Effective Presentation Skills Training Part #3 – Five Core Elements Of A Slick Presentation
In this previous article (click to read: Effective Presentation Skills Training Part #1 Master The Mindset), we talked about the mindset that individuals should adopt when it comes to delivering presentations and public speeches – be aware that it is inevitable if you’re someone who seeks growth, but not insurmountable. Be open to stepping out of your comfort zone but be ready to make mistakes and come back stronger – i.e. Just Do It. The ability to give engaging and riveting presentations has always been important and beneficial to one’s career (even for students as well) and its importance will only increase even more with the advent of automation, digitalization, and artificial intelligence (A.I.). Many people posit that automation/ A.I. will make communication skills and the need for face-to-face interaction and even public speaking to the masses (physically live) obsolete. However, the truth is that the need (and demand) for better communication skills and presentation skills will be boosted – when humdrum/ rote/ repetitive services can be offloaded to machine workers and software/ programmes, human workers will be freed up to offer more personalized, personal, and poignant services – in other words, more human-to-human interactions/ communication! One clear example of this – even when more and more airports are automating their check-in counters, instead of a mass exodus/ retrenchment of airport staff, they are still very much around and more are stationed around the airports as customer care officers/ ambassadors.
In another previous article (click to read: Effective Presentation Skills Training Part #2: Rehearse, Like How World Champions Do Secretly), we talked about the pre-presentation prep work that is often neglected or misunderstood. “Rehearse? Just run through your script many times in front of a mirror…” is a piece of advice that many of us have heard of but with varying and dicey efficacy. The key is to internalize and not memorize. To check for presentation blind-spots, rehearse in front of a video camera being recorded so that you can first show it to your mentor or trusted individuals (be it family members of colleagues/ peers) and second, you can playback over and over again and spot the body language leakages yourself.
NEXT STEP: Here’s How You Can ENLIVEN Your Presentations! 5 Tips To Present The Best Of You!
Wouldn’t it be nice to consistently capture the undivided attention of your audience, be it in a boardroom, briefing, classroom, seminar or project meeting? Nowadays, the audience we face are less patient, more easily distracted with the “bing!” coming from their smartphones and possess shorter attention span! How to ensure that your message is being conveyed effectively whilst competing for the limited focus of the audience? It gives me great pleasure to be able to share with you the secrets of a public speaker who seems to be able to constantly seize the attention of the whole seminar hall that have worked for me daily, not just the World Championship of Public Speaking. Here are 6 insider strategies to achieve that:
Tip #1: Mind your attire!
Yes, you are not seeing wrong – ATTIRE (this is not a fashion related message)! Let’s be pragmatic. First impression counts and a lot of deep-seated and stereotypical misperception will be built on it. You enter your boardroom, classroom or meeting room, take centre stage, in front of your audience; the prying eyes of your audience members start to move around your body and impressions subsequently form (e.g. taste, class, attitude towards work/ this presentation, heritage, culture, confidence level, emotional intelligence etc.) Verily, you may be screaming in your head – “This is unfair! This is superficial! They don’t know me!” – and the last thought is spot on, they don’t know you! Appear sloppy and you portray sloppiness. Walk in with sandals dressed in a coffee-stained and grubby t-shirt, you are conveying a message about your work attitude and confidence level. Personal opinion? Blue is a safe choice – it conveys openness and inclusivity.
Tip #2: Pronunciation and Enunciation – Clarity is vital!
I’m sure you’ve heard of the statistic – 75% of our communication is not verbal. True. So let’s make sure we nail the 25% to get a head start. Public speaker or not, when you stand in front of your audience on the stage, without a shadow of a doubt, you’re the centre of attention, the pivot, the focal point. All eyes on you. Your voice, the words you utter will reverberate around the entire room hence you desperately need clarity and impeccable diction! Diction is more important than substance INITIALLY. All substance but no diction will not get you attention, no one is going to listen to what you believe. How many of you have experienced someone whose voice just drove you up a wall and you would rather fiddle with your phone head down? Here are brief ways you can dramatically improve your diction and capture attention. Trust me, tried and tested J
- Emulate speakers with clear and crisp pronunciation and enunciation. Where else? Your news broadcaster, videos of world-class public speakers, variety TV show hosts and radio DJs. Pay attention to the style, pauses, verbal stresses.
- Build a vocabulary bank coupled with pronunciation cues. For instance, write down “ej-oo-kay-shuh-n” for the education (such that you won’t pronounce it with a “du” sound) thus progressively tweaking your diction along the way.
- Practise saying it ALOUD. Internalising the pronunciation is not enough to retain oral muscle memory of your commonly mispronounced words; saying it aloud against the background noise of the subway train or alone in the room while you rehearse. You may also choose to record it and make comparisons to your previous way of pronouncing certain words to better track your progress and let me tell you, your audience won’t have to know the behind-the-scenes, heck, they won’t even be scrutinising your diction even; but it will certainly enhance your clarity and they will appreciate it.
Tip #3: Say it THREE times, differently.
Some call it “Trilogistic phrasing” or “Power of Three”. One practical reason is that it furnishes you more time to gather your thoughts and think of your next line instead of using filler sounds like “you know” or “um…”. For instance, if you’re describing an embarrassing moment, you can say “I wasn’t just slightly abashed, mildly embarrassed, I was utterly mortified!”. Or when you’re saying something inspirational – “…you compete, grab and SEIZE the opportunities available…”.
Tip #4: Aphorism
Aphorism is a concise statement that embodies a general truth. It stimulates the audience’s minds, their interest in what you’re saying and boost the credibility of your speech prowess. Statements like what we hear in movies “You either die a hero, or see yourself becoming the villain”. Imagine those hearing it for the first time. It sets them thinking, challenging their ideals and principles – “Can we ever stay true to our principles? Stay consistent?”. It suddenly implants in their minds that “I have to continue to listen to find out more!”. Succinct, yet impactful.
Tip #5: Enjoy yourself speaking
I know this is easier said than done. Thank you for the breakthrough thought Darren. Here I am, shaking, staring at my laptop, no eye contact and rushing through my lines, flustered at whether I would fluff my lines and there you are telling me to enjoy it. Recollect an experience where you watched a diffident presenter, body closed up, shoulders hunched, head hang downwards, reading a script with a monotonous voice. Compare it with a flamboyant speaker strutting across the stage with impeccable diction. Which one do you want to be? Which one looked like he/she was enjoying the stage? Did they smile and exude high energy? Did they share with you, not in a haughty and arrogant manner, that they were happy, excited to be in front of everyone? You have to raise your standards to that level, picture that and get into that character whenever you take the stage, believe me, you will enjoy that magnitude of confidence and attention.
By The Way…
If you are keen to take your public speaking skills & presentation skills (either business/corporate presentation / kids in-class presentation) to the next level so that you may communicate and deliver speeches with greater flair and charisma, feel free to check out our public speaking/ presentation skills course for adults and public speaking course for children below!
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Feel free to reach out to us to curate your own public speaking corporate training programme for your team, company, or organization! Let us help you develop them into highly effective public speakers at work, empowered with effective presentation skills & storytelling skills – them giving speeches with charisma, influence and impact is something you can look forward to!
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