Leadership: Presentation Skills Tips for Influence and Engagement
As a leader, when you are called to be a speaker, paid, pro-bono, or volunteer, your command of the stage matters.
Recently I attended three days at a leadership conference as an attendee. Nine speakers, including NYT Best Selling Authors, social media influencers, new speakers, savvy speakers, volunteer speakers, and paid speakers, presented in front of 600 leaders; I was an audience participant. I sat for hours listening to speaker after speaker. My profession is executive leadership development. I train speakers and leaders on their presence on stage, in the board room, and among stakeholders. I am also a leadership speaker.
After having this three-day experience, I recognize that leaders who speak can use additional tips and strategies for speaking success in their toolbox. When presenting:
1. Engage your audience.
Sitting and listening for hours is hard. The seats were uncomfortable, the rooms were cold, and we hadn't had a chance to see each other person in over a year and a half, and not one speaker on stage engaged the audience or helped us connect. Use an interactive discussion, or have us move around. Engage the audience
Let us connect, apply your message, practice it, and let us use our energy.
2. Have 3 points and make them memorable.
Have a clear path that we can follow. Share the three points you are going to cover, then share each topic along with a story, or lesson, and repeat them at the end.
Make it memorable with an acronym, a fun title, or a picture.
How will we remember you? ‘
What is your hook?
What are we taking home?
3. It isn't about you. It's about us.
Even if you are sharing your story, give us a lesson, show us HOW!
4. Invest in Comedy, improv, stagecraft, voice, and public speaking. Ask for referrals of great coaches and workshops
You don't know it all. We all can improve.
5. Be Enthusiastic. Smile, See us. Really See Us
Do your research. Know what the audience does for a living, really mingle before you speak, get to know the audience, and make sure your content is relatable.
6. Be present. Take command and care of the audience.
It was freezing in the room on the last day. Audience members were shivering. After talking to speakers, later on, I found out they were cold and shivering. They never mentioned that on stage. They never said.
"Can the heat be turned on?" Or "Let's get closer to create warmth."
When we speak, we are the "commander in chief." We are in charge and responsible for our audience.
Yes, the event producer is the behind-the-scenes puppeteer. However, on stage, you are in command. Take care of the audience.
7. Slides. Please, please get feedback on your slides.
Have crisp images, high quality. Ask for feedback.
Talk to experts like Wendy Gates Corbett, who, aside from being a great keynote about "Creating Cultures of Organizational BELONGING," also owns a second company that produces slide decks. Just ask for advice and feedback from people in the know.
8. Use the microphone system that works for you.
Bring your personal headset if that makes you happy. Just because there is a podium doesn't mean you have to use it. Please stop giving up your power and expertise. You know what works best for your style and your impact. Maybe you speak best sitting on a stool. Perhaps you feel happier using a handheld microphone. Ask for what you need.
9. Staging. Note what colors are behind you.
You all know I love black. However, if the stage is set with black wrapping and a dark blue hue, change your look.
I was amazed how few speakers didn't change their wardrobe. Your job is to stand out. I am not sure if it was a confidence issue. Or an “I didn't know that” issue" or that this is a detail that isn't in your standard operating procedure checklist.
Always have a backup that is a bright-colored jacket or tie, colorful t-shirt, or scarf. Something that doesn't keep you hidden. Wear something that makes you pop. You are the center of attention. Act that way.
The colors you wear are essential. You can hide yourself when you wear black on a black stage.
10. Enjoy yourself. Show it in everything you do. Confidently communicate that you are the perfect person to be on stage.
Smile from the moment you walk out of your hotel room until you get home. Seriously people, see you.
Pegine is a Best-selling author and award-winning businesswoman.
Advisor to US Presidents and Fortune 500 executives on women in business and women in leadership called to lead. She educates women leaders and businesswomen on how to influence, impact, and inspire their world to increase profits, and productivity and positively engage stakeholders and employees. Her skill in achieving results comes from using content, connections, comedy, charisma, and cadences; a Hall of Fame speaker, she is a force that causes positive results in a truly unique and powerful way. BTW She coaches men too! www.TeamPegine.com
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