By Niki Hennessy
Launching a new workshop? About to step on stage at your first speaking gig? Want to present like a pro and rock the socks off your crowd? Grabbing your audience and keeping them hooked on your every word is something that everyone, (honestly, every single one of us) is capable of.
We're not all born with the natural charisma of Clooney, but presence and gravitas can be cultivated, and these simple tips will help unleash your inner powerhouse to deliver a dynamic presentation and keep your audience leaning in for more.
Stand your ground
Create the sense that you're in command of the room and feel strong, centred and in control by starting at your feet.
It sounds really simple, but the way we stand has a huge impact on the impression we create with others, and more importantly, it effects how we feel about ourselves - a strong stance directly influences your self-confidence.
When you step up into that spotlight stand with your feet firmly on the ground, hips-width apart or a little wider and make sure your weight is evenly spread between both feet (no crossed ankles or one sticky-outty hip).
If you're comfortable moving around, do it! Work that stage, don't be afraid to move, but move slowly and with purpose.
Change the melody
Adding some extra colour and texture to your voice will help to continuously draw your audience in to what you’re saying. It's so easy for people to start to zone out – today’s average attention span is notoriously short - so don't give your audience any opportunity to wander off.
Using your full vocal range, the highs and the lows, and varying the pace and melody you speak in will help keep your audience drawn in and attentive.
Another tip - don't be afraid to pause. Silence can be scary when you have a room full of faces staring at you, but it’s also incredibly powerful.
Powerful presentation is so much more than what we say or how we say it. Body language and gestures are essential ingredients in keeping your delivery dynamic and your presentation natural.
Gesticulation - using your hands when you speak - conveys enthusiasm, keeps your own energy up and can help to emphasise the important points you're making.
Listing three key actions or insights you want your audience to take away? Count them on your fingers, clearly demonstrating that this is something they do not want to miss.
Asking a rhetorical question? Open your arms wide and ask it with your body language as well as your words, subconsciously reiterating what you’re saying.
Practice, practice, practice
Ultimately, the most effective way of upping your presentation skills to pro-level is practice.
Stand in front of the mirror, rope in friends and family, rehearse to your dog, whatever works for you - invest the time in getting really familiar with your content and in practicing your delivery.
Practice is the only way to refine the whole show and build your confidence. When you’re confident your presentation will feel more natural, letting your energy shine through. And there is nothing that captivates an audience more than enthusiasm and passion.
Niki Hennessy is a communications coach who specialises in helping coaches, entrepreneurs and soul-centred game changers unlock their communication potential and find their authentic voice.
Top two photo credits belong to Fi Mims Photography