Mastering the Art of Presentation – Strategies for Presentation Effectiveness

Presentation Skills

Being a great and dynamic presenter is a much-needed skill in any workplace. It may seem as if some people are born with the knack to captivate and move audiences to act while others may struggle to get a simple point across. The good news is, becoming a master presenter and ultimately a master communicator can be achieved with effort and practice.

Over the past 40 years, the business communication consultants at Speakeasy have analyzed the interpersonal communication skills and presentation strategies of the best presenters. Despite varying personalities, speaking styles, and experience levels, master presenters always use these three communication strategies.

Use nonverbal communication for a purpose. Leading communication experts such as the University of Chicago’s Dr. David McNeil have studied the effect that gestures have on how the human brain interprets spoken words. In his research, he has found that using nonverbal communication can boost the brain’s ability to make sense of information and is crucial in how we process our thoughts.[1] However, not just any type of nonverbal language will do. Master communicators use gestures in a natural way to show intentionality and will avoid using the same gestures over and over again. The key is, gesturing should be done to enhance your message, not take away from it.

When you give a presentation, of any kind, be sure to find ways to accentuate your spoken words with hand gestures and eye contact. You can practice this before any talk by spending 5 minutes a few times a week talking in front of a mirror. As you speak, look at your body position, how your hands move, how your gestures are synced to your words, even examine your facial expressions and tone.

Make your movements powerful. How you move during a presentation is just as important as when you move to enhance your talk. Communication researchers have studied the role that body movements has on the speaking performance of master communicators. Studies have shown that using a “power pose”, placing your hands on your hips can trigger an increase in hormones that can amplify feelings of confidence. It is this boost in confidence that can help communicators become more animated and engaging, drawing the audience into the message.[2]

Your body movements and position can contribute to how you feel and in turn how you are the audience perceives you. Be sure to purposefully adjust your movements and posture to project confidence and authority. Take time periodically to record yourself and observe the way you naturally move when you feel confident. Study your movements and try to mimic them when you speak to embody confidence.

Value the importance of pictures. The human brain is better able to comprehend and remember a message if it has a pictorial component associated with it. This could be an elaborate picture painted with words in the form of imagery or an analogy given by a speaker. Researchers have found that an audience’s memory recall capacity increases up to 65% when a picture is used during a presentation.[3] As you prepare for your next talk, locate meaningful graphics to accompany your message.

Becoming a master presenter and communicator takes time and dedication to improving. The communication consultants at Speakeasy have worked with communicators, at all levels, to identify their communication needs and practice proven communication strategies to elevate their career and interpersonal skills. Our individualized leadership development programs are designed to teach you the skills discussed above and help you achieve your communication goals. For current course offerings contact Speakeasy at 1-888-375-1801.

[1] http://www.fastcompany.com/3057510/how-to-be-a-success-at-everything/four-scientifically-proven-habits-of-powerful-presenters?utm_source=mailchimp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=colead-daily-newsletter&position=3&partner=newsletter&campaign_date=03092016

[2] http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/power-posing-fake-it-until-you-make-it

[3] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/225090187_Conceptual_and_perceptual_factors_in_the_picture_superiority_effect