On Wednesday I presented to an audience of 30 real estate agents. The course was about social media policy and email marketing.
I rate myself as an OK presenter. I’m passionate but sometimes that passion leads to a lack of cohesion in the presentation. At other times I get overly technical and bore people with the nitty gritty.
There are times in my presentation where I feel a closeness and connection with the audience. It’s usually when I’m telling a story and I’ll often have people come up to me after the presentation and comment about those parts.
That said I’m keen to improve my presentation skills so when I came across these tips from Inc. magazine I thought they were too good not to share.
- Be yourself. Don’t try to be what’s on your business card or pretend that you know more than you know. In the main I do this but sometimes I can feel myself trying to muscle my way through a point, especially if the audience interaction (which I love) gets a bit heated. At that point I can tell (usually later) that I sound a bit shrill.
- Tell stories. Whether it’s presenting, selling or writing this is great advice. Stories are what create emotional connection and gives people access to the meaning behind the data. It’s something I need to do more of.
- Practice. According to Inc. “even charismatic speakers are tedious when they wing it.” By contrast, great speakers practice until their ideas pop with freshness. Practising a full day workshop is challenging but it’s something I need to do more.
- Socialise. Speak to people in person, not as a gigantic collection of faces. Get intimate with a few members of the audience and talk directly to them. That connection with a few will translate into connection with many.
- Brevity. Keep to the time allowed. At no time should the presentation run over time. Avoid cramming too much content into the presentation. Keeping to time involves doing lots of Step 3, practice.
With my next presentation – a keynote – in just over 2 weeks it’s time for me to start practicing.