How do you explain why some people ooze charisma, status and energy when they present, whilst others cringe their way through a slide deck before apologetically shuffling off stage?
For example, why was Steve Jobs so successful? Why did he get standing ovations when he so much as mentioned one of his new products? What was so different that separated him from his competitors of the time?
And why is it that Martin Luther King led the civil rights movement? There were many other people who dreamed of a better world; so what was it about him that made him such a great leader?
And how is it that Tony Robbins fills huge arenas, just with his words? How can he speak from early in the morning, often until midnight, with people cheering right up until the final minute… while other presenters put you to sleep in seconds?
Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King and Tony Robbins all have one thing in common; they knew how to ‘hook’ an audience, create emotion around a problem and then reveal their solution to ‘heroes’ applause.
And the good thing for us humble mortals is that not one of these great public speakers was born with a PowerPoint clicker in their hand.
Even the multi billionaire Warren Buffet states, “Up until the age of 20, I was absolutely unable to speak in public”. Even Buffet had to do years of public speaking training to make him a great leader. Great presenters are made, not born.
In this article we are going to have a look at how to make yourself a great presenter and how you can use this to boost confidence, certainty and ultimately convert more quality clients.
By the end of this article you will know the following Three Key Points to naturally enhance your presentation skills:
1. Develop a Strong Mindset
2. Use a Powerful Structure
3. Communicate with Charisma
Point 1. Develop a Strong Mindset
There are many ways to develop a strong mindset and we have hand picked three to share with you here: Have good intent, expect success and power pose. Lets have a look at these in more detail:
Have good intent
Look at the last slide deck you created. Was it 10 slides all about you, your company and how great you are? If you are thinking about what you want (make the sale, get the client, take the order), you have made the first presentation faux pas.
Shift your mindset to a position of Good Intent: how you can help the audience. Great presentations start with the audience in mind and specifically to do three things: They educate, entertain and/or inspire positive action.
Show the audience you understand their problems and show them how to overcome them. By doing so you will help them, you will prove your expertise, and they will remember you every time they put it into action.
Forgetting your words, the difficult questions, the dreaded mind blank…
Before you stand up to present it is common to visualise all the things that could go wrong. Great presenters however visualise all the things that could go right.
If you think “I’m nervous”, your voice becomes nervous and people see you as being nervous.
If you think “I’m confident”, your voice becomes confident, and you get the very outcome you are expecting.
Thoughts become words, and words become outcomes. Expect the outcome you want, and you are far more likely to achieve it.
Power Pose (like you’ve won gold)
Often, in the build up to a presentation we are crouched over our notes… before realising in our panic we have forgotten everything, including our entire capacity to read and speak.
The form of the physical body is closely linked to the strength of our mindset.
Harvard Business School Professor Amy Cuddy discovered that holding a “power pose” for two minutes creates a higher level of testosterone and a lower level of cortisol in our body. Increased testosterone results in the feeling of power and reduced cortisol results in the feeling of less stress.
So, by simply going somewhere quiet and power posing like you have just won gold at the Olympics (hands above head stretched out, chest out, head up, massive smile) you will physiologically trick yourself into feeling and acting like a winner.
Point 2. Use a Powerful Structure
The second part to developing your presentation skills is to use a powerful structure. Let’s have a look how to do this:
Hook, line and sinker
The audience will naturally judge you within a few seconds of hearing you speak.
A powerful hook grabs attention from the outset and makes the audience sit up and take note. A great way to do this is to start with a series of rhetorical questions, as in the beginning of this article (inspired from Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, getting to WHY). Or you can actually ask a question to the audience to get their attention and encourage participation.
Practice your opening until you don’t have to think about it. Aim to entertain, surprise or arouse curiosity right from the word go.
Three is the magic number (yes it is)
The greatest presenters do not talk in twos or fours. They understand the power of three for impact and clarity. Each presentation you create should have three key points. Three. Key. Points.
Practice your “call to action”. What is it you want your audience to do after your presentation? Practice confidently telling the audience what the next steps are if they would like to take action.
Point 3. Communicate with Charisma
Finally, great presenters communicate with charisma. Here are three top tips as to how you can make slight changes for big impact:
Improve your Status
There is no “correct” body language, as everyone has their own natural style and what looks great for one can look false for another. However, it is possible to naturally build your status on stage.
The thing that makes people seem unconfident on stage is when their hands, legs or head moves involuntarily. However you decide to have your hands, head and legs, they should look as if they are supposed to be there. Tony Robbins has huge gesticulations, but they are all there on purpose.
The more control of the limbs and the more still the head, the more status on when presenting.
Speak twice as loud and twice as slow. It will sound unnatural and it will sound deafening at first. But to others you will sound clear, confident and much higher status.
Use dynamic words
Ensure you are using dynamic words in your presentation. Don’t talk about reducing costs (negative language). Talk about increasing profit (positive language). Remember that the words you say influence the outcome. So make sure you are saying words that lead the customer to the outcome you desire.
In summary, we have looked here at three key points to develop strong presentation skills: Develop a Strong Mindset, Use a Powerful Structure and Communicate with Charisma. Add these techniques into your presentations to enable you to boost confidence, certainty and ultimately convert more quality clients.
If you truly want to improve, you can’t just read articles and hope you will become a better speaker. Practice putting these techniques into action. Set your webcam to record, stand up and deliver your opening using the techniques in this article. Watch, repeat and tweak until you are happy with your pace, tone and body language.