Many presentation skills books and workshops will give you dozens of “tips” to help you be a better presenter. You can get advice on how to hold your hands, how to make your voice more interesting, how to tell a story, how to stand, how to walk, etc.
But all those tips can obscure the more important point, which is that presenting is about “connection, not perfection.” We think there are only three things you need to focus on.
Make three simple points and bring them to life with stories: Each point should be tight, like a bumper sticker. Then tell a story to bring the point to life. We worked recently with a patent lawyer who wanted to illustrate how easy it was to protect intellectual property. He told a simple story of the importance of not talking about company secrets on the elevator. Very effective.
Speak with the same intensity you use with your best friends: Imagine what you’re like when you’re talking with your best friend about something you’re really excited about. That’s the same passion that you should bring to your presentation. Anything less rips off your audience.
Rehearse like crazy: The best presenters practice a lot. We worked with an executive who had to give a big presentation to his company’s top players. He practiced his 10-minute presentation 15 times. He nailed it.
Being a great presenter isn’t easy. But it’s not complicated either. It’s just about executing the three simple keys to connection.
Speechworks is a communication and selling skills coaching firm. We teach professionals how to craft and deliver complex messages in a simple, persuasive manner. Since 1986, through workshops and one-on-one instruction, we have helped countless individuals become better presenters and communicators. You can reach us at 404.266.0888, firstname.lastname@example.org or on the web at www.speechworks.net