If you are determined to set yourself apart and be successful in today’s demanding market place, it is critical you are a powerful and engaging presenter.
As an Executive Speaking Coach, working with dozens of speakers and presenters a year helping them prepare for specific events, the speaking canvas is varied. Scenarios range from a President of a company speaking to 1000 people at their annual conference on a huge Las Vegas stage; a talented speaker on a global tour of 12 different venues presenting the findings of his company’s innovative research; to a prominent publisher charged with the critical fund-raising task, speaking in intimate living room settings.
While all of these scenarios are different and require nuanced techniques, there are significant similarities that apply to all.
By following these five principles great speakers and presenters employ to command an audience, you will stand out whether speaking to an audience of 1 or 1000.
The best speakers:
1. Create Compelling, Concise Messages
The most powerful and persuasive communicators use three highly effective tools to create communication that is clear, concise and impactful. They define their objective, specifying the result they desire or the action they want taken as a consequence of what they’re communicating.
They limit their message to 3 or 4 big ideas, keeping it simple and straightforward.
And they create a well-organized structure that is easy and logical to follow: A clear beginning that either asks a question, poses a challenge or an anecdote all of which tees up the topic, a middle balanced between data-driven information and anecdotal support, and a clean ending that gives the audience a clear direction of what to do next.
2. Develop Authentic Delivery Styles
The most commanding and engaging speakers are authentic. That is, they are their natural selves with more energy, not an imitation of someone else they think they should be. This is important because people trust someone who comes across as genuine. If you do not adopt an authentic speaking style, you run the risk of your audience sensing you slipped on an artificial persona for the occasion and turning off to you. (see "Keepin it Real..." 1/18/15)
3. Tell Stories
Great speakers understand that telling stories engage listeners on a visceral level and that people remember a well-told story related to a point they are making for a long time.
You will command your audience by making a point, supporting it with a well-crafted story or example, repeating the point and then sharing what you learned, discovered or changed as a result of the experience. Sometimes, you have a good story but it doesn’t serve the message. In that case, you need to find one that supports the point you’re making.
It takes some effort but learning the basic principles of good storytelling sets you apart and is well worth it.
4. Build in Rehearsal Time
It’s Murphy’s law. Whatever can go wrong will and at the worst possible time!
We all make mistakes but if you can’t recover, you risk damaging your credibility. One precaution you can take is to build in rehearsal time. Whether you are giving a speech or presentation, rehearse it out loud. Everything sounds great when you go over it silently in your head. It’s only when you speak the words out loud you realize your ideas are unclear and you need to replace distracting ums, er’s and more recently so’s with transitions or change it up for a better flow.
Even experienced presenters encounter technology problems. They take extra care to check all equipment, ahead of time. I always encourage my coaching clients to schedule a rehearsal on the actual stage or in the room where the event is being held.
5. Embody a Spirit of Partnership
Great presenters adopt an attitude that communicates with their listeners, “I am here as a trusted resource you can rely on for the long haul.” Too often, presenters want to either dominate or push a product or idea in the short term for their own interests.
Remember, it’s not really about you. By telegraphing through words and demeanor, “I am here to serve you”; your clients will be saying to themselves, “This is someone I want to do business with.”
By applying and mastering these five key principles, you will command your audiences, connect with your listeners and set yourself apart from the pack by giving stand out presentations every time you speak.
Copyright © 2015 by Ivy Naistadt - All rights reserved