April 19 – National Education Association

How to you connect with your audience? How to you get people to remember your message? Is stage presence something you’re born with or something you can learn?

These questions and others were the focus of WWPR’s recent EntrPReneur professional development brown bag, “How to Speak with Presence.” What a terrific group! One of my favorite moments was when one of the attendees skipped around the room while her “speaking competitor” tried to distract her by pretending to take her purse! I guess you had to be there. We definitely had a good time!

Check out the program intro.

In case you missed it, here are a few takeaways:

– What’s the number one way to improve your speaking? Clarify your core message. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!

– Move purposefully. And if you want to raise your status – move less.

– Here’s a secret: There’s actually no such thing as public speaking! What you want to do is have a personal conversation with each person in the audience – one person at a time. This helps reduce anxiety – and helps you connect personally with your audience.

Watch the participants take part in the “Talk to Each Other Game”.

At the end of the presentation, I handed out my “Ten Tips for Giving Masterful Presentations.” Here they are:

1. People remember what they hear first and last. Spend the most time on the beginning and end of your presentation.

2. Be fully present. Get into your optimum state. Jump up and laugh!

3. There is no substitute for practice. Time yourself beforehand. It is perfectly OK to speak for less time than you were allotted. Practice as much as you can without reading from your text.

4. Know your audience. Make them absolutely essential. Know exactly what you want them to understand, to feel and to do. This is the core of your presentation. If you are clear on your core, your delivery will improve dramatically.

5. Remember the rule of three.

6. End vocal monotony. Vary your emotional tones. Divide your speech into several mini-speeches, each with a different, contrasting tone. Each tone should have an emotional intent – how you want the audience to feel when they listen to you.

7. Vary your voice. When you practice, try isolating and experimenting with the different parts of your voice: volume, pitch, and tempo.

8. Physical motion makes the greatest impact on an audience. Move to enhance and emphasize your content. Stand to YOUR right side of the room.

9. Stand if possible. Step away from the podium. Maintain a heroic neutral stance most of the time. If you must sit, lean forward and keep your hands above the table.

10. The best presentations are the ones where each listener feels personally addressed. Use your eyes as a way to connect to individual people. Don’t scan. If you focus on one person at a time, all eyes will focus on you.