Did you know that the most successful companies have professional speakers in key positions or are the head of the company? Have you ever seen Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Donald Trump do a presentation? These are just some of the speakers that have pushed their companies through the corporate roof.
Are they winging it? No. In fact, most successful people know that to really stand out in business you have to be able to stand up in front of an audience and extol the virtues of your company. That takes serious presentation and public speaking skills.
And, for those skills, you need to go to a professional. Unfortunately, there are not that many professional public speaking trainers around to give you the information you need. So, it’s likely that you’ll have to do a little bit of travel to find a course that will teach you exactly what you need to know.
So, what will these professional trainers teach you? What are the skills necessary for excellent presentations? First and foremost the good public speaking trainers will teach you how to enroll and engage an audience. That means; keeping their attention focused 100% of the time. If they’re daydreaming, sleeping or talking to their neighbor they can’t possibly be paying attention to what you’re saying.
How do you keep them enrolled and engaged? That’s where most public speakers fail. You see, many speakers think it’s all about them and how well they speak, but that’s not it at all. In fact, the best public speakers are the ones that make the audiences the start by asking a lot of questions and getting the audience to respond. When the audience hears a question the mind wants to automatically answer it. If all you do is spew out data and more data, it will go in one ear and right out the other.
Another good way of keeping their attention is to get them to finish your sentences. For example; if I use the sentence, “most people get up every day and go to _____,” the audience would likely respond by saying “work.” When you use sentences that have obvious endings and you leave out the ending and motion for the audience to respond, 99 times out of 100 they will. That means they’re listening, enrolled and engaged.
Now, let’s say you’ve figured out the whole question and response thing, what should you do next? A good public speaker knows how to move about the stage. Standing behind a podium and reading from your notes is a sure path to failure. Learning to move about the stage is an art form which can be learned if you have the right teacher. For example; did you know that when you’re addressing the right side of the audience you should be on the left? Why? Because, if you address the right side while on the right, you’ll lose the left side’s attention.
Also, never move towards a person when they ask a question. Always move as far to the opposite side of the stage as you can and give them the floor. Again, the last thing you want to do is forget about the whole audience and focus on just one person. The question usually applies to everyone anyway.
Finally, there’s the whole debate of whether to use notes or not. I do but in limitation. I use headlines to remind me of where I’m supposed to be in the presentation. I glance at the headlines every once in a while just to jog my memory about the topic at hand. Never, write your speech out word for word. First of all, it looks like you’re reading and second, of all it looks like you don’t know your subject, which of course you should.
Next article I’ll speak about the perfect presentation template and how to use it in your next speech, training or even sales pitch.