Inviting assessment and critique before you start

If presentation skill starts with you, before you research your audience and gathering your information, target a few friends, colleagues, associates and ask for candid feedback about your level of engagement. How do you come across? What would others say about you? Invite people to comment about your level of impact. What do they like? What they may have doubts or concerns about? What do they think about your voice and especially your body language?

Now learn from others
What are presentation skills? Look around – who, in your opinion, demonstrates the art of public speaking?
Are there any role models at work? Some may be very entertaining but the message is not clear – or as an audience member once said “They have too much sizzle and not enough sausage” Others will demonstrate the ability to deliver good news, bad news, difficult, emotional messages and always with clarity and maximum credibility.
Look at and learn from the great speakers of our time. You are not expected to clone but you can pick up tips because behavioural theft is not a crime. Which aspects of them could you copy and wear happily? There is so much footage of international speakers both past and present. They use words like “you” or “we” far more than “I”. They use rhetorical questions to create ebb and flow conversational -style delivery. They tell stories. They use analogies. They repeat key phrases. They are direct with their gaze to camera and all- embracing with a live audience.
Interestingly, the best speakers are economical with using PowerPoint presentations.
This should spell out a very clear message- if you want to connect with people, you, the presenter, are the number one visual aid. PowerPoint slides, no matter how wonderful, are secondary to you.

Maybe they were born with it

You may be looking at the great speakers of our time and thinking they were just born great. That my friend, is a cop out. Hmm, some may have natural charisma but ALL benefitted from Presentation training and have honed and perfected their skill with practise over time. Politicians, stand up comedians all have coaching, feedback and training. Often, people in the public eye seek refresher training in order to keep their skills in tune with the phraseology of changing times and generally razor sharp.

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