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5 useful techniques worth remembering for effective presentations: the eyes, the voice, the expression, the appearance, and how you stand
When it comes to delivering a really impactful professional business presentation, there are five key facets of your own body which the expert trainers at Creativedge recommend to clients to improve their presentation skills and style: the eyes, the voice, the expression, the appearance, and how you stand.
1. The Eyes – Use the ‘Lighthouse’ Technique
During a presentation you should try to establish eye contact with each and every member of your audience as you can: sweep you gaze gently around the room, just like the lighthouse. A good recommendation is to try and hold your gaze fixed in specific directions for five or six seconds. When you change your gaze, a slight smile will convince each person caught in your vista that they’ve been the focus of your attention and your words are meant specifically for them.
Firstly, slow down and take your time when you present! Good manners will prohibit any interruptions to your presentation, so take your time, there’s no need to maintain a constant flow of uninterrupted words from a fixed, expressionless face. Make your audience go away and recall specific keywords which they can associate with you and your presentation. A safe rule is to speak slightly louder and slightly slower than an informal office meeting with one or two colleagues. As you get used to the sound, you can adjust the levels by watching the audience.
Facial expressions can significantly enhance the meaning of the words you say and give an impression that you are sincere about what you say. The following tips will help you use facial expressions to increase your conviction and persuasiveness for your audience:-
- Breathe deeply and smile at your audience before you start speaking.
- Don’t make melodramatic moves or expressions; act naturally. Use your hands to make a point, but don’t gesticulate recklessly so they become a focus rather than your words.
- Think about what you’re saying and use facial expressions to match or enhance what you convey
When you are presenting, you must dress for the audience, not for yourself; if your audience thinks you look out of place, then you probably are. This is especially important in markets like banking and finance. It gives a message that you are are not part of the same group, so questions about the value of your presentation may be raised. If you can mirror the style and general appearance of your audience, their initial impression of you as a presenter, will be a positive one.
Just as an actor will take a distinct posture or stance to convey a character, while you are presenting, your posture will convey a great deal about you. You should use your whole body as a dynamic tool to reinforce your rapport with the audience; you should look confident, capable and in control of what you are saying.
- Stand straight in front of your audience, with your weight evenly distributed over both feet.
- Lean your body slightly towards the audience.
- Place your hands at your sides and keep elbows loose.
When the presentation is over you should try to honestly evaluate your performance. You can either do this alone, or with the help of someone you know in the audience. What was the most successful aspect of your presentation? And the least successful? Write reminder notes and recall them as often as possible so they become ingrained in your memory, so that in time they become part of your instinctive, successful presentation style.
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