Sometimes we overlook the basic aspects of a presentation, such as how to speak. Of course, we all know how to speak but there are things that we can do to make this more effective. We should try to build these into the presentation.
Speaking too fast is a very easy habit to fall into. Most people don’t enjoy speaking in front of a crowd, and once you know what you are going to say, rushing it is an easy way to get it over with, right? Wrong! The whole purpose is to provide information of whatever sort to the people sat in front of you, saying it too fast is a single-track road to failure. They will have no idea what you are talking about and will have no means of absorbing what you are saying if you are speaking very quickly.
Mumbling is another no-no. Lack of practice and/or lack of preparation might leave you unsure of your information, making you feeling uncertain. Not addressing your audience by looking down or speaking too quietly is another habit that is easy to get into.
So how do you get to avoid these potential bad habits?
1. Practise. I cannot emphasise this enough. Do the groundwork, collect your facts and information, put it together and practise. In front of the mirror, in front of friends and family, or even the dog. If you are well rehearsed then you will feel more at ease when you are doing the final presentation. Practise, practise, practise.
2. Focus-point. When you get in front of your audience, or in advance if you are able to use the room beforehand, my advice is to focus on a point that is directly in front of you, a wall, or window or anything that keeps your eyes forward. If the room is full focus on a particular row of people that are about eye-level.
3. And finally, pretend that your audience are hard of hearing. Yes, I know that sounds silly but if you think about an elderly relative who might struggle to hear (and most of us have one) then you will know that to make things clearer for them you speak a little louder, you speak a little slower and this naturally leads to speaking more clearly.
Sharren L Bessant
I Think maintaining eye contact with the audience is very important.
I don’t think it’s just about delivery, though. So much about ‘correctly’ addressing an audience is in the content itself. This means understanding four things about your speech:
1. The message you want to get across
2. How you want to say it
3. Who (or what) you’re speaking about
4. Who you’re speaking to
I know all of these things will seem fairly obvious, but you’d be surprised how often my clients can’t answer these questions.
What do you mean by ‘who you’re speaking to’? Surely, that’s kinda obvious lol
Haha yeah sorry realise that was a bit wishy-washy. I just mean thinking about the level you should pitch things to the audience, what they’re frames of reference are – just picking out those things they’ll respond to, really. I once edited a best man’s speech, where the groom used to work as a fireman. He’d put in tons of idioms like ‘out of the frying pan’, ‘fight fire with fire’ etc. and I had to remind him that there would be a lot of other ex-firefighters in the audience, many of whom will have seen serious incidents. So, with apologies for the extreme example, it’s about finding both the things that the audience will respond to and the things that will turn them off.
this is a great tip
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