The skills and the tools needed for a well-tuned presentation are in your reach. The realities are we all have to work to polish these skills. Most of us won’t pay the price. For those who do, the reward is enormous! What an amazing and dramatic difference the ability to communicate makes in our lives. The better prepared you are, the better you use your tools, the more effective you’ll be in your presentations. Below are three of the tools you already have in your tool box:
- Facial Expressions: Be active, not passive. Say it with your face. Use your energy, your passion and your enthusiasm. Let your listener (audience) see these feelings in your face. And remember that smiling never hurts.
- Eye Contact: Eye contact can do more to enhance your presentation skills than any other single improvement you can make. Vocal cords may carry your message, but your eyes hold your listener. In a very real sense, listening isn’t done with the ears; it’s done with the eyes. For the presenter, without eye contact, it’s impossible to tell if anyone is listening. Watching the eyes of your listener (audience) allows you to edit your presentation as you go. If you want to increase the attention span of your listener (audience), increase your eye contact.
- Hands: Your hands always need to be kept under control. The best place for your hands are at your side except when using them to make an appropriate gesture or to refer to a visual aid or to manipulate your notes. If you have a hand in your pocket, don’t rattle change or keys. Also don’t tap a pencil or pen on the table while talking. And make sure you don’t have your hand in front of your mouth when talking. All of these are sources of irritation for your listener.
To learn how to use the tools better, watch the different hosts on entertainment shows like E News! and Entertainment Tonight. Watch their facial expressions and the eye contact they make with the camera. Also pay close attention to how they hold their hands. They’re a great source to watch and learn from.
In the next blog, we’ll go over the other tools you have in your tool box.
Through the fall Gary will continue his blog series on the Art of Telling. He believes that speaking skills are required and acquirable for today’s business professional. The purpose of the Art of Telling blog series is to enable readers to develop the communication and presentation skills that will serve them a lifetime. Click here to see more on Gary’s Art of Telling programs and seminars.