Fortunately, you are not alone. Along with death and spiders, it is what many people fear most.
However, becoming a powerful presenter is critical for anyone who is, or aspires to be, in a leadership position. In fact, well-crafted, persuasive presentations can take you further in your career, distinguish you as an expert, and leave a lasting impression on your audience.
The good news is, that in my experience, as someone who has trained many people in influential presentation skills over many years, everyone can gain more confidence and acquire skills that will help them become better communicators!
Below you will find 3 tips to help you become a powerful public speaker.
1. Resonate With Your Audience
Powerful presentations can captivate audiences, while weaker presenters fail to engage their listeners. But what exactly happens in the brains of a captivated audience?
A recent study in the Oxford Journals discovered that during lower-quality presentations, the brain activity of audience members was out of sync. Conversely, throughout higher-quality speeches, listeners as a group were more coupled to each other. This suggests that effective presentations are more potent in taking control of the listeners’ neural responses.
How many times have you hoped to see students, employees, investors, or potential clients jiggle, sizzle, and realign themselves to adopt your message and create a new future? Do you wish your audience were agreeable and cohesive in thought and purpose?
Luckily, they can be! When you harmonize with the frequency of your audience, then the message resonates profoundly, and they will reposition themselves to carry your message forward. Your audience instinctively will move towards the message and create something collectively beautiful.
2. Clarify Your Big Idea
According to Chris Allen, Founder of Ted Talks, there is one thing that all TED presentations have in common. It is this: Your primary objective as a speaker is to transfer into the minds of your listeners, an extraordinary gift – a strange and beautiful object that we call an idea.
But wait. What is an idea anyway?
It is a pattern of information that helps your audience understand and navigate the world. Ideas come in all shapes and sizes, from the complex and analytical to the simple and aesthetic. When communicated properly, they are capable of changing forever how someone thinks about the world, and shaping their actions both now and well into the future.
Below you will find four guidelines on how you can effectively build your idea in the minds of your audience members.
1) Limit your talk to just one major idea. Focus on one major idea. Ideas are complex things. You will need to structure your content so that it focuses on the single idea you are most passionate about. Give yourself a chance to explain that one idea with context and examples.
2) Give people a reason to care. Before you begin building concepts inside the minds of your audience, you need to get their permission to welcome you in. How can you achieve this? Through curiosity. Stir the inquisitiveness of your audience. Use intriguing, provocative questions to identify why something does not make sense and needs explaining. When you reveal a disconnection in the audience’s worldview, they will then feel the need to bridge that knowledge gap. Once you have sparked that desire, it will be much easier to start building your idea.
3) Build your idea with familiar concepts. Construct your idea with concepts that your audience already understands. Use the power of language to weave together concepts that already exist in the minds of your listeners – but not your language, their language. Start where they are. The speakers often forget that many of the terms and concepts they live with are completely unfamiliar to their audiences. Metaphors can play a crucial role in showing how the pieces fit together, because they reveal the desired shape of the pattern, based on an idea that the listener already understands.
4) Make your idea worth sharing. Ask yourself the question: “Who does this idea benefit?” If you believe that the idea has the potential to change the perspective of someone else for the better or inspire someone to do something differently, then you have the core ingredient to a truly great talk.
3. Tell Stories
Great presenters understand the power of story to establish an emotional connection with the audience. Stories inform, illuminate, and inspire. Above all, stories bring your presentation to life. However, many people think of “story” as something personal that happened to them.
While personal stories are, indeed impactful, storytelling can take many forms. There are three types of stories you can use to enhance your presentation:
- Personal Experiences
- Anecdotes that highlight the benefits of your idea
- Customer Testimonials
The key to delivering presentations that instantly inspire your audience is telling captivating stories in the first two to five minutes.
In this article, we have only covered the fundamentals of a great presentation. Of course, there is much more that goes into a talk to make it powerful, persuasive and professional. However, the steps outlined above will significantly elevate your presentation. These steps will help position you as a more effective and successful leader, while leaving an unforgettable impression on your audience.