How to Give an Outstanding Speech Or Presentation

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How to Give an Outstanding Speech Or Presentation

10 Tips and 5 NoGo´s for successful lectures, speeches and presentations

Have you ever wondered how to give an outstanding speech or presentation? You´re not alone with these thoughts. For many managers, entrepreneurs and executives, giving a good speech or a professional lecture has become part of their everyday professional life. It doesn´t make a difference whether the speech is supposed to happen in front of five persons in a small team meeting or at a big conference with hundreds of guests, a lot of people completely freak out when just thinking about presenting in front of a group. Maybe you have experienced similar feelings. Your mouth gets dry, the colour of your face transforms from normal to red and your increased sweating becomes more and more noticeable. The good news is: it doesn’t have to be that way and with this article, I´d like to encourage you to try out my ten tips for better presenting and actually enjoy your time on stage. Furthermore, I´d like to convince you, that there is an awesome speaker in you who will be loved by your audiences. To kick off, let us first take a look at the five most common mistakes made by untrained speakers, shall we?

The Five Most Frequent Mistakes During A Speech or Presentation

1. An Exclusive Fixation on Yourself

Even if you as a speaker are the centre of attention, unfortunately it is never about you, but exclusively about your audience. It´s about how you can help them solve a problem, challenge their thinking or change their feelings. But if you only focus on yourself, your content or your inner dialogue, you cannot focus on your audience at the same time. A thorough preparation helps you solve this problem like nothing else.

2. PowerPoint is NOT a Script

Even if the use of PowerPoint (or Apple Keynote)  seems to be standard in corporate presentations, the use can quickly backfire. Please never use PowerPoint as a script, which you then read word for word. Your listeners can do that themselves and you as a speaker become redundant. If you want to use PowerPoint, work with images that support your messages and use a maximum of 3 (short!!!) sentences per slide. Less is more in this case and your audience will love you for it.

3. Permanently Looking Back

And while we’re at the topic of PowerPoint, please resist the urge of looking back all the time because you want to read the text on your slides. If you really want to connect your audience, then you need continuous eye contact. And the solution is quite easy. First, you should be prepared and know your slides and your content. And to assist you with that, you should use the presentation mode of PowerPoint, in which you always have both the current and the upcoming slide in view on your screen.

4. Speaking too Fast

You have all the time in the world on stage. Nobody is rushing you. But then why do you speak so fast? This lets you appear quite insecure and doesn’t make you look like a professional. If, on the other hand, you speak slowly and also support this with wide gestures, then you appear confident and competent. Practice speaking slowly. And if you believe that you speak slowly enough, then you´re probably still speaking too fast.

5. Not Being Prepared

When it comes to giving speeches or presentations, the biggest mistake you can make is not being thoroughly prepared. Mistakes can and will happen all the time. Your microphone will stop working, the beamer will shut off or you will forget an important piece of content. All this is no problem at all and even makes you look human. But not being prepared is an absolute no-go. Please always remember one thing: The attitude of a speaker makes all the difference in the world, and whether your presentation is going to be successful will be decided long before you have spoken the first word on stage.

10 Tips On How To Give An Outstanding Speech Or Presentation

Did you discover yourself in one of these five major mistakes? That is no problem at all, it happens to the best of the best. After all, we´re all just humans and no robots. What´s more important is that you learn from it and gain experience. Because presenting is like any other skill: Continuous practise makes the master. Therefore, consider every single mistake as a gift from which you can learn and grow. Use every opportunity to train and become better. Get out there and perform as often as you can. Enjoy giving presentations and get better while doing so. Because the more experienced you become, the more fun it will be. And to make practising as simple as possible for you, I have put together 10 tips that will make it much easier for you to give outstanding speeches and presentations. Are you ready? Awesome, then here we go.

1. Your Attitude Makes The Difference

Whether your presentation will be a success is not decided during your speech, but long before it. Your attitude determines whether you will inspire your audience with a lot of self-confidence and achieve your goals. Remember situations in which you have already successfully mastered similar challenges, and then recall your attitude and feelings from back then. I suggest you use the following mantra: Yes, I can do it! The fact is that you have all the necessary resources to give an outstanding speech which your audience will remember for a very long time.

2. Thorough Preparation Is Everything

You may have heard that when you thoroughly prepare, half the battle is won. Actually, this is not true, because good preparation is everything. It’s okay to be nervous, it’s okay to have a little stage fright and it´s okay to make mistakes on stage. But it’s not okay if you’re not well prepared and haven’t done your homework. Leave nothing to chance and be prepared for any eventuality.

3. Research Your Audience

In order to prepare your content in the best possible way, you should inform yourself comprehensively about your audience. For whom do you present? What are the demographics? What are their current challenges? It makes a difference whether you speak to colleagues, present at a management conference or pitch to a potential client. The more you know, the more individual you can tailor your language and the content of your presentation.

4. Start With The End In Mind

Always start your speech with the end in mind. To do that, ask yourself the following questions: What is the goal of your speech? What are your key messages? What skills or information do you want your audience to learn? And most important: How do you want your audience to feel after the speech? Focus on emotions that are as intense as possible. The people in the audience will quickly forget about the figures, data and facts. But they will always remember how you made them feel.

5. Always Go First

One of the most important principles of being an outstanding speaker is: Always go first. Whatever emotions you want to evoke in your audience, you must first feel them yourself and then tap into them. If you want to inspire, then be inspired yourself. If you want to make people think, go into this state first. And if you want to motivate, then you should be motivated first.

6. Speak The Language Of Your Audience

Avoid using any form of technical jargon. Speak as simply as possible and do not use cumbersome formulations or any form of long, nested sentences. Trust your own language skills and don’t try to imitate someone else’s style. And, of course, never assume that your listeners would know insider terms, industry expressions or technical formulations. Instead, put yourself in the shoes of your listeners and then speak the language of your audience.

7. Master The Art Of Storytelling

Nothing captivates the attention of people like a well-crafted and well-told story. On the other hand, nothing makes a presentation as boring as the permanent repetition of numbers, data and facts. However, if you pack all this information into a stimulating and emotional story, your listeners will hang spellbound on your lips and internalize the messages contained almost incidentally. Make sure to surprise your audience from time to time, find examples from our everyday world and most importantly: Don’t forget to add a heavy dose of humour!

8. Delete EVERY Unnecessary Information

Have you ever experienced a speaker who´s opening line was: “I´m delighted to have the opportunity to speak to you today.”? I´m almost certain you have. But is this information also relevant for an audience? Of course not, and that’s why you should consistently delete such and similar phrases. Check every single sentence of your speech and ask yourself: Does this information emphasise the message of my presentation? If it does not, then you need to have the courage to tighten your presentation. Less is definitely more when it comes to give an outstanding speech.

9. Stay True To Yourself

You don’t have to become a robot on stage. There is no point in training various techniques and then playing a role. You better dare to be yourself. Tell stories about yourself (but always make sure that the point of the story is one your audience can learn from). Have the courage to articulate your own opinion. And then just be yourself. Forget about perfection, because audiences don’t like perfection. People like people.

10. Enjoy Every Single Minute Of Your Speech

As a speaker, you have the opportunity to inspire a lot of people and to share your knowledge and expertise. Therefore, appreciate this privilege of the platform and enjoy every single minute of it. Your audience will feel your passion and joy and reward you with a huge round of applause or even a standing ovation.

I hope these ten short tips were valuable for you and you already have an idea of how to implement them in your next speech or presentation. Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Best wishes

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