A good delivery of your presentation can give you a certain uniqueness and extra edge.
The audience will make judgements about you even before you start to speak. They will do this by way you come across and how you look. They will continue to form opinions about you by the way you speak.
So the way in which you use your own personal resources is going to have a large impact on the way your audience receives you.
First impressions are very important.
You need to look confident and look like you know what you are talking about right at the start of the presentation in order for your audience to take you seriously.
If you take time to ‘warm up’ into it you may well ‘lose’ your audience even before you’ve got to your key message.
Building rapport with the audience is an essential ingredient in making a good impact. The more confident you feel, the easier it is to connect with your audience.
There are many ways you can generate this confidence by developing your delivery skills – the way you use your voice, body language and space so that you fully engage with your audience from the beginning right until the end of the presentation.
Speaking confidently is one of key areas that you need to look at in order that you get your message across clearly.
It’s important to speak at the correct pace and not to rush, so you have to think about speaking a little more slowly than usual.
It’s also important to speak clearly – so that you don’t slur your words together – as this will make you sound hesitant.
So, by speaking at the correct pace and pronuncing your words clearly – especially the ends of words, you will sound more confident and convincing to your audience.
See our article on how to speak with more confidence and clarity for some simple voice exercies you can try out yourself.
The ability to sound interesting is also really important because, although you might be passionate about what you are saying, if this doesn’t come across well to your audience, then they wont be convinced.
To sound interesting and enthusiastic you need to use more expression in your tone of voice so that you avoid a monotone style. You may also emphasise key words which will help to influence the overall meaning of your messages.
Injecting pauses into your speaking also helps to create an impact as well as helping you to control your speed so that you don’t race ahead too quickly making it hard for the audience to follow.
You can use all these techniques to help change the tone and dynamics of your presentation and this will help keep the interest of your audience throughout your presentation.
The ability to look confident is important especially as you might be feeling nervous which can unfortunatley have a rather negative impact on your overall presence.
The ways in which you use your posture, gesture and eye contact can ahelp you to control any bad habits created by nerves and create a much stronger presence. Make sure that you are standing evenly on two feet with a strong but relaxed posture.
Take a few seconds before you start to speak to take in your audience. This will help you feel more in control and more confident and you will be less likely to fidget or look uncomfortable.
Make sure that you also feel comfortable in the space that you are presenting, so that you look like you have ownership of the space and that you can move around appropriately. It really helps if you can walk around the space before your presentation – before the audience arrive to help you get used to it.
Engaging with the audience
Eye contact is also very important to help you engage with your audience.
If you just stare at them blankly, you wont get the right connection with them. So you need to use confident eye contact so that you really connect with individual members of the audience while you are speaking with them. See our article on how to make eye contact to engage your audience.
And although it might sound a bit daunting to look directly at audience members, it actually has the opposite effect and helps you to feel more confident.
It takes a lot of energy to speak in front of an audience, even if it’s just for 5 minutes.
So it’s important to use the voice and body language techniques we have discussed in this article and to practise them so that you build up your vocal stamina. You don’t have to wait until your next presentation, you can practise the vocal and body language techniques on the telephone or in a meeting.
Once you are used to using these techniques you can rely on them to help you maintain the energy you need to keep your audience interested throughout your presentation no matter how long you are talking for.