Produced in association with Make Your Words Work, our “Express Yourself” event focused on communicating more effectively and persuasively when speaking to an audience and clients.
We had the privilege of hearing from three creative leaders with three very different—but incredibly effective—approaches to make people sit up and take notice.
Here’s our experts’ tips to make you amazing, every time you get up in front of an audience!
1. Be relaxed (even if you’re faking it)
If you feel awkward when presenting, then your audience feels awkward. If you’re relaxed, then they will be too. As business growth trainer Dee Pattni put it,“To be a persuasive presenter you need to be yourself. After all, everyone else is taken.”
2. Don’t let fear stop you
Many people say they fear failure more than they fear death. Is that you? Fear of failure can stop you from trying, because you think you won’t be any good. Trust yourself: you are the expert here. As American president Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!”
3. Set the scene
Eleanor Conway, comedian and improv expert, suggests that you set the scene for your talk by picking a particular style: it could be chatty and conversational, something showy and comedic, or being a truth teller. Whatever makes you feel most comfortable will work best for you. A perfect example of a chatty, yet relaxed (and funny presentation) is this TED talk by Ken Robinson.
4. Lose control
Go with the flow and don’t try to control your talk too much. If you rehearse and rehearse—and rehearse—your talk will come across as staged. Often things go much better (and are more fun) if you just go with the flow. Remember that you are the expert and you know what you’re talking about it. Set yourself guidelines or points you want to cover, the rest will come naturally.
5. Be infectious
The mark of a good speaker is the one who can get their audience to feel the way they do. Let your natural enthusiasm and belief in the work you’ve done come across in your talk. This enthusiasm and energy is infectious and will get your audience to buy into what you’re doing.
6. Don’t rat yourself out
Remember, you are the only one who knows what you will be saying. If you forget something, the only person that will know is you. UNLESS, of course, you react. Just carry on and don’t worry about it.
7. Be memorable
Shape your content into a way that is interesting and memorable for your audience. One way to do this is through stories. Don’t just re-tell it, but re-live it and take your audience on the journey with you. A great example of this is the TED talk by Mellody Hobson. She does an amazing job of taking you on the journey and in the end makes you feel what she’s feeling.
8. Seal the deal
If your talk is to sell something, then you need to do this subtly, rather than tagging on the sale part at the end. You should be seeding the idea throughout so that it feels like a soft sell. Because, as Dee reminds us, “Everyone likes to buy, but no one likes being sold to”.
9. Encourage your team to be ‘yes’ people
Matthew Matheson, a professional improviser, says you can encourage a positive environment within your team by asking everyone to think of responding to others’ ideas with a “yes, and...” rather than a “no, but....” This encourages your team to be open to everyone’s ideas during brainstorms and internal discussions. Use it and you’re more likely to get a sharing collaborative atmosphere. Positivity creates energetic discussions and judgement lowers confidence.
Thank you to all our in-house experts: Eleanor Conway, Matthew Matheson,and Dee Pattni for their great tips.
All our speakers will be holding follow-up workshops in London. You can register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have any tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section!