A colleague of mine related to me how disappointed he was in a conference he recently attended. He was eagerly looking forward to the presentation of a case study that involved how one company solved a problem similar to the one his team was having. Here was his opportunity to learn some things that he could bring back to the office.
What did he take away from the session? Unfortunately, not a lot. How did the promising presentation turn out to be such a disappointment? The problem lay not in the material, but in the presenter. My colleague thought the presenter must have been a hypnotist because he succeeded in putting 200 people asleep in a matter of minutes.
How can you avoid the same fate? As you prepare for your next presentation, don’t forget one of the most important attributes of any good speaker: Energy!
No matter how fascinating or timely your subject matter, without energy no one will remember what you were speaking about. Energy comes from focus, self-confidence, and enthusiasm for your topic. When you’re energetic, it becomes infectious, and your audience becomes energized and more likely to stay engaged.
How to infuse energy into your presentations:
- Get Centered. Start by being comfortable with your appearance, your subject matter, and your goals for the presentation. Being centered allows you to focus on your topic.
- Move With Purpose. Standing in one place for an extended period is difficult for any speaker. It’s also hard for an audience to stay engaged if the speaker looks like a stationary robot. Use appropriate gestures and make eye contact as you move with purpose. Have a destination in mind, rather than aimless pacing. You’ll productively burn off nervous energy while providing your audience with visual stimuli.
- Modulate Your Voice. Monotone speech is always difficult to listen to. Vary the pitch and inflection and your audience will stay engaged. If you’re not sure how you sound, record yourself on your smartphone. When you play it back, you’ll be able to hear yourself as your audience hears you. Emphasizing key words or phrases will help increase your modulation.
- Change It Up. This is very important if you frequently give the same presentation. When you give the same presentation several times, it’s easy to give it on “auto pilot.” This usually means the energy level drops, there’s little excitement in your voice, thus the passion for your topic is almost non-existent. If you don’t sound interested in what you’re saying, how can you expect your audience to stay interested?
For more information on improving your presentation style, please check out our course offerings for both in-person and virtual presentation classes.