Tips from a presentation skills coach on how to become a better presenter
by Stephanie Bickel
Shine a light on others
You got to this point in your career because of what you could achieve on your own. Great presenters know how to focus their messages on their audience. Highlight the team's accomplishments. Talk about the value others are bringing. Celebrate the successes of clients, partners, and customers. Craft perspectives that deliver fresh insight and spark new focus where productivity was low. Inspire others be stronger leaders, too. Use empowering statements and stories that validate.
Find the right degree of assertiveness
Every presentation skills coach will talk about the importance of clarity and brevity. Learning how to speak simply is surely how to become a better presenter. However, with a tough message, it takes a lot of courage to keep it simple. Also, not all audiences will like a direct message if it is bad news. What if the message is: "service levels are lower than expected", "your portfolio is down 20%", "we do not believe in your plan anymore". How do you strike the right balance of being assertive and not offensive? You can become a better speaker by focusing in these 5 areas:
1. Find the right messages to put around the direct statement
2. Choose the right hand movements with the message
3. Manage your vocal tone to help it stay centered and calm vs. strident
4. Pause appropriately to let your audience fill in the blanks
5. Frame positively
Listen with your eyes and ears
Become a master of empathy and reading the emotions of others. Pay attention to the feelings of others in an effort to better understand how to meet them where they are before influencing them. If they are in a negative place, go there for a moment, and then pull them into the emotional state you want for them. A presentation skills coach will often recommend acknowledging the pain point in the first sentence before pulling the audience to the positive, optimistic state you want the audience in. Mood map your meetings and presentations.
That is how to be a better presenter, maybe even an exceptional presenter!
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