You had that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach…
You thought your speech wasn’t going to go well.
Your speech was roundly received as boring.
Your colleagues did you a massive favor by not listening. Had they tuned in and asked questions you would be in real trouble.
Why is it always like this?
Regular conversation with your team mates is great.
Why do you fall to pieces when you have to do a speech in front of them?
You’re making the same simple mistake that most newbie presenters make:
You are talking “at” your audience instead of with them.
You practiced so hard.
You know your speech back-to-front.
But no one listened to you. The audience gave you no feedback.
They switched off.
If you want to deliver your presentation confidently. If you want your audience to pay attention and take you seriously. And, if you want to deliver a presentation that impresses your boss and co-workers… There is one simple change you need to make to your presentation delivery.
Present in a conversational tone, not a lecturing one
You need to change the way you talk to your audience.
Everyone knows how smart you are, and no one really cares. No one wants to be stuck in a meeting or a presentation. Especially when the presenter is talking down to them, reading bullet points from slides the audience can read themselves, or reading a script from memory.
Think about good presenters that you know of: Steve Jobs, Dan Pink, Steve Ballmer <– okay, that last one was a joke 😉
You’ve probably seen at least part of a Steve Jobs’ presentation. Think about how he talks to the audience during his presentations. He is relaxed, he talks casually, it’s like he’s having a conversation.
The best presenters always use a conversational tone. Think about a business presentation you have actually enjoyed, think about the TED talks you like, think about your favorite stand-up comedians.
For your next presentation, follow these 3 simple rules:
- Talk to the audience
- Keep it natural
- Embrace mistakes
Talk to the audience
Imagine you meet your friend at the shopping mall. You haven’t talked for a couple of weeks, so you’re catching up. How do you talk to them?
You talk fast, slow, excitedly, loudly, softly, jokingly, the list goes on. You talk in many different ways, but overall it could be classified as natural or conversational. As a result, you listen and react to each other.
What would happen if you talked to your friend in a boring tone, which appeared scripted? Your friend would quickly make an excuse to leave.
The same goes for when you are in front of an audience. Talk to them in a conversational manner and they will listen to you. Talk to them as if you are reading your notes and they will switch off.
Keep it natural
Focus on talking naturally. Don’t try and memorize a script. Focus of being an expert on the topic you are presenting about and be able to talk about it naturally.
The best presenters embrace mistakes.
Say something incorrectly? Just make a joke of it, correct yourself and move on.
Present something in the wrong order? Don’t apologize and make a big deal out of it. Probably you are the only who knows a mistake was made, so just adjust and continue.
What is your presentation experience? Let’s talk in the comments below!