Tips#5 – How to make a great speech
"People who know what they are talking about don't need a powerpoint" - Steve Jobs
Giving presentations can be an unnerving business. There is so much you need to say, but so little time to say it in. Or maybe you feel that there is too much time and you are not sure how you are going to fill it.
And there is this big stage, that intimidating podium, a large audience full of the people whom you like to call “colleagues” but at this moment they look like your competitors and your judges.
Your research is good, but you get nervous speaking in public and are worried that you won’t do yourself and your science justice.
Sound familiar? Public speaking is a challenge to most people.
But there are several steps that can be taken to meet this challenge and to ensure that you give the best possible presentation.
Tips for powerpoint Presentation
A presentation is:
7% of Words
38% of voice tone
55% of body language
Start strongly (Image, story) to captivate the audience.
Introduce the problem
Not more than 10 slides.
Not more than 20 minutes.
Front size no less than 30 point. keep it clear, simple and concise.
Take questions in the middle of the presentation, not at the end. This way it fills up the space for more content after and you can adjust the conclusion to address the questions.
Keep your body open (When we are nervous we try to hide vital organs) and have the palms open !
Don't touch the podium ! Keep a confortable distance and use your hands for gesture
VISUALISE your presentation. At the time you'll have to perform, your mind will know what to do !
The attention curve
Which brings us to another “C” that we need to be aware of: the attention curve.
When you start speaking you will have everybody’s attention. However, attention is easily lost and a good speaker is one who is able to hold an audience throughout the whole presentation.
The best is to follow this simple “1-2-3” model:
- Attention-grabbing comment
So, start by addressing the audience: “Mister/Madam chairman, ladies and gentlemen” and then pause and look around the room to see if people are paying attention. In fact, by doing this you ensure that you do have their attention. You also test the sound system and can judge how loudly you will need to speak.
Then hit them with a dramatic, lively statement or question which gets to the heart of your presentation. Speak slowly to create maximum impact and, of course, practise this opening several times to get it right.
Now you have their attention. The next task is to keep it. This is where the structure of interim conclusions, described above, can really come to your aid.
The problem of wandering attention is even worse these days as a result of the use of mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.
There is nothing more dispiriting than giving a talk and seeing half the audience with their heads buried in their electronic devices. Be prepared to challenge this directly and ask people either to pay attention or to leave the room if they have to surf the internet or if they really would prefer to be playing Candy Crush Saga.
One thing to avoid
Finally, there is another “C” – but this time, one to avoid: Don’t try to be clever.
You may be the cleverest person in the room, but it is never a good idea to let other people know that this is what you think.
Similarly, avoid jokes or references that may not be understood by everyone and which do little more than show off how clever you are. If you are really confident in yourself and your presentation, there is no need to adopt the pose of cleverness.
Hope these tips to give a great presentation will help you for your next session on stage ! 🙂
Thanks a lot for reading and let me know what you feel about this in the comments !