Welcome Back to Live Presentations

Seven simple steps to your speaking success.

You have probably complained about delivering virtual presentations and that you are much better speaking with a live audience. Now that you have the opportunity, you are terrified.

In case we have not had the pleasure of meeting, I am presentation skills expert, Patricia Fripp. As your personal speech coach, it is my pleasure to give you seven, simple, proven principles to set you up for success.

One: Preparation does not change.

Your preparation is exactly the same as with a virtual presentation. The difference is, you will not have a teleprompter or easy access to read your speaker notes in PowerPoint. This means prepare early and rehearse more. As with all other presentations, you want to sound conversational and (see edit note) not use any words that you would not in everyday team meetings and over lunch. The good news is, your audience does not know exactly what you intended to say. You have your visual aids to keep you on track, and you will be speaking on a topic you are familiar with.

Two: Pick a stop date.

No more changes to your visuals or script. You will drive yourself and any support team crazy.

Three: Make friends with the stage.

Go to the meeting room where you will speak when nobody is there. Get on stage and stand and move where you plan to in your presentation. This is called blocking. When you do this the night before, you will sleep better. In large venues such as Las Vegas hotels and convention centers, be confident you know exactly how to get there from where you will be right before your event. Confidence builds when you are not adding unnecessary stress.

Four:  Before rapport.

Once your computer is set up and you have tested your microphone, get off the stage and interact with your audience. The fact that you are interested in them will guarantee they will give you their attention at the beginning. This has to do with the law of reciprocation. Psychologically they feel obligated. This is true with those who just see you interacting. However, your presentation content and delivery earns their attention for the entire session.

Five: Stand and deliver.

Stand with firm feet equal distance apart, and smile at your audience. Do not lean on the lectern or put weight just on one foot. How you stand represents the stability of your company and message.  Do not wander aimlessly around the stage or platform. Everything we do adds to or distracts from our message. With technical presentations this is especially important. Do not distract from your words with unnecessary movement.

Yes, you can move; however, be strategic. Move on purpose and still look at the audience. Move on transition from one idea to another. Or move on a movement-specific phrase. “As you walked into the room” or “If you were to walk into our corporate headquarters.”

When you deliver your most important points and your call to action, make sure you are standing still. At the end of your presentation, stand and smile, and accept the applause.

Your next question may be, “What do I do with my hands?” Do not put them in your pockets, behind your back, or have all gestures mirror each other. In other words, add variety. Have a default position that is waist level. Do not draw attention below your belt. If anything, bring attention towards your face. You can always use your remote control to keep your hands together. Then let one of them move as seems natural at the moment.

If you want to direct attention to your visuals, you can use one hand and follow with your eyes, keep your hand up as a pointer, and look back at the audience. Rehearse this when you are making friends with the stage.

Six: Two for the price of one.

When you speak with a co-presenter, direct attention back to them with a gesture. Perhaps a phrase, “Back to you Jeremy.” Work this out in advance so that everything looks seamless.

Seven: Nobody can see how you feel.

To feel nervous is natural. You are delivering a high-stakes presentation. Your audience only sees how you act. You do not have to be perfect; just be personal. Remember the seven steps and you will be fine!

Remember: You cannot begin preparing too early. Then accept your applause and enjoy the experience. Nothing will help your career more than earning the reputation of becoming a powerful, persuasive presenter.