Make this your best year. Start by polishing your presentation and communication skills. Resolve to follow these eleven speaking principles to speak with greater impact.
- Make a promise to improve your communication skills.
A promise is stronger than a goal. When you promise, it's the strongest commitment you can make to yourself.
- Follow the 6-by-6 Rule when using PowerPoint.
Aim for reader-friendly slides: 6 words or less per line and 6 lines or less per slide.
- Give a speech without PowerPoint.
We are PowerPointed out! Don't use slides as a crutch. Try connecting with the audience. The key word in visual aid is AID. You are the message.
- Get comfortable with silence.
Most people fear silence and this causes them to speak too fast and to use lots of 'um's and 'ah's. Practice dramatic pauses.
- Listen to the audience listening. There's always a silent communication between the speaker and the audience. Tune in, feel, and hear what the audience is telling you.
- Speak from your head and your heart.
Speakers either give too much data and stay on the intellectual plane or they just tell entertaining stories without enough substance. Today's audiences want hard data in an entertaining style.
- Tell more stories. Stories create word pictures, which are memorable and touch the heart. Even a business presentation is more effective when using stories, analogies, and metaphors.
- Don't be afraid to be real. You don't have to be a perfect presenter. Most audiences don't relate to someone who's slick and overly polished. Don't imitate someone else. Be your authentic self - the audience can see through phoniness.
- Kick your energy up a notch. Enthusiasm sells and with bigger groups you need greater energy to make an impact. You need to push your energy past your comfort level, especially on video and television, which tend to reduce energy.
- Practice the Rule of Three. Most people think in threes. When crafting a presentation, aim for three agenda items, three main points, three benefits.
- Get over yourself - it's not about you, it's about the audience. Fear of public speaking is still at the top of our list of phobias. Take the focus off of YOU - when you're nervous, you're self-centered. Focus on the audience.
Good communicators are more successful in all areas of life: relationships, career, and well-being. And speaking is the new competitive weapon.