“I felt like myself,” enthused a client who made a good showing when she presented at a candidate’s forum recently. “And I was described by the press as demonstrating leadership.”
We had spent nearly a day helping to develop and refine her three-minute leadership speaking remarks. On her own, she had practiced for two more days. (see What Does it Takes to Be a Good Public Speaker?)
Not entirely gone was the public speaking nervousness that had plagued my client’s earlier efforts to deliver talking points prepared by her campaign team, she admitted. But there was no question that this time, the candidate felt in control of her own destiny and her presentation skills had markedly improved.
When it’s your turn to create and deliver an important set of remarks—no matter whether you’re speaking at an in-house management meeting, an industry conference or a team leadership communication session—the preliminary steps you take are as critical to your presentations success as the ultimate delivery and follow up. (For a quick guide to putting together a persuasive presentation, enroll in our FREE 5-day miniCourse).
7 Savvy Steps for Powerful Presentations
Here are seven proven techniques to help you increase the odds of creating an effective, engaging message.
- Give yourself time for unlimited, unedited brainstorming. Let it all hang out. Do not be too quick to decide what’s in and what’s out. Keep your audience’s desires and dreams in mind while you exercise your creativity. Ask yourself what your presentation goal is, what you’re trying to accomplish in your leadership speaking, and in this specific leadership communication?
- Group your content by topic. Include the pain points you’re helping others overcome as well as the benefits your ideas and experience will bring to your listeners. What best shows how your expertise and your leadership experience contribute to their bottom line?
- Begin to sort through and eliminate lesser points. What points are not contributing to achieving your leadership communication and leadership speaking goals?
- Get a clear picture of how much time you really have to speak and continue to self-edit what can be presented and what will need to be left out. Public speaking success is part art, part science and part magic in terms of fitting into a time frame.
- Write at least three or four drafts of your presentation and count the words. A rule of thumb is about 125 words = one minute of talking, depending on your pace. It can be more or less.
- As part of your public speaking preparation, eliminate what sounds awkward or unnatural coming out of your mouth. Cut extraneous words and ideas that may put you over the expected time limit. As an effective leader and speaker, you don’t want to trip over anything you could have avoided, right?
- Practice aloud, in pieces, out of order, until you’re ready to rock and roll! Powerful presentation skills develop over time through following the Seven Savvy Steps.
Remember, you are speaking because someone believes you are an expert or otherwise knowledgeable on the topic at hand. And it’s true, isn’t it?
Let us know in the comments what other topics you’d like us to cover!
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