We can’t all be naturally great public speakers. Many people have specialized knowledge that others want to hear about, but it doesn’t mean they know how to communicate their expertise to a live audience.
So what do you do when a major meeting turns the spotlight on team members who are experts in their field but not experts at presenting? Your best minds are on tap to impress with killer content. Their delivery can be just as killer with these tips to bring out the dynamic speaker in almost anyone.
Finalize scripts well in advance. Busy people may balk at an early deadline. Many assume they can rely on Powerpoint to guide them. And some simply prefer to wing it. But requesting that presentations be finished at least three weeks before a meeting allows plenty of time to memorize and practice. It also minimizes the chances of last-minute changes that can throw speakers off.
Consider a professional moderator. A pro can take some pressure off by winning over the audience, adding a fresh voice, and giving speakers a way into their content, rather than making them go it alone. What might have been a dry presentation becomes an engaging Q&A.
Team up. Dual presenters can break up what might otherwise have been a monotonous talk. They can play off each other, give each other confidence, and offer prompts to move on if one starts to ramble.
As soon as you’ve identified who’s speaking and what they’ll say, start planting the seeds for successful presenting. It’s never too early to get people thinking about how they’ll handle themselves onstage—and often, it helps to further shape the content of their presentations.
Here are some basics all presenters should know:
Less is more. Try using fewer, more powerful words when you speak, and even fewer in your visuals. Slides should back up your script with impactful images and data, not repeat it word-for-word.
“Serve” your audience. Think about the presentation from their point of view. Why do they care? Why should they?
Incorporate anecdotes and personal experiences. It helps put the audience on your side when you can share a real-world example they can relate to.
Own the stage. Use deliberate, purposeful movements and resist the urge to aimlessly “wander.” Try blocking out where you’ll stand, and how and when you’ll move.
Vary your pace and delivery. Don’t be afraid of a little silence at one or two points in the presentation. Pausing for effect, repeating a key phrase, changing your pitch, planting your feet and squarely facing the audience before emphasizing a key point, can all generate drama, interest and energy.
Don’t forget to smile! Enthusiasm can make even the driest content interesting. If you’re excited about the topic and it shows, then you can get others excited, too.
Presentations don’t have to be perfectly polished in every possible way. But they’re most powerful when they’re well-practiced and delivered with the right mix of energy and pacing. An agency like Moening Presentation Group can add value by helping craft presentations, coaching speakers, and working as onsite producers so everything runs smoothly. To find out how we can help take your team’s presentations to the next level, contact us.