Use These Presentation Skills To Engage Your Audience
Effective Presentation Skills To Crush Your Next Presentation
Everyone can benefit from presentation skills training. Whether you are a professional speaker, teacher, or salesperson, countless professionals spend their days speaking in order to communicate instructions, ideas and other information.
“Almost everybody is a professional speaker,” Dave Bricker, a professional speaking coach and storyteller, said at a BizHack Live webinar. “And yet, we don’t get training in this essential skill— the art of eloquence, the art of influence.”
Effective presentation and communication skills can remedy unproductive meetings of disengaged colleagues, lost business opportunities caused by ineffective communication strategies and a lack of interest from peers in rambling discussions.
By working to improve your presentation skills through the implementation of speaking strategies and techniques, your words are more likely to impact the people who hear them, opening doors to limitless opportunities and connections.
“Getting good (at public speaking) means transforming (the) minds, hearts and fortunes of the people we are speaking to,” Bricker said.
Regardless of your career or public speaking background, these easy and simple presentation tips are guaranteed to take your next speech or presentation to the next level!
TL;DR: 4 Presentation Skills Training Tips to Help you Crush Your Next Presentation
Public speaking may be intimidating, but everyone has the potential to give an impressive and effective presentation. Strengthen your presentation skills using these tips!
- Prepare comprehensive notes for you to reference during your presentation to ensure that you don’t forget any important information.
- Implement creative vocal techniques like emphasis and pauses to keep your audience engaged and to stress critical points in your presentation.
- Give yourself stage directions on your notes to serve as personal reminders to make hand gestures or to move around on stage. This keeps your presentation interesting and adds a visual element to the words you speak.
- Don’t be afraid to raise your voice during your presentation when appropriate or necessary. Rediscover your big!
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Prepare comprehensive notes.
While you may think that you will remember every important point in your speech or presentation, Bricker encouraged professionals to prepare in-depth notes to bring with them to the event they are speaking at. Even well-known historical figures like Winston Churchill would forget their lines when speaking to a crowd, he said.
“Never trust your memory without your manuscript,” Bricker said.
To prevent forgetting your lines during an important presentation, Bricker suggested that speakers bring a complete copy of their presentation that is full of specific notes and directions to guide them.
These notes can include underlining words you want to ensure you emphasize or writing in pauses where you feel are appropriate and add to the feeling you wish to instill in your audience.
Another strategy Bricker recommended when preparing your notes is to break up paragraphs of speech into “Psalm form,” or more simple and manageable paragraphs that resemble your natural thought process. Breaking a long speech into smaller lines or paragraphs also makes it simpler for you to memorize as much as possible before your presentation.
Marking up your speech or presentation with notes is an effective way to ensure you remember every vocal cue, hand motion, and tidbit of information that works to make your presentation dynamic and impactful. Giving yourself this extra help during your big moment can also help relieve public speaking anxiety that may inhibit your personality and preparation from shining through!
Use innovative vocal techniques.
Once you have identified where you want to include emphasis or pauses in your language, you can then begin practicing how you are going to implement these innovative vocal techniques into your presentation.
Don’t be afraid to show emotion and transform your voice to fit the feeling you wish to instill in your audience. For more negative language or information, transform the tone of your voice to be angry or sad. For more positive parts of your presentation, be sure to adopt an upbeat tone. Infuse the words you speak with emotion!
“Be a little bit more theatrical,” Bricker said. “Get a little out of your comfort zone.”
In addition to using emphasis and different tones of voice, Bricker encouraged speakers to leverage “the pause that refreshes,” or pauses in your language that give your audience a chance to fully consider the weight and meaning of what you said.
“The impact of the words is not actually the words themselves. It’s the echo of the words,” Dave Bricker said.
Following a deeply emotional, meaningful or important line in your presentation, take a pause from speaking to give your audience a moment to fully absorb the impact of your words and how they relate to the rest of your speech. Even though you are not actively speaking, there is still power in using silence in your presentation. Use this pause to take a breath and regroup before continuing.
Speakers can also add interest to their presentations by speaking rhythmically or lowering their pitch when appropriate to further draw attention to specific points.
Give yourself stage directions
Incorporating stage directions for yourself in the notes you prepare is another effective presentation skill that works to give your audience an engaging visual aspect that coincides with your voice.
In addition to changing the tone of your voice to add emotion to your presentation, moving your hands or changing your position on stage can also work to indicate feeling. You can move across the stage to indicate the linear flow of time or to give your audience a visual of your natural progression through your speech.
Other stage directions you can plan in your presentation notes can include:
- Looking from one person in the audience to another
- Gesturing to important points on a visual aid
Changing the position of your body or hands to face a different side of the room works to add interest to your presentation and keep your audience engaged.
Rediscover your BIG!
While many speakers may be tempted to keep their voice quiet in order to not disturb anyone, Bricker recommended that they raise their voice as part of building presentation skills that make for an engaging performance!
“One of the things that I’ve noticed when I coach speakers is that a lot of us tend to hold back,” Bricker said. “There’s a gigantic, big spirit inside each of us, which is just dying to be let out.”
As part of this effective presentation tip, speakers can raise their voice to nearly shout when appropriate as a way of emphasizing an important point or illustrating the story or meaning they are trying to convey.
The contrast between your loud voice at certain points in the presentation and a more quiet voice in others also works to keep your audience interested and focused on what you have to say. Don’t be afraid to raise your voice a little more than you usually would! While it may be difficult at first, this presentation skill works to ensure you are confident and authoritative with the information you are presenting.
With all of these presentation skills training elements working together, your presentation will exemplify what Bricker calls the “Suspension Bridge Method.”
“Think of these little bits of theater as the towers in your suspension bridge,” Bricker said.
By taking time to implement the skills you learn from presentation skills training, you have the ability to improve communication in every facet of your life. These benefits include:
- Gaining more successful business opportunities that benefit your customers and earn profit.
- Garnering increased interest from loved ones and coworkers in the ideas and information you have to share.
- Conducting more productive meetings with business partners and colleagues in which every person in attendance is engaged with the material. When information is shared more effectively, time and energy are saved!
- Experiencing increased confidence in yourself and in your ability to communicate and interact as a professional and member of society.
Because nearly every individual works as a professional speaker in their industry, these effective presentation skills prove to be critical in conducting impactful conversations with friends, family and colleagues on a daily basis. Rediscover your big and unlock your public speaking confidence today!