Try Visual Storytelling When Presenting

Visual communication is closely tied to the art of storytelling. It’s definitely an area worth becoming proficient in, because focused imagery makes your message more compelling and memorable.

Photo Credit: http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/556655/Images/nonprofit_storytelling_blog.jpg

Too many images, or ones that are cluttered and not directly related to your message will detract from your speech.

Today I want to take a look at how to use images in a way that will have the most impact on your audience.

What are you trying to say?

What are your main points? What do you want your audience members to walk away remembering?

Sit down and take a few minutes to think about this. Then write down no more than three things you want them to remember after you are gone. Highlight the key words in your text and begin thinking about visuals that reinforce them.

Authenticity

It is important that your visuals feel authentic. Look for opportunities to use photos or video clips of actual clients rather than stock photos or outdated clip art.

Your audience members want to know how your brand or idea applies to them today.

Or look for stunning photos that capture the ideas behind your brand. Is your product future-oriented?

Consider using a photo of something or someone in motion, moving away from the viewer. There are many ways to represent a brand or idea.

What will have the most impact on the viewer?

Body Language

Even in visual storytelling your body language, presence, and personality are a critical part of telling a story as part of a speech. We have talked about body language here before.

Remember to take advantage of the tools you always have on hand. Gesturing, making eye contact, and moving around as you talk add a great deal to your presentation.

It’s another great way to engage an audience and make an impact on them.

Size Matters

Big and bold is the way to go in most cases. Large, simple image or clips will best grab the viewer’s attention.

Plan ahead by thinking about where your audience will be sitting in relation to the screen they will see. Can they see over each other’s heads?

Consider where best to place your visuals for maximum impact. Plan your movements so that you won’t be in your own way when you share the photos or videos.

Diversity

Use images that are culturally relevant to your audience. Diversity is important today and your choice of visuals should reflect that. Society is changing and inclusiveness is more important than ever before, especially if your business has an online presence.

It’s Your Turn

Give some thought to visual storytelling for your next presentation. Jot down some ideas and look for images or video clips that represent your brand or idea.

Maybe it’s time to make a short video with one of your clients who can talk about what you have done for them. Let me know what you do and how it works for you.

And if you have any ideas t share, I would love to hear about it!

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Six Steps to Master Public Speaking

You’ll find a huge number of public speaking tips on the Internet. It can be overwhelming! Today I want to narrow down your game plan to just six steps. Six steps to mastering public speaking, some of which go beyond the basics by looking at what you can do to build on your existing skills. The new year is a great time to look at upping your public speaking game!

Beyond Being Prepared

Most people preparing to give a public speech work hard to prepare. They make notes, draft and revise their speech, and rehearse until they feel as comfortable as possible. What else can you do? Visit the space you’ll speak in. If possible, stand at the podium or dais where you’ll deliver your message. What could go wrong? What if you plan to use a mic and it isn’t working the day of your speech? Is there room to move closer to the audience? If the visual equipment goes out, can you speak without the help of your visual aids? Are you confident in you will get to the site if it’s an unfamiliar one?

Drama

Spend some time drafting opening sentences that will challenge your audience when you are asked to give a speech. What is something that would surprise them to know? How does your work positively influence the world or fill a gap in an unexpected way?

When you give a speech, opening with something surprising will grab your audience’s attention. Furthermore, having a few of these on hand that you use regularly will help you feel confident every time you take the podium.

Use Your Professional Knowledge

You know your subject or industry best. Help others see it from a variety of perspectives, including their own. How do industry outsider’s opinions of your work influence how they see you? Are their opinions negative or neutral? What could you tell them about your work that would change those opinions?

If they already understand or support your work, tell them about something new that’s happening. This is a great public speaking tip that will help keep your audience’s interest. People like learning something new.

Engage the Audience

Engage your listeners by involving them. Ask questions, take polls, tell stories. If your audience is too large to question individually, use rhetorical questions to get everyone thinking. “What would you do if…” or “Have you run into this problem before?

Adding active participation keeps people focused on your message or draws them back in if their minds have wandered.

The Closing

Don’t end your speech with phrases such as “That’s all I have” or “I’m done, thank you.

Instead, provide a call to action or something you want them to remember as they leave. Try connecting your closing words to your opening sentences.

It will help them to walk away thinking about what you said and what their next steps will be, instead of what’s for lunch.

It’s Your Turn

Try out some of my public speaking tips to help master your own skills and let me know what you think. Have some of your own to share? Send me a note with your thoughts. I would love to hear about them!

 

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Gain Confidence with Public Speaking

Even the most experienced public speakers can get a bit nervous before a presentation. Practice and experience go a long way, but the human body will almost always have a fight-or-flight response to the idea of putting itself up in front of an audience.

There are ways to deal with stage fright that will help you become a better speaker who is more at ease in front of a group. Let’s look at a few.

Before the Event

  • – A lot. You don’t need to memorize your speech word for word, but you should be so familiar with the order of your talking points that you don’t need to think about them. You’ll be able to speak more confidently and without notes if you know your main points cold.
  • – Test your equipment. Make sure any equipment you’re taking with you is in good condition. Check bulbs, batteries, and any accessories you have. If possible, visit the room you’ll be speaking in and be sure you understand how to connect your equipment to theirs.

The Day Of

  • – Spend some time exercising the day of your presentation. Exercise will work off some of the pre-talk jitters and give you confidence by boosting your serotonin levels. If you can’t get in a solid workout that day, try a brisk ten-minute walk. Drinking plenty of water will help stave off dry-mouth, too.
  • – Remember Power Posing? Body language is important and taking a powerful stand before your speech can give you a strong, positive mental boost.
  • – It’s typically easier to speak to a group of people you know than a room full of strangers. Get to the site early and spend time talking with people who will be in the audience. A friendly face, or several of them, will make your time on in the spotlight much more comfortable. Engaging your audience beforehand also helps keep them focused on you because you are someone they know. It’s much easier to tune out a stranger.

Getting Started

  • – If you’re comfortable with it, starting off with a joke is a great way to break the ice. Alternatively, we have talked about beginning a speech with a surprising or interesting fact about your subject. Either of these will peak your audience’s interest and make them want to hear more from you.
  • – Make eye contact, especially with the people in the audience who are attentive and indicating their support by smiling, nodding, or appearing especially focused. Their support will boost your comfort level.
  • – Act confident, even if you don’t feel that way! Research has shown that appearing confident helps create confidence where it doesn’t exist. In other words, fake it ‘til you make it! The audience will see confidence even if you aren’t feeling.

In Closing

Most importantly, remember why you are there. It’s not to be the best or most perfect speaker ever. It’s to share some information, make a few points, and encourage others to support your ideas. Leave them with some great ideas and ways to take action, and you will have done your job well!

Let me know how you have gained confidence in your public speaking. I would love to hear about it!

 

 

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Exciting Your Audience

Last month I was at a presentation where the audience members were bored, antsy, and waiting for the speech to end. Some were trying to be polite and attentive, but many had already mentally checked out and were texting and surfing on their phones.

The speaker knew she had lost their attention and struggled to regain it. Unfortunately, she was unable to do so.

We all want to start strong and finish strong when speaking, but, after your opening, how do get your audience excited and hold their attention to the end? I have some public speaking tips that will help you do just that.

Starting Strong

We’ve talked about great openings before but it’s worth a second mention. Use an opening that grabs your audience’s attention. Pick a startling fact, statistic, or other comment that will command attention. Try pausing after your first few words to let that information sink in before moving on.

Put Barriers Behind You

Literally. If there is a physical barrier between you and your audience, such as a podium, get comfortable moving away from it during your speech. The motion of movement renews audience attention and gets people to refocus on you, partly by wondering how you’ll do without notes or a stand in front of you! This is a great time to bring emotion to the forefront, as well.

It’s a great tool for building suspense and holding attention. You can do this with a story, as we have discussed here & here.

Remember Why They’re There

As you plan your speech, think about why the audience members are there. What motivates them? What do you want them to take away from your talk? What reasons might they have for disagreeing with you? For agreeing with you? Construct your presentation with these things in mind.

Take Action!

Let your audience know early in your speech what you want them to leave knowing and prepared to do. Then give them a challenge to follow through on! Do you want them to contact a representative? Sign up to be a volunteer? Whatever it is, make it easy to do by providing the appropriate information for completing the task.

A flyer is helpful for this and gives them something concrete to take with them.

Interrupt Yourself

Interrupting can be a very effective tool when used correctly. You can say something like,

Before I move on, I want to stop and see what you think. Do you have questions or ideas about how to make new contacts to increase sales?

This brings everyone back to center and gives them an opportunity to participate in your presentation. Allowing others to talk and share their ideas also demonstrates your own self-confidence, which is exciting to an audience.

Wrapping Up

So, you now have some great speaking tips on exciting your audience. Have you tried any of these ideas? Do you have thoughts of your own on the subject? I would love to hear from you!

Even better, try some of these tips out during your next speech and let me know how it goes!

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