Knowing how to deliver a good presentation is an important skill for everyone, whether they're still students or the leaders of an organization. The knowledge that an individual possesses doesn't make a difference if they don't know how to convey those thoughts concisely. If you are a small business owner, having a superior product is likewise not a guarantee that your business will sell loads of it and be successful if you don't know how to present the product in a way that will convince your audience to purchase it.
An individual's success is directly related to their ability to influence others, because having good presentation skills captures the interest of the audience and eventually transforms their view to your point of view. The skill to speak effectively is crucial to building a brand and to the success of the business. If you are someone who is very knowledgeable about your field of work and you have the ability to share that knowledge effectively, people will look to you as an expert in that field. This in turn, will help you in your word of mouth marketing strategy for the brand because people will not only rely on your products, they'll also look for advice and recommendations.
But not everyone has the gift of gab. In fact, a lot of people dread speaking or presenting in public. This doesn't mean that this skill can't be learned. With this in mind, here are some of the tips that will get you comfortable when speaking in public so you have a positive impact on others.
Public speaking tips
Your presentation skills are greatly influenced by the efforts you put into preparation. Start with choosing the right clothes to wear. Dressing is very important in creating an impression to the audience. Aim for a decent and professional look; it makes you more comfortable and confident, aspects that will be reflected to the audience who will focus more on what you have to say rather than your clothes and appearance. Prepare visual aids, handouts, posters, and other helpful material to aid your oral presentation. Not everyone in your audience will concentrate for the full length of the presentation, so these aids come in handy to pique their attention.
Prepare a speech beforehand. Thoughts are scrambled and words are hard to put together if you choose to do things on the fly. A readily prepared speech gives you pointers to base the presentation on, and also conveys an organized flow of thought and ideas. Don't forget to practice it, too!
Have a clear message. It is essential that you know the purpose and objectives of the message.
Be clear and concise in your delivery. Again, the audience will likely shift their attention to something else if you start rambling on about a particular highlight. Keep it at most three points per topic, to keep from burdening the audience with too much information. Further explanations to particular topics can be supplemented by printed handouts and booklets.
Deliver your message effectively. It is very important to know how to express your message to your audience. Avoid using words or phrases that are unfamiliar with your audience, or that may be deemed as technical/jargon. Be conscious of the tone of your voice as it will set the mood. It helps to share stories, quotes, and anecdotes that your audience can identify with. Doing this increases the engagement levels with the audience, and makes them more receptive to the presentation.
At the end, interact with them by asking questions or feedback about what you have just presented.
Public speaking, though not easy at first, is a very important tool to keep in your word of mouth marketing arsenal. It provides you with a clear path to the audience's mind, so you have to be on your A-game before, during, and after the presentation. Keep these tips in mind and you're sure to pull off a great public presentation.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog, CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks – a word of mouth marketing firm, and a professional speaker and trainer on developing social networks that work.