There are 5 simple yet powerful presentation secrets that can make a real difference to the way your message lands.
Everyone knows the importance of presenting well in the twenty-first century. We expect so much more from presentations than we once did. People want to learn, laugh and also be entertained. The rise of the TED talk has helped push the 20-minute presentation format to hundreds of millions of online viewers.
So whatever your next presentation happens to be, consider these 5 crucial techniques:
Own What You Touch
Constant changes in technology mean that presenters are now delivering their visual messages in front of bigger and brighter screens. It is incredibly easy to lose stage presence to the pull of a bright light. There is a brilliant technique that will always ensure you are the main focus however large your screen is, and it’s pretty simple – what you touch you own.
Making sure you touch your screen or monitor will tell your audience that you own it, you are not afraid of it. And the great thing is, it not only applies to your slides, but anything you move, write on, and drink from becomes yours. How many times have you sat through a presentation where your colleague will stand to one side of their visuals not daring to get too close?
Disclosure is a formidable tool for any presenter if used well. It’s incredibly important an audience feels they have a true and authentic connection to the person in front of them. Personal disclosure allows the audience in. Are they similar to you? Do they share your views? Can you link a personal story to an insight into your key message? This is such a key part of your presentation that I feel obliged to direct you towards this article.
You Are Your Slides
When you present, remember to think of your slides as an extension of your personality. Many good presentations can be hijacked by ugly, complicated slides. As an audience, we associate a speaker’s visuals with the speaker themselves. However good you are at public speaking, if your slides are confusing we will think you are too.
Steve Jobs and the team at Apple always seemed to create a perfect balance between his own simple personal style and the slides he used. There seemed to be a synchronicity between the two.
Use Eye Contact to Encourage and Close Down
We all know well shared eye contact engages an audience – it’s very important a presenter really sees whom they are speaking to. Bill Clinton is a great example of someone who really looks at his audience. Something presenters can often forget is that as well as engaging an audience, eye contact can also be used to great effect when facing repetitive, difficult, or enthusiastic questions from the same person.
It’s human nature, as well as polite, to not only hold the gaze of someone whilst they are asking a question, but also when we are answering them. It is in the answering where challenges can occur. Holding someone’s gaze will give them unspoken permission to ask another question – this could begin to alienate the rest of your audience.
Holding the questioner’s gaze whilst you begin your answer is all you need. You can then share your eye contact around the audience – and if you don’t want the questioner to continue, then rest your eyes away from them. It will be much harder for them to respond without that visual contact. If you fancy a more detailed guide to the importance of eye contact during a presentation, and how to improve yours, I’d recommend reading these slides.
Cover Your Ground
Great presenters often move around – why? There is a simple reason for this. The more ground you cover, the more of the space is yours. This doesn’t mean you should pace like a caged tiger up and down your stage – rather move fluidly around it – to grab a flip chart, take a drink, or walk towards your audience to hear a question. It will increase your status in the eyes of your audience. It tells us you are confident to go where you want.
Conversely rooting yourself to one spot can give the impression you don’t want to move and, worse still, makes it harder and harder if you do want to move later on in your presentation.
There You Have It…
These 5 often overlooked tips need to be practiced when you are not under pressure. Once they become second nature you’ll be well on your way from a good presenter to a great one. If you found these tips useful, I can’t recommend the resources here enough, Edison Red has created free guides and tips for presenters and you should never turn down free help.
You may be interested in this too: 6 Secrets of Bad Presentations (and How to Avoid Them)Featured photo credit: ImagineCup via Flickr