Stop Reading Your Presentations!
Yes, stop reading your presentations. Even if you have great material and lots of facts – stop reading the data and details for sure. You’re boring your listeners and audiences. I know how you feel about all the hard work, research and writing that went into your presentation.
The first time that I experienced this presentation principle was when I entered a speech contest sponsored by the American Institute of Banking or AIB. This was my first speech contest and I had little experience at that time on the principles of excellence speaking techniques.
I researched my topic, took extensive notes and wrote out my speech. (This was before personal computers – so it was written!) I practiced the presentation several times until I felt I had it down cold. Well, when it came my turn to present, I took my written speech with me to the front of the room. Confident that I had a great speech and more importantly great content.
Well, after I started I lost some of that confidence when I made a small mistake and then I started reading more than speaking. At the end of my presentation it was a pure, head down, reading every word off the paper in front of me. Now the audience was polite and clapped like they liked it – but I knew something was wrong.
The next and last presenter – was a real speaker – he spoke from the heart and with passion – and no written speech! I believe he had some notes or a brief outline that he used to stay on track. Well, he won the competition and I came in second. Today, I can admit that he was a better speaker that day. He won the speech contest and I won the reading contest! Oh, well. We learn from our adversities.
So here is what it means to you. Study your content and know your material cold. Prepare completely for the first five minutes of the presentation to gain confidence. Have a brief outline of the important points to be covered during your presentation. Then, get up, take a deep breath, stand tall and give your presentation from the heart with passion in your voice.
Do these well and everyone wins. Your listeners will believe in you and your message. And you will feel great – knowing that you gave your best and with high energy. You can do this.
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