How to ACE Every Presentation
In a perfect world, we’d all like to ‘ACE’ every presentation we make – whether it’s a presentation to clients for a new proposal, or a speech we’re making to hundreds of people! Here are three key reminders to help you ACE your next presentation:
A – Authentic. Be yourself. We all have a certain style that is unique to us. Maybe you’re a high energy presenter who has the ability to bring people along with you through the course of your talk, and influence them to your point of view. Or maybe you have a quiet, credible presence that people instinctively trust. The key is to know your style, and play to your strength. I’ve worked with shy speakers who have practiced their talks, eyes down on a script reading every word of what they want to say – only to come through the day of their talk , let go of their nerves, and allow themselves to quietly shine! The audience is pulling for them every step of the way, and that calm, quiet presence captures the room. Be true to your style. It gives your credibility. An audience knows if you’re putting ’em on.
C- Conviction. Say it with conviction. If you believe in what you’re delivering, sell it. Conviction is feeling sure that what you believe or say is true. If you can speak with certainty and conviction, you are that much more effective than the speaker who is ‘wishy-washy’ or only half-heartedly delivering their message. Think of people you’ve seen give a great speech — their emotion comes through, they embody their message because they believe every word of what they’re saying is true. If you can’t say it with conviction, you might be better off leaving it out of your presentation.
One of the most effective talks I’ve ever seen is one that the late Phil Smart made at a fundraiser as he spoke out about sexual assault and how it didn’t belong in ‘our town.’ In a soft voice, quiet enough that we had to strain to hear but with absolute conviction, Phil told that audience of nearly a thousand people, ‘not in our city.’ Sexual assault was something that ‘doesn’t belong in our city, our community, or our families’ and he encouraged every single person in that room to speak out against sexual assault. He spoke with such conviction, convincing every one of us that he believed what he said was absolutely true, that I remember it clearly years later.
E – Enthusiasm. Show enthusiasm for your topic. If you really don’t care about your topic, why should your audience? It’s okay to be enthusiastic and let people know that this is important to you and that you care. I’ve worked with clients who are afraid to show any enthusiasm because they might be perceived as ‘uncool.’ And yet, it’s that enthusiasm that’s going to carry over and be infectious – whether you’re trying to sell an idea, a book, or a service. Why should your audience get behind you if you come across as uncaring? Why is it a great product? Why is it a great idea? Share your excitement, and your audience has a better chance of getting on board with you.
When I work with clients, I often have them come up with a practice ‘talk’ on a topic about which they are passionate. It only needs to be about a minute long. It outlines ‘what’ they are passionate about, maybe by asking a question or setting a scene. I ask them to give three reasons ‘why’ they are passionate about it, and I have them close with why they would recommend it to someone else. Rarely, if ever, have people failed to ‘ace’ these mini-talks. By being authentic, speaking with conviction and sharing their enthusiasm, they deliver presentations that their audience will remember!
Have a story to share about how you ‘aced’ your talk? Share your tips in the comment section.Margo