Have you ever been in front of monotone, boring presentations that seem endless? Do you need to create a presentation but are unsure how to wrap it up?
This is too big a subject to do in a single post so here’s todays and the next will be in a weeks’ time. Read on to find some tips I’ve learned over the years that will help keep the interest and get the message across.
Let us start by looking at 4 of 9 bad habits:
- Failing to excite or show enthusiasm!
- Disqualifying yourself
- Not connecting with the audience. Avoiding eye contact, Alienating yourself
- Stance: Fidgeting, swaying, motionless or standing to attention
Failing to enthuse
From the start you need to engage and capture your audience’s attention. First impressions and last comments are what people remember. Deliver a message that will leave them excited about what they are about to be told and the benefits they will gain.
You are there because you are knowledgeable in that particular subject. The audience have come to learn something so avoid statements like “I hope this doesn’t send you asleep”, “I know something of this but I’m not an expert in”. Avoid disparaging comments. Believe in yourself.
DO NOT APOLOGIES! You may start late due to unforeseen circumstances so this may seem a bit blunt but if you start off apologising then this sets a negative tone and sets the scene of being a victim. Start off as if nothing was wrong (eg “A little later than we first envisaged but we’re ready to start, so let us get on and…”), thus illustrating you work well under pressure.
Personally, I feel one of the worse things a presenter can do is to stand there avoiding eye-contact with attendees. Fumbling around, looking at projections or even the wall behind the attendees. And whatever you do, please don’t turn your back to the audience. This may make you feel better but you’ve just dismissed everyone there.
If you’re not keen on looking at people directly in the eyes, look at their foreheads or, better still, the top of their lips. Try that one out when speaking to someone relatively close. Ask them if they felt you were making direct eye-contact, it works!
Other areas to consider is to insure you don’t alienate delegates. I was at a seminar a while ago and the presenter opened by saying “This is going to be mainly about the leisure industry so if you are not in this business, you won’t understand some of the terminology…”.
Make sure you use a language that all understand. Make it generic if dealing with a varied audience or specific if an isolated audience.
There is a fine balance between no movement and too much. Areas to consider are to avoid shuffling paperwork or waving something around you wish to talk about. Everyone’s focus then moves to that and not you.
Try not to fidget or sway on the spot and definitely (gentlemen!) avoid playing with change in your pockets. These infer nervousness.
And don’t stand still like a guard, move around and use ‘controlled’ hand gestures (this is an area I have to constantly be on top of as I enthuse and speak through hand movements). It’s very boring if you just stand there motionless.
Look at for the concluding part in a weeks’ time and in the meantime, should you have a presentation that you need help with, just make a call or throw us an email.
Contact Neil at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07761 187238 where you are assured a warm welcome.
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