Do You Want to Improve the Delivery of Your Presentations?

As outlined in my recent newsletter, there are three key elements that can significantly improve your presentation skills. Today, I will focus on the second one, Delivery.\r\n\r\nDelivery is the art of expression. Your ability to create impact with your words will be largely based on your delivery skills. You can be an expert on a topic, but if you cannot deliver your message adequately, your ideas will never be heard and acted on.\r\n\r\nIn my presentations, I use three key instruments outlined in the book As We Speak: How to Make Your Point and Have It Stick, written by leadership trainer and consultant Peter Meyers and performance coach Shann Nix:\r\n\r\n1. Voice: Varying your voice is a key skill to develop and practice. Work on your volume, pitch (high- or low-voice tone), and tempo (speed at which you speak). Practice dialing these three variables up and down according to the emphasis you want to give to a particular word or set of words. Additionally, practice using pauses to create momentum. In my case, silence also helps me avoid the use of “uhm” or “ehm” between words.\r\n\r\n2. Posture and Movement: The key tip here is to make your body congruent with your words. Think back on all the presenters you have watched. What did you observe from the best ones? Did they park behind the podium or stand as close to the audience as possible? Did they randomly walk back and forth across the stage, or did they move following natural but deliberate steps? And what did they do with their hands? Were they hidden in their pockets, or were they used to emphasize particular points? I don’t think one size fits all. I try to learn from the best and apply what naturally fits into my message.\r\n\r\n3. Face and Eyes: Whether you are aware of it or not, your facial expression communicates. Your expression should be congruent with the message you are trying to communicate. A few tips: Warm up your facial muscles before getting on stage, aim for connected conversations with the audience vs. forcing eye contact, and do not shy away from using notes.\r\n\r\nLet me close with a key tip on delivery: Rehearse. Rehearse on your own until you feel absolutely confident with your delivery. Then rehearse on-site: Check the audio, visuals, notes, lighting, seating arrangement, clicker, timer, flow, and any other relevant variables. Be ready to make adjustments minutes before showtime. No matter how well I plan a presentation, it seems there is always a need to make last-minute adjustments.\r\n\r\nNext Monday, I will cover the third element of strong presentations: State. Stay tuned!\r\n\r\nPercy M. Cannon\r\nAuthor, Speaker, Consultant, Facilitator & Coach\r\

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