“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” ― Jerry Seinfeld
This is one of my favourite Jerry Seinfeld quotes, and given how common fear of public speaking is in Western society, it’s one that continues to ring true today. Many of us, however, need to engage in some form of public speaking throughout our lives, and how we present to others hugely reflects on our personal brand…our reputation and the name we make for ourselves.
Our guest blogger this month is Hanieh Vidmar, a public speaking expert who has built her entire career around public speaking and helping others build up their skills and confidence as speakers. Here she gives her top tips on making presentations…
There are so many tips and techniques that we can implement into our presentations to help us improve our delivery and raise our confidence. In this article, I will share five tips on how you can be your authentic self when on stage – which is extremely important when delivering a presentation.
- Telling stories creates great content for any presentation – whether it’s a sales pitch or a motivational speech. Stories can really put ‘you’ into the presentation and help your presentation sound more authentic. Share short and relevant stories in your presentations to help strengthen your message.
- Our body language is a big telltale on how we are feeling. When on stage, we need to emit a relaxed and confident energy and one way to achieve this is by knowing our presentation. Before your big day, practice, practice and practice some more so that you know your content well. When you know your content well, this can eliminate a lot of stress when you’re on stage and help you relax and therefore create a more authentic delivery.
- Visual aids are powerful in presentations. They can strengthen your presentation and help your audience take in your message more effectively – in fact, visual aids are 65,000 more effective than text alone. You can use slides in your next presentation to help you achieve this but don’t hide behind your slides nor allow your slides to control you. To make the most of your slides, remember the rule ‘less is more’. Use keywords and then face your audience to explain the point to them. Don’t pack the slide with loads of information which you read as this shows nerves and lack of clarity. Being authentic on stage requires you to be confident in your message.
- Your two greatest assets in your presentation are your audience and your information for them. Involve your audience in your presentation. One of my favourite hooks to use in a presentation is to ask questions – open your presentation with a series of questions which involves a show of hands or ask your audience members questions individually. This helps with a number of things: 1) You show interest in your audience, 2) You can connect with your audience, 3) You can adapt your presentation to according to the answers they give you, and 4) by asking your audience questions, it can help you relax and your interest shows authenticity.
- And finally, one of my favourite styles of delivery is to talk to your audience as if you’re explaining a story to a group of friends in a restaurant. Give your presentation the same energy, tone and body language. If you use your hands when you talk do so in your presentation, if you say an odd joke when you’re around friends, do so in your presentation too (remember to keep them clean and non-offensive) and if your tone changes with your emotions, do the same in your presentation. The best way to be yourself is to, simply, be yourself.
Being authentic in a presentation is vital as this shows you’re relaxed, your comfortable in your space and you know what you are doing. Use the five tips above to help you strengthen your message and leave a long lasting positive impression in the minds of your audience.
Enjoy the process.
To learn more about Hanieh Vidmar and sign up for a free five day public speaking and confidence course, check out www.haniehvidmar.com!