I’m always doing public speaking and presentations in my line of work. But I also constantly train lots of highly placed executives to help them master their own presentation skills. The key, I’ve found, is to find your unique, individual voice. Each of us has a signature style of speaking and presenting that comes naturally once you discover it. Then even if you are talking in front of an audience of 3,000 people it will seem to you like a small fireside chat. Here are some tips to make that happen:
Find Your Natural Style
What’s your go-to style for other types of communication like emails, phone conferences, or chatting at a networking event? Do you like to cite stats, details, and figures or are you more inclined to talk in broad goals and conceptual ideas? Some of us tend to excel at explaining difficult subject matter. Others are great at stimulating engagement by asking the right questions. Working with my clients I find that identifying their favorite way of communicating helps access their dominant speaking/presentation style.
Show, Don’t Tell, Using Stories
When people hear a story their imagination puts them right into the middle of it. That’s why so many TV commercials these days are laid out like a story or mini-movie. Advertisers want you to identify with that family at the breakfast table as if you’re sitting across the kitchen from them. Incorporating a narrative style that highlights your talking points can do wonders for your presentation skills. An organization may tell the story of how they got from point A to point B to reduce overhead and boost performance. Similarly, you may narrate to your client in a vivid way how when they met you they were seeking a particular solution that now that they are doing business with you they have one that works great.
Video Yourself for Training
To finesse your presentations or speeches, practice videotaping yourself. You’ll easily notice any verbal tics, hand gestures, or unwanted posture when you see yourself the way the audience does. The process also makes you more objective for editing your talk. Best of all, it this kind of practice really boosts your self confidence and your comfort level, which are golden assets for a public speaker.
Predictable Promotion™ Takeaway Exercise
Here’s some homework for you to help you get started:
- Pick a business topic. Record yourself explaining it to a good friend who is easy to talk to about anything and everything.
- Listen to yourself later. Repeat that process several times with different topics.
- You will start to recognize your unique style of delivery that you use when conveying information to someone with whom you feel really comfortable.
- That’s your natural voice. Now practice incorporating that signature style into business presentations or other kinds of public speaking.
As a pioneering and visionary innovator, Sarah is a certified professional image consultant and brand strategist, speaker, trainer and author. Her company, Illustra Consulting, provides leading-edge image and brand management strategies for top leaders and high achievers who wish to take their career to the next level. She also delivers innovative and inspiring corporate workshops to assist large organizations in strengthening their corporate brand.
Copyright © 2013, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS
1-800-267-3245, [email protected]
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