Okay, you probably think you won't learn anything new in this article, that it's just like all the others on the subject. Hmm... Yes, but no. Here's why: all the advice in the world on how to deliver a presentation, all the techniques to help build your charisma won't work unless you put them into action. In this article, I'm going to let you in on a few little-known ways to practice!
Article written by Hugo Weinmann
1) Practice speaking in publicThere's nothing new here. In order to be a good public speaker and be listened to, you need to feel at ease. Don't be afraid of speaking in front of an audience, you just need to be confident. You don't necessarily need to give presentation after presentation to practice (you don't always get the chance being a student). So, how can you practice?
- Start off by telling fairly long jokes, stories and anecdotes to your friends.
- The next step: speak to strangers. Start conversations with them that last at least about 5 minutes, without being "too much". Talking to people you don't know will help you learn how to master your stress, build your confidence and improve your ability to speak under pressure. A very effective exercise!
2) Work on your intonationGetting rid of your fear of public speaking is one thing, but if it's only to speak without intonation, it's not really worth while! There's nothing worse than listening to someone with a monotone voice. I was lucky enough to listen to one a few days ago, and I can assure you that it literally puts people to sleep (even if what is being said is interesting), and it's not exactly hard to find a reason to take a nap ;). Your mission to deliver a captivating presentation, if you accept it, is the following:
- Continue to carry out the previous exercise: telling jokes, stories and anecdotes, but this time use intonation! Mimic the tones the people in your story would use, exaggerate the best moments and take advantage of silence if necessary.
3) Work on your gesturesThanks to the previous exercises, you should now be able to speak in public without too much difficulty, using the right intonation. You can probably notice a massive improvement already? But it's not over yet. To truly succeed and deliver a captivating presentation, there are still a few points to work on, including your gestures. You need to learn how to accompany your words with the right gestures. Why? Put simply, and as you probably already know, body language accounts for 80% of communication. How to work on them? Practice all the exercises from the beginning of this article, this time concentrating on your body language and gestures. Conclusion: body language is the most important aspect of communicating your message effectively, so you really need to work on it!
4) Work on your stage presenceIt's something I don't hear about often, or perhaps I haven't had the chance to read enough in articles on the subject. However, stage presence is crucial for delivering a captivating presentation! In order to completely captivate your audience, you can't just settle for feeling comfortable and having the correct intonation and gestures, you also need to occupy the space, and that means moving! How can you practice? This time, the only solution is to deliver a presentation, then another one, then another and another and another! This skill can only be gained through practice, but don't worry: very few people actually manage it (I'm still working on it) and you don't necessarily need to be an expert on this point in order to deliver a good presentation. Nevertheless, as mentioned previously, it's a massive plus which will allow you to literally enthrall your audience. Conclusion: stage presence is something very few people master but it can truly hypnotise your audience, so get practicing!
5) Learn how to captivate your audience from the very first momentIn order to truly deliver a captivating presentation, you have to know how to get your audience involved from the offset: the audience should feel involved. There are no miracle recipes, but to give you an example, imagine the following scene: You're giving a presentation on a product which is going to put an end to baldness (we can only dream! ;)). You arrive on stage, full of confidence with a smile on your face. You step up to the microphone and greet your audience with the sentence, "Put you hand up if you've ever dreamt of getting your hair back!" "And who has ever been conned into a "miracle solution"?" You can then link to the start of your presentation and be sure to have the audience's full attention. It's up to you to see how you work this technique into your presentation, which will obviously depend on the subject matter.
How to practice this point?Every time you speak to someone you can practice: how can I introduce my story to immediately grab their attention? Test different approaches. Next, work out which approach works best. Conclusion: the first minute of your presentation is crucial. You need to get your audience involved and grab their attention. And what about you? What advice would you give to anyone who wants to deliver a captivating presentation?
Feel free to leave a comment! :)