Welcome to Kiwi Hacks, a monthly feature which brings you ‘life hacks’ – tricks, shortcuts, skills or ideas that increase productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life. Tailored toward the needs of NZBWN members, Kiwi Hacks will draw from the Networks’ broad base of knowledge to bring you top tips on personal and professional issues of a varied nature. As always, we welcome your feedback so drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you think about the content or if you have any hacks of your own that you’d like to share with the Network.
To kick things off we’re focusing on something most of us have to do – and many of us fear – presenting in public.
Read on for some top tips on how to present with confidence.
1) Know your audience – you will know what product or idea you are trying to sell the room, but why should they care? To ensure a successful outcome, start any presentation or meeting preparation by thinking about who your audience is, how your product/idea is relevant to them and then how you are going to communicate it.
2) Get familiar with the presentation space – whether you are presenting in a room you sit in everyday, or in a hall you have never been in, try and take a few minutes ahead of time to walk and stand in the area you will be presenting in. Imagine the room full and think about how you will build rapport with those in it. Building familiarity with the space will decrease the level of stress you may feel about being up there and allow you to focus on the content.
3) Less is more – keep your presentation to a maximum of three key points and summarise with three key takeaways. This will help you define what really needs to be said and increase the likelihood of your audience remembering it.
4) Think about your body language – it is estimated that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words spoken (Psychology Today). Bad delivery trumps good content. Practice open, confident body language – straight posture, open hands and arms, strong voice, smile and look for eye contact with those in the room as you go through your points.
5) Use pause for effect – a pregnant pause is a powerful tool. While many of us likely race through our content – either because we are tight on time or anxious to finish – a strategic pause in speech functions to, a) give the listener a moment to process your last point, b) pull your audience back in if attention is wandering, c) build anticipation for what you are about to say next, and d) buy you a moment to collect your thoughts. Don’t be afraid of silence, use it.