Picture this scene … it’s a cold rainy night, the road ahead is long and straight with no defining features on the horizon. Hot air from the vents blowing on your face, the windscreen wipers are creating a hypnotic rhythm, and you start to feel very sleepy.
How does this picture relate to presentations you have sat through … perhaps your own presentation style?

If you have a tendency to present at a steady pace with limited animation in your voice or gestures, there is a risk your audience could drift off into their own world and you lose their attention.

Learn to change gear!

Just as your audience settle in to the rhythm of your presentation, slam your delivery into top gear, put your foot on the accelerator; and just when your audience get used to the new pace, slam the brakes on and hammer home a crucial point.

You can change gear with words, vocal quality and body language.

Get louder … find parts of your presentation where you have license to sharply increase the volume … now watch your audience sit up and pay attention. 

Get faster … you’ll know when to do this !  Often the natural places to speed up are where you are working through the back story, and it’s not crucial information.  Try lifting your pace significantly,… however, be sure to maintain good diction and pause more often, to help what you’re saying sink in.

Get bigger … use bigger gestures!  Run the risk that your deodorant is working!
However, keep larger gestures slow and deliberate. Dramatic gestures out of context feel contrived or out of control.  When gesturing to the screen to emphasise a point, try leaving your arm raised with your hand loosely pointing to the information longer than normal, and at the same time bring your eye contact back to the audience.  You’ll look confident and much more in control, with the audience focused where you want them.  

You can also get bigger in the eyes of the audience by simply getting closer to theme. Walk right up to the front row and the dimension of what you are saying, will automatically increase as well.

Get creative … try adding a bit of drama, by using words your audience may never heard before.  Example … “ladies and gentlemen, this process will need  F-A-C-I-P-U-L-A-T-I-O-N … ( a cross between facilitation and manipulation).

Get energetic … if you are interacting with slides and perhaps a product demo, then don’t dilly-dally between the two mediums … jog there! Demonstrate to the audience that you are prepared to burn energy, to transfer information faster.

If you’re not exhausted after a full-on presentation … then you haven’t worked hard enough!

Paul