1. Fundamentals of Effective Communication and Overcoming the Obstacles of Communication. A few weeks ago, I covered the basics of communication so you can say it well. This lays the groundwork for everything else I talk about this month. We also covered those obstacles that might get between you and effective communication.
2. Improving Relationship and Business Communications. I will cover the two basic kinds of communication: business communications and our everyday relationship communications. In this week’s edition, I will look at how to improve both, so we can excel and enjoy every area of our life.
3. Verbal and Nonverbal Communication and Listening Skills. Last week, I will cover the two kinds of communication I use and how to better use them. Most of us are aware of our verbal communication but less so of our nonverbal communication. I will also take a look at how to be a better listener and why it pays to do so. I already cover this in last week’s edition.
4. The Essentials of Powerful and Effective Presentations and Using Communication to Further Your Dreams. This covers all you need to become a better speaker for when you are called upon to give a presentation. Whether you present once a year or once a week, the tips you get here will make a big difference. We will also cover how communication plays a significant role in the pursuit and achievement of your dreams—all of this today.
This week, I am going to cover some basic elements of powerful and effective presentations.
So let’s get started with this week’s topic.
Seven Essentials for Powerful and Effective Presentations
1. Know your goal. Are you there to inspire? Encourage? Challenge? Comfort? Motivate? Deliver bad news? Good news? Is it just informational? Are you trying to motivate them to action? If you know where you are going and where you want to take the audience, you can then work back from there and create your presentation. Like Stephen Covey’s old axiom, “Begin with the end in mind.” Be sure to know your goal.
2. Keep it simple. Be yourself—you don’t have to be someone else. One mistake many people make is in trying to emulate the style of another person. This rarely, if ever, works. Why? Because you are not that person! Be yourself. That is who others are expecting.
Don’t attempt elaborate presentations. Maybe when you’ve mastered your skills, you can get elaborate. But even the most polished professional speakers rarely get elaborate. The Zig Ziglars, Brian Tracys, and Nido Qubeins of the world—the crème de la crème—are straight-ahead, no-fancy-stuff speakers. Take note of that. You can be simple and very good at the same time. So be sure to keep it simple.
3. Be passionate and optimistic about your topic. People want to see that you are passionate about your topic. Aristotle said that there are three areas integral to persuasion: logic, ethics, and passion. You need to be a person of good character, have logical reasoning, and say it with passion. Also, be optimistic. Napoleon said, “Leaders are dealers in hope.” As presenters, we pull people in and bring them along by giving them hope. Be sure to let your passion and optimism come through!
4. Balance the format of your information. Use facts, figures, and stories. Include lectures as well as audience participation. In this day and age, with waning attention spans, we do well to change up the format at regular intervals. People are used to modern media, which makes a single-person speaking a tough act. Be sure to use different formats in your presentation.
5. Tell stories. When you think of Jesus, the greatest teacher of all time, you think of a man who told stories to help root the principles into the minds and hearts of those who heard him. Stories are things that people can connect with. They can remember them. They see them in pictures. What would you be most apt to remember two weeks after hearing a speaker: the exact percentages of his or her statistics, or a well-told story? Be sure to build stories into your presentation so people remember the points you want them to.
6. Know your material. This is the foundation of an effective presentation. It tells people you are serious about the topic, that you care about it and that you are qualified to speak to them about it. Do whatever you can to know your material inside and out before you get on the stage to present. You will feel more comfortable and will come across as very credible. Audiences are looking for credibility and can see through someone who is winging their way through a presentation. Be sure to know your material.
7. Start on time and end on time. One of the skills of an effective presenter is that they can craft their presentation to fit the allotted time and then discipline themselves to stay within that time frame. Starting on time and ending on time will show people that you respect their time. Too often, a speaker will do a fine job in their allotted time, and if they were to end there, they would be remembered well. Unfortunately, they go overtime, and all the audience can think is, “I can’t believe they went so long!” These speakers shoot themselves in the foot by not finishing on time. Be sure to always stay within your time limits and leave your audience wanting more!
Follow these seven rules, and you will begin to see greater effectiveness in your presentations. I believe that everyone can become a better speaker and presenter if they practice their skill. And it doesn’t require a tremendous amount of advanced training, either. Just mastering the basics will take you to the next level and allow you to become a much more effective communicator.
Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!
Using Communication to Further Your Dreams
What does communication have to do with achieving your dreams? A lot! Here are some thoughts on how communication helps you achieve your dreams and why it is so important.
Your dreams cannot be fulfilled alone, and, thus, you need to communicate with others. No matter what you dream of accomplishing, you need the help and support of others. Because of this, you will need to communicate with them. What precisely? How about your vision and strategy for starters? To get you to your dreams, you will need to be able to tell those who work with or for you clearly what your vision is so they can buy into it. If they don’t know where you are going, they can’t help you get there. Secondly, if you can’t communicate a clear strategy, then they will be unclear about what to do to help you get there. The vision is the big picture and the strategy is the “nuts and bolts.” Both require very clear and articulate communication.
The moral support of others requires clearly communicating your dreams. You will have people who will work with you toward your dreams and you will have others who will simply provide moral support. They are your “boosters,” or your “cheerleaders.”
Your network requires good communication from you. You will have those who work with you, you will have those who give you moral support, and you will have those in your network who will be your “salespeople” out in the field for you. They are your friends and business acquaintances who, if you have communicated clearly with them, will be able to steer business your way when they meet someone in the marketplace.
Lastly, let us touch on a different kind of communication: communicating with yourself. You see, the most important person you communicate with is yourself. You talk to yourself all day long, and what you say to yourself will do more to determine whether or not you reach your dreams than any other communication you do. So be sure to communicate clearly and optimistically at all times!
Communication, both with yourself and with others, plays a major role in achieving your dreams. Whether it is with those who work with you, those who support you, those in your network, or with yourself as you look in the mirror each day, clear communication will take you far down the path to achieving everything you want out of life!