WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRESENTING ON STAGE.
Better communication and interaction is an integral aspect of life, business, and family. And increasingly so, the ability to present with confidence and charisma. Today, the public speaking industry generates billions of dollars around the world, especially with the ever-increasing number of mediums for communication. More so now than ever individuals are expected to be able to present, and to present well. While these skills come easy to some, in the form of raw talent, the fact is that for others it can be acquired through practice. According to research, individuals who improve their communication ability through learning tend to outperform those who rely purely on their natural talent. Communication skills are crucial for those seeking to make a mark, and this can be showcased through various speaking platforms.
Being a great communicator on stage can be a game changer for many people. When it comes to communicating on a stage, several factors have to be taken into consideration. Here are my top three:
Studying Your Audience
As a presenter, you really need to understand your audience and what they might be looking for. Investing time to think about and consider the various perspectives that groups within the audience may have will enable any presenter to improve how their messages are received. Are some of your audience practitioners in your topic? Or students?
Body language says a lot when it comes to presenting on stage. As a presenter, body posture, eye movement, and hand movement can the wrong message to your audience, which in turn can portray you as a poor communicator. Your body language should you as being enthusiastic and interested in your presentation. Movement around the stage and the old adage of ‘chin in, chest out’ can do wonders to present a confident image – which in turn can become a self-fulfilling prophecy as it then genuinely makes your more confident.
Keep it Simple
By keeping it simple as a presenter, you need to focus on your core message. Try to capture the interest of your audience within the first 3 minutes of speaking. One way to the of your audience is by telling a story. Human beings are programmed psychologically to love stories. Try to use simpler words and watch out for reactions. This ties back to the point about understanding your audience – tell a story through the eyes of your audiences. If there are key messages that you want your audience to leave an event with, you may like to try the 3 x 3 approach:
1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them in 3 points
2. Tell them the 3 points
3. Tell them what you told them in 3 points
People naturally find it easier to remember information in groups of 3!
HOW TO BUILD YOUR CONFIDENCE AND CHARISMA ON STAGE
Building your ability to tell stories, articulate difficult / complex information and confidence are vital to succeeding on stage as a presenter. When a presenter lacks these attributes, it tends to portray him/her as incompetent or inefficient and their messages are quickly lost from the minds of their audiences. As a presenter, it is important to groom your confidence and communication skills. Some ways in which a presenter can do this include;
Speak often no matter how small the gathering may be. ‘Practice make perfect’ is the secret to building confidence and the ability to order your thoughts when in front of people and under pressure.
Find a niche and become an authority. You don’t have to be able to speak about every topic under the sun with confidence but find one or two niches which suit your speaking ability and build your skills around them.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD AND BAD PRESENTER?
Presenters are faced with a huge number of challenges to get their messages across. The wrong body posture, wrong use of eye contact or body parts can send an entirely wrong message to your audience. To get it right, aside from the points mentioned above, presenters must have:
A powerful ability to listen – really ‘hear’ what it is that your audience are looking for. Don’t ‘Push’ your messaging onto the audience despite what you’ve heard they are looking for. ‘Pull’ more information about your audiences varied perspectives so that you can better tailor your delivery
A great sense of timing and utilization of time when on stage
Excellent creativity and, where necessary, the impromptu ability to turn certain disadvantages to his/her advantage – this comes with practice
While the above are some of the characteristics a presenter should possess to be considered a great presenter, there are also other characteristics that make an individual poor on stage. They include;
Lack of respect for people’s opinions – too much ‘Pushing’ when it’s clear that there is disagreement or lack of understanding
Poor time utilization and failure to understand the needs of his/her audiences – there’s nothing worse than a dithering presenter who won’t stop talking
An inability to interact with their audience or engage them
Presentations comes in a wide variety of formats, and audiences equally so. But the foundations of charisma, respect, awareness and confidence usually draw from the same core skills and experience. Everyone is naturally gifted with differing amounts of each of these core skills, but with enough practice can find the right level and delivery to suit their presentation – it just needs practice and an unwavering perseverance / determination to overcome any knocks to confidence.