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5 Presentation Tips No One Ever Tells You

5 Presentation Tips No One Ever Tells You

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:

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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?

Disclose 

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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