Are you willing to do what it takes to become better as a presenter? In the words of Goethe, "Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do."
One of the things you can do is to work out. If you were preparing for a triathlon, you'd be putting some serious time in at the gym, wouldn't you? Similarly, there are exercises that will help improve your speaking ability. They may or may not be fun for you, depending on how weird you are. These can be done with material you would actually be using in your presentation, or with other material. The main thing is: they work!
1) Speed Demon: Practice your material speaking (either from memory or reading) as fast as you can while articulating clearly. Do not slur the words. Make each syllable distinct. This will help improve your clarity when you speak, and will make it more comfortable for you to not only speak more quickly when you need to, but to be able to vary your rate of speaking - which will make you more easy to listen to.
2) The Change Up: When we speak, we naturally speed up, slow down, and pause. Otherwise, we put people to sleep, or simply lose them. This exercise involves noticing where to speed up, slow down, and pause, and exaggerating it to the max. Consider a scale from 0-10; zero being dead and 10 being so far over the top that people would be running from the room wondering what drugs you'd been taking. Five would be ideal; not too much, not too little. For this exercise, get as close to a 10 as possible. Please note: in coaching hundreds of people in workshops and private sessions, I RARELY hear anyone get close to a 10. Many people do not even go over a "5." Be outrageous with this one. Give yourself permission to go "over the top." What this does, is to make it easier to hit that "perfect 5" more consistently. It also tends to make it easier for you to add more variety and interest to the way you speak. Try it - it really works.
Use both exercises, and you will like what they do for you. Yes, it is a bit of a workout, but it's worth it. The best part of it is that by practicing these simple exercises, not only will you be more effective as a presenter, your audiences will be more attentive to your message - and both you and them will have more fun.
Let me know how these work for you.
posted by : November 5, 2011 at 10:03 PM Delete:
Steve, sorry I missed your comment before now! Nothing like doing two great things with one single action.
posted by Datta: November 6, 2011 at 3:38 PM Delete:
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