How do you make your presentation memorable, vivid and useful? Get rid of the mistakes that all beginners make. What they are and how to avoid them, tells a speech and charisma expert.
1. SPEAK DRYLY AND WITHOUT EMOTION
It often happens that a person tries to hide behind words and meanings, so the narration is sluggish, monotonous and uninteresting. Such people create the structure of a speech and put a lot of information into it, but they forget that emotions are primary. If they do not show emotion, the audience will not understand what the speaker wants to convey.
Why do such monotonous performances appear? It’s because we haven’t been taught any other way. Remember your speeches at school: we were praised for telling a theorem correctly or reading a dry report on ecology, but no one told us that charisma, feelings and emotions were important. We need to understand a very simple idea: what emotion we want to arouse in people is the emotion we must broadcast.
How do you make a speech more emotional? Look at your text and highlight key phrases or words in bold type. Now try to also highlight these words intonationally: speak them louder and louder, or slower and faster.
2. TALKING LOUDLY BUT WITHOUT MEANING
The reverse is true when a person is overcome with emotion and begins to speak too quickly and loudly, gesturing vigorously with his hands. When presented as a text, each sentence ends with an exclamation mark.
More often than not, such speeches are full of a stream of ideas, lack structure, have few facts, and are unclear as to what exactly the speaker wants to convey to the audience. By the way, this strategy works well for one minute, when we have limited speaking time and just need to be remembered. But when it comes to situations where you need to present yourself, the speaker’s image is shattered by excessive emotionality.
If there is such a problem, you should add hard facts, figures, rules or formulas to your speech, and pay attention to your gesticulation during the speech.
3. NOT CONDUCTING AN INTERACTIVE ACTIVITY
Modern people’s thinking has become cliched, so it becomes more and more difficult to hold their attention. And if we go on stage and just talk about how to lose weight fast, people will listen to us for the first 10 minutes, and then begin to yawn, get distracted by the phone or chat with a neighbour. Don’t you agree that this is not a very pleasant picture?
In this case, the focus should again be shifted from yourself to your audience. Some kind of reaction needs to be evoked: it could be a nod of approval, a laugh at a joke, or a raised hand. How do you do this? Add interactivity to your presentation: ask a question, make a joke or insert a slide with a meme from the internet.
4. IGNORE AUDIENCE NEEDS
First of all, it is worth finding out what is the usefulness of our presentation. For example, a financial consultant is speaking. He must first understand what kind of audience will listen to him today: beginners or professionals? And what would they be interested in learning? You have to start from the problems and needs of the audience. The more personalised the presentation is, the more it will go in. If they are beginners, as a financial consultant, I would tell them why it is important to keep a budget and set aside money. If they are professionals, you could share how to make a return on investment even higher.
Therefore, before giving a speech, it is better to ask the organisers what the audience will be like, what their needs are and what should be communicated to them. And then you should use this as a starting point when preparing your speech.
5. CHOOSE UNCOMFORTABLE CLOTHES.
Yes, the clothes must fit the context of the speech. But here the question is different – often, trying to dress up, we dress uncomfortably. For example, some girls wear high heels, which they have never done before, and during the performance they are afraid to move so that they don’t fall down. And men tie a tight tie and pull it all the time. It seems that we will look brighter and more presentable with these items of clothing, and we will be remembered. But we end up thinking about how uncomfortable our clothes or shoes make our backs stiff during the performance.
It is important to decide in advance what you will wear and try to give your speech a few times in this outfit. Nothing should make you look too tight during your speech, especially in the diaphragm area, and nothing should get in the way or distract you.
6. FORGETTING THE TECHNICAL RUN-THROUGH
I have often witnessed situations when during performances of a beginner moved the letters on presentations or moved the slide, and the person began to be nervous, lost. In that case, the overall impression of the performance falls flat. I always recommend that students come early to test the technique and see the environment. It is best to do a technical run-through: switch on the microphone, check how it works, listen to your voice on the speakers, get a feel for the stage. You need to make sure that the presentation has been uploaded to the computer, the clicker works and everything is in order.
There is an illusion that if you don’t prepare for a performance, you will do better. Yes, it can work once, but it is more likely to fail afterwards. After all, even Olympic champions warm up before a competition because they know how important it is. I’ve been on stage for over 17 years and I’ve performed for an audience of over 10,000 people and I still prepare every time.
What do I pay attention to when preparing? I put meaning into my content (the same questions – what is the purpose of my speech and what result the audience should get). I think about the best format to present my speech in. And I prepare myself technically, i.e. I do exercises to improve my diction, gesticulation and articulation. This helps me not to get confused during a performance. If you do all these steps, your audience will definitely remember your entrance to the stage.