Two days ago, I attended a one day training session on the topic of “Dynamic Public Speaking” from the company called National Seminars Training by Rebecca Pace.
Following are some of my notes from that session. I like to take lots of notes so I can remember most of what is taught and presented. Life is so busy that if you do not take time to note down things, you will forget it very soon.
Though I am not a presenter, but there are many occasions where I have to speak such as explaining to my boss why we need to upgrade SQL server, show developer why something is cool and solves problem easier than the older method, also communicating with other vertical teams.
Rebecca started the session by asking participants, what they like to get from this session. She gave lots of tips and tricks to each one of us. This took 1 hour and it was immediately evident to me that this session will be interesting. I will be listing my notes in the forms of the tips and put them in various categories. I hope reader of this page will find them useful.
Fear and Nervousness:
- People who come to listen to you are either in agreement with you or will be providing resistance. It is better to know your audience beforehand and particularly useful is to know the type of resistance you will be getting.
- If you fear, you are going to black out, use index cards. Only jot down few words in bold and big fonts as a reminder cue for yourself.
- Another trick to calm yourself down during the presentation is to put 3 personal items at different location beforehand in the presentation room. So when you are nervous look in the direction of one of your item and it will give you connection to yourself and relax you.
- Remind yourself frequently that what you have to say is valuable to others.
- To make your presentation your own like a worn out pajama, you need to present it 6 times.
- When preparing, always target to the middle of the intelligence level of the group. That is why knowing your audience ahead of time is important.
- Audience want to know you as a person. So be yourself. Your accent, ethnicity and any other cultural difference make you more unique. Play it to your advantage. Be creative how you present yourself.
Audience Retention Problem:
- Do not try to force feed your audience. Lay low on information overload. As a speaker you worry that you don’t have enough content and you over prepare and then you want to give out all this information.
- Be conversational with your audience. Engaging and creating personal connection is more important than the content itself. Because an engaged audience is going to listen and understand your presentation.
- Leave the technical jargon for the slides or the handouts. While you speak use common words and simple English.
- Let your audience take notes, don’t give them everything on the slide and give them handouts toward the end of your presentation. By taking notes they will pay more attention and will retain more.
Tips on Presentation Slides:
- How many slides should you have in a power point? According to Rebecca, for an hour long presentation you should not have more than 5 slides. The reason being you want your audience to engage with you more that with the slides itself. Give additional material in handout. Use lots of colors and visuals. Remember less is more and a picture is worth a thousand words. Use less words.
- Have 8 facts about yourself on the last page. Preferably 4 of them regarding your professional\business and 4 business\personal details.
- If you are giving a 30 minute speech, about 4 minutes should be opening to hook the audience to your talk. And if 1 hour talk use 6 minutes. This is a rough guideline.
- If you are showing video clip, make sure it is not more than 3 minutes. It is very important that you explain what audience is going to see and after the clip engage to get the understanding of the audience.
- Presentation takes lot of energy from the speaker. You need to be rested and prepared. You have to project your voice to each of your audience. Bigger audience means you will spend more of your energy.
- Use coffee, or tea with peppermint oil drops, or Singer secret throat spray to dilate your larynx. You will have a richer and more powerful voice. Read book “Voice and the Actor”.
- If you have a habit of talking fast, then take a notebook on the podium or table and turn pages that will slow you down.
- Eat some complex carbohydrates before the presentation to low down your energy level if you are a fast speaker.
- Wear clothes (even undergarments), shoes, hair etc. which are comfortable and forget about them when presenting.
- Practice editing your face by keeping mirror in front of you when talking on phone. Smile more.
- Don’t shoot for 100% perfectness in you presentation. Shoot for 85% or greater. Be flexible and ready to roll if conditions changes.
- For practice, do it before mirror, record yourself, and notice your postures and gestures. Do you look confident? Fake it till you make it.
- Listen to great speakers like Martin Luther King, James Earl John. Listen to comedy shows. Another example is to notice the difference in Whitney Houston and Dolly Patron delivery of the same song (I love you).
- Do your homework.
- Whom I will be talking to?
- What are the circumstances?
- How long is my presentation going to be?
- Where will the presentation occur?
- Why I am doing this presentation?
- Include a little ice breaker in the beginning, even if it is not related to the topic, just to get audience connect to each other.
- If some people are running late, ask audience if you should wait for them or begin.
- Speak with more animation that your normal voice. Create more volatility in your voice.
- During presentation, make eye contact with as many people as you can.
- Communication Pie
- 55% is what you see
- 38% is what you hear
- 7% is the language you choose (use spicy adjectives to grab attention and create mental pictures). For example: “This is what we achieved…..” versus “This is the red velvet of achievement…..”
- To create personal connection with your audience, use any of the following.
- Appropriate short personal story
- Invite people to comment and ask questions
- Mingle with your audience 5-10 minutes beforehand
- Be your authenticate self
- Improve your communication by listening during your presentation.
- Listen to what is being said, even if you don’t agree,
- Be quiet.
- Allow time for discussion.
- Keep an open mind.
- Don’t plan your response while the other person is talking.
- Minimize interruptions.
- Remain objective, don’t get emotionally involved.
At the end:
- End your presentation with succinct summary, or a quote or the benefit of the product or idea. End on a positive note and try to get the emotion from the audience.
- Some resources to continue your learning and development as a presenter
- Oriental trading toys for icebreaking or other games
- Hallmark blank quotation cards, write quote’s
- Book: Secrets of power Negotiating
- Book: Psychology of Achievement by Brian Tracy.
- Singer Secret throat spray.
- Spirit Gum to train you face muscles.