Is your audience hearing what you want to communicate? It is not just what you say, it is how you say it.
Your delivery might be distracting from your message. When you deliver a presentation, you want to be able to focus on your audience, not your performance. These tips will help you communicate with your audience and ensure that your message gets across.
Once you have your sales presentation or speech together — the structure, the stories, and the PowerPoint — you need to internalize your presentation and make it second nature.
Build rehearsal into your everyday life. You will never be able to mark out your schedule to rehearse as much as you need, so make it a part of your routine:
- Recite your presentation as you walk around your office.
- Record your presentation and listen to it on your mobile device.
- Talk to yourself as you are driving into work.
- Rehearse on a treadmill, which engages your left and right brain and can help you see your presentation structurally and creatively.
- Rehearse with safe people. These are people who are on your side and have your best interests at heart. If you are delivering sales presentations, you should be improving your sales presentations as part of a team effort.
Decide on your movement strategy. Some presenters like to move, while others stand still. However, there’s a big difference between movement and nervous energy. Have you noticed some presenters do what looks like a little dance in the front of the room? Or put their weight on one leg and then the other? Do not distract from your own message with unnecessary movement.
At the start of your presentation, it’s easiest to stand still. I also recommend standing still when you are telling a story or delivering your key benefits, as a way to emphasize your points. How you stand represents the stability of your ideas and your company; it can also build authority and help you feel confident.
If you have an accent, standing still at the start of your presentation will help your audience get used to the sound of your voice. (This may not make sense, but it’s true!) If you move around while the audience is getting accustomed to the sound of your voice, your listeners will often imagine that they can’t hear you.
If you study exceptional speakers, you’ll notice that they’ll employ three types of movement:
- On purpose. When you are moving and it is very obvious to the audience that you intended to move.
- On transition. You move between one thought and the next. One of my client’s transitional lines was “Fast forward seven years.” That was when he would move from one talking point to the other. If you have three or four talking points, feel free to move between each one. And while you are moving, you can use the phrase “And the second strategy is…” and “And the third strategy is…” etc.
- On a movement-specific line. You move to act out your words, such as, “As I walked into your corporate office…”
The eyes have it. When you look around the table, use “piece-of-the-pie” eye contact. Deliver your opening line to one person. Most likely it will be one of the most important people in the room. Then look at each person for a thought, an idea, or a phrase. Don’t scan. Communicate your interest and confidence by looking at each of them for at least a few seconds.
The Oscar-winning actor Sir Michael Caine said, “Rehearsal is the work; performance is the relaxation.” When you see a natural salesperson or a great speaker, chances are that they are so well rehearsed that they look natural. Follow these tips, and you’ll get there as well!
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