Do you remember when you were first asked to present in front of the class at school? For most of us, it was a nerve-wracking experience. One that we can still recall to this day.
Despite how painful that early experience may have been, we quickly learn in life that being able to speak confidently and persuasively to an audience is a vital attribute.
Let’s explore three hacks that will help you present with style, and charm your audience.
1. Surprise your audience with unusual examples
“Seed a conversation with jolts,” says Mark Levy, president of the branding firm Levy Innovation and author of Accidental Genius. This is excellent advice. Good conversationalists and presenters know how to keep the attention of their audience by using examples from domains outside their specific topic.
For instance, if you’re asked to do a talk on workplace efficiency, don’t just talk about the workplace. Instead, bring your presentation to life by sprinkling it with examples taken from far from the workplace setting (e.g. sports, nature and history).
Another idea is to use quotes from famous people or even lines taken from classic fiction such as William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
By using unexpected examples, you’ll keep your audience attentive and open to your main message. Furthermore, this will allow you to be creative with your presentations, freeing both you and your audience from topics that may at their heart be dull and lifeless.
2. Become an expert in body language
Good conversationalists naturally pick up on the body language of the person or people that they are communicating with. By spotting specific physical signs, they are able to instantly deduce whether they are losing their audience’s attention – or gaining it.
To improve your communication skills, work on your body language reading skills. Some of the basic things to watch out for include people crossing their arms (which could mean they are trying to block you out), poor or no eye contact (indicative of nervousness or fear), and audience members with their heads tilted downwards (a sign that they are disengaged from you).
Of course, body language is not a one-way street. To give your verbal communication a physical boost, try these techniques: emphasis your key messages using hand gestures, have great posture when sitting and standing, and finally, if presenting to a large audience, be sure to move confidently around the stage.
3. Entertain, inspire and educate your audience
Do you remember having to sit through university lectures that were delivered in the driest, dullest way possible? It was hard to stay awake, let alone learn anything. However, it doesn’t have to be this way if you learn to deliver your content in an entertaining and inspiring way. The best way to do this is to tell personal stories that your audience can relate to. But, don’t choose just any stories. They should be stories that are emotive, fun and memorable.
For example, if you’re teaching a class of puppy owners how to train their dogs, tell cute, funny stories about mischievous puppies that do their utmost to disobey all instructions given to them (not to mention the puppies who haven’t learned to control their bowels!). Certainly, you should focus on informing or teaching, but wear the hat of an entertainer at all times to let your message come alive in the minds of your audience.
Audiences want to be charmed, and by following the three hacks above, you’ll be able to do this every time you need to present. You’ll also find yourself developing powerful self-confidence that will come across in all of your communications.
Featured photo credit: Nuno Lopes via cdn.pixabay.com