What makes a Successful Presenter?
When you listen to any good presenter, it is their level of confidence, the clarity of their voice together with their gestures that create the conviction that really makes you sit up and listen.
This then is the fundamental reason why we present – to get our audience to take action, to buy-in to what we are presenting. These skills are the same whether we are doing a sales presentation, presenting our negotiation, a business presentation or just presenting a paper. The power of public speaking is a key leadership skill. I have seen numerous times where a person with good communication skills has enhanced their careers and positions.
Great statesmen have won elections based on their ability to communicate effectively: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Winston Churchill, to mention but a few. Follow these few tips and see how you can become more successful and win more deals by presenting your ideas with conviction and impact.
1. What gives you the right?
Dale Carnegie once said that in order to earn the right to stand up in front of an audience, you should know 10 times more about the topic than what you are presenting. This really means that we need to be the ‘expert’ in our topic. We only have one chance at giving that presentation, so we must ensure it is done right.
2. What makes it successful?
Success means different things to different people. So what makes a presentation successful? If it is delivered with impact, it will get the audience to take notice and grab their attention. What is most important is your message. Your presentation is merely the vehicle for delivering your message to create results. A successful presentation consists of a powerful message combined with effective presentation skills that will move your audience to take action.
3. Develop the skill
Presentations are planned, created and developed by the presenter. They are rehearsed extensively to ensure that the final delivery is a masterpiece. To do this, one must learn the skills of presenting effectively. A good presenter is one who constantly learns the skills of presenting rather than the presenter who claims he/she can wing it or rely on his/her talent to get them results. Presenting is a set of skills not a talent. To become a good presenter requires you learn the skills for presentation success. To become a great speaker requires you learn from every presentation you deliver. All good presenters started out as poor speakers and with practice and developing the right skills– we all got better at it.
4. Have a mentor
To become better than what you are in whatever aspect of your life, you always need somebody whom you can look up to, who can hold your hand and guide you to success. To become better at presenting one would also require a mentor. Whether it is a coach, a trainer, a professional speaker, select that person whom you trust, admire and respect. Learn the techniques that they use in their presentations that would also work for you. Never emulate them or become them – learn to become you and what can make you a great presenter.
5. Collating factual material
Ensure that all your information is factual and can be verified and backed up if questioned. Failure to do so will dent your credibility and the result will be that your audience will not trust you and buying in will not happen, either now or in the future. This will prevent you from making comments such as, “I think …”. This creates the impression that you are not sure. We create buy- in from presenters who are confident and know what they are speaking about. There is usually someone in the audience that knows a little more than you, so don’t present wrong information or give the impression that you know something you do not. Confirm all your information. Present facts and not your opinion unless requested to do so. Always present information honestly.
Presenting is a set of skills that we can learn and develop and take ownership of them. It is not about talent rather a suitcase of techniques that must be practiced, rehearsed and delivered. No one ever delivers the perfect speech, and that does not matter. What is important is to deliver a powerful and effective presentation that wow’s the audience into action. I work with many of the top presenters and each one will tell you that they have yet to deliver that perfect talk. Presenting is both an art and a science and the more you learn and practice the science the easier the art will work for you. To be good takes a lot of time, a huge amount of practice and a lot of dashed egos. But to persevere will always reap the rewards.