There are many ways to destroy the impact that your speech has on your audience. By using good presentation skills, you can avoid many of the pitfalls that could leave you standing in front of an unresponsive and inattentive audience. The following tips will help you take your presentation to the next level.
1. Research Your Audience
You should know everything about your target audience before you begin your presentation. This will allow you to make references that they will relate to and understand. It wouldn’t make much sense to stand in front of a group of preteens and talk about soda malt shops, just as a conversation relating true love to the popular Twilight book series wouldn’t make sense when speaking to senior citizens. Making references that don’t resonate with your audience will cause you to lose your momentum, and bruise your confidence while speaking to your audience.
2. Tie Your Points Together
There is nothing less captivating than listening to someone drone on and on without having a worthwhile point to their story. If you can’t tie all of your points together, then you should rework your speech. As you practice, make a note of every time that you tell a story that doesn’t relate back to your main narrative. Remove those parts and trim the fat until your speech is lean, mean, and ready to make a substantial impact. If you find that you tend to ramble on, even against your best efforts, then it might be a good idea to plant someone in the audience that can signal you when you’re rambling.
3. Don’t Be Too Descriptive
Specifics are great for a presentation, however you shouldn’t let the details drown out the point that you are trying to make. For example, consider these two statements:
“I was born in a small rural town west of Charleston, West Virginia. Growing up there was an entirely different experience than you could possibly imagine. We had a well out back instead of running water, and I had the same teacher from kindergarten through the fifth grade. My neighbors were the same my entire life, and I was even babysat by the same person who babysat my parents as a child. When I moved to a bigger city, it was surprising how much faster the pace was.”
“I was born in a small rural town where everyone knew everybody and you had the same teacher through all of elementary school. It was a culture shock when I moved to a bigger city and saw how much faster paced the rest of the world was.”
Both of these statements make the same point, however, in the first one you are inundated with detail that overshadows the point of the statement: how shocking it was to be in a bigger city after living in a small community.
These are just a few tips that contribute to good presentation skills that lead to a successful speech.