint presentation that delivers optimal results.

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References

AIDA: Attention-Interest-Desire-Action: Inspiring Action with Your Writing.” Mind Tools. Accessed May 27, 2015.
AIDA.” Changing Minds. Accessed May 27, 2015.
Presentation Ideas from Ancient Greece: Pitching With Pathos.” SlideGenius, Inc. September 4, 2015.

How to Maximize Eye Contact for Presentations

A study from the University of Pennsylvania revealed that 70% of non-verbal communication is based on body language.

Among other forms of body language, eye contact plays a significant role in building a deeper connection with acquaintances, friends, and strangers. This proves that eye contact is an important part of interacting with other people.

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Eye Contact in Non-Verbal Communication

We often forget how much our eyes contribute to our daily interactions. In most cases, we’re unaware of how our gaze can make communication more powerful and effective.

The eyes are the most expressive parts of the human body. We can determine someone’s inner thoughts or feelings by just looking at their eyes.

Conveying positive emotions and confidence is essential for any effective presenter. This works the same way for your audience. Eckhard Hess, an American psychologist and ethnologist, discovered that the our pupils dilate when we are interested in a conversation. If the pupils contract, it shows disinterest. These, in a way, gauge how effectively you can establish rapport and persuade the audience.

Here are further reasons why eye contact is necessary:

It catches attention

People lose interest if they sense a lack of passion from the presenter. Once you’ve successfully established eye contact, show them that you’re confident to stand and talk in front of them. They’ll become more attentive and interested in your pitch.

It engages the audience

Speech coach Patricia Fripp writes about the positive effects of eye contact. According to Fripp, not only is it effective in convincing people, it also boosts self-esteem, another crucial factor in delivering a winning pitch.

If you conduct business presentations, establishing stable eye contact makes the audience feel that you’re interested in them, allowing you to build trust and rapport. Make them feel that they are involved in their presentation.

It makes a good impression

Great presenters avoid looking at their notes while speaking, letting their audience read and understand the message by making eye contact.

Your audience’s first impression of your performance can either increase or decrease your credibility. Doing well makes them understand that you are knowledgeable and confident.

How long should you maintain eye contact?

Leadership trainer Dan Rockwell advises presenters to keep eye contact for at least three to four seconds per person in each group.

If you’re discussing something that’s related to your subject, know when to pause so they can catch up to the ideas you’re highlighting.

It takes practice to master eye contact.

Learn and practice this technique to achieve your audience’s expectations.

Since the eyes convey your emotions, you need to give off a friendly yet confident impression for your audience during presentations.

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References

“Build Emotional Connection Through Good Eye Contact.” Patricia Fripp. 2009. Accessed May 21, 2015.
Hess, Eckhard H. “The Role of Pupil Size in Communication.” Sci Am Scientific American 233, no. 5 (1975): 110-19.
Power Your Presentations with These Body Language Tips.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed May 21, 2015.
Presentation Tips: 5 Easy Ways to Establish Your Credibility.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 04, 2014. Accessed May 21, 2015.
Rockwell, Dan. “Secrets to Great Presentations.” Leadership Freak. June 18, 2014. Accessed June 21, 2015.

The Best Medicine: 5 Tips on How You Can Give Humorous Presentations

The best way to connect with your audience is to elicit an emotional response. That doesn’t mean you have to move them to tears — laughter is just as profound. Humor is a powerful tool that can make your presentations engaging and memorable.

Don’t get us wrong—your entire speech doesn’t need to be funny. This isn’t a stand-up routine, after all. But light, humorous moments strategically placed throughout your presentation make for a pleasant audience experience.

You don’t have to be a professional comedian to do this, either.  You just need to keep these tips in mind if you’d like to start giving humorous presentations.

Act Natural

cat in front of computer
Image: Itchmo.com

Go about preparing for your presentation like you normally would. Write your speech without thinking about the jokes you have to make.

When you’re done, that’s the only time you can inject jokes appropriate to your content.

Just Be Yourself

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Image: ZanyJaney.com

It’s awkward to watch someone try to be funny when the joke feels forced. Different types of humor work for different types of people.

Think of the things that make you laugh and try to figure out what you find funny about them. Your favorite things to laugh at is a good starting point in figuring out what type of humor works for you.

Similarly, you can also think about previous occasions when other people found you funny. Others’ feedback is a good way to gauge your efficiency.

Tread the Trend

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Image: KnowYourMeme.com

An easy way to get your audience laughing is to reference current trends. You can refer to characters from the latest blockbuster movie, or a scene in the highest rating TV show that’s everyone familiar with.

You can also add a bit of humor to your PowerPoint slides by flashing popular Internet memes that are related to what you’re trying to say. At the same time, remember the occasion you’re presenting in and the people you’re presenting to. Some references may be inappropriate or irrelevant depending on the setting.

Think About Your Audience

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Image: MemeCenter.com

Generic ‘knock, knock’ jokes are sure to end in stumped silence. Tailor-fit your humor to your audience by thinking about what might make them laugh.

Jokes that are relevant to your audience are more likely to tickle their funny bone.

Deliver Well

ron-swanson-giggle
Image: uproxx.com

Practice your speech and figure out the best way to deliver your jokes.

Communications guru Jennifer Flachman explains that the power of your voice can influence the way your audience perceives you. Remember that tone, inflection, and body language can easily alter the meaning behind what you’re saying.

 

Reference

Flachman, Jennifer. “The Body Language of Voice: Use Your Voice to Your Advantage.” BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. September 16, 2013. Accessed June 10, 2014.

 

Featured Image: Ellen DeGeneres by ronpaulrevolt2008 on flickr.com