It is truly amazing how little, subtle nuances can make the difference between a good and a great speech. Sometimes it is hard to put your finger on exactly why he/she was so good at capturing your attention to a level that made you leave the at the end as elated as a love-sick teenager.
Little changes can indeed come together to make huge differences, so baring this in mind, lets look at ten very simple and easy ways you can implement to make yourself an even better public talker.
1) Open Chest and Arms
This can benefit two-fold. You will not only feel more relaxed as a result, but you will also appear to be more relaxed and commanding to the room. A technique full of win.
If you have a good smile, use it! It’s a powerful weapon in gaining peoples trust and confidence in you as a storyteller. Personally, I think the smile is a public speakers most powerful tool in their box. After all, people love a good smile! Oh, and don’t forget to have clean, sparkling pearly whites. Once I turned up to find the talker had the remnants of the previous evening’s dinner across his canines.
3) Use Your Arms and Hands
Carefully time and triggered gestures help a talker enforce certain points, but more importantly it can help exude the passion within. When we are passionate about something we use our whole bodies to communicate it, why should a slide deck on social media ROI be any different?
4) Gestures – Demonstrate authority
Gestures are also a technique worth using to enforce authority of not just yourself, but of a particular point. Small, sharp movements help to establish that you mean business. Implemented with a calm and controlled demeanor and you should be as good as gold up at the front.
5) Keep moving (but not too much)
Having a little movement about you helps to remind people that you’re not apart of the furniture. On the other hand moving too much will suggest you had a little too much H2O during the break. Try moving only on particular points; so each movement essentially supports every point you are trying to make to the room.
Sometimes it is worth walking in amongst the group to create an even deeper bond. The environment you are talking in obviously has a say as to whether this is a shrewd move or not, but also look at ways in reducing the ‘distance’ of you and the class/group.
6) Vary Your Gestures (don’t be a robot)
If you say the same thing time and time again, people will lose interest. The same applies when gesturing. Open gestures are good as they suggest you are including the room within the dialogue. Head, arm and hand movements are the preferential forms, but don’t be restricted by the status quo. Be a judge of the room and see what you can and cannot get away with. Every group is different!
7) Point (to make a point)
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Surprising how many talkers don’t do this though. A very simple, humane point and put some very deserving emphasis on an idea you are trying to communicate to the group. A finger, a laser pointer, a stick, even a chair if H&S permits.
8) Vary Voice Tone
If you speak in a single tone throughout your presentation, I will get bored. You will get bored most likely too. Mix it up a little. Practice with volumes too. For example I live by the rule that if you speak quietly, you make people listen. Emphasizing points in a slow, low volume will make people take notice at key times of the delivery
9) Pause… For Affect
In real life and every day conversation, people pause for breath and thought. Although you are the only one talking, pausing for split seconds at a time help people gain a little perspective of what they are being told. A little gap here and there will be highly appreciated by the group and will also give you some necessary thinking time between slides.
10) Be Positive, visually
Complemented with a great smile, positive gestures (used sparingly may I add) helps the portrayal of you being a trusted, welcoming and decent story teller. Nodding, thumbs up and even mirroring are just a few ways you can help people feel better about you, the slides and most importantly, their place within the group.