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Tips to deliver a deadly talk....now that's sick!

Release Date

19 July 2013

Over the years I've sought to develop a few tips for inexperienced presenters to frame, practice and deliver talks that people enjoy watching.  Preparing for a presentation or talk can sometimes take upwards of two to four weeks to develop and involves cycles of devising and revising the script, repeated rehearsals and plenty of fine tuning.  Speaking in public can be as exhilarating as it is daunting, especially for people unaccustomed to presenting to a large group of people.  When it comes to carving out a career in almost any industry however, good public speaking skills are worth their weight in gold.  Most of us are continually tweaking our approach right up to the last moment, because the art of public speaking is evolving in real time.  
In the end there's no way you can give a good talk unless you have something worth saying or talking about.  Putting your words together and framing up what you want to say is the most vital part of the preparation.  Just in case you don't know, we are all wired to listen to stories and metaphors and if these abound then the narrative structures you use, will engage people.  If you think about a deadly talk or presentation then taking the audience on a journey will enable them to see the world differently afterwards.  All you then have to think about is where will it start, and where will it end?  

5 tips to deliver a deadly talk...

1. Compelling content:  most people have one question going through their minds when listening to a presentation "what's in it for me?"  To create great content you need to put yourself in your audiences shoes and think to yourself what problems are keeping them awake at night. What is exciting them?  Shape your content around what is going to make your audience members sit up.  Address their needs and never yours.  It is important to remember your audience is totally wrapped up in their own world looking for help or hope and this is something you can give them.

2. Do the wall stand: if you have the opportunity stand with your back flat against a wall and use it to straighten your posture.  By maintaining this when you walk out on stage it can help centre the body, improve confidence and calm your nerves, deep breathing also helps just before you go out on stage, or get up to do the talk.

3. Nail the opening: the first minute is vital so learning that part of your presentation by heart is very important.  If you can throw a joke in there as well, it will draw the audience's attention.  Introduce yourself, tell the audience why you are there, clasp your hands together and then release them slowly, palms up, and encapsulate your message as you deliver it to your audience.

4. Fall in love (again): if you can think back to when you fell in love that will help with confidence and presentation.  Remember how you looked at your lover as if he or she was the most fascinating thing in the world?  Do the same with your audience.  Look at each audience member in the eyes or focus on a few people in front of you and catch their stares for at least seven seconds then move on to someone else.  Look at each person with deep interest and respect, if the room is dark, just pretend.

5. Dot points: the most impressive speakers in the world are working off either a few simple dot point or no notes at all.  Pictures are best.  Do your best to avoid reading from a script and instead have dot points you can work off.  This takes a lot of rehearsal but if you can get some honest feedback from friends, family or even colleagues, that will go a long way to polishing your performance and making it a sick delivery.  

Good luck!

For assistance on HR Consulting, please contact Larry Forsyth, Senior Manager WHS & HR Consulting Services, Australian Business Consulting & Solutions, Email: larry.forsyth@australianbusiness.com.au

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