So you have prepared your presentation, your speech, your pitch and are happy with your content. How do you deliver it so that you make the maximum impact? Here are 6 tips to help you deliver superbly!
1. Apply the 3-S’s to Start Superbly
When you stand up to speak it is important to make a super impact from the get go. Before you open your mouth – your listeners are already sizing you up.
The first of our three S’s relates to standing up Straight – it’s a really simple but effective way to make you look and feel more confident. The second S is to Settle yourself, take time to settle yourself into position, move anything that may be in your way and become comfortable in your own space. The final S is to Smile – plenty of reasons for smiling! It makes you look happy and people like happy people. It also releases endorphins, which are a great antidote to nerves and signals to your audience that you are looking forward to speaking with them. Caveat – if you are delivering bad news, best leave out the smiling.
2. Speech Rate
The fastest speaker in the world is Steve Woodmore from the UK who can speak at 637 words per minute (wpm). Needless to say this is not to be recommended when presenting! An average speed of 120 wpm is slow enough for your audience to understand your message. However, if you speak at the same rate all the time it is very b-o-r-i-n-g. For added impact, it’s a good idea to speed up occasionally and then slow right down.
3. SOS it’s music to the ear
The Sound Of Silence. Occasionally just stop speaking ….… this lets your mouth catch up with your brain and your listeners catch up with your message.
4. Gesture to add impact
It is obvious – isn’t it! Yet, so many people talk with their hands clasped together, or even behind their back. Use your hands as you would if you were chatting to friends or family. Watch the gestures you use in your normal habitat and try to include them in your presentation. When you are practising your presentation out loud, look for opportunities to add gestures that match what you are saying. Interesting research recently by the Science of People on TED Talks, found that the more hand gestures in a TED talk, the more views that the talk received.
So, do include plenty of gestures but a word of caution – do not “act” out your presentation with carefully crafted gestures. People will spot immediately if you are trying to be someone you are not.
5. Eye contact
If you look at one person and talk to them for a few seconds, it is going to make you feel less intimidated. Talking to one person is a lot more comfortable for most people, than talking to a big group. Look at their eyebrows if you find looking into their eyes too intimidating.
Having great eye contact makes your listeners feel important (which they absolutely are) and also makes you go into a more conversational tone.
6. Use your face
We have over 80 muscles in our face and boy are we great at using them when watching a great match on the TV, describing a delicious meal or even talking about a hilarious incident.
Why is it then, that when we get up to speak we leave our facial gestures in our seats? Using your face makes you feel more ‘normal’ – because that is what we do in normal conversation.
So the next time you get on your feet, do try to use at least some of the tips above. You never know, they could help you to deliver a super presentation!