Have you ever been to a conference where many ‘experts’ have been gathered to speak?
You’re excited at the prospect of learning something new. However, you come away disappointed because you weren’t able to grasp the point the speakers were making.
At medical conferences, legal conferences and technological conferences around the world (to name but a few of the more specialist type areas), audiences are subjected to a barrage of information that they struggle to assimilate in an attempt to take away insights and learnings.
Why does this happen?
It happens because speakers don’t realise what it takes to connect with an audience. Without connection and a well structured talk, a speaker will not be able to communicate successfully.
The truth is, speaking in public effectively is a complex process.
It’s easy to just start speaking about what you know. It’s quite another thing to select an appropriate aspect of your knowledge for a particular group of listeners, organise the information you want to communicate into logical chunks and then speak about it in an engaging way.
As Mark Twain once said:
“I could never make a good impromtu speech without several hours to prepare it”
If you have to give presentations regularly, see how well you can check off these presentation ‘musts’:
- Do I know what specific outcome I want from my presentations?
- Do I know who the audience are and what they’re expecting from me?
- Do I make it clear to the audience WHY they should listen to me?
- Am I always clear about my key messages?
- Do I keep to the ‘’rule of three’ and plan three parts to my presentations?
- Do I always open with impact and include a hook?
- Do I make an effort to engage the audience with anecdotes, metaphors or create opportunities for interaction?
- Do I summarise what I’ve said at the end of my presentation?
- Do I leave my audience ‘on a high’ – feeling different or wanting to do what I’m asking them to do?
If you’ve answered yes to most of these questions then you fall into the rather small category of effective speakers.
If you have struggled to answer yes to even one or two of the questions, then you really are compromising your potential to communicate effectively to a group.
Being able to present well and communicate a clear, concise and engaging message is especially important in the corporate world if you looking to climb the ubiquitous ladder. Don’t get left behind!