Last week I gave a 90 minute presentation on ‘Inspiring Leadership’ to fifty high level executives at the American Chamber of Commerce. I received many positive comments after my presentation that it had been powerful, engaging and inspiring and have been invited back by AMCHAM to present more sessions for their members later this year.
However, I was not always a great presenter. I still remember my first time presenting as an employee in front of a group of clients, knees shaking, voice quavering and sweating like crazy. To be a great presenter takes practice but it’s much easier when you learn my five secret strategies I still use before every presentation.
Picture – Visualisation is a strategy used by all high performers from golf professionals to gymnasts and also public speakers. I always set aside time to mentally rehearse my presentation prior to the day, picturing how I want everything to happen.
Purpose – Begin with the end in mind. Be clear on the purpose and goals for your presentation and what you want people to remember or act on after you finish.
Passion – If you fail to present with passion, your audience will quickly lose focus. Energy is created from the front of the room by the presenter and is reflected back to you (almost always at a lower level) by the audience. A great way to get yourself passionate is to begin your presentation with, “I’m so excited to be here today because…”
Presence – Take a couple of minutes before the presentation to gather your thoughts, to get yourself into a state of gratitude for the opportunity you have been given and to get 100% focused on delivering your best.
Projection – Presentations should rarely ever be delivered in a normal speaking voice. You need to use your diaphragm to project your voice with confidence and clarity. Remember, it’s not what you say that matters half as much as how you say it. Projection helps your message get through and keeps the audience engaged.
So those are my five key strategies for powerful communication. One other secret is to always to deliver more than value than people are expecting, so here’s one more for you.
Practice – Join groups or look for opportunities to practice your speaking. If it comes down to it, standing and speaking in front of a mirror is fantastic. Record yourself so you can review how you went.
For leaders wanting to become more powerful communicators I recommend you consider attending the Rapport Leadership Power Communication and Leadership Breakthrough One training courses which provide comprehensive training in this area.