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3 Public Speaking Tips to Crush Your Next Presentation

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Have you ever felt a surge of confidence when it comes to written communication, but when the spotlight turns to you for a presentation, that confidence seems to wane? If that resonates with you, you're not alone. Many high-level managers and executives experience this shift in self-assurance when transitioning from written to spoken communication. But here's the good news: there are practical, simple steps to follow to not just survive your next presentation, but truly crush it.

The term 'presentation' originates from the root word 'present', which means 'to place before'. When you're giving a presentation, you're essentially bringing what's invisible - your ideas and vision - into reality. You're placing before your audience what was previously unseen, allowing them to interact with and truly experience your ideas.

When preparing for a presentation, there are three key decisions to make. These decisions form the foundation of a powerful, clear, and succinct presentation that you can deliver with confidence.

Decision #1: Purpose

The first decision to make when preparing for a presentation is to define its purpose. This may seem straightforward, but many people overlook this critical step. Your presentation, no matter who you are speaking in front of, has a purpose. It could be to inform or educate, to persuade or get buy-in, or to demonstrate a particular product or service.

Once you make that decision with clarity and decisiveness, it will guide your content. It will give you clarity on what to include in your content. For instance, if the purpose of your presentation is to persuade or get buy-in, you're not going to spend a lot of time informing and giving data because education is not what sells.

Understanding the purpose of your presentation will guide your content creation. It's like turning on a light bulb in a dark room. Suddenly, you can see clearly, and you know exactly what to do.

Mastering your communication in every single presentation is not just about delivering information. It's about creating a transformation in your audience. It's about making them feel cared for, making them feel loved and understood. It's about making a lasting impact. And that all starts with understanding the purpose of your presentation.

Take some time to reflect on the purpose of your next presentation. What do you want to achieve? How do you want your audience to feel? What transformation do you want to create? Remember, the power of purpose in your presentations is immense. Harness it, and you'll be well on your way to crushing your next presentation.

Decision #2: Effect

As you delve deeper into the preparation for your presentation, the next crucial decision to make revolves around the effect you want to have. This is not just about the information you share, but the emotional resonance and intellectual impact you aim to create within your audience.

Are you aiming to ignite a spark of inspiration and motivation within them? Or perhaps you want to foster a sense of understanding and care? Maybe your goal is to challenge their existing perspectives and provoke new thoughts?

Consider this scenario: you decide that your primary goal is to make your audience feel cared for. This decision becomes a beacon, guiding your speech and delivery throughout the presentation. Even in moments of forgetfulness or uncertainty, you can always return to this guiding effect. You know that your ultimate aim is for your audience to leave the presentation feeling cared for, and this guides your speech and delivery.

The power of this approach becomes evident when you fully grasp the importance of the effect and have absolute clarity about the emotional state you want to instill in your audience. Even if you momentarily forget, lose your train of thought, or struggle to find the right word, you can still achieve the desired effect on your audience. This is the essence of the second decision.

Decision #3: Transformation

What kind of transformation does your audience want to have? This third decision is about the change you want your audience to make as a result of your presentation. How is it going to change their life, their business, their relationships, and so on? What is the exact transformation that they stand to gain as a result of learning from you, as a result of participating in your presentation?

This goes right back to purpose, because with purpose, you can create that transformation in your audience. The biggest mistake that I see presenters make is focusing on information, where they are just trying to give their audience information, teach them a bunch of information. But your audience is not there for information.

Information alone does not create a transformation. If it did, then we would all be satisfied in our careers, all aspects of our lives. If information alone was enough, everyone would be happy, healthy, financially stable and wealthy since information is so readily and cheaply available globally.

The chief aim of a master presenter is to provide a transformation in your audience, for your audience. This is very different from merely giving them more information. The transformation is the payoff. So when you decide these three things, purpose, effect, transformation, this will help you to not only have clarity in the structure, foundation for understanding, and building your content, but most of all, having a lasting impact on your audience.

The art of delivering a powerful presentation is a journey of strategic decisions. It begins with defining the purpose of your presentation, which sets the foundation for your content. The next step is to decide on the effect you want to have on your audience, which guides your delivery and the emotional resonance you aim to create. Finally, envision the transformation you want to bring about in your audience, which is the ultimate payoff of your presentation.

Remember, your role as a presenter is not merely to provide information. In an age where information is readily available, your true value lies in facilitating transformation. This transformation is the real reward for your audience and the measure of a successful presentation.

If you're ready to apply these principles and elevate your presentation skills, I encourage you to take action. Knowledge alone is potential transformation; the real change happens when you apply what you've learned. If you're still struggling with presentation anxiety, know that it's a common challenge and there are effective strategies to overcome it.

Reading has now moved on to the knowledge-gathering stage of application. I'll introduce you to a powerful self- and career-development process in my executive coaching program if you are interested in putting the principles outlined in this article into practice.

The program is designed to help growth-oriented executives who are seeking career fulfillment through becoming more skilled versions of themselves. It will empower you to develop deeper insights, enhance your communication skills, and be inspired to grow in your career.

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