Effective Presentation

April 13, 2017 | Natalie Frei | Methods & Tools, SDC Experiences |


Rating: 4.5 out of 5

quadraticIn the last Lunch & Learn, Yvonne Vogel talked – and sang – tips on how to overcome inner constraints and become a better presenter. Key to any successful presentation is an audience-centered approach, which many people struggle with. However, there are some simple exercises to make it easier.

By Natalie Frei, SDC

You have studied your PowerPoint presentation for hours and know the accompanying phrases by heart. To be completely fail-proof, you brought numbered notes to carry like a shield.

Just ignore the audience, picture yourself in a bubble.

Yet, regardless of your preparation, you cannot suppress the gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach and right before you hit the stage your knees get wobbly, your palms sweaty and the sudden void in your brain screams for oxygen, though your lungs are full.

Panic blanks your mind and mumbling and stumbling your way through the presentation is all you’re left with.

Focus on the How

According to Yvonne Vogel, presentation coach at fairness@work, most people focus too much on the WHAT instead of the HOW when preparing for a presentation, which is a mistake.

In fact, there have been studies that showed that content only made 10% of a presentation’s lasting impression on the test audience. Much more important were language and voice (30%) and body language and facial Expression (60%).

Do not ignore your audience under any circumstances.

Without that connection, you won’t convey anything to anyone.

The best way to create a connection is passion and eye contact. You have to find something in your presentation where you can pour your heart into. If you are passionate about a subject, it is much easier to look people in the eye and show every single person in the room that you are talking specifically to them.

Reading from notes is one of the easiest ways to lose the audience.

Reading from notes is one of the easiest ways to lose the audience.

Language & Voice

At the Lunch & Learn, Yvonne pointed out the importance of language:

If you want to prove intellectuality, write a book. In presentations, it’s one statement per sentence! Keep it clear, simple and unambiguous. And most importantly: dare to make breaks.

When you are nervous, your breath tends to be shallow, which makes your body and voice tense. Therefore, you should take some minutes before your presentation to warm up your voice: yawn, bubble, sing and moan.

Breathe into your stomach and EXHALE.

This will release tension in your body and make both your voice and your body language more natural.

Deep breath and exhalation help against tension.

Deep breath and exhalation help against Tension.

Authentic Body Language

Sweepingly authentic body language comes with adequate self-perception. Yvonne showed us some everyday mental exercises. For instance,

just stand there.

Go to a public place – like a bus stop – and stand there for a few minutes. Stand on both feet, let your arms dangle with your hands empty, put your chest out and breathe.

It might feel awkward at first but with practice, it will make you feel more comfortable as a presenter because you can take a break and just stand there.

You don’t need to deliver a performance – your authentic expression is enough.

Consciously Standing in public is a great exercise for more self-confidence.

Consciously Standing in public is a great exercise for more self-confidence.


Further information and related stories

Voice warming tutorials: 1 / 2

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