Make Your Next Presentation a Success with These 6 Steps
After days and weeks of preparation, the time to deliver your presentation has come. You will be in the spotlight and all eyes and ears will pay attention to you exclusively. The impact of your message largely depends on the quality of your public speaking skills. You’ve done the homework, right?
The difference between the amateur and professional lies in simple steps, the tiny actions they take before the gig. Here’s what an actress says about the Art of Public Speaking.
1. Get to know the place of your presentation
The most forgotten yet one of the key factors of public speaking.
Arrive on the spot a while before the room is filled with people. Get familiar with the stage and make yourself at home: you own it now! You will move more confidently and easily during the presentation.
Swap places with your audience by checking your audibility and visibility. To find what the acoustics are like, try out the strength of your voice from every corner of the room. By doing so you will recognize how loud your voice needs to be and whether you’ll need a microphone or not.
Always remember to test the equipment (projector, your laptop, microphone etc.) as these like to be disobedient.
2. Be confident
How do you become confident?
In my opinion, self-confidence depends on the state of our inner self, that is, self-acceptance. And understated self-esteem or lack of faith in your own abilities causes doubts.
I’m an advocate of “treating” real causes, not the symptoms of “disease”. Nevertheless, there are some methods which can help you feel more confident ad hoc.
First and foremost I always maintain an open body position. Scientific research proves that setting your feet slightly apart and firmly on the ground, and straightening and raising your arms for at least two minutes affects your well-being and makes you more confident.
3. Be aware of your body stance
It plays a key role in your presentation together with your voice. Remember that your gestures should be calm unless you want to emphasise something important.
Keep legs with a slight stride or one foot slightly forward. Stand in front of your audience and avoid barriers like hiding behind the chair or table.
Let your hands be visible; don’t keep them in pockets as it will seem that you have something to hide. Consequently, your credibility decreases.
4. Intonate your voice
It’s not about what you say but how you say it. According to Albert Mehrabian’s research on communication of feelings and attitudes, 55% consists of body language, voice (intonation, tone, volume) takes up 38%, and 7% consists of the literal content of the message. It doesn’t mean that the content of your presentation is less important but it means all these elements support each other.
Speak calmly (not too slow, not too fast, at the same time taking care of the dynamic of your speech), clearly (correct elocution) and not too high. Not all of us have been gifted with warm, deep voices but you can consciously manage it.
5. Maintain eye contact
During your speech give people the impression that you’re talking exclusively to them. This strengthens your message and helps to keep your audience’s eye on the ball.
It’s impossible to look into everybody's eyes one by one but you can make them feel like that thanks to a few simple methods. One of them is a ‘’lighthouse effect” (I have learned it from Dariusz Tarczynski, PsyD) which is a steady, calm gaze following the public from left to right and backwards.
6. Be yourself
For me being yourself is one of the most important factors of public speaking.
People want to see a human being behaving naturally who is not imitating someone else.
Of course, I’m not talking about picking your nose but about being real to the extent that people can say “This is my man!”
Preparation is the key. Make a little checklist and tick all the boxes before every speaking gig. Having the technical part covered, your personality will have a chance to shine!