Delivering a presentation or speech in real-time is a whole different experience than practicing it in front of a mirror or a friend. Some situations appear only when you are actually delivering your speech or encouraging your audience to ask questions. What is unknown to you might be something that could instantly downgrade your impression or rapport with the audience.
Learning everything after making mistakes in the world of public speaking is going to be the reason behind your slow progress or no progress at all. Luckily, all of us are capable of learning from others’ mistakes and experiences. So, leverage this capability to become what you want in the shortest time possible.
Here are the three things about what to do and what to avoid in the journey of becoming a successful presenter, keynote speaker, or international public speaker.
- Show your energy rather than telling them you are under the weather
Do you think it is okay to share with the audience that you are having a bad day or heartbreak and thus, not fully prepared for the speech or presentation? If you think so, you are deluded. Making time from busy schedules just to hear that you are not ready for it is going to frustrate your audience. They have so many things to do but they are here with you. Respect that and make them believe that you really care about delivering speech or presentation and adding value to their life.
Excellent presenters prepare enough time. In fact, those speeches that looked so effortless had days of preparation behind to make them look that way. So, always go prepared instead of thinking that you can wing it.
“Preparedness is the key to success and victory.”
– Douglas MacArthur
- Address the needs of your audience rather than selling
When you are presenting to sell your products or services, the one thing that you need to absolutely avoid is selling. Instead, get their buy-in by focusing on the needs of the audience. Otherwise, your audience will feel like you are pushing them to use your offerings. Do your homework to find out what type of audience you are going to address, what could interest them, and what needs, concerns, and pain points they have.
This will help you know which aspects of your services or products are useful to them and which are not. Overloading with everything about your brand and its offering is only going to annoy the audience. They are listening to you to get value and not to get buried with details that aren’t useful to them. So, stop selling whether you are at a traditional or digital platform.
- Answer questions without leaving the rest of the audience unattended
Most often, what speakers do when somebody asks a question is that they talk to only that person for the moment they are providing an answer and lose their connection with everybody else. This is the point where you are making a huge mistake. Building a connection with the audience is a bit easier but maintaining it during the whole presentation is the real challenge.
So, what could you do?
- First, make eye-contact with the person, thank them for asking a question and address them with their name (especially if you are at a virtual conference). Research conducted by Professor Tim Welsh from the University of Toronto has shown that the combination of eye contact and motion grabs immediate attention that increases engagement.
- Look at the whole audience and paraphrase the question so that everyone understands what question was asked. In the case of virtual settings, use phrases like “Hey everybody, Zaara from Qatar asked ……” to get the attention of all before answering the question.
- On the stage, stand at a location in a position so that you can see the whole or maximum part of your audience while answering the question. Walk while speaking if the area to be covered is too large to get a full view.
This will make the question asker feel important and also help you maintain full inclusion of the audience and encourage further engagement.
Delivering presentations and speeches is all about grabbing the attention of your audience, keeping them engaged, and positively influencing their decisions or life. So, it’s always crucial to understand how to do that. The tips we have shared today might help you realize where you are going wrong and what can put you on the right track of becoming an influential speaker and presenter.