In his Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, author Jeffrey Gitomer writes: “If I had a dollar for every corporate leader, from CEOs to branch managers, who had lousy presentation skills, I’d be a multi-billionaire. … If you would like to rise above 95% of all people in the marketplace, then begin now by studying presentation skills.”
I couldn’t agree more.
I’m always amazed that people get to be top executives without learning the fundamentals of good communication, including public speaking. How can someone be called a leader if that person is unable to articulate a vision and a philosophy to colleagues and outside groups? As a matter of course, anyone who wishes to be successful in any kind of work would do well to learn the art of communicating.
Most people literally freeze up when they are asked to speak to a group. They don’t know what to do. CEOs usually have speechwriters they can turn to for a prepared script, which they then read verbatim to the audience. That stilted presentation first take media training is an insult to listeners who not only are bored to tears but also have better things to do with their precious time.
So what is a CEO or anybody who gives a talk to do? Is there a game plan for preparing yourself for speaking engagements? Maybe some of these hints will help:
For one, you can start a speech by using metaphor or imagery to give your audience a powerful mental image of your topic. You want your listeners to have an emotional reaction to what you are saying at presentation training london, so you have to use words that help paint a picture they can relate to emotionally.
You should also touch your audience by hitting their funny bone. Most research tells us that people listen better when they’ve had a laugh. If you are someone who has trouble telling a joke, you can use a good writer to help you, but learn the joke beforehand instead of just reading it!
Another key strategy is to tell a story or two to illustrate your point. Whenever I do so during a speech, people come up to me later and thank me. Everyone can relate to stories that have a human element. Some of the best stories make the impossible believable. I tell of people who have overcome seemingly impossible odds and attained success in their respective industries. There are all sorts of stories out there about those kinds of heroic individuals.
Then there’s the idea of actively involving your audience by asking them to make a commitment to some course of action by standing up. I’ve yet to talk to a group without having everyone stand and make the pledge to “reach for the stars.”
This advice is critically important: Be willing to show your passion for whatever it is you are trying to communicate. This really gets an audience’s attention. How can you possibly persuade people about something if you don’t show them how much you care? People will follow people who are truly committed to a course of action or a vision.
Finally, there’s the send-off to a talk. End with a flourish. Look the part of a leader with your body language. Look into the eyes of your audience. Show them you care, show them you are passionate, and show them you are a leader. This is the time to ask them to join you on your crusade.
These are all common-sense suggestions, and they are important to anyone who wants to make a difference as a speaker. However, none of these ideas will matter much if you haven’t prepared yourself by rehearsing the talk. Give the talk several times to others. Videotape it and watch it. Whatever you do, don’t go in front of any audience until you are prepared to do your absolute best.