PRESENTATION RITUALS AND ROUTINES
This week I have been putting together tips for an MNC company here in China around Powerfully Presenting. While most companies simply want help with powerpoint presentations and coaching with their English communication skills, this company asked for more in-depth discussion around nonverbal communication, body language and how to use the stage for maximum impact.
Now I don’t think this is totally new or revolutionary and here in China so many being second language presenters in English focus so much on the words, they fail to see the value of the whole of you to deliver your message. I learnt a long time ago from experts such as Matt Church and others, that when you’re presenting before others, they’re reading all of your communication, not just your words, that the power is in the delivery, not always the message. So it was great to revisit all that I have learnt along the way in my speaking career to share with others.
So how about you? How are your presenting and speakership skills and why should you care? From experience I have seen and totally come to believe what I learnt at Thoughtleaders all those years ago, that speaking is the new leadership imperative, the fastest way to grow your career or business, to have you stand out and make a difference, to inspire people from ideas into action. And now you can add to it being able to present and deliver your message, via the internet, on line through video’s, webinars and live streams. All powerful tools we can use to create connection. And while the platform of delivery may have changed the basic’s of presenting ring true. So today here’s three key areas I focus on when empowering others in their speaking:
Body Language – We all know the research around body language, there are TV programs now about it, in many different fields. And, it is so very true that we judge others based on their nonverbal communication and messages. So a question for you that I ask all those I work with in this area, when presenting which do you prepare more, what you will say or how you will deliver it? Do you really put time and energy into looking at what you’re saying with your body language, what kind of vibe you’re giving off, without saying a word, beforehand as part of your preparation.
- How many of us practice our “lines of speech” over and over, giving no consideration to what we are saying through our actions or non-actions? It’s a fact, if what you’re saying and what your body is communicating don’t line up, if there’s a mismatch – people will pick it up very quickly and most of the time, stop listening to you. Think about the last time you gave a presentation, no matter how big or small. Did you shuffle your feet? What did you do with your hands? Did you click your pen? How do you stand? What about the message you are giving through your facial expressions? Through all of these and much more, you were either communicating power or lack of it through your physical body. And the key to this is in your preparation and practice.
Voice Control – Pitch, pace and power were three keys I learnt as a child speaking from stage around how to use your voice. Over the years I have added pausing to this – the power of a pause is amazing. Obama does this amazingly, adjusting his pace and power to suit the mood of the crowd, pausing dramatically for emphasis and pitching his voice perfectly. Putting it simply it means learning how to use your voice to go big, go small, go fast, go slow – the four P’s in another form:
- Get excited — speed up your talking pace! Speaking quickly adds passion to information and helps your audience catch the vision. When you sound excited, you begin to feel excited and your audience catches your vibe and feel excited too.
- Slow it down — When we slow down while speaking, it shows that what we’re saying is being thought through and is very, very important. Present your key points, deliberately and slowly!
- Go loud — Volume emphasises your confidence and knowledge on a subject and it can communicate your message like no other.Volume demands attention, and I don’t mean screaming at your audience (although Steve Ballmer may disagree with me here). Choose the main points you want to stand our and practice delivering them confidently and loudly to have the audience sit up, take notice, hear and remember.
- Speak softly — The power of a speaking softly cannot be underestimated. Flipping the power, a softly spoken word can grab the listener’s attention just as powerfully as a loud one. Learning to pause and soften your voice at key points in your presentation, especially where you want to connect deeply with your audience, is gold. Setting the scene, softening your voice heightens your audiences attention, has them waiting on your words, not wanting to miss out on what you’re about to say.
Pre-Presentation – There are two rituals that I recommend to everyone. Why? To create the space if needed to either calm yourself down before going on stage or amp yourself up. The key to the rituals is to tap into what makes you most comfortable right before you walk onstage. For me I first focus on my physical environment and then on my mental/emotional state.
- The physical environment, no matter where I deliver, I ensure I arrive for my presentation as early as possible on the day to allow me time to walk the room, create my delivery space on stage and off, check sound systems and microphone levels, basically ensure everything I need is there or if not allowing me time to improvise.Taking the time to get oriented helps me feel a whole lot more in control and better prepared for the unexpected.
- I have also created a routine that I stick to as closely as possible before I present around getting myself mentally ready. It includes putting myself out there meeting and greeting for a time, getting to know my audience then taking time to hide myself away to allow me time to align myself, my breathing, my heart rate and my focus through music and movement to relax my mind, my mouth and my muscles. For me, I find comfort in having a familiar routine to ground me and music to pep me up and it does wonders for my confidence too.
There are few things in the business world that are scarier than delivering a presentation, yet there are few that are as powerful or as important. The key is to be yourself. The more you act like yourself, the more confident you’ll seem, and the more the audience will be able to relate to you. And there’s always so much more to learn – learn from the masters, just small changes as outlined can make a huge difference to your message, your confidence and your delivery.
Are you ready to turn your fear into fuel and don’t quite know what to do? Are you ready to take your speakership/presentation skills to a whole new level to connect and convert clients? Book a MillionDollar Breakthrough Session with me by PM to see how I can help you with your message, your delivery and your confidence in speaking. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for resources, support and motivation to help you take that next step in your career, business or life.