Presentation skills : Simple Steps to Maximize Impact
Talking in front of an Audience is the No 1 fear Most people have. Its rated higher than the fear of death.
Ever wondered why?
Because of our past experiences. Rememebr way back in school they used to make you come to teh black board and solve a math problem or recite a poem? Rememeber all the jeering your friends gave you and the jeering you gave when it was your friends turn up by the back board?
We all have instances from our lives at one point or another where in we were traumatized by a black board event.
Over the years, we rerun it countless in our mindgiving it even more power until we come to a stage when we feel "paralyzed" by the idea of talking in front of people.
Presentation skills do not come natural to all. But this does not mean it is not a learnable skills. Many people make a big mistake at this step. They believe that just by making enough number of presentations, they will eventually get good at it. Let me give you an example. There is a magician in India by name Anand. He has been doing his world famous in India magic shows from past ten year and he does about 150 shows or more each year. If the assumption of doing it often enough will make you better were true, Anand would have been a delight to watch. I wish that was true.
The magic show turned out to be more of a comedy show to me and my friend.
My only question to him was, if you are so bad now, I wonder how you were when he started, that poor soul did not even realize the sarcasm n my statement and said "thank you thank you"
No matter what skill you want to get good at, there are three different skills you need to develop to improve your results.
1. Your ability to detach and observe your actions.
2. Your ability to read the situation and make a course correction
3. The Ability to accept when you are wrong and to take action to overcome that.
Although all these points sound like you are being penalized, they are only guidelines to help you focus your attention in the right direction.
Coming back to improving your presentation skills, let us see how we can inculcate these habits to make the most of your presentation.
Once you stage, you take sometime to make yourself at home and anchor some good feeling to the stage and own it. What next?
Presentation Skills need not be displayed only on stage
Good presenters occasionally walk through the audience to get a hang of the energy in the audience. if it is not enough, they suggest an activity which takes the audience onto their feet and moving. You may have often noticed certain people tick to on particular spot or one group the whole time. You can use this excuse to move people round and shift them to new places. This has two objective.
1. Build some energy into a stagnant place
2. Shifts people's orientation and places them out of their comfort zone where the chances of learning and absorbing are much higher.
As a presenter, you are not only noticing the changes and shift but proactively directing it thus further gaining control of response from your audience. The more you can guide their attention, the better you have their attention. Presentation skills are all about being in the present and improvising your skills.
How to use a distraction during a presentation?
The worst thing to do will be to ignore it. I have found most of the good presenters draw attention to the sound / distraction. The objective is not only to lessen such distractions but also to use it as a pointer to shift or do a course correction. One more important note. Do not criticize someone for making an interruption. Be gentle. The moment you do not pay attention to the distraction, you have a chance to lose your listener's attention and if you are successful in drawing attention to it, you get double the benefits. Even the ones who had ignored the interruption will notice and consequently will pay attention to what you do or say. That is how you use your presentation skills
Proper way of getting Feedback in a presentation
If you ever attended a course on public speaking or presentation skills, they would have lectured quite strongly about the importance of feedback. I will leave the theorizing part to them and jump straight to practical. Feedback is important so you can give yourself direction and magnify your results.
Example: Let us say after fifteen people attended your sales presentation, only two signed up. If you work on the feedback, you may be able to take that to three or four signup. Effectively, feedback is a measuring device and the golden rule is
"What you can measure, you can improve"
So pay attention to the section on feedback. Harvard types prefer a lengthy questionnaire for feedback. I am more of a hands on person so I believe in a real time feedback. When I am talking in a particular pitch, if I see some people lean backward, I change or vary the pitch until they lean forward. if I see people at the back blinking too often I usually go to down there and start a conversation right in the middle of a presentation. Then I direct that conversation to a point within my presentation. This accomplishes two things for me, keeps the interest and binds the audience.
There many things you can do to engage your audience. The best one I have seen is to respond to their needs and behaviors immediately which makes them not only feel connected to me but also increases their responsiveness to my message.
So here is proper way of getting feedback if it is still not clear to some of you.
1. When you are presenting, pay attention to your audience. See where they are headed, be there before them and draw their attention to it and then take them where you want them to be.
2. Notice the smallest shifts in behavior and respond to it.
I know that you may think this will be a challenge when facing a group of people instead of one or two. But when people are a part of the group, the primitive feeling of mob mentality (or sheep mentality) creeps in almost sooner or later and then they all behave in clusters. That's exactly what you need to look for. Once you notice the clusters displaying a chunk of similar behavior, you can work with it. It takes time, effort and bit of trial to get good at it but it will be time well spent.
This page will change and we will add more tips. If you liked this page why not check other sections on Presentation Skills.