In business we need to give successful presentations and pitches. I’ve realised through experience that focusing on content alone leads to failure. I’ve learned the hard way. Over the years I’ve given countless presentations to business audiences small and large and also spoken to ten thousand. As a result I now have my own methodology which I will outline for you here, writes Bret Freeman from Toastmasters International.
Freeman outlines his methodology of delivering business presentations below.
You need presence of mind, body, and voice for great communication.
Presence of mind means developing a mental connection with your audience. This can be as simple as asking a question that an audience can relate to: “Have you found yourself faced with making a very difficult choice?”. You can create internal pictures for your listeners “As a kid in California, there was nothing like the fourth of July! We had a neighborhood parties and spend the day in our front gardens. I can still smell the BBQ and see us playing team games …”(Do you have an image?).
It’s vital to make this audience connection early. Many presenters get into the detail before developing rapport. Instead, if we take time to connect, be present in mind, our audience will be ready to hear us.
Preparation for presence of body begins with your posture and continues as you speak.
As the presenter, you have a position of authority. You can create emotional anchors for your audience. Stand in one spot to talk about a positive event. Move to a difference place on stage and talk about a sad event. The next time you go to these spots you can elicit the same feelings. Be mindful of these finer points of delivery as they will help you to bring your audience with you.
Presence of voice When we speak, our voices can provide a variety of emotional shades to our stories and help get our message across. You will use a certain inflection and tone talking about another car driver cutting you up. This will be very different to explaining how to achieve a night of restful sleep. When preparing for a presentation, think about how you should use your voice. My acronym will help:
- The Evangelist (imagine excited sports commentator)
- The Architect (disciplined, unemotional)
- The Romantic (gentle, tender)
- The Stooge (funny, jokey)
O: Own it
Whether you’re giving a sales pitch, you’re presenting to investors or speaking at your wedding, use your stories. Storytelling will help you make your speech a conversation.
Owning our mindset means that we need to identify what triggers the behaviours that get in the way. The behaviours or habits that stop us presenting at our best. This means taking responsibility for our mental state, and owning our nerves.
Once you own your stories and your mindset you can own the relationship with your audience. All three together will make you a conversational, confident and effective speaker.
W: What is your purpose?
Finding our purpose in speaking contributes to making a competent speaker great! Being genuinely passionate about your business, finding your purpose in it, is a major contribution to being an engaging speaker.
Define your purpose by asking:
- What did you want to be when you were a child?
- If you were independently wealthy, how would you fill your days?
- What sort of things do you talk to your closest friends about?
These questions may not reveal your purpose immediately, but they will put you on the right track!
E: Evolve your thinking
Evolved thinking begins when you understand that your audience will be affected by the stories you tell. Perhaps as important, is that we are affected by the stories we tell ourselves about how we’ll behave and feel in front of the audience. This “self-talk” can drain our confidence and negatively impact our performance. Luckily we can control our self-talk.
We can do this by changing the script we run in our heads. If our internal programming states: “when I am in front of an audience I get nervous”. We’ll make that true unless we become the programmers of our own minds. Allow evolved thinking to let us change the programme. “In front of a crowd I’m confident and I will make an impact”. Knowing how to change your programmes will transform your presenting.
R: Re-imagine yourself
Your re-imagining brings together all the elements of communicating with POWER. For athletes re-imagination, or visualisation is often the key to success. Our brains have trouble differentiating between actual memories and projected memories. Repeatedly visualising your success in a situation brings it into your subconscious. After spending time visualising your success, your actual delivery of your presentation will have a sense of familiarity because in your mind you have already been there –performing a brilliant pitch!
I hope I’ve given you some new tools. Transforming your speaking won’t be instant but with practice your confidence and skills will grow. It’s a business investment you need to make. As you get ready for your next presentation prepare with P.O.W.E.R. and enjoy your successful delivery.