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4 STEPS TO CRUSH ANY PRESENTATION

AARON TAN

Speaker Trainer, Lecturer

4 Steps to Crushing any Presentation

The mere thought of giving a presentation to a group of people can be daunting for many.  No matter how big or small the audience is, the majority of people have a fear of public speaking (or what is technically known as “glossophobia”).  They see this experience as a road block rather than as an opportunity to shine. 

This article will outline 4 steps that I use with my clients – the “MEME” model –  to allow them to not only get through but excel at presentations and stand out from everyone else.  For the purposes of this article I have also given a practical tip to accompany each step so that you can start improving your presentation skills straight away.

Step 1: – Mindset

The mindset of a good speaker is extremely important.  Your body and verbal language will convey to the audience exactly what you are thinking.  If you are nervous and apprehensive then this will come across in your presentation.  This often stems from a fear of failure, fear of looking foolish, etc. 

One adjustment to the mindset that helps many of my clients is looking at a presentation this way:

  • This audience has come to listen to you to learn something.  Assuming you like to help other people (and who doesn’t?) focus on serving and educating others, rather than focusing on your own performance.

This can even work in the workplace.  For example; if you have to do a presentation in front of management on the progress of a project, understand that they have superiors to report to.  By conveying your message clearer to them, they have a better understanding of your project in order to do so.  In my experience one of the knock-on effects of giving a great presentation to your manager is that you’ll be assigned to projects of higher visibility and rise up the corporate ladder much quicker.

Step 2: – Energy

Energy is one of those areas where people will have slightly different ideas and definitions depending on who you ask.  For the purposes of this article, we’ll keep it simple and relate energy to authenticity. 

Someone who is authentic and believes what they say is far more relatable than someone who is pretending to be someone they aren’t.  It’s important to remember that unfortunately not everyone is going to get along with everyone else.  The moment you try to appeal to everyone, is the moment that you appeal to no-one.  Even the largest companies in the world today aren’t able to appeal to everyone – Apple, McDonalds, Facebook. 

And this all goes back to being authentic – identify your audience (who have chosen to listen to you) and focus on delivering your message with sincerity.

Step 3: – Mechanics

There are a vast array of tips that I teach my clients when delivering a presentation from the tonality in their voice to their body language, where to stand on stage to what colour to write in.  Like any skill this all comes with practice.  You can have the most attractive car chassis (or message) but if you don’t have the parts (or techniques) to make it out of the drive, the car will stay at home.

One tip that will instantly help you improve the delivery of any presentation is the use of pauses.  Punctuation marks are a great indicator – whenever there is a natural full stop in a sentence, take time to take a breath in.  If you want a message to really resonate with the audience pause for 3 to 5 seconds.  Whenever there is a natural comma, take half a breath.      

These pauses not only help the message land, but also gives the you time to collect your thoughts.  It also slows down the heart rate which often speeds up during a presentation.

Step 4: – Entertain

An entertained audience is an engaged audience and engaged audiences receive information much better.  There are many tools that you can use to engage an audience – through stories, jokes, audience participation, activities and so on.  One of my favourite tools is the use of rhetorical questions. 

Humans like to think so if you ask a question to an audience it allows them to get mentally invested into what you are saying.  Once you ask a rhetorical question, give them about 5 seconds to think of an answer – even if there is no intention for them to verbalise it.  This pause also gives you the opportunity to breathe and gather your thoughts.

Good examples of rhetorical questions are “Has there ever been a time when you…” or “Have you ever experienced…” or “what do you think…”.  Note the use of the word “you” in the questions as it personalises the question to make each member of the audience think that you are talking to them.

It is a good idea to experiment with the steps and tips provided above.  Different people will resonate with different tips presented above.  That will depend on your preferred presentation style and audience.  For more information visit www.aarontanofficial.com and like my public Facebook page @AaronTanOfficial for more hints and tips on succeeding in business and presentations.

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