How to Charm An Audience
Let Me Finish!
At some point in our lives, we have to get in front of an audience and present our thoughts and ideas on a particular topic for meetings, assignments, and speeches. Obviously, you want to practice as much as you can so you can get rid of the butterflies in your stomach while presenting. You want to prepare: gather data, prepare slides, and read materials. You need to rehearse your language so you can speak smoothly without major linguistic mistakes such as grammar and pronunciation. All of those are important. However, in addition to these time-consuming preparations, there are many quick tips that can immediately make you a better presenter.
The Universal Language
Body language plays a major part in our communications, you can determine whether someone is happy, sad, jealous, or nervous by judging their body language. This includes postures, movements, and facial expressions.
It is worth noting that in a presentation, it is not just all talk and no action. You have to move your hands around to create a greater emphasis on the message you are delivering. For instance, former 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama is a great speaker and can easily get a crowd hooked. When he speaks, he emphasizes his message with body language. Now, imagine if he was just crossing his arms and delivered his speech, the impact will be little to none. If that is the case, why even watch his speech? Why not just listen to it and let that be the end of it? Remember, people are showing up to watch you perform, not to just listen.
Essential Body Language Tips
• Stand up straight, shoulders back
• Ensure that your weight is distributed evenly between both legs
• Keep an open body language, show your palms
• Speak with a blank face
• Fidget with your hands
Having better posture not only makes you appear well put together, but it also makes you feel more confident. When you are confident, you can assertively present facts without seeming unsure.
"Speech is the mirror of the mind."
Do You Feel The Vibes?
Have you ever listened to a presenter and realized that the presenter is draining your energy? You feel bored and tired during their speeches. Why is that? Well, this can be remedied with quick and simple changes that are shown below.
• Tone of Voice
You absolutely have to speak in different tones, otherwise, being monotonous will tire out your audience and makes it seem like you don't actually believe in what you say. As mentioned earlier, I advocated standing straight, this not only makes you appear respectable, it also allows you to project your voice better. Now, do this small experiment for yourself. Talk while lying down, sitting down, and standing up. Which one sounds clearer? No doubt, standing up will come out on top (pun intended).
It is also worth noting that you should slightly raise your voice to emphasize certain words. For example, "I believe in freedom of expression, thus, none shall be silenced for their opinions." Take note, the word in bold should be emphasized. This creates a stronger message and can even be coupled with stronger vocabulary to ensure your audience understands the importance of the message. Fluctuating your tone will also give the impression that you have faith in the message you deliver.
Did you know?
World memory champion, Alex Mullen, can memorize a deck of cards in perfect order by only taking 17 seconds.
Reading Off Slides
This is easily the most common mistake that I can spot. Reading off slides make you seem robotic and unresponsive. Also, you aren't interacting with the audience, they feel left out because you won't look at them. The information on the screen will also be too long and not concise. At this point, you may as well just be reading and not give a speech.
Do you ever wonder why it's called a powerpoint? Well, it's because you should put powerful points there. One sentence will be enough for you to elaborate further. Also, the audience can absorb the information well since the human brain can better absorb information in smaller bites.
I like to use this technique called the method of loci, also known as, the memory palace. With this method, you make use of a place you are familiar with such as your house or school. Then, you encode images in the place of your choice and ensure that the images are meaningful to you for many associations. Last not but least, you recall the information by taking a walk around the place and look at the images encoded to recall the information. For example, a crisis can be encoded as the Titanic sinking in your living room (which is a tragic crisis). I know this sounds odd but the weirder it is, the more sticky it is to your brain.
• Don't Be Self-Conscious
You see, if you worry about your attire or your hair, you won't perform well. You will be nervous and worse, that might even turn into fidgeting. To do well, focus on the message you want to deliver rather than how you appear.
• Don't Be Pretentious
I noticed that some presenters like to sound smart. They force big words into their speeches and are proud to do so. Well, by doing so, you are alienating your audience because not everyone knows the big words you use. The big words do not make your points stronger, in fact, it makes it weaker by impairing the audience's understanding. If you want to connect with the masses, use simple words. This ensures most will understand your message.
Stuttering happens to the best of us. It prevents you from being well-spoken and eloquent. To minimize this, I employ repetition into my speeches. Instead of stopping to think, I repeat the points in a different way. The example below can be used.
"We can't express our views these days, we simply can't. I'm saying we can't talk about our views anymore. We used to be able to do that."
Notice how in that 3 sentences, you can literally be talking about the same thing, although it is worded differently.
• Blur them out
I recommend you to not look at faces, instead, you should look at the audience as a whole. By doing this, instead of trying to address them individually, you're addressing them by looking at their general direction. I found this tip to be the best for reducing nervousness during a speech.