Two things happened over the last couple of weeks; we held our quarterly sales meeting and ESI has begun the roll out of Broadvox to its dealers in support of their new SIP Interface. It's always good to have the quarterly sales meeting because it reminds me of the excellence of the people that make up the team. Since most of the team works from home offices around the country, personal interaction is limited. Therefore, these meetings become a precious time to get to know them and share information that is best transferred in person. Second, with the roll out of our SIP Trunking product offering to the Panasonic and ESI dealers and resellers, we are requested to present our company and capabilities more often and to larger audiences. Consequently, I decided to work on presentation skills as part of our education and team building exercise. Today and Friday, I will share that with you.
People become good presenters by practicing and learning from their mistakes. Most of us assume that it is an innate skill and wish to become good presenters. Most good presenters will tell you it is an acquired skill, and when asked, they can give you more than one example of when they bombed. However, with time, experience and an understanding of the critical elements to giving good presentations, failures can become few. More importantly, a good presenter will educate, entertain and sell an audience. That is the real point. All presenters want to accomplish their key objective, which is to win over/sell the audience. There are five key areas to understand when improving upon existing presentation skills:
· Voice Management
· Body Control
· Content Delivery
· Time Management
· Handling Questions and Answers
Voice Management is about engaging an audience through continuous adjustments in volume, tone, pitch, pace and color. Too often, a speaker believes that being loud is the most important thing or being heard overrides the desire to engage the audience. Sometimes dropping the volume briefly will cause the audience to listen more intensely. Pace is a little used element but also a very interesting addition. Pausing between thoughts and words can have a major impact on how an audience values their importance in the delivery. Slowing down the delivery of primary messages increases the emphasis you place upon them. By combining the five voice elements, using sound alone, a good presenter can create a diverse presentation environment.
Body Control is about more than posture. It also includes eye contact, facial expressions, gestures and proximity. Most presenters make the mistake of scanning their audience. Their eyes move back and forth over the audience and actually engage no one. I suggest making and holding eye contact for three to five seconds, thus speaking a phrase or sentence to various members of the audience. This ensures you are seen as speaking to the individual members attending as well as the group and increasing the engagement factor. With regard to expressions, do more than smile. Look serious when appropriate. Laugh with your audience or frown if that is the desired result. Change it up. Use one hand to gesture and then two. Expand your presence by spreading your arms and create a more intimate space by bring them into your body. Finally, do not be afraid to move. Move forward when wanting to engage an audience member, backward to release. If presenting in a large room with a wireless mike consider moving from one side to the other by establishing three stopping points, left, right and center.
More on this Friday. See you then...