When beginning to work with new clients we usually first discuss how they feel about presenting in general, what their presentation skills strengths and weaknesses are, and then move on to an example presentation. I think it would be safe to say that in about eighty per cent of the cases, a potentially powerful message is lost and overwhelmed by unnecessary information and a lack of a clear structure or speaking clearly.
You might also like:
- This fact will change your view about presenting forever
- How to cut down your presentation at a moment’s notice
Maybe this happens because there is a common corporate myth that seems to abound which states that the more information you give, the better.
But, as Hans Hoffman once said: “the ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
The same happens in business communication, when you speak to an audience, you need to be as simple as possible to get your message across as quickly as possible. Remember that you only have as little as 45 seconds to convince the audience you are worth listening to.
And that’s fantastic news if you’re a non-native speaker of English. It’s simply not necessary to have a sophisticated range of vocabulary at your fingertips, we’ll leave that to the academics who have to give conferences in universities – a very different world from the business world.
How to KISS (!)
In business, Managers and Senior executives are always short of time, they are very impatient to move on to the next big decision and they crave simplicity. With this in mind, it seems obvious that appealing to a concise presentation is the way to go. So, here are my favourite tips that you can implement straight away on how to KISS. No, no, I mean KISS as in the context of presenting – Keep It Short & Simple.
1) Know the main point you want to communicate
A good way to learn how to be concise in your presentations is, when you’re rehearsing, to practice giving the main point only of each slide.
2) Use short sentences
It’s better to have short sentences punctuated by pauses rather than joining various points together with different conjunctions– you’re not writing a university essay!
3) Use as few words as possible
Ideally use words of one or two syllables.
4)Don’t speak in the passive tense
Always use the active tense. Leave passive tenses for report writing.
5) Avoid getting distracted by other issues, ideas, points, stories etc
Speaking more slowly will raise your awareness about ‘extra details’ that might want to sneak into your communication.
6) Give information in an amount the listener can digest
Not the amount you feel compelled to share.
We nearly always overestimate the audience’s knowledge of our own specialist vocabulary. Speak in a language that you’re SURE your audience can understand.
What was it that Einstein said?
|“Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler!”|
And coming up to the present day, let me leave you with a quotation from British entrepreneur, Richard Branson:
|“Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It’s hard to make something simple”|
Tell it simply and you’ll stand out from your peers as the person who really knows how to communicate.
If you know that presenting in English can make or break your career and you want to keep improving your presentation skills, check out my webpage, there are lots of free downloadable resources that can help you with that – http://janicehaywood.eu/free-resources/