Business presentations are often viewed as rather unpleasant, tedious and somewhat heartless speeches. However, there are methods – tips and tricks for you to make the delivery more dynamic. It’s absolutely crucial to remember a single fact – we actually say non-verbally a lot more then we think.
1. Stand tall
Step on the podium as if you are being given a gold medal. This is your podium after all. People want you to do well. Draw the energy from them and start building your self-esteem around your own posture. Hunching and avoiding eye contact with your audience is an obvious sign of weakness. You’re supposed to come across as inviting and balanced.
2. Stop fidgeting
Beginners can be adviced to video themselves and analyze their performances – only then do they see their obvious mistakes, such as scratching their nose every 7 seconds or putting their glasses on and taking them off again time after time. But coming across as too static or tense isn’t good either. Getting rid of any unnecessary movements and keeping your posture neutral will boost up your credibility and help maintain your audience’s focus. Remember – the energy that you initially took from your audience flows through you and radiates right back to them.
3. Keep calm
Joy breeds joy and same goes for tranquility. Our facial expressions and hand gestures are likely to tell our audience more then we’d like to let out. Do not attempt to desperately block them, but try not to let your gestures take over. It doesn’t add to your integrity. You may however try to illustrate facts or items – their size, distance or shape. Such practice will add to your speech and give it additional depth and perspective.
4. Take the podium/Move around
Avoid being glued to the podium. You can move more or less freely between the slide projector, board and your desk. If you decide to walk back and forth along the first row every once in a while, you will likely make your audience instinctively focus on you and therefore improve their concentration. Smart, huh?
5. Dialogue vs Monologue
Asking questions – do it. Do it a lot. Talk to them, not at them. Pause when it seems fitting. Ask rhetorical questions. Implement elements of actual dialogue. Keep an active eye contact with your audience and make them feel like you care about their opinion.
6. Pay attention / Look and listen
No, scratch that. You should care about their opinion and acknowledge it. Observe their reactions and react accordingly. Do not learn your speech and your gestures by heart; people will always pick up on it.
7. Show you care
Same goes for your facial expression. Fake smiles lacking actual joy will convince no one. On the other hand kind, sympathetic gaze can work miracles. Tight-lipped, taut or vacant face tells a lot about your attitude towards the crowd. Stay positive and apply yourself.
You can try to transfer your nervousness to an object – a microphone or a pen. It can potentially absorb your negative emotions, but try not to click more than you talk.
9. The looks
The last issue, probably slightly less obvious, is your appearance. Whether you like it or not, it speaks for you as well. Do not let it determine the outcome of your speech. Keep it neutral, but on the formal side. Making you affiliations too obvious isn’t such a great idea either.
In conclusion – the more convinced you are about your content, the better you will do. Your first time might be difficult, but hey – they almost always are. Try not to be too tense and keep your motions controlled. A few minutes spent in front of a mirror or your friends never hurt anybody either. Observe your surroundings, adapt and everything should be fine. Go get’em, tiger.