Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Presentation Expert's Seven Skills

The following seven skills are at the core of what we teach to our professional, pageant and student presentation coaching clients...

1. Be Authentic. Authenticity is your number one goal. The best communicators know who they are, have a real-life bond with their content and strive to make a genuine connection with their audience. The biggest challenge on the road to speaking success is getting out of your own way and letting the best of the real you shine through.

2. Be Nervous.
Nervousness and excitement are chemically exactly the same.To the human body, there is no difference between being very nervous and very excited. Don't worry about getting rid of your nerves. Begin down the path of controlling your nerves by simply thinking about them differently. Accept that it is ok to be nervous and leverage your nerves to keep you on your toes.

3. Interaction is the Key.
Engage your audience quickly to control their attention. Almost as important as controlling your nerves is controlling the audience's focus. Get them involved in your presentation right from the start. Ask a question. Have them share with a partner. Get them physically moving. Make them laugh. Etc.

4. Concrete, Visual, Simple.
Send your message through the CVS test. In today's noisy world, the most effective messages cut to the core quickly. Make sure your messages are Concrete (don't make me search too hard for the meaning), Visual (help me see it) and Simple (I'm busy - your message shouldn't be.) The quickest way to achieve CVS is through good story-telling.

5. Index and Filter.
Great presenters are great at preparing their content. They index information based on a set range of categories, topics, types of content, etc. they deem necessary for their presentations. We refer to these as buckets. Then they fill these buckets as full as they can. The important step comes during preparation - filtering down the information based on authenticity and the CVS test.

6. Talk With Your Eyes.
Your body language sends thousands of messages while your words only send a few. The most important body language is eye contact. You should make it with specific people and make it often. Think of any presentation as a string of smaller conversations with a number of different people. Beyond that, think moderation and variety when it comes to hand movements, walking, pace, volume, and facial expressions.

7. You can do it.
You can and should develop your ability to communicate. Communicating effectively is one-part technical, one-part mental and one-part habitual. No matter your experience level, all three of these can be sharpened and improved. More importantly, because our relationships, influence level and in many cases, earning ability are dramatically impacted by our speaking skills, you should work to implement these skills this week. If you need more help, contact us. We would love to work with you.

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