Charles S. Gates is the President of Charles S. Gates, LLC., a speaking and presentation coaching company. He is helping leaders to become the best speakers they can be. As a former United States Marine and corporate trainer for 30 years, he has seen first-hand, just how poorly most military and business presentations are delivered. His current mission is to create more powerful workplace presenters—one word at a time. He also spends much of his time working in the local community with young people. Teaching them the fundamentals of effective communication, how to network, how to dress to impress, and business acumen.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of a brain-taxing, waste-of-time, boring presentation? Have you ever given a brain-taxing, waste-of-time, boring presentation? If you are being honest with yourself, regardless of your position or how long you have been speaking, the answer is probably yes. The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many techniques and tips we could share, to make you a more powerful presenter. However, if you master these five keys, you will be light-years ahead of your peers. Want to Bring the Zing? Here’s how.
Have the Right Mindset
Your goal as a presenter is to share information. No one in your audience is expecting perfection. They do not want a robot. They want you. With all of your imperfections and flaws. Properly prepare yourself beforehand. Practice (preferably in front of a live audience) and deliver.
Many of us talk ourselves out of the greatness we deserve. Take on a growth mindset. Say to yourself, I can do this! Remember, you are aiming for excellence, not perfection.
Have a Specific Purpose
What exactly is your intended takeaway? Will your audience, if asked what your talk was about, be able to answer that question in fifteen words or less? If you were asked to summarize your message, could you do so in fifteen words or less? If your answer is no, then you may have too much going on. We must be crystal clear in our messaging. Again, practice in front of a non-threatening group and ask them for feedback. If you receive fifteen different answers, you may want to reorganize, change the flow or even manipulate your word choices.
When the sporting event is on the line. Your team is losing by one point and there is only one minute left in the game. What is the only thought on your and the other team’s mind? To score or not to score! That is the kind of focus we must have when presenting with power. No distractions. No excuses. Your audience is the nucleus of your existence, at that moment.
Waste no time. Waste no words.
Too often we begin our talks with nonsensical babble. Remember, most of us are busy. We took time out of our day to listen to you. Whether voluntarily or because the boss said so, we are there. We do not need to hear about the weather or how the family is doing. We don’t care. Get to it.
Choose wisely. Carefully craft your message, using words and sentences that concisely convey your talking points and key takeaways. There is no written rule that says you must speak for an hour. Unless you are delivering a keynote, keep it short, sweet, and to the point.
Why is it, when we become adults, we think that stories are beneath us? Are we too professional to tell them? Of course not. Why do we read novels? Why do we watch movies? Why do we attend stage plays and operas? Stories. We have loved them since we were very young. And we will love them well into our elder years.
Most business and presentation coaches will encourage the telling of stories to make your message more relatable. We all have personal experiences that can be told to an audience to empathize with a point. Don’t think you have any stories to share? Look at the pictures on your phone. Pick one and ask, why did I take this picture, on this day, at this moment? There is a good chance that that encounter can be used to enhance a point. Remember, stories are meant to entice the listener’s emotions. A well-told story, delivered at the right time, and in the right way, will make your presentation stick.
Whether you are an introvert, extrovert, or anywhere in between, when you become known for being a good presenter, it separates you from the pack. If you are tired of people falling asleep during your talks. If you know you are boring. If you want to add a bit of spice to your presentations. If you are ready to Bring the Zing when all eyes are on you, follow these steps and be the center of conversations for years to come.