In business and life, there isn’t much certainty.
I’ve been doing presentations for a long time and believe I know a lot about it, but I’m always learning and hoping to improve. At a seminar, I was asked if there was anything about creating and delivering presentations that I could talk about with absolute certainty. Yes, there is. The more I practiced developing and delivering presentations as a speaker, the more convinced I became that…, the more you teach, the less you sell.
I initially fell into the trap that most speakers and presenters fall into being a professor. I discovered that being a Presentainer® — our term for someone who can move people emotionally, connect with them, and entertain them on some level — is far more helpful. This is the only way to keep people’s attention and pique their interest. It increases your recall value and the impact of your presentation. The audience is involved because they enjoy being involved. They do this with the TV they watch, the movies they see twice, the games they play, and the books they read, and you should too.
You will win every time if you have a powerful presentation, the right mindset about yourself and your audience, and the right delivery. Let’s talk about delivery for a moment.
1. Taking the lead and concluding
The classic, textbook speaking formula applies: tell your audience what you’re going to say, say it, and then tell them what you said. This allows you to build excitement in the audience by having them sit on the edge of their seats and hang on to every word. Most of the great stage magicians of the golden era, including Houdini, always told the audience about the next illusion they would see in dramatic terms before performing it on stage — they didn’t just go out on stage and do it. Because people tend to forget key points of any complex presentation, you summarize what you’ve told and shown them on the other end.
2. The affirmative state
Small commitments often lead to larger commitments. It is preferable to remove resistance one step at a time. As a presenter, your goal is to have people say yes to you several times during your presentation, both mentally and physically. You can get people to participate by having them raise their hands, yell a word or phrase of agreement — “Yes” will suffice — or even have “All those who…” stand up. The first attempt will elicit a limited response from most audiences, and you’ll have to joke with them and persuade them to get more of them to play.
Every presentation at Speaking Empire includes some “Yes” questions, requests for agreement, and moments.
Many factors can influence the audience’s mood, including who they are, how they arrived in the audience (voluntarily or “sent” by an employer), the time of day and fatigue, what they know about you and your presentation, and the location. This gives you two responsibilities: first, do everything you can to help them develop a positive mental attitude toward you and the benefits and benefits of benefits in your presentation before they meet with you. Second, the ability to “take the temperature” of a group and make on-the-fly adjustments to warm it up if it is cold.
One thing you should never do is leave the mental and emotional state of your audience to chance and try to deal with it in a single leap over a tall wall near the end of your presentation.
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3. The rule of seven minutes
Have you ever seen a speaker who gets off to a good start but then loses his audience in the middle of his presentation? One by one, the audience begins to slump, fidget, and even look at their phones — at worst, getting up and leaving. We’ve done a lot of research and drew on our own experience to make Speaking Empire the go-to company for creating effective presentations. The neurosciences are one of the areas where there is a lot of research to be done. One fact on which everyone agrees is that the human brain can only focus for seven minutes at a time. In seven-minute cycles, it fades, stops, and restarts. That’s why you should try to re-engage your audience every seven minutes.
This can be done with a simple request or direction, such as:
- Raise your hand if… This is something you should write down.
- If — or — if you want to do something, get up.
- Take a look at your next-door neighbor and
- Please repeat after me
Few effective speakers remain motionless behind a podium or lectern, reading a word-for-word speech from notes or a teleprompter; it lacks life. Audiences are influenced by how you say what you’re saying just as much as they are by what you’re saying. Voice, confidence, enthusiasm, whether or not you appear happy to be in front of them delivering your message, and physical movement are all part of that “how.” In many ways, you’re a performer putting on a show.