Having great presentation skills is paramount if you want to be seen as an expert in your industry. The challenge to fully engage, captivate, inspire and educate each audience is a worthy and noble pursuit.
I have the firm belief that your vulnerability as a speaker is your greatest power. Many speakers put on a speakers persona and appear to be very different on stage to off stage. In my opinion this is incongruent and disempowering for the audience.
I believe what sets the top speakers apart is their ability to speak directly to the hearts and minds of their audience and inspire them to transform through new empowering action.
Ultimately what it takes to be a speaker is the ability to be congruently certain in everything that you do.
Presentation Skills Tip No. 1: Eye contact.
When most people are up in front of a group they start their talk by rapidly scanning the room with their eyes and then rapidly speaking. Look the bottom line is we trust people who hold eye contact with us and distrust those that don’t!
So spraying the audience with your vision is a surefire way to alienate everyone and make you look shady. In addition your brain quickly becomes overwhelmed with all of this visual input: different faces, different colors, different clothes, different countenances which can leave you feeling stressed and fearful.
What you need to do is find an anchor and to lock in on one individuals eyes. This is what we would do in a one to one conversation, so that’s why it’s what you should do when you speak one to many. Slow down, get your bearings. You will then have a chance to focus your energy.
So begin by looking at just one person, look at their eyes and speak to one person at a time. Then at the end of that sentence when you would naturally pause if you were reading a book, and find the next individual.
Instead of speaking to a group… have a series of one-on-one conversations with the individual members of the audience and hold that gaze until you have finished that point or sentence.