Have you ever looked forward to attending a presentation and then walked away disappointed? Instead of hearing a riveting presentation, you find you lose interest in the speaker and the presentation?
Where do most presenters go wrong? How can you deliver that killer presentation that will have the impact you and your audience want?
How to deliver that killer presentation
While for many professionals giving a presentation is a routine part of our job that we have mastered and feel comfortable doing for others, it is an uncomfortable and stressful task that fills us with dread.
When it comes to presenting – practice does make perfect
Practice does make perfect the saying goes. That is true – but you also need techniques and tips to help you deliver that killer presentation.
1. Are They Listening?
Giving an effective presentation involves more than making sure the presenter gets the content right. The best subject matter experts in the world can give presentations that fall flat or worse.
This happens when the presenter fails to engage their audience – even an audience that wants to hear what is being presented. Presentations fail because the presenter fails to get their audience to listen to them.
Successful presenters were identified as having both confidence and power in their speaking voice
In an article published in the Harvard Business Review, successful presenters were identified as having both confidence and power in their speaking voice. Presenters without both tend to lose their audience – to the point where they are no longer ‘heard’.
2. Set the Tone
Poor speakers can be easily identified if they are obviously nervous
Poor speakers can be easily identified if they are obviously nervous.This is detected not only through their body language, but also through their tone of voice as well as how they end their sentences. A quavering voice will probably disengage an audience.
So will sentences that are meant to be statements but are delivered as if they were questions, sometimes known as uptalk. Uptalk can cause an audience to question whether the speaker really believes what they are saying. Speaking in a steady tone with controlled inflections help the audience stay engaged.
Uptalk can cause an audience to question whether the speaker really believes what they are saying
3. Get the Pitch Right
Interestingly, a high pitched voice is sometimes considered to be a problem, leading some listeners to question the authority or otherwise tune out a speaker.
Margaret Thatcher recognised this and took voice lessons, lowering her tone of voice (as well as ‘upgrading’ her accent).
4. The Art of Breathing
The HBR article also focused on the importance of the presenters’ ability to breathe properly as tool to improve their communication style.
Breathing properly has the added benefit of not running out of breath before finishing a sentence, thus avoiding another trait that turns off listeners: creating ‘vocal fry’, or a scratchy tone at the end of a sentence.
Breathing properly has the added benefit of not running out of breath before finishing a sentence
5. It’s All Pavarotti to Me!
Many techniques are available to assist a presenter. Many of these techniques are similar to the advice given to opera singers. These techniques have the benefit of improving a speaker’s voice and thus enhancing its sound from both the perspectives of power and level of confidence.
Many techniques are available to assist a presenter. Many of these techniques are similar to the advice given to opera singers.
6. Get your Posture Right
Position your body so you are standing at your full height with your shoulders back. This gives your voice powerful resonance and also gives the appearance of confidence.
Position your body so you are standing at your full height with your shoulders back
7. Breathe Deeply
Drawing a full breath of air and exhaling slowly gives a presenter the opportunity to deliver a long sentence, continuously controlling the voice. This controls many tone and pitch issues.
8. Speak and exhale steadily
Exhaling a full breath of air gives the presenter the opportunity to deliver long sentences without running out of breath. It also allows the presenter to speak more slowly and to emphasise important points more clearly.
9. Practice, Practice, Practice
Whether using technology or a sympathetic friend or colleague, getting honest feedback from an outside source is important, especially as most people do not hear their own voice the same way others do.
Presenters who take this advice improve their chances of delivering a killer presentation, where the audience walks away satisfied.
Subject matter experts still need to do their job and get the content right. But with the right delivery, presenting a killer presentation should be as simple as breathing …. correctly.
With the right delivery, presenting a killer presentation should be as simple as breathing …. correctly