“Hi, Today I am going to talk about presentation. I know that a lot of people are wondering how to give a good presentation, so today I am going to give you 5 tips…”About a week ago, I started filming myself for 10 minutes talking about different topics. It is for private use for now.
Study Your Videos
I did this because I want to improve my presentation skills.
Everyday when we turned on the TV, we saw a lot of people talking in front of the camera or audiences so naturally and clearly. It might give us a wrong idea that it is a very easy task and everyone could do it easily.
IT IS NOT.
Some people might be born speakers. They are talented to speak in front of the crowd or in front of the camera without any fear, hesitation or uncomfortable. They know how to catch audiences’ mind, how to attract them, influence them, and deliver messages to them.
However, most of the people, just like me, who are just normal people who couldn’t even speak clearly in front of strangers. We will be frozen when we stand in front of others or in front of the camera, and the brain will become blank and can think of nothing during the speech. If will be one of the most challenging tasks we would have if we decide to give a speech.
But that is not the excuse for us to avoid giving speeches. In fact, this is the main reason why I decided to film myself a week ago. I want to talk naturally at any time! Therefore, I make a 10 minutes video for myself everyday.
Although It has been only a week, I have already learnt lot from those videos. By watching again and again my performance in front of the camera, I gradually know what I needed to improve.
I started to know how to MASTER A SPEECH.
Now I am going to share with you 5 easy ways to master a speech. Let’s buckle up!
Let’s take a minute to think of your most favourite presentation or speech. What makes it so special that you still remember it? It is because it is so informative? or because the speaker is so attractive? so because the voice is so beautiful?
In my most favourite presentation, the speaker always SMILE.
I think that is the key to attract the audiences. Imagine if there were two speakers who have the same qualification, presentation technique and knowledge on certain topics. They both gave a presentation on the same topic, except one of them is always smiling while another always looks serious. Which one would you like most?
I bet most of the people would pick the one who is always smiling during the presentation.
It is because a simple smile can make us charm and help create a relax environment. It always give a feeling to the audiences that the speaker is interacting with them, instead of just talking to air. Even if the presentation topic is serious and boring, if the speaker can present it with a smile, it will attract the audiences.
“It is easy! I can always smile! So I can master a speech!” It is not as easy as we thought. Actually, the feeling when we are giving speech in front of crowd or in front of camera is totally different from the feeling when we talk to our friends. We would feel nervous and easily forget how to smile.
Therefore, professional speakers also need a lot of practice to give a smile during the presentation.
One of the tactics to overcome the fear on the stage or in front of the camera is to keep telling ourselves that we are helping others, therefore there is nothing we should be afraid of, even if we somehow forget what we are going to say.
A strong mindset is necessary in order to make us feel confident and smile during the presentation.
2. Interact With Audiences
Most of the speakers have a wrong concept of giving speeches. They think it is a one way message delivery from the speaker to the audiences. Therefore, they tend to focus on messages delivery when they are giving speeches, ie, they keep talking and talking in the speech without caring if the audiences understand what they said.
However, experienced speakers know that their speeches are also two way communications. When they are giving information to the audiences, they are also listening to the feedback from the audiences.
I am not saying that the audiences are actually “talking” to the speakers during the speech, but their facial expression will give the speakers information of whether they understand the speech.
Normally, speakers tend to interact with the audiences in the Q&A sections, which is almost the end of the speech. In western countries, audiences might be so eager to ask questions, but in eastern countries, audiences tend to keep silent and wait for others to ask questions.
It will be too late if the speakers wait until the Q&A section at end of the speech and hope that there are any proactive audiences raise their hands and ask questions.
Therefore, for experienced speakers, they tend to ask questions and give examples during the speech. Those questions are not random questions but the ones that the speakers believe that most of their audiences are having in their mind. In other words, the speakers ask the questions for the audiences, and then give the answers in the speech, or randomly pick an audience to answer.
As a result, the audiences will have better understanding of the content of the speech.
Besides, they also give difference examples to illustrate different points in their speech. It is because, most of the time, when the speakers thought that the concepts they are speaking on are easy, they are actually not. The speakers think they are easy because they are the experts of the topics.
Therefore, if the speakers give examples (better daily examples) right after they talk about the concepts, they can make sure that the audiences understand more about the concepts.
By asking questions and giving examples, the speakers will have better interaction with the audience.
3. Use Visual Tools
When I watch back my videos, I figured that sometimes I might not construct the presentation so well. For example, I might not clearly tell the audience that I was going to talk about 3 steps of some processes, or 3 points of some ideas.
This is because I practised to give a speech without any scripts, and everything was in my mind by the time of filming. Without certain experience, I couldn’t give a speech in a well manner for now.
Then I realized that, sometimes when I was the audience of other videos, I also couldn’t get the points of others. It was not because the presentation was not clear, or there was pronunciation issue for the speakers. It was because there was no tools to help me remember the main points of the videos.
Imagine if there was a white board behind the speaker, and every time when the speaker was saying the important point, he/she simultaneously wrote down that main point. By the end of the video, we could see all the important message of this video written on the board, and remember those point better than simply listening to the speaker.
PowerPoint slides also serve the same purpose here. However, most of the speakers just couldn’t help but put everything in their PowerPoint slides. That makes the audiences pay too much attention to the slides and ignore the speakers.
This is the mistakes that the speakers should avoid. Just remember when we are talking to others, we don’t just listen to their words. We are also reading their facial expression and their gesture, or sometimes smelling others or touching others to get the messages.
Same logic applies to giving a speech. Try not to just rely on the words to catch the audiences’ mind but you may also consider some visual tools.
4. Slow Down
When I watched the videos, I found that sometimes I spoke really fast, just like I was rushing to do something else. That also happened in the daily conversation with others, that is why sometimes people asked me to repeat myself.
I realize that I do it because I either want to skip some points or just get a bit nervous when I am presenting my ideas.
Sometimes, no matter I am talking to one person, in front of a camera or in front of a crowd, when I am familiar with some ideas, or when I think those ideas are less important than others, I tend to speed up so that I can jump to the important parts. That sudden acceleration will affect my pronunciation or the clearness of my presentation.
If there are many people looking at me during my presentation, I will feel nervous and want to speed up so that I can end the presentation as soon as possible. This also affect my pronunciation or the clearness of my presentation.
The key here is to SLOW DOWN.
By slowing down, we can make sure the pronunciation is correct and the presentation is clear. Besides, the audiences can have sufficient time to understand and remember what we have said, this is helping the audiences to digest the information.
The key here is to intentionally slow down the presentation. If our normal speaking speed is 7 out of 10, then in the presentation we can try 5 out of 10. In between the sessions, we can pause for 2 to 3 seconds to notify the audiences that we just end a session and we are about to start the next one.
Besides, we can add some questions in between the presentation as another way of slowing down. For example, when we have finished the discussion of point A, we can ask “So what is the key takeaway of point A?” and follow my a small summary before starting point B. This also helps slow down the whole presentation.
5. Summarize the Points
In my previous point I mention about making a summary before moving on to the next point. Actually this is the key to success.
In the presentation we always talk about a lot of information, together with different questions and examples. This will force the audiences to absorb a lot of things in a short period of time.
It will be alright if they take notes of that, or the speakers prepare a set of slides for them. However, most of the time we participate into a presentation with bare hands, and leave it with bare hands as well.
Hence, it is important for the speakers to summarize the key points FOR the audiences. We, as the speakers, are not restricted to do just one big summary at the end of the presentation but are able to give small summaries during the presentation.
For example, if we are going to have a total of 3 sessions and 9 points to talk in the presentation, we can give small summary in between sessions and a big one at the end of the presentation. This can make sure the audiences have no questions before we move on to the next sessions.
If they do have questions, the small summary can help them to consolidate the information they have been absorbing so far, and jot down the questions for the last Q&A sessions.
The summary also help remind the speakers that they have already talked about these points, and it is time for them to move to the next points.
This is not a joke. Some speakers with less experience might be chaotic when we are on the stage, and they couldn’t even remember what they have been talking about, or how far the presentation has gone. By summarizing the points, they can gain control of their presentation immediately.
To conclude, giving a speech or presentation in front of audiences or camera is not as easy as we thought. We need to practise a lot if we want to master it. Besides, if we can take notes of these 5 points, we can also master a speech as soon as possible:
- Interact With Audiences
- Use Visual Tools
- Slow Down
- Summarize the Points
If you have any questions or have anything things to share, you can reach out to me via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Besides, if you want to know more about what I have learnt from other successful people, you can click the below link. This could the one of the life-changing articles for you: