Do you ever notice that whenever you are listening to a speaker, teacher or seminar leader, you have put that person in your mind as either a good presenter or a boring one? This happens a lot as an automatic reaction as an audience member.
This goes to say that if you are ever to be asked to do a presentation in front of people either at school, work or at a social event like a wedding, you definitely want to do your best so that you are not labeled as a boring presenter. As a trained professional speaker myself, I can let you in on a few secrets and tricks that will help you make it over to the good presenters side rather than the boring speakers camp.
Keep Eye Contact With Your Audience
Many poor presenters are looking straight ahead, straight down to the floor or their notes or at the screen if using Powerpoint slides for most of their presentations. This lack of eye contact makes it very hard for audiences to have any real connection with a speaker. As a presenter, you should try to make an effort to have eye contact with all members of the audience and this includes those sitting in the back of the room as well as those in the extreme sides too. Make brief eye contact with different parts of your audience by turning your head towards their direction throughout your talk. However, do this in a natural way rather than become a constantly turning head that rotates at regular intervals.
Have Some Vocal Variety In Your Tone
Boring speakers talk with a monotone drone in front of audiences. This puts people to sleep quickly, especially in darkened rooms or lecture halls. Instead, try to speak with a variety of up and down tones in your voice as well as with different timings in the phrasing of your words. Make important words stand out and have pauses after key points to let audiences reflect on them for brief moments. Rushing through your talks without pauses has an effect of losing your audiences too so never rush as if you want to get your presentation over as soon as possible.
Use Hand Gestures In Addition To Your Voice
Good communication in front of people is not just about using your voice. Use appropriate hand gestures to further enhance certain phrases in your talks. A combination of vocal and visual elements makes for a more effective presentation. For example, if making a reference to something that is rising or going up, use your finger and point up towards the ceiling as you verbalize your point. As a general rule of thumb, the larger your audience, the bigger your gestures should be since small gestures may not be visible to people sitting in the back of large rooms.
Reduce Your Use Of Crutch Words
Words like ‘uhm’ or ‘ah’ during a presentation or even in normal conversation, are known in the speaker world as crutch words. They are also sometimes known as filler words since they have no meaning and people tend to use them to fill in dead space in between phrases. Try to reduce your use of such crutch words by speaking a bit slower and recording yourself during rehearsals (yes, you should rehearse your talks). Although the odd crutch word is not a major issue, excessive use of them during presentations can be quite irritating to the ears of the audience.
Use The Stage Area Effectively
If you are speaking from a stage or front of a room where there is enough space and you are not stuck behind a podium microphone, make good use of the available room. Audiences react better to speakers who move around the stage rather than those who just stand in one spot during their entire talks. However, pacing back and forth endlessly is not effective either. Instead, move with purpose towards a certain part of the audience to connect more with them during certain parts of your talk. You can also use movement to enhance parts of your presentation.
These skills are the physical techniques that I always keep in mind as a speaker whenever I present and they will help you become a better presenter in front of any audience. Rehearsing your talks with these physical techniques as if you have an imaginary audience in front of you will enable you to adopt them more naturally. Add in good writing along with these physical techniques, you will never bore your audiences.