10 Tips For Effective Presentations
One way to raise the profile of your business, or of yourself within an organisation, is to seek opportunities to speak in public. But with so many speakers failing to hit the mark, your presentation could end up putting your audience off. So how do you avoid the presentation pitfalls and stand out from the crowd?
Barbara Moynihan is past President of the Dun Laoghaire branch of Toastmasters International and a trainer in communication skills. Barbara believes there are 10 main reasons why presentations fail:
1. Lack of rapport
Make sure you talk in terms of your audience’s interests. Smile and start on time.
2. Being unauthentic
Take the time to prepare, practice and just be yourself.
3. Inability to use silence
Use pauses to add impact and emphasise your key points – silence speaks volumes.
4. Lack of facial expression
We have 80 muscles in our face that are capable of producing 7,000 facial gestures. Engage them and engage your audience.
5. Poor eye contact
Look at, and visually connect with, members of your audience. If you have to use slides, make sure they add value and aren’t just a crutch.
Do not bore your audience with technical details that they do not need. Simplify your message.
7. Lack of humour
You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian. If you cannot tell a joke – then don’t. Use alternative methods of humour such as anecdotes, relevant pictures or short movie clips.
8. Lack of direction
Ensure you have a clear structure to your speech, with a beginning, middle and end, and appropriate signposts and transitions to keep your audience on track.
9. Lack of energy
Counteract this by projecting your voice, varying your pace and pitch, and using gestures.
10. Boring language
Use “linguistic sparklers”, such as adjectives, adverbs and rhetorical devices (metaphors and similes).
Speaking clubs, such as those run by Toastmasters International, are an ideal environment to try out your talks, learn new skills and get constructive feedback to make sure that when you do stand up, you and your business will be noticed for the right reasons!
To find your local Toastmasters Club, see www.toastmasters.org.
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